How to Set Up an Online Store Without Technical Knowledge in 24 Hours

Having an online store has never been as popular as it is today. It makes sense since you do not need a lot of money or almost any technical knowledge to set up an online store and on the other hand, online purchases are persistently rising – by 21% in 2019 and 19% by 2020.

You can see many online stores all-around social media reaching millions in revenue per month. And according to eCommerce growth, ‘it’s about to become even crazier. 

Of course, you cannot expect you will immediately start generating millions with your store. But you can reach a few percents of that which is still more than 5 figure revenue per month or more than 6 figure per year. And this is a damn good offer. Don’t you think?

You probably already had thoughts of owning an online store, or perhaps you know someone who is already in the eCommerce business. Or you have already started setting up your online store, but you have stuck somewhere in the process. ‘Don’t worry. You are in the right place, so keep reading.

Before I reveal the steps how to set up an online store without technical knowledge in 24 hours, I will briefly explain some fundamental ‘store’s characteristic you have to look for, if you want to achieve that.

Look for highly responsive online store

When I talk about the highly responsive online store, I think about the store that load quickly, is optimized for mobile devices, enables high conversion, is reliable, secure, and offers simple purchase process. A platform that comes closest to these criteria is Shopify.

Shopify is a fantastic eCommerce platform, which can make a difference. The platform has been in an uptrend in popularity for the last five years, and since 2017, it has overtaken all other platforms (source: google trends).

Dropshipping contributed massively to Shopify’s recent popularity, for sure. But even more than that added the fact that Shopify is simply created for eCommerce. Proof for that is the highest market share Shopify has among the top 10k web sites on the internet.

If you want to achieve amazing results, you need a great tool. Online Store is your tool and the engine of your eCom business. That`s why you shouldn’t expect less than great. What can you expect from Shopify? Many things and a little extra:

  • Quick and easy set up without technical knowledge,
  • Attractive store themes,
  • Safe (https) and reliable (99.98% running time),
  • Unlimited hosting,
  • Optimized for mobile devices,
  • Excellent loading speed,
  • Option to customize the store,
  • Integration with more than 2.500 apps,
  • Strong marketing and SEO tools,
  • 24/7 customer support,
  • A unique community which combines enormous eCommerce knowledge and practices.
So, you got the idea of what a highly responsive online store should be. Now its time to dig into the process, how to set up one. Let’s do it!

STEP 1: Register at Shopify

Before you register at Shopify, it’s useful to have a complete business plan for your sales (niche, products, market, advertising channels, etc.), descriptions, image and video material somewhat ready (more info about that you can get by signing up to my free BootCamp).

Shopify offers a free trial for 14 days, so it makes sense to start selling as soon as possible after the registration.

First, visit Shopify.com website and create your user account -> click »Start free trial« at the top right, and enter the required information (email, password and store name) and confirm by clicking »Create your store.«

The store name must be unique. Otherwise, Shopify will warn you that you need to choose a different name.

Then Shopify will ask you a few questions about your online sales experience and what your purpose is with the Shopify platform. After this step, provide all other information and enter the store (»enter my store«).

Your Shopify account has now been successfully created. Great! 🙂

Now, the most exciting part of the online store setup begins: selecting and installing a template, editing it, adding apps, products, collections, shipping settings, payment methods, domains, etc.

All activities take place on the platform’s control panel, which looks like this:

STEP 2: Choose a theme/layout

Shopify offers themes on its marketplace where you can choose from 70 free and payable (premium) themes. Each has an option of custom-made changes. The free ones have more restrictions than payable ones.

All themes on the marketplace are user-friendly, which means that for basic editing you don’t need any technical knowledge or programming skills. If any problems arise, you can reach support in any step by Shopify or dev team.

You can access the marketplace via the Shopify control panel, click on the »online store« on the left side of the menu. As you can see default installed theme is »debut theme,« which is quite okay for a start.

If you still want to select another theme, go to the »visit theme store« section where you will be redirected to the Shopify theme marketplace. By clicking on »all themes« you can filter themes on the left side by price, the number of products, style, type of online store, etc.

Once you find a theme you like, check its functionalities, opinions from other customers, and view the demo. Then upload the selected item to your store by clicking on “Add Theme” (free themes) or “Try Theme” (payable themes). In the latter case, you will see a preview theme with your name of the store.

That is an excellent feature since you can see what adjustments it offers before you buy a theme. If everything is ok, close the editor and buy the (PayPal or credit card) theme. It will be automatically uploaded to your online store.

STEP 3: Customize the theme with “theme editor”

You can access »theme editor« via the control panel, simply click on the “Online Store” and then “Customize” on the right. The vast majority of the Shopify themes allow you to easily change the look of your online store with some simple changes.

In the editor you can change colors, fonts, header, footer, add store logo, banners, sliders, change the display of product pages and collections, change content on the home page, etc.

The vast majority of the themes allow for editing through sections, which certainly makes work more comfortable, while some allow only editing through the settings.
More technical knowledge is required for more complex changes and adjustments to the theme.

Shopify offers an option to work with Shopify experts or partners who are well-versed in programming and who have specific knowledge of the Shopify code. I think if you are just starting with eCommerce, any significant changes of themes or functionality are not necessary. It’s much more effective to do this later when you get first sales, and you have more information available.

STEP 4: Add products and create collections

Adding products to Shopify is very simple. In the menu on the left, click on »Products« and the top right, »Add product.« Then enter the name of the product, properties, price, product variant, quantity, product type, etc., and at the bottom add SEO – meta description and URL.

You can add images by marking them and move them into the »drag & drop« field. You can edit the order in the same way: you select an image and drag it to the desired location. 

Product images make sales, so make sure that the product is perfectly presented. For the product page to appear as tempting as possible, I suggest that all images are of the same dimensions (usually 800 × 800). When you add a product, save it multiple times just in case (at the top or bottom right).

The process of creating collections is as easy as adding products: “Products” -> “Collections” -> “Create Collection.”

The collection is any product group that has specific properties in common, for example:

  • T-shirts for women, men, and children
  • Products for home, garden, beach
  • Products on sale, new in stock
  • Seasonal products, such as Christmas gifts

Shopify makes it possible for an individual product to be located in more than one collection. These are usually visible on the first page of the store or in the navigation above or on the left side. With collections, you make it easy for your customers to find products.

You can create a collection manually by manually adding/removing the desired products. In case of large quantities of products, this is rather time-consuming work.

That is why it is possible to create collections automatically, by adding the rules under which products fall into each collection. For example, a collection of T-shirts covers all products that have the word “T-shirt” in their name.

STEP 5: Add sales channels and apps

If you want to be successful with online sales today, then it’s not enough to sell just through your online store. You need to sell from multiple channels such as social media, Amazon, a blog or a physical store (omnichannel sale).

For Slovenia (where I live), Shopify allows selling through an online store, Facebook page, Instagram, Messenger, blog, or physical store. Some options might be different for your country – you can have them more or less.

To add a sales channel, click the plus (+) next to »Sales channels« and select the desired channel (s). With Facebook and messenger, you need to link your Facebook account and your Instagram account with Instagram. The very convenient channel is so-called »Buy Button,« which is a code that you can insert on any website or blog.

If you want to add an application, you can click on “Apps” in the menu, and then click “Visit Shopify App Store,” which will redirect you to your store.

In the Shopify app store, you can choose from more than 2.500 different applications, of which more than 1000 are free or at least offer a free trial.

Why even need apps? Because with them you add functionality to the store, with which you increase sales, take care of customer support and optimize the work process. In other words, applications are tools for marketing, multiple languages, support and administration (orders, tracking, stock, documentation), etc.

To search for the desired application, enter the keyword in the search engine. Then check the results and select the one that has the best ratings. Before downloading it, read the description and individual reviews. Download the app by clicking on “Add app.”

You should not get carried away with too many apps, as they can slow down the loading of the store. So I advise you to download only the most necessary ones: to increase the traffic, sales, average order value, and page load.

STEP 6: Set up payment methods, shipping, currency, and automatic emails

Well, we are almost at the end: we sorted the theme, added collections, products, sales channels, and applications. Now we have to arrange the “administration” part as well so that the store can function normally.

All administration (payment methods, shipping, currency, email messages, etc.) is arranged in the control panel under the “Settings” section in the lower left part.

The most important thing is to edit the following:

  • General” – basic information about the online store, your address, metric unit, time zone, currency …
  • Payment providers” – add methods of payment, such as PayPal, credit card (Visa, MasterCard), payment on delivery, bank transfer, payment by bitcoins.
  • Checkout” – here you set the checkout, which fields must be filled out by the customer, whether they must create an account first. You also activate automatic email messages here in case the customer leaves the checkout (abandoned checkout), but this feature in Shopify is minimal, so I suggest you use an app.
  • Shipping” – here you specify the cost of shipping, and you have several options such as free shipping regardless of the amount of the order, free shipping for orders exceeding x EUR, or no free shipping.
  • Taxes” – here you specify the amount of tax that is included in the price of products.
  • Notifications” – setting up automated email messages received by customers after placing an order or changing the status of the order (processing, shipped …) and set the content of automated messages in the case of an abandoned checkout.

In addition to the fields mentioned above, you have access to the monthly invoices you receive from Shopify, user accounts (your, employees, partners), the legal pages and files that you can upload on Shopify.

STEP 7: Add navigation to the “header” and “footer” of the pages

Before you start advertising your online store on Google and social media, you need to add navigation to help your customers find products and the information they need before making a purchase.

You create a header and footer by clicking on the “Online Store” -> “Navigation” -> “Add menu.” Now define the names of individual sets of navigation, such as “main menu,” footer1, footer2 … (main menu and footer menu are pre-set), and define the content and link. 

For example, the main menu contains categories: men’s clothing, women’s clothing, etc. and subcategories: men’s shirts, women’s pants. You create a subcategory just like the main category, except that you then move it with your mouse below the category. Once you are done adding main categories and subcategories, remember to save the menu.

On the other hand, you add content such as terms and condition, privacy policy, contact, FAQ, shipping, and payment methods in the footer. With that content, you provide buyers with more information about you and your online store. You can create the pages that belong to footer by clicking on the “Online Store” -> “Pages” -> “Add page.”

A similar form will open, as when adding products or collections, the difference being that here you are only adding the page title and content (text, images, links, etc.). Some themes have pre-set page templates such as “contact page” and “FAQ page.”

Follow the same procedure when creating a blog site – “Online Store” -> “Blog Posts” -> “Create Blog Post.” I would not pay too much attention to the blog, because in my opinion, it does not belong to the online store anyway. Its purpose is selling and not reading. There is some other solution available for free (SEO) traffic.

STEP 8: Add domain, Google Analytics, and Facebook pixel

At the end of the “administration” work, you still need to add a domain, with which your online store will become online (example www.yourstore.com).

As all the tasks in Shopify, adding a domain is also very easy. You can access it by clicking on “Online Store” -> “Domains.” If you already have your domain and want to transfer it to Shopify, click on “Connect Existing Domain.” If you do not have a domain and want to buy it, click “Buy Domain.”

In both cases, enter the name (preferred) domain and follow the instructions. If you are connecting a domain from another provider, you must correctly set DNS servers on their control panel (Shopify IP address: 23.227.38.32 and CNAME: shops.myshopify.com).

It usually takes 24 hours for DNS servers to be refreshed. The procedure is purely technical, so contact the provider where you purchased the domain if there are any problems.

Facebook pixel and Google analytics code are “must have” for any online store today. You can add both by clicking “Online Store” -> “Preferences.” First, you have Google Analytics code field and below its Facebook pixel field. In case you don’t know how to get the codes, you can get help by clicking links above the fields. Important: don’t forget to insert the name of your store and meta description for SEO.

If you have come to this point and done each step right, it means you have a brand new online store! Yeeee, huge congrats! Now, you are ready to launch it and get the first sales.

Conclusion

As you can see, setting up your own online store is easy today. You don’t need to be a computer freak or IT guru with mad technical skills or in-depth programming knowledge. All you need is a computer and access to the internet.

However, setting up an online store is just a beginning. The real party starts after that when you start promoting and selling your products. Many people think that eCommerce is easy business because it is a reasonably simple setting up an online store and everybody are making millions. Well, it is not like that. 

Competition is getting bigger and tougher every day. Due to that, you have to know, not only how to set up an online store, but how to set up it properly. You have to include all the features and tactics, which will help to convert your visitor into a customer. I believe it is important to have realistic expectations. No, with that step-by-step article, you won’t make millions, but you will start with the first step, and that is worth millions.

If you want to make it successful and skyrocket your eCommerce business, you need something extra. You need dedication, hard work, and focus. And money, of course. It is a real business, and starting a real business or scaling it requires funds. 

Luckily much less as anytime before. This fact has some pros (everybody can do it) and also cons (too much competition). But you know what? You are not alone in this.

Everything you need to launch your eCommerce business and skyrocket it is here. If you need help or a mentor, ask for that. You will reach your goals and success faster, with fewer mistakes and stress.

But remember that.

With or without help put all the effort you can into your eCommerce business: stay focused, always do a little extra, help people, listen to them, and you will easily attract new customers, get more sales and beat your competition. You can do it!

Did you like this article or you think this is all BS? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below. 

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16 thoughts on “How to set up an online store without technical knowledge in 24 hours”

  1. Thanks for putting together the details of how to set up an online store for people without a lot of technical knowledge. I like the way the steps are clearly laid out and it looks fairly simple to get set up (the screenshots / photographs really help).  It’s much less complicated than most people think when you break it down into the easy steps. I really appreciate your effort to simplify the process!!

    1. Hi Aly! Yes, setting up an online store is not rocket science anymore and can be done by anyone. However, something is set up an online store, and another thing is to sell the products. But like everything in life, the first step is always crucial. Without an online store, you cannot have an eCom business. So it is very cool that the start can be much more comfortable and less stressful as it used to be. I am happy that you found my article useful and you took your time to read it. Take care!

  2. Hi, your post have really helped me by educating me on how to set up an online store, I have never come.across any website that discussed very detailed and with image illustration as your website have done, this made it very simple to follow and I will also try it out because it is new thing to me and will share my status with you about the setup, I am happy I don’t need to be tech guru with your illustration everything is easy

    1. Hi! I am happy that you find my article useful. Yes, today you don’t have to be a tech guy or computer freak to set up an online store. However, setting up an online store is just the beginning. If you want to do good, you need marketing and business skills as well. Great!

      I am looking forward to hearing some news from you about your eCom adventure. Take care & all the best!

  3. Awesome guide regarding Shopify. I know a few who sell here and they love everything about it. I have a few of my own products selling from places like Amazon and other outlets but never considered my own online store, which would make tons of sense to do so, as it’ll give me yet another cash flow (and probably more money overall). Thanks for the guide and I would definitely look to get started on this in the coming week. 

    1. Hi Todd! Thank you for your comment. Yes, Shopify is an excellent platform to begin with and build your own online store. It is not only for small to medium-sized online stores, as many people think. It is suitable for any eCom business with such powerful features. Running own online store has much more sense in my opinion than selling stuff on Amazon, eBay, etc., because with your online store you have 100% control of your business. I have heard many negative stories about Amazon lately and how they treat sellers. What are your experiences with them so far? Having your online store is crucial if you want to build a brand; without it, you don’t have a serious brand. That is a great plan, Todd. I wish you all the best with your store and let me know if you need any assistance. Take care and cheers!   

  4. Hello Urban, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I have never had an online store but now when I see those big numbers I must invest in it. Shopify is truly one of the most popular online stores so I think I will not have any problems setting it. Thank you for sharing, this is definitely worth creating as it can give us pretty decent earnings.

    1. Hi Daniel, Thank you for your comment. Yes, the eCommerce is a huge opportunity, and the trends look very promising. However, you have to know that those numbers can be misleading. If someone is doing great in eCom, doesn’t mean you will be doing great too. Use those numbers as inspiration, but not as proof of how easy it is. Yes, the basic setting-up an online store is easy, but the real “party” starts afterward. Creating a successful eCom business is more challenging than many people think – around 80% of eCommerce businesses fail. If you do it right and correctly, you can get inside 20% of people who succeed. All in all, it is worth creating not only from a money point of view but from the experiences, knowledge, and new mindset which you can get from eCommerce business. I wish you all the best, and If you need any help or advice, don’t hesitate to ask.

  5. Being a college student looking for ways to generate income online, I find this article very enlightening and helpful concerning how to set up an online store. I was told about how lucrative the ecom business opportunity is and I’m glad I finally got to know about its fullness. I will definitely bookmark this and reread often to get the full information in my head. Very great post you have shared and I’m a beneficiary of this post. Thanks

    1. Hi Ron! I am glad that you find the article helpful and beneficial. Yes, the ecom business is an incredible opportunity for everyone, especially young college student like you are. In case you decide one day to go into the business, don’t hesitate to ask me anything you want to know. Take care & cheers!

  6. Richard Brennan

    Hi Urban

    I was amazed when I saw the e-commerce stats bar chart in your post. I already knew that online shopping was on the increase but didn’t realize by quite how much!

    What’s really awesome is how simple it is now for anyone to get started without needing to have any IT skills or knowledge of html for building the website for their online store. It’s so much easier to build a website nowadays and it looks like Shopify have the best tools available to help their members get their businesses up and running.

    Anyone getting involved in this is in the right place at the right time, no doubt. Because technology has become so intuitive over the past few years, the internet is now very ‘democratic’ and success or otherwise in an online business is entirely determined by the effort one wishes to put in. 

    Shopify certainly looks like something that everyone can learn to use effectively regardless of their skill level at the outset – it looks very easy to set up you e-store and learn to run it effectively, and anyone reading this in-depth but easy to follow post you’ve kindly written will have an extra ‘leg-up’.

    A couple of questions: 

    – Is Shopify pretty much geared around drop shipping or are there other methods of retail that can be applied? 

    – Also, what are the best places to source products to sell in your e-store? AliBaba or Jungle Scout spring to mind, but are there others?

    1. Hi Richard, 

      thank you for your time reading the article and sharing your thoughts. Yes, the eCommerce trend is really amazing and a massive opportunity for every “seeking opportunity” entrepreneur and employee who wants to quit a job and do something else. 

      Indeed, the available technology lowered the barriers for entering the business and made it reachable for the mass. That can also be bad though due to the competition, but nobody can`t say there is no opportunity. Shopify is one of the best – it not the best – platform out there for eCommerce, especially for the beginners. That doesn’t mean it is not suitable for enterprise business. Actually, 20% of online stores, inside the top 10k website by traffic, run on Shopify (source: https://bit.ly/2L3RDn6). 

      Regarding your questions:

      – No, Shopify is not geared around drop shipping, even though it might look like that. It is built for eCommerce, which means it doesn’t matter how you source and ship products to your customers. Drop shipping is just kind of hype at the moment for selling apps and online courses. I am not against it. Its great method if you don’t have much budget available, but it is not something you should focus on so much. If you do that you can miss some other great opportunities to scale and grow your business. 

      – Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to that. It generally depends on what products do you sell and on what market. But yeah, if you go with the most common approach to test products first then drop ship apps like Oberlo, Spocket, Modalyst, Mixed, Yakkyofy … or if you want wholesale price Alibaba, Chinabrands, DHGate, Ec21 etc … There is so much supply out there that you should not have problem sourcing products.  

      Take care

  7. Thank you for this article. I have been thinking about setting up an online store, but I have always wondered how will I know how to find customers, work out pricing, and set up the store so that it looks appealing. It seems to me that you have answered most of my questions. I am still wondering what is the source of the products and are they physical ? I must admit that it seems a little easier than I thought. I am now more confident that I will soon start my store. I have bookmarked this page for future use. Thank you for good explanations 

    1. Hi JJ, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes, starting an eCommerce business is a very attractive thing to do today. All those questions or doubts you have is a very reasonable and common thing. But fortunately, there is so much help out there (tools, services, experts …). It`s hard to answer in general about sourcing the products, majority source from China (Alibaba, China brands …), but this is not the only possible way. Local wholesalers are also a great option. Maybe it demands little more work, but it gives you a competitive advantage. Yes, starting eCommerce business today is easier as it sounds, but a challenge is to stay in business long term. Competition is stronger, but luckily more and more people buying online and even more importantly, spend more money. E-commerce is in an uptrend which can give you lots of confidence 🙂 … I am happy, JJ that you see my website helpful. Take care and cheers!

  8. Thanks for the in-depth guide to setting up an e-commerce store using Shopify. I was very excited to see the article after reading the title where I can generate 16,077 Euros a month. Is that net or gross? As I was reading through the steps, it seems that it will take work to set up prior to making that kind of money, net or gross.

    That is not to say I am not in favor of e-commerce or drop-shipping, which you refer to in your guide. Indeed, I have 20 stores operational at the moment and they are generating some very good income (varies by store). The platform I use is not Shopify outside of one store.

    The reason for that is I took a slightly different route that is a lot cheaper. The products I get from the same source as I do for that one Shopify store, but the backend is WooCommerce based and WordPress in the other stores. My costs are much less, as you have a minimum charge with Shopify, the widgets are expensive for the Shopify stores, and overall I have more flexibility with the WooCommerce setup.

    Most certainly the Shopify stores are a good way to go, I am not saying they are not. What I am saying is that long-term, there are better ways that will leave you more money in your pocket after all the expenses are added up. I estimate that I have saved several thousands of dollars to now, maybe more.

    You know what you are doing, and I am sure that the training you offer will help a lot of people get into this lucrative business. If I was not already doing it myself, I would definitely be a student! Thanks for the great guide (and inspiration)! Have you tried the WooCommerce platform? What do you think about it? 

    1. Thank you Dave for your comment. Yes, this is a gross amount, because it is hard to talk about the net. There are too many variables which define net, as you know also. 

      If I understand correctly, you have only one store running on Shopify and others on WooCommerce? I use and suggest Shopify because it is a very straightforward platform, easy to built and manage. I know it doesn’t offer so much customization as WooCommerce does, but this is not crucial for success in the eCommerce business. 

      Personally, I am not so familiar with WooCommerce. I know WordPress because I built this website on it. I have to say it was quite a pain in the ass process. I really can’t imagine building my entire online store with it. But I guess after some learning hours I could do it. 

      It’s hard to say which eCom solution is better. I would more likely say, depending on your needs. For us, Shopify works best, for some other merchants (like you) WooCommerce. 

      Saving money is an important component for sure, but also ROI is. For now, Shopify brings us a fantastic ROI. 

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