A Guide to Preparing and Setting Up Your Shopify Store

You’ve been dreaming about having your own online shop for months. You sign up to the Shopify free trial, you open Shopify and have a look around, then you close it down and go and have a cup of tea…

Two weeks pass and your free trial has finished, so you cancel the whole thing, or worse, you’re now paying $29 a month for a site you haven’t finished!

Unfortunately, I hear of so many people that fall into the two week free trial trap and end up with nothing. It’s easy to get stuck when you jump in and then discover that you have to make lots of decisions about your business that you haven’t prepared for. Shipping, tax, payment providers: all the things you need to decide on to get  the back-end of your shop running smoothly. And this is all before you get to the ‘front of shop’ parts,  like adding products and designing your storefront.

If this all sounds familiar to you, I want you to know two things:

  1. You are not alone. I hear this very often from my clients and workshop attendees. 

  2. I’m here to help!

Shopify is great and it’s one of the easiest ways for product and digital product-based businesses to get set up and start selling online. Here’s the list of things you need to get together before jumping into Shopify, to make sure that you’ll end your two week free trial with a shop you’re proud to share and is ready to make sales!

1. Essential admin

These are the basics that you need to have ready in order to set up the admin of your store, from business name to contact emails, currency to language.

Payment details and billing

Decide how you’re going to take payment from people and how your Shopify is going to bill you.

Shipping and returns

  • How will you calculate shipping costs on orders?

    • Flat rate: e.g. £3.95 on orders up to £35

    • By weight: calculated by products ordered and requires you to input product weight details

    • Free shipping on all or some orders: e.g. free shipping on all orders over £50

  • What delivery options do you offer, how long do they take, and how much does it cost?

  • Where do you ship to internationally, how long does it take, and how much does it cost?

  • What is your returns policy: how long does it take to process a return and will you pay return postage?


If you are unsure about your tax situation, please seek professional advice. Questions you need to consider include:

  • Do your prices include or exclude tax?

  • Do you need to charge tax depending on where your customer lives?

  • Do you charge tax on shipping rates?

  • Do you need to charge VAT on digital products?

Staff accounts and locations

  • Will anyone else be using the Shopify site?

  • Do you have more than one location that you sell from?


  • Double check that your domain name is free before you start.

2. What to put in your shop

Now you’ve got all the dull but essential admin information collated, you can focus on your products and design elements.

Homepage set-up

Collate together the following information for your homepage to make setting it up super easy:

  • Shop name, logo and tagline

  • Decide on which product, collection or offer you want to showcase in your homepage banner area

  • Decide on which of your products or collections you want to showcase as visual navigation

  • Create a banner image of 1200 x 400 to 600 pixels

  • Any reviews, testimonials or “as seen in” elements

Product set-up

For each product collate together the following information:

  • Product name, description and price

  • If you charge tax on your product

  • If you want to track inventory, the number available and any SKUs you’re using

  • Variants, e.g. size and colourways 

  • Is it a physical or digital product?

  • Weight (if using weight-based shipping)

  • Create your product images: we like to create square ones using these 4 ideas:

    • Lifestyle images to help people imagine the product(s) in their lives

    • Images of product(s) in use/being worn to show how it can be used

    • Simple images that show the product 

    • Close-up images of product details

Collection set-ups

Decide on how you’re going to organise your products into collections, e.g. by type, by theme or by who uses them. For each collection you’ll want the following information:

  • Collection name and description

  • Decide on which products will be in the collection 

  • A square collection lifestyle image that can be used on the homepage navigation

Now you’re ready to open up Shopify and set up your shop!

When you’ve collected all of this information together, you’ll find it super easy to set up your Shopify site because you’ll already have made decisions about how it will run and created copy and image assets.

It does look like a long list, especially if you have more than a handful of products, but if you’re selling elsewhere online then you’ll find that you’ve got lots of this information already and just need to pull it together and tweak it for your Shopify site.

If you’d like this list in the form of a workbook that you can download and use, head over here to grab it 👉 Shopify Preparation Workbook 

Find me on Instagram if you’ve any questions about Shopify and setting up your online store 👉 @helloimpideas 

Latest features

Related Articles

40 Digital Women to Watch in 2020

This isn’t a list of Digital Marketers or the Most Influential in People in Digital. This is a list to showcase women who have been…

Shortlist: Community Leader of the The Year – Digital Women Awards

The Digital Women Community Leader of the The Year Award recognises and celebrates women who are leading communities. This award acknowledges women whose service and…

Shortlist: Role Model of the Year – Digital Women Awards

The Digital Women Role Model of the Year recognises and celebrates women who are positive and confident in themselves. lifting others up. A person who is doing…

Shortlist: Digital Entrepreneur – Digital Women Awards

The Digital Women Entrepreneur of The Year Award recognises and celebrates women who are are operating a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal…

17 Amazing Digital Entrepreneurs!

The Digital Women Awards takes place every year to celebrate the work women are doing through digital. The Digital Women Entrepreneur of The Year Award…

5 Things you can do to help you get the job (or client) of your dreams

In Part One of our Digital Careers Special Report, we explored the ways that digital marketing can offer a rewarding, energising and flexible career for…

How to Use Instagram Live for Business

Instagram Live is a great way to stay connected with your customers, but one which few businesses are using to its fullest potential. Luckily, it’s…

8 Brilliant Podcasts Produced and Hosted by Women

The Digital Women Awards takes place every year to celebrate the work women are doing through digital. Digital Women’s Podcast of the Year award recognises…

The most asked social media questions by small business owners

Over the past few years, I have trained thousands of small business owners in social media skills through Digital Women, as a Meta #Shemeansbusiness trainer,…

12 Inspiring Role Models!

The Digital Women Awards takes place every year to celebrate the work women are doing through digital. The Digital Women Role Model of the Year…