Launching a store used to be a major undertaking involving leasing space, buying inventory that might or might not sell, building shelves, and working long hours behind a cash register. Now, thanks to that little innovation known as the World Wide Web, setting up shop can be done with little more than a few mouse clicks and a few hours of your time. Here we’ll look at one of the most popular ways of launching an online store.
Unquestionably the easiest way to open an online store is by using Shopify. Launched in 2004, the e-commerce giant began as an online store itself (selling snowboarding gear), but now serves as a platform that hosts more than 500,000 merchants from 175 different countries.
Shopify offers a 14-day free trial for each and every store you wish to open, so giving it a try will cost you nothing and, during that time, you can experiment with shop design, plugins, inventory selection, payment processing and other aspects of the site. After your trial, pricing is available at $29, $79 or $299 per month depending on the features you need. The Basic Shopify plan at $29 per month is more than adequate for most beginning online retailers.
When you sign up for an account with Shopify, the system will ask you to name your store and it will then assign you a site address. Choose a store named “WeSellStuff,” for example, and your site address will be “wesellstuff.myshopify.com.” While you’re always welcome to keep this site address as the home of your store on the ‘net, you’re more than likely going to want to change it to something more catchy, easy to remember, and not focused on Shopify.
Upon joining Shopify, after entering your shop name, the system will ask you a few questions about the type of shop you are opening and then ask for some personal details. After that, you’ll be on the main dashboard page. Simply click on the “Add Domain” button here and then either buy a new domain from Shopify (which typically costs $14.99 for a .com domain), or follow the instructions to connect one you’ve already purchased from a different registrar.