How To Start an Online Shop in 15 Minutes

Are you sitting around with a sweet new product idea and you want to start selling it online? Have you been selling in a brick-and-mortar shop and now you want to bring your business online? The solution is building an online store, so I want to show you how to start an online shop in just 15 minutes.

Over 35 percent of small business websites function to sell via ecommerce mediums, and you can join the club.

There are plenty of ecommerce platforms to choose from, but we are going to walk you through the one we like the most, Shopify.

Let’s have a look.

Step 1: Sign Up for Shopify

Go to the Shopify website and punch in your email address where it says Get Started. This gives you a nice 14-day trial so you can play around with the tools and see if it’s right for you.

It will ask you to punch in your email address along with a password and store name. Keep in mind that you can change these later. Click on the Create Your Store button to move on.

Shopify then asks you to explain what your business is about. This just helps them get information on their customer base so they can help you a little better and improve the system in the future. Specify how long you have been selling, how much you plan on making with the store and if you are using this to make a store for one of your clients.

Wait just a few seconds for the system to process your store. Select whether you would like to sell online or with the Shopify retail POS system. Today we are going to choose the online store option. Click on the Next button.

On the next page, fill in your full name, along with your address and contact information. This helps Shopify determine your currency standards and tax rates. Click Next.

Click the Enter My Store button to proceed.

Step 2: Launching Your Store

Shopify now moves you to the standard backend dashboard, which is actually somewhat similar to what WordPress looks like.

You now have three steps to get started selling online. To start, scroll down a bit and click on the Add Product button. This area is where you punch in the details on your first product.

Shopify add a product

For the sake of this tutorial I am going to pretend that I’m selling electronics. My first product is the HP Chromebook 14. Fill in the title, description, vendor and type.

Shopify product description

This is where we get into the meat of your product description. Fill in the price, a comparison price if needed, SKU number, tax info and more. It even includes an area to manage your inventory if you have a limited amount of product. Check off if the product has multiple options so you can change up things like colors and sizes.

Shopify price fields

Upload a nice image of your product, specify if you want to add it to a collection and include any tags that help people search based on things like color, size and material.

Shopify product image

The last two steps let you modify the SEO and visibility. Either use the default SEO details that were pulled from the title and product description or make your own. Then tell the system that you want the product to be visible to the world. After that, click Save Product.

Shopify SEO

Go back to your dashboard and click on the Edit Theme button to customize the look of your website.

Shopify store customization

This area is all about customization, so it’s really up to you on how you want to design the storefront and make it look. I would recommend starting off by uploading an image for your logo and modifying the standard colors of the website to match your logo.

You can also click on the other tabs to change appearances for things like the homepage, product pages, footer and checkout.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.10.23 AM

Feel free to play around with these settings and click on the Preview in New Window link to see what the site looks like.

Shopfy store preview

You can also click on the Visit the Theme Store link to grab a free or premium theme that is already built for you.

Shopify themes

Once complete, click on the Publish Changes button and go back to the dashboard.

Shopify store setup

By default, your temporary store runs on a domain that looks something like This is fine, but you must purchase or transfer a domain to make the store official.

Click on the Setup Your Domain button to get started.

Choose whether you want to register a new domain name or add one you already own. This is where you might have to whip out your credit card. If you choose to register a new domain you simply keep typing in the options you want to buy until one is available.

Punch in your credit card info and confirm the purchase.

Once that is all done you can go back to the dashboard and launch your store. This will prompt you to choose a plan through Shopify.

Step 3: Manage Your Payment Processing

Although you’ve already setup your new online store you still have to understand the payment processing system. Click on the Payments tab on the left hand side of your dashboard. The default payment processing option is called Shopify Payments, and it is powered through Stripe.

Click on the Complete Shopify Payments account setup to configure settings like your SSN, how many orders you plan on having and your bank account information for receiving payments.

Shopify payment

You also have the option to go with an alternative payment processor like PayPal, BitPay or GoCoin. If you have a history with these payment options you can go ahead and try them out, but I personally recommend just choosing the Shopify option, since it works flawlessly with the entire system, and I would assume you get much better support directly through Shopify. This way you don’t have to keep talking to two separate companies.

More Than 15 Minutes (Add-ons and Support)

There’s so much more that you can do with your Shopify site after you launch, but that would take much longer than 15 minutes. Checkout the Shopify App Store to see what integrations you can include.

Feel free to peruse the Shopify Documentation page to understand all the fun little tabs in your Shopify dashboard. You can also shoot the Shopify team an email if needed.

Congratulations! You now have a fully functional online shop. Let us know in the comments section if you have any questions about how to start an online shop in 15 minutes. The process is extremely simple when you work through Shopify, because it’s not a software that you have to activate or install. You simply walk through the quick setup procedure and you are good to go.

You can also checkout our detailed Shopify review for more information.

Catalin Zorzini

I'm a web design blogger and started this project after spending a few weeks struggling to find out which is the best ecommerce platform for myself. Check out my current top 10 ecommerce site builders.