Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Launch an Online Store as Quickly as Possible
If you’ve always wanted to launch an online store, but have been waiting for the right time to do it, the wait is over. With several big shopping occasions happening this fall and winter, your chance to launch an online store has finally come!
Wait a little longer, and you risk launching a website that’s not ready to welcome the holiday shoppers during the most profitable time of the year.
Ideally, your store should be up and running by October. But the sooner you start working on it the better as you have little time to figure out how to attract traffic, create marketing campaigns, and plan your biggest sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
We’ve gone through the process of launching online stores countless times—we’ve got it down to an art. Here is the absolute fastest way to launch your online store, step by step.
Picking your ecommerce platform is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when launching your online store. There’s a plethora of options out there, but if you’re looking for a hassle-free way to get your store up and running, Shopify is your best bet.
Here’s a good old pros and cons list to show you why this ecommerce platform should be your choice:
If Shopify isn’t for you, other user-friendly platforms include BigCommerce, Weebly, Pixpa, and Ecwid. The rest of this blog will concentrate on setting up with Shopify, but the steps are similar for other platforms.
For a more professional look, purchase a custom domain name for your store. The fastest way to set it up is to register and buy it directly from Shopify.
In the Sales Channels section of your Shopify dashboard, go to Online Store then Domains. Click the Buy new domain button to search available names.
A purchased domain is registered for one year and can be renewed automatically. Note that Shopify doesn’t provide email accounts as part of its domain services, but supports unlimited email forwarding accounts for your domain name.
Accepting payments is an integral part of any business, yet often overlooked by budding entrepreneurs. Here are two trustworthy payment processors with fast and easy setup:
Shopify has a built-in payment gateway called Shopify Payments. It’s automatically set up as soon as you create your store.
Shopify Payments is available in 13 countries and regions including:
How to configure Shopify Payments:
If Shopify Payments isn’t available in your country, Shopify will automatically create a PayPal Express Checkout account for the email address you used to set up your store.
If you already have a PayPal account with that email address, you can receive payments from orders made with PayPal right away. But if you want to issue refunds or manually capture payments, you need to finish setting up your PayPal account.
How to set up PayPal on Shopify:
Neither Shopify Payments nor PayPal asks for your business registration number upon sign up. This means that you can set up a business account before you’ve registered a company. This will help you start your online store faster.
One of the best-selling product categories throughout the year and especially during the holiday season is clothing and accessories. If you fancy selling this category on your store, it’s easy to get started if you have the right tools at your fingertips.
Work smarter, not harder. Partner up with a print-on-demand (POD) dropshipper—a third-party service that prints apparel and accessories, and then ships them to your customers.
A few reasons why it’s worth considering this option:
Watch this video to get a better idea of how print-on-demand dropshipping works:
Intrigued? Try Printful’s Shopify app!
How to connect your Shopify store with Printful:
Printful has 160 products that you can print and embroider. For the fast launch, we recommend starting with print products because creating designs for them is easier. You can also add the same print file to other print products to expand your catalog.
Here are a few trendy products of the season you can add printed designs on:
Learn More: Top 10 Trending Products to Sell Online
If you want to sell in Europe, choose products that are fulfilled in our European facility. That will reduce shipping time and costs for your customers across the Atlatic.
Next, create designs that will go on your products.
Use Printful’s Design Maker to kick things off. It lets you create graphics and simultaneously generates print files that meet our guidelines.
Among the many things you can do with Printful’s Design Maker, here are a few must-tries:
Another shortcut is to work with Printful Graphic Design Services. Share your idea with our in-house design team and they will bring to life. You can also hire freelance designers, just make sure to inform them about Printful’s print file requirements.
The final and most exciting step is to add your Printful products to your store.
Here’s how to do it step by step:
Voilà! You have added your first product to your store. Repeat the process to add more.
There’s no better time to launch your new business than the holiday season. So do future you a favor and take the evening to launch your online store. You won’t regret it!
Once the essentials of your online store are set up, work on improving your storefront and marketing the products. Here are some articles that will help you along the way:
And since you launched your store before fall and winter, give these holiday-related gems a read:
Sometimes later becomes never. So if you want to start selling apparel online, do it today. Use this guide to jumpstart your ecommerce journey, and let us know if you have any questions!
This article was originally published in August 2017; it has since been updated.
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