Shopify website design is simpler than it seems. Thanks to a host of convenient tools, and a drag-and-drop interface, virtually anyone can create a Shopify store in no time. You don’t need to be a design expert, or have any extensive coding knowledge to begin.
Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about creating a fantastic Shopify website, ideal for launching your own ecommerce business.
We’ll cover everything from choosing the right theme for your Shopify site, to making sure you leverage the most effective product page and checkout customizations.
What are the Key Steps to Consider When Designing your Online Store?
Let’s dive in.
Step 1: Creating your Shopify Account
The first step in building your Shopify store, is setting up an account with the ecommerce website builder. Shopify ensures all business owners can access the functionality they need, with a range of package options to choose from. If you’re launching a store for the first time, you might decide to begin with a free trial before you purchase a premium plan.
Simply go to the Shopify website (Shopify.com) and click “Start Free Trial” to begin. You’ll need to enter your email address, a password, and the store name you want to use. Next, click on “Create your store”, to access the Shopify dashboard.
You’ll be able to set up a custom domain later, once you’ve chosen a premium plan for your account. You can also choose to transfer a domain from an existing website to your new Shopify store.
The ecommerce site builder will ask you some basic questions about your store, such as what you sell and what industry you’re involved with. Once you’re done answering everything, click “Enter my Store” to begin building.
Step 2: Choosing an Effective Theme
While it is possible to hire a design agency to create the perfect store theme using code, it’s often much easier to simply use one of the templates already available from Shopify. You can find the Shopify theme store here, and browse through all of the options available.
Before choosing your theme, you’ll need to consider a few things:
- Your industry: Shopify themes are categorized based on their price, and the industry they’re ideally suited to. Think about the kind of message you want to send with your site, and consider browsing through different categories based on the type of store you’re developing. You can also look up some existing websites in your industry for inspiration.
- Your site needs: Different themes on the Shopify theme marketplace offer different levels of functionality. For instance, you can browse through themes based on the catalogue size they offer (the number of products you can sell). You can also look for other functionality options, concentrating on things like carousels, dynamic content, and so on.
- Your budget: While there are free themes available on the Shopify theme store, they often have fewer features than the premium alternatives. If you have a slightly larger budget, it might be worth exploring premium options for capabilities like collection filtering and mega menus. This will prevent you from needing to hire a design team later.
Step 3: Edit the Theme and Create your Homepage
Once you’ve selected your theme, you’ll be able to make changes to the look and feel of your store to match your brand identity. Click into your Shopify account, and select the “Theme” page, then choose the tab to “customize” your theme to enter the no-code theme editor.
You’ll see a section on the left of the page where you can upload custom images (including your logo), change your text, add buttons, and alter color palettes. After editing the overall feel of your store, the next step is creating crucial pages. You’ll want to produce everything from an “About Us” page, to a “Contact” page.
However, the first asset most companies will focus on is the homepage. This is the first page your customers will interact with, so it’s important to make sure you have a positive impact. Use visuals to capture your audience’s attention, and provide insights into what your store does, without overwhelming your audience with too much copy.
Ensure you leverage clear messaging, a compelling CTA (to drive customers to your products) and straightforward navigation. Make it simple for your customers to find everything from your shopping cart to your FAQ pages.
Step 4: Add your Products
The next step in your ecommerce design journey involves adding your products to your site, so you can make a profit. Once again, you shouldn’t need any web development experience here. Simply head to the “Products” section in your Shopify dashboard to start creating listings.
With each listing, you’ll have a few decisions to make. You’ll need to:
- Select a product title: Choose a short compelling title for each product, using the keywords you believe your customers will probably search for.
- Add a description: Fill your product page with useful insights into your products, highlighting the benefits of your solution. You can even add FAQ sections if you think your customers might have questions about your products.
- Upload photos: Use compelling product images to attract the attention of your shoppers, and highlight the key benefits of your solutions.
- Set prices: Add the price you want customers to pay for your products. Remember to keep in mind the cost of creating your products, shipping them to customers, and so on.
Next, you can organize your products into “collections” if you have multiple products which fall under the same categories. Simply click the “Products” section on your Shopify admin page, and click on “Collections” create your groups of products.
Step 5: Create your Shopify Store Email
Now you’ll need to ensure customers have a way to contact you, and you have a method of nurturing leads for your online store. You can use your Shopify email to keep customers up to date on the status of their order, and launch giveaways and contests.
Email is included with any Shopify plan, just head to the “Settings” page on your admin account, and scroll down until you see “Contact Information”. Click on the option to view your email settings, you’ll be taken to a page where you can adjust your settings.
Set the email address you want to show up with all of your marketing materials, and hit the “save” button in the top right corner. Next, go back to your settings page and scroll down to “Notifications” click this to set the content and design of the emails you’ll send to customers for different purposes.
Remember, you can also access apps on Shopify if you want to take advantage of more comprehensive email marketing campaigns and automated workflows.
Step 6: Choose your Shopify Apps and Add-Ons
As mentioned above, Shopify store owners can take advantage of a range of convenient app solutions and add-ons within the Shopify app marketplace. Although it’s best not to overwhelm your store with too many add-ons straight away, you can take advantage of a few handy tools.
It’s worth looking for solutions that will help you to upgrade your search engine optimization settings. Although Shopify has some SEO tools built-in for creating meta descriptions and site maps, there are also tools that can improve your rankings by giving you step-by-step solutions for using keywords, internal links, and so on. You can also explore Shopify app options for:
- Customization, such as typography and images for your store
- Increasing conversion rates and reducing cart abandonment
- Marketing solutions via social media and paid ads
- Inventory management and logistics (Such as dropshipping tools)
- Reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content to improve user experience
Step 7: Manage your Shopify Preferences and Settings
Once you have the right plugins in place for your Shopify store, you may want to make some changes to the basic settings and preferences of your Shopify store. There are Shopify experts that can help you with this, or you can make changes within your Shopify account directly.
For instance, you might customize the checkout page, to ensure it showcases an image of your logo, and gives your customers multiple ways to make payments. The more payment options you offer, and the more convenient your checkout is, the more likely you are to earn revenue.
You’ll also be able to:
- Adjust tax settings: If you need to manage taxes on your Shopify store, go into the Settings page and click on Taxes and Duties. Shopify automatically sets tax rates by default, but you can implement your own too. Shopify has its own tax manual to help you.
- Set shipping settings: In the Settings page of your Shopify dashboard, you can establish the shipping preferences you want to use for your audience. You can make changes to shipping zones, conditional shipping rates, shipping labels, and more. Plus, you’ll be able to leverage local delivery and pick-up options, as well as carrier settings.
- Languages: If you’re selling products to customers around the world, you’ll be able to present your store to customers in a variety of different languages. Just head into the Settings page of Shopify and click on “Languages” to add a Language to your store. You can also take advantage of convenient language translation apps within Shopify.
Step 8: Set Up Payment Options
Now it’s time to make sure you can collect payments. The Shopify ecommerce platform has its own built-in payment processing solution called Shopify Payments. All you need to do to access this is go into the Payments section on your Shopify settings page, and click on “Activate Shopify Payments” for your ecommerce store.
While you do need to pay extra transaction fees if you want to use other payment solutions on the Shopify platform, you can still choose to do this if you like. Offering other payment options like PayPal could be a good way to improve customer experience.
Choose the “See all other providers” option on the payments page to add other payment providers to your Shopify site. You can even take advantage of buy-now-pay-later options for your ecommerce store, if you believe this will increase conversions.
Step 9: Optimize your Store Design
Before you launch your store, it’s worth making sure everything is optimized to improve conversions and increase sales. When scrolling through your store, think about the customer experience. How easy is it for customers to find the “add to cart” button on your pages? How quickly do your pages load, and how easy are they to navigate?
Remember, page loading times not only have an impact on user experience, but they can also influence how well your site ranks on the search engine result pages. Make sure all of your product description text and content are optimized for search engines, with keywords. Additionally, you might think about creating your own landing page, pop-ups, and other tools to increase conversions.
Other ways to optimize your ecommerce store include:
- Adding social proof: Collect and display reviews from your customers to ensure new customers are more likely to trust your store. You can also use user-generated content (such as images of customers using your products), and trust badges to boost sales.
- Use upselling and cross-selling tools: Implement apps and add-ons to showcase other products to your customers on the checkout or product pages. Highlight items they may be interested in based on their browsing behavior to increase average order value.
- Boost user experience: Focus on enhancing the experience customers have on your store, by making sure everything is easy to navigate and use. Check your tore works just as well on a mobile device as it does on a desktop.
Step 10: Launch your Store
Finally, it’s time to launch your store and make sure customers can find it. You can use blog posts and content marketing on Shopify to strengthen your chances of connecting with customers in the search engines. It’s also possible to launch marketing campaigns with Shopify directly.
Head to the “Marketing” tab in your admin dashboard, and click on “Create campaign” to design a pay-per-click ad for channels like Google and Facebook. You can also explore a range of other targeted campaign options, connecting with customers via email, SMS, and more.
Remember, generating results from your marketing campaigns can take time, even if your website is perfect. Entrepreneurs often spend a lot of time experimenting with campaigns, running A/B tests, and evaluating different campaign options to boost their sales.
Start Selling with Shopify!
Once you’ve completed all of the Shopify store design steps above, you’ll be ready to run your website. Remember, the best Shopify stores are constantly optimized over time. As your store grows, you might want to experiment with new ad campaigns, add-ons, and sales strategies.
You might even decide to upgrade to a new account with Shopify. Each paid plan comes with new features to explore. There’s even Shopify Plus available to those who want to experiment with deeper levels of customization and more sales tools.
Pay attention to your store analytics and insights, and be ready to upgrade your store whenever possible, to increase your chances of success.
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