How Does Shopify Work? The COMPLETE Tutorial

How Does Shopify Work? The COMPLETE Tutorial

Understanding Shopify to Allow Your Customers To Purchase From Your Online Retail Or Launch Your New E-Commerce Business

What is Shopify & How Does It Work?

If you haven't already, you should know Shopify has over half a million active businesses selling via its all-inclusive Ecommerce platform. Listed as the #1 online selling platform of 2018 by Inc., its convenient setup process and powerful integrations with social media makes it easy for current and new business owners to sell on Shopify in just a few steps.

The low start-up cost incurred through Shopify, has made it more accessible for entrepreneurs globally. A limited free trial allows you to test its interface before committing to one of its four monthly plan options, ranging from $9 to $299 per month.

Whether you’re seeking to launch your online store as your part-time or full-time hustle, our team is here to help you!

Through this complete tutorial, you will learn how to setup your new online store in just a few steps and get a full understanding of Shopify.

Here's Shopify Explained... 

Step-By-Step on How Shopify Works:

1. Choose plan (or sign up for FREE trial)

2. Customize store design

3. Upload inventory/dropshipping

4. Edit payment gateway

5. Setup shipping options

6. Integrate applications

7. Connect or choose domain

8. Test and optimize

How Does Shopify Work
Photo by MIMI THIAN on Unsplash

1. Choose Your Pricing Plan (or Sign Up For FREE Trial)

So you've figured out what does Shopify do, for those trying out e-commerce for the first time, we recommend to sign up via our FREE 14 Day Trial link.

Initially, Shopify will ask you for your new online store name, you will have to make this unique in order to move to the next screen. The following questions will require you to log contact info and store address. 

Then Shopify asks you if you already have products or what you’re planning to sell. This section needs to be filled out, whether or not you already have products for sale. Once you’ve covered these simple questions you may click “DONE” and move to our next step of this tutorial.

If you’re ready to hustle and not have to worry about choosing plans in a few weeks after the FREE Trial is over, there are four commitment levels:

  • Shopify Lite ($9/mo)
  • Basic Shopify ($29/mo)
  • Shopify ($79/mo)
  • Advanced Shopify Plans ($299/mo)

The differences vary in selling features, credit card rates, number of staff accounts and shipping discounts. You can compare these below to see which one suits your new online business best (insert screenshots)

2. Customize Store Design

Following your sign up process you will be presented with a list of three options at the welcome screen, from which includes customizing the look of you new online store.

You will find a few FREE template themes with limited capabilities for design, as well as a large selection of PREMIUM ones that will make sure your storefront and inventory stands out, from which you can choose depending on your design needs and selling capabilities.

When selecting your new online storefront theme, keep in mind not only a great design but also the functionality and reviews it holds. Also, preview themes by clicking the “View Demo” button.

A great quality about Shopify’s all-inclusive selling platform is the ease of storefront design that requires no coding skills at all. Once you’ve selected a theme that corresponds to you click the green button and confirm installation.

To edit your theme click the “online store” button on the main navigation sidebar menu. This will send you directly to the Themes section of your store, the Live Theme will the one you’d be customizing so make sure you’ve selected the proper theme as your published theme from the library theme list on the screen. You can make any theme live by clicking the “actions” tab next to the theme’s name and then selecting “publish”.

As mentioned prior, customizing your theme is simple. Click the blue “customize” button on the top right of your theme page and begin the design process. As theme features vary, so do the customization options. For the most part, most themes will allow you to upload logos, customize homepage carousel, selecting color and font schemes, edit product pages functionally, and organization of collection pages.

We recommend that if you use social media as a sales and marketing channel for your business, you choose a theme that has social media display and button features.

Photo by STEVE DING on Unsplash

3. Upload Inventory/Dropshipping

One of the other steps you must complete following the sign up process is to add your products to your store and start selling online.

This can be started at the initial welcome screen when you signed up, or through the “Products” tap found at left sidebar in your dashboard.

Once you’ve entered the products section you’re going to click the “Add Product” button. You will be asked to upload product pictures and input additional product information. 

We encourage you to fill this out as detailed as possible, including url names, collections, and tags as this will enhance your SEO performance and search ability of each product. Although you can get creative with product pictures, we recommend you to have some structure and uniformity, as this will allow your store to maintain great branding and product visibility.

For those attempting to make your new online hustle through the dropshipping approach, we will introduce you to some excellent integration options at Step 6 of this Complete Tutorial.

4. Edit Payment Gateway

Currently, Shopify offers its ecommerce entrepreneurs from a multitude of payment processor options. This is great, as it makes it flexible for you to accept payments and setup payment delivery based on your business requirements.

  • Shopify Payments
  • Paypal Express Checkout
  • Amazon Pay
  • Third-Party Providers (55+ options; such as PayU Latam,, and Airpay)
  • Alternative Payment Methods (18+ options; including BitPay, Skrill, and Put It On LayAway)
  • Manual Payment Methods

You also have the option to automatically capture payment orders, this is great if you’re doing dropshipping and would benefit from automation process, or manually for you to capture payment within authorization period.

Credit card rate and transaction fees will vary depending on the Shopify Plan you choose, as well as the payment provider used for each transaction. For example, Shopify Payments vary in credit card rate fees, but hold 0% fees on all transactions. As for a third-party payment provider, an additional 2% transaction fee is applied if this method is used during the checkout process.

how does shopify work
Photo by DESOLA LANRE-OLOGUN on Unsplash

5. Setup Shipping Options

You could be wondering "how does Shopify shipping work"? For those of you selling physical products online, this step is important. You can setup your shipping preferences by clicking the “settings” tab located at the bottom left of the main navigation bar. 

Once you’re in the settings dashboard, select the “shipping” option. Here you will first have to add the “Shipping from” address, to allow Shopify to calculate rates at checkout.

The next part of this step will prompt you to selecting the shipping rates at checkout based on domestic and rest of world shipping zones. Other items you may have to specify on are shipping label formats, packages, packaging slip, third-party shipping features and custom order fulfillment.

Lastly, cross-reference shipping options with your added products and checkout process to include taxes and calculated shipping zones.

6. Integrate Applications

Whether you are dropshipping or selling your own products, Shopify offers a ton of application integrations that can improve the buying experience of your customers and automation process of your business.

Integrations to Intuit QuickBooks, Facebook Marketing, Hubspot, Mailmunch, SEO Image Optimizer, Oberlo, Kit, Point of Sale and many more are available at FREE and paid plans. Just as we suggested to check the reviews and functionality of your new online store theme, we recommend that you take into account the same process when choosing to install an application to your Shopify store.

The Shopify App Store button can be found via the main navigation menu on the left side of your Shopify dashboard. You will notice that Shopify does an excellent job at categorizing apps based on your business needs and functionality. If you know exactly what app you would like to integrate, there is an easy to find “search” icon located at the top of every Shopify App Store page.

how does shopfy work
Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash

7. Connect or Choose Domain

You are almost there hustler!

This next step will solidify all your work thus far. You will have to buy, if you haven’t done so yet, a domain name for your new online store. The options are simple, you may choose to buy your domain directly via Spotify or use a third party service, such as or

Selecting the Shopify domain search and purchase option will save you time.

As for third party domain service, you will have to add the following steps before launching your new online store:

  1. Add your new domain to your Shopify store
  2. Setup DNS Records
  3. Select your new domain as primary if you have more than one

Full instructions on how to do this HERE!

The last thing you will have to ensure before launching is disabling the default password protection feature to your new online store. You do this by first clicking on the “online store” tab in the main navigation sidebar menu; choose the “preferences” tab on that specific dropdown menu. One inside the online store preferences dashboard scroll down, uncheck the “enable password” checkbox, and click the blue “save” button.

Your new online hustle in now live!

8. Test and Optimize

As an added step of security, we encourage all ecommerce hustlers/entrepreneurs like you to test and optimize their new online stores. This allows you to pick up on any details that may have been overlooked in the design and product upload process. Checking that your online store checkout process functions fluently, as well as any integration you may have added to your process, will save you time and money in the future. Make sure you put yourself in the shoes of your own customer and see how you can optimize their purchasing experience, we guarantee that if you do this on a routine basis you will have customers raving about your products and service.

Congratulations, if you followed every one of these steps you have successfully launched your new ecommerce hustle. Now don’t just stop here, keep grinding and finding solutions to people’s problems. It’s always a rewarding experience, because Hustle Inspires Hustle! A little confused? Shopify Support is great in answering your questions and concerns.

Get started with Shopify today.


This site may contain links to affiliate websites and we receive an affiliate commission for any purchases made by you on the affiliate website using such links.

Alex Quin

Entrepreneur. Podcaster. Go-Getter.

Alex Quin is a full-stack marketing expert and global keynote speaker. Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of UADV Marketing - a member of the Forbes Agency Council.

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