So you are a Fashion Student, you have your first designs, production samples approved, you have a social media following waiting to buy and now you have you order on its way. Exciting times! But wait you need an online store and that requires hiring heavy duty technical knowledge?

Not really. There are a host of solutions out there, let me show you how one of these can be used to setup all of your online channels - web, mobile and social in one step and will even support your physical store or pop-up shop when you get there.

So my challenge is take your brand online and lets do it today. Its certainly possible. We can do it in these nine steps, first log onto Shopify and create a trial account, no need for any payment.

Here is a quick list of the things you are going to need as a basic information before you start. 

  1. Photos and Videos - you will need excellent photos, I won't go into details here, but here is a great article on how to take photos and videos.
  2. Product Descriptions - You will need product descriptions which fall into two bits, firstly technical description of the item in terms of size but secondly and importantly reasons to buy the items. Product descriptions are a important to selling, see this article on how to do them well.
  3. A price and stock list. You need to be able to update stock levels for all items and know their prices. If starting perhaps to stick one £ prices at first, let the payment engine do any currency conversions for international customers. 
  4. Your basic branding details such as name and logo.
This is my basic Shopify Dashboard. No coding or anything scary required!

This is the trial version which is giving me 50 free orders. Apart from my own domain, most functionality to get me started is here. This really is the route I recommend, do the basics, get orders flowing, then keep adding functionality. Like discounts and gift cards, but start trading as quickly as possible. Shopify gives you 50 orders free before any payment required. 

Even still we are going to have to add some details to our Shop. Select the products drop down and select "Fashion", then a more detailed Product page will open up. 

The product page has the details you expect, but one cool feature of Shopify is that it allows you to choose which channels you want the item to appear in, like 
Online button (for blog), Online Store or Mobile app. 

After adding some product details (don't worry we can upload product details in bulk) but for now get some products in there you can add in a stock position for the items, so you don't sell items that are out of stock.

So now there are few admin tasks that you need to do. You can select a theme for your website. Then you need to decide how you get paid, you can choose Shopify's own gateway, PayPal or other payment gateways if you already have a merchant account with them. 

Next you need to edit your shipping details, keep it simple to your own country first. You need to configure some shipping options and costs. 

Then you need to confirm your tax rates, it adds 20% for UK by default but you need to ensure that is correct for all of your products.

Update the "About Us" page to ensure that customers know who you are. Also ensure you include you returns policy. Many customers check this before placing an order. Also here add your social media links. 

You need to configure your email notifications to customers. To be honest Shopify has all those email already configured, you can review and edit them if needs be but they are probably fine to get started with. You do need to ensure that the right email address for your order notifications is setup, otherwise you won't see your new sales! You can also choose to have notifications in your browser, so you get notifications even when you are no in your e-mail.

Now the last step is to set your store live and start promoting you your social media contacts.

As I said there are hundreds of other features in Shopify or any other hosting platform. Don't spend ages choosing colours and themes, the most important thing you can do for your new business today is to generate some sales

I can help, contact Mark_A_Mandel on Twitter.

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