SME Pals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Shopify eCommerce website builder

How to Start an Online Boutique with Shopify

See how Shopify makes it quick and easy to design, build and host your own cutting-edge, responsive online store/boutique.

Top website builders

Shopify overtook WordPress as the most searched website builder platform in 2020.
Shopify overtook WordPress as the most searched website builder in 2020, with over 1 000 000 brand searches per month.
Shopify powers over one million businesses worldwide.

Shopify Pricing

Shopify offers a 14 day free trial and a range of cost-effective paid plans based on your requirements.

  • Basic Shopify

    All the basics for starting a new online boutique

    $29/month

    • Unlimited Products
    • Up to 64% Shipping Discount
  • Shopify

    Everything you need for a growing business

    $79/month

    • Unlimited Products
    • Up to 72% Shipping Discount
  • Advanced Shopify

    Advanced features for scaling your business

    $299/month

    • Unlimited Products
    • Up to 74% Shipping Discount
  • ShopifyPlus+

    Enterprise-grade solutions for high volume merchants

    Custom

Save up to 10% when you pay annually or 20% discount when you pay biennially.

It's important for an online venture to become operational as quickly and cheaply as possible. To this end, Shopify undoubtedly represents the best solution for small to medium sized startups.

Follow along with this step-by-step guide to setting up a Shopify eCommerce site, and you'll be selling online in no time at all.

1. Start a Free Shopify Trial

First thing's first. Create your free trial account (Hint: Click the screenshot below).

Shopify Quick Start

Shopify stores around the world have generated over $135 billion in sales

  • Start an online store for free with Shopify
  • Start a Shopify store to get setup fast and win your first sale. Then, scale quickly.

    To get started, you need the following info (no credit card required) - a store name, email address and password.

    That's it! Quick & easy.

Once you've added your details, hit the "Create your store now" button and Shopify will build the new site and respond with a success message, like this:

Shopify store creation success notice

2. Configure Store Settings

Click "Take me to my store" and complete the form presented to reflect your particular details:

Finalizing store details

In particular you will be able to specify what type of products you want to sell. Don't worry if you aren't 100% sure about anything as it is easy to make changes later on.

3. Get Ready to Launch

At this point, your store is essentially ready to go. Not bad for about a minute's worth of work, right?

You should now be able to see the store's dashboard that, by default, shows a startup tutorial:

Shopify store admin dashboard

It clearly denotes the 3 remaining steps required to launch the site:

  1. Customize the theme
  2. Add products
  3. Choose a domain

You can follow along with each step to get the store just how you want it.

4. Customizing the Theme

I recommend that you browse through the theme store (hint: click 'Themes' from the left hand admin menu, and then 'Visit the Theme Store' button at the top right of the page) as there are a wide range of free and paid themes that will give your store a slick, professional look and feel:

Find the perfect site template or theme in Shopify's theme store

A word of advice: Don't waste too much time on the theme. Find something that is lightweight and clean to begin with and then focus on adding products and marketing.

The quicker you can start selling and generating revenue, the easier it will be to spend time and resources tweaking the site's template later on.

5. Add Products

It's super easy to start adding products to the store. Either click on the link to add products in the startup guide, or click on the Products link in the left hand admin menu, and click Add a product:

Add products to your store

From here you can add info such as:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Price
  • SKU
  • Barcode
  • Tax
  • Shipping
  • Weight
  • Options
  • Images
  • Tags
  • SEO

Remember that if you intend to attract valuable search engine traffic it is absolutely vital to provide unique and helpful product content.

Provide informative product descriptions. Genuine reviews. Original photos. Helpful advice and tips. Anything that a potential buyer would find compelling and useful.

Without great content, even a powerful platform like Shopify won't be able to make your products rank well in Google.

6. View & Refine the Store

At any time you can click on the View your store button at the top right of the admin dashboard page to check out the store.

Chances are you'll want to do some tweaking and add a few standard pages like About us, Terms & conditions, and so on.

You can access everything you need from the left hand admin menu, and it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the following options:

  • Reports
  • Blog posts
  • Pages
  • Navigation
  • Settings

Bear in mind that some options may not be available, depending on which hosting plan you select.

All in all Shopify represents arguably the best value for money for the highest quality hosted shopping cart solution. Check out Shopify, Volusion & Bigcommerce for more on how it compares to other leading solutions.

Weebly website builder

Here's a quick step-by-step, beginner's guide to making a free website (start for free, or choose from their low-cost paid plans) using Weebly - one

Free Website designs from top website builders. Pic by Yann Coeuru

Website builders have forever changed the world of Web design by allowing us to use free, responsive themes and templates to manage the look and feel of our

BigCommerce shopping cart software

Learn how BigCommerce makes it quick and easy for anyone to sell (anything) online from their own eCommerce store.

comparing two leading site builders

At some point, you're going to need to decide which of the most popular website builders (Wix or Weebly) to use for your own small business website.

Basic HTML code for bloggers and newbies

Having a basic knowledge of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) can be a huge help for bloggers, online entrepreneurs, or anyone who might be asked to

Old HTML tables can be upgraded into a responsive design with CSS3 and media queries

Mobile first, responsive Web design is something that can't be ignored because devices likes tablets and smartphones are quickly becoming the dominant browsi

Five great ways to make your site better

There are a few main reasons why every Webmaster should be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve or upgrade their websites.

Structured data can improve SEO and sales

Any eCommerce store owner looking to increase sales by driving Website traffic from organic search needs to pay close attention to what structured data (rich snippets) is all about.

From a technical point of view, structured data is implemented by using additional markup in your HTML code that uses an agreed upon vocabulary for representing data in webpages (defined at schema.org).

Top 3 eCommerce site builders, comparison review. Pic by Martin SoulStealer

We've researched and compared each of the three leading eCommerce website builders to highlight which ones are the most popular, offer the best value for mon

Web design mistakes that can be fixed (unlike spilled milk)

Good Web design is important for success online, but big companies implement bad design all the time.

Cheap website builders that are free to start

Compare and rank the best website builders (all free to start and cheap to maintain) on everything from responsive design, to SEO, value for money a

Improve UX Web design to help users and grow your business

User eXperience (UX) plays a vital role in how well your site converts traffic, and we've got some interesting Web design tips that will give your v

Back to Top