Exploring The Shopify Admin

Welcome to your store admin! It is from here that you will develop and run your store. Your free trial of Shopify has now begun. Let's take a look at the different elements on this page, starting with the navigation.

The upper navigation bar

Right at the top of the page, there is a black bar that we will call the upper navigation bar. From this bar you can navigate to a number of important parts of your store. Starting on the left and working to the right, you will find:

  • Shopify: Clicking on the shopify logo at the top left, will always bring you back to the dashboard, the homepage for the admin. You are currently on the dashboard so it will only refresh the page if you click it now. We will try this again properly later.

  • View your website: Clicking on this button will open the homepage of your store in a new window or tab in your browser. Click it and let's take a look. It's quite basic but it looks good! In the next few chapters, we're going to look at how you can get your store to look like you want it. Then we'll look at how you publish your products, general information pages and articles for your blog. You'll notice that your store has an upper navigation bar too. It's slightly different. There's a link View your admin to quickly access the admin for your store. There's a confirmation that your store is password protected so that no one else can see it yet. There is also the password required to view your store should you want someone else to look at it while it's password-protected. We will look at the features of your store a little bit later. For the moment, let's go back to your admin. Either close the window or tab with your store in it. Or click the View your admin link at the top left of the page.

  • Search shop: Over to the right hand-side, click on Search to reveal the search box. You can use this search box to search within the admin. Perhaps you want to find a particular product or customer. It's not going to give you any results yet as you don't have any products. But try typing something short into the search box and click enter or return on your keyboard to run the search. You can always click the Shopify logo at the top left to get back to the dashboard.

  • Need help?: Focusing back on the upper navigation bar, clicking on the Need help? link on the right will reveal a menu with links to the Shopify support, Discussion forums, Keyboard Shortcuts and Hire a Shopify Expert. Clicking on Shopify support will open up a new window (or tab) with the support center. Here you can browse through hundreds of questions that you might have about Shopify and read the answers. You can also search through the questions and answers, often the best way to find what you need.

Clicking the link DOCS at the top of the page will open up Shopify Help & Support. Here you can read the Shopify Manual and consult technical documentation on developing themes and apps for Shopify. Clicking the link FORUMS will bring you to the forums, an excellent resource with discussions on many aspects of ecommerce as well as discussion on Shopify itself. It's well worth a look. Remember you can also get to the forums direct from the Need help? menu in the admin. Ok, now let's go back to your admin. Usually the support center will be open in a new window or tab. So if you close that window or tab, you should be able to see the admin. And at the top you'll see the now familiar upper navigation bar.

  • Account name: On the far right of the upper navigation bar, you will notice your account name. Clicking once on this will reveal a menu with links to: the Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and an option to Log out. This last term, "Log out", dates from the early days of computer software and it means the same as "Disconnect", or "Sign out". Clicking this, you will be signed out of your account, and you will need to type in your email address and password to get back into your store admin. The log in happens on a screen like the one below.

Continuing with the account links, there is also a link "Want Shopify for free?" that provides an opportunity to get your Shopify account for free by getting your friends to sign up to Shopify.

The Main Navigation Panel

This is the blue-grey area to the left of the page in your admin - see the screenshot below. From here, you can access the most important sections of your admin.


The current section will be highlighted in dark blue. So you probably have "Dashboard" highlighted in blue at the moment. Let's do a quick tour of the admin. We'll come back and look at each section in more detail later.

The first in the list is "Dashboard". This is the homepage for your admin. Wherever you are in your admin clicking "Dashboard" will bring you back here. This section functions a little like a dashboard in a car but for your store. It provides an overview of recent sales and traffic to your store, as well as a summary of recent activity.


Next, if you click on Orders, the next link in the navigation panel, you will be brought through to the orders section. Notice how "Orders" is now highlighted in blue to indicate that you're currently looking at the orders section. Here you can manage everything to do with orders. Given that you're just starting out, you're unlikely yet to have any orders.

On this page, you'll be able to manage your orders, filter your orders by specific criteria (paid or unpaid for example) and apply various actions (like capturing payments) for a group of orders that you have selected. You'll also be able to look at orders that have been abandoned at the checkout.


Let's click on Customers in the navigation and take a look at the customers section. We don't actually have any customers yet so this page is a little bare. For each customer that makes a purchase in your store, a customer profile will be available in this section. Here you'll be able to sort, search and filter through your customers.

For example, maybe you'll want to see which ones spent the most or who confirmed the most orders. All this information and much more will be contained in this section once your store is running.


If you sign up for a Shopify Basic Plan or higher then you will be able to create discount codes to give customers special discounts or free shipping.You'll be able to do this and also manage existing codes in the discounts section.


Of course, before you have any orders or customers, you're going to need some products. And naturally, it's in the products section that you will create and manage your products.

On this page, you will be able to add new products, export products and import products. Once you have some products in place, you will also be able to sort, edit and publish or hide your products. We'll be looking at how to create products later on.


Your products can be grouped together into collections. So for example, if you were selling kitchen products, you might group all your coffee makers into a coffee makers collection. If you then make this collection available in your store, your store's visitors will be able to see all your coffee makers grouped together. In your new store, you'll see one existing collection called "Frontpage". This is a collection of products that are displayed on your store's front page (or homepage).

There are two different types of collections: one where you select manually which products are included and another where the products are included automatically based on conditions you set (all coffee makers that cost less than $100 for example). We'll look at this in full later in the section on collections.

Blog Posts

Your store however, will be made up of more than just products and collections. It's generally a good idea to publish a blog, or a section on your store where you can publish up to date information.

For example, an article about a special new product, or an article related more broadly to your industry. Providing just information about your products in your store is only of interest to so many people.

But with a blog, you can talk about far wider topics that are of interest to your target customer base.


You will also need to provide pages with information about your business. For example, most stores have a customer service page which describes how their service works. You might also need a page about you and your store, your terms and conditions, and many other things. These type of pages can be created in the pages section. For every new store, there are two pages already created: "About Us" and "Welcome". We'll look at how to edit these and create new pages later.


Providing your store's visitors with a quick and simple way to get around your store is very important. Say someone is buying a coffee maker in your kitchen store but they also want to buy a juicer. You want it to be really easy for them to find the juicers when they are finished in the coffee maker's section.

They will do this through your store's navigation. Of course, at the moment, we are working through the navigation of your admin for Shopify. Hopefully, you are already seeing how well laid out it is!It's in the section marked "Navigation" that you can control the navigation for your store. This is done through the editing or creation of link lists. These are, to put it simply, a list of links. On the web, a link is a way to move from one page to another. In your link lists, you can put in links to the front page of your store, specific collections, products, pages or the blog.

To start your store off, there are two existing link lists: the "Main Menu" and the "Footer". These you will see in action when we look at the navigation on your store. Notice in the screenshot above, how the links in the navigation "Home", "Catalog", "Blog" and "About Us" underneath the store name, "Imposters Poster Prints" correspond directly to the "Main Menu" links in the navigation section of the admin. You'll find the links corresponding to the "Footer" link list towards the bottom of your store's page.


Next turning to the next section of the main navigation panel of the admin, Themes. Each store that uses Shopify is styled using a theme - it provides the store's look and feel. There are hundreds of themes available, some are for free and some are premium (costing upwards of $80). You can design your own theme if you have the skills, or if you prefer, you can pay an expert to develop a unique theme for your store.

On the main page of the themes section, you can manage the themes that you have already installed. You can change which theme is currently live on your store. You can also work on a theme without it being live on your store. When you first open an account with Shopify, you'll have one of the standard templates, either Radiance or New Standard. My store is set up with Radiance in the screenshots.

From the themes section, you can also click into the theme settings for each individual theme you have installed. All the themes have different aspects that can be customized through adjusting theme settings. On most themes, you can customize various colors and fonts used on the page, as well as choosing a background for your store. Each theme has different settings but most allow for this type of customization.

The template editor is for those experienced with HTML and CSS. If you have the skills, you can customize your store exactly how you want it. You can access the template editor for each installed theme in the themes section. Don't touch this area however unless you really know what you are doing as you could easily break your store!

Returning to the themes section, you'll see a big green button Visit the Theme Store at the top right. Clicking this will bring you through to the theme store where you can browse, read about and view the more than one hundred themes available. When you have chosen one you like, you can then purchase it and have it installed on your store. We're going to look at this in-depth in sections 4 and 6.


Next in the navigation is "Apps", which is short for applications. There are hundreds of Shopify applications that can add useful features to your store. When you have apps installed, you can manage them in the "Apps" section of your admin.

To look at what apps are available, click on the green button Visit the App Store.

The Settings Section

Returning to the admin, the last section in the navigation is called "Settings". Clicking into the section will update the main navigation panel so it contains a list of the main settings sections. We'll look at the settings in detail later but let's start now with a quick overview of what is in each section.

General Settings:

Set your store name, description, email preferences, phone number and address. Adjust standards and formats for your store, like your timezone, units (metric or imperial) and currency. You can set up Google Analytics, a very useful statistics package for your store. You can set or remove a password for your store. If you're still on a trial, you'll have to sign up for a plan to remove the password.

Checkout And Payment:
As an ecommerce store, you need to offer your visitors a means to pay you. You can offer well-known options like Paypal or Stripe. If you're based in the States then you could also use Shopify Payments. Or if you have a merchant account and a payment gateway in place then you can take payment through these. If you are selling enough volume this can reduce the commissions you pay on accepting credit card payments. In this section you can also set a number of important settings relating to checkout and order processing.

In the shipping section, you define which countries you ship to and how much shipping fees will be charged on each order. You can define shipping based on individual destination countries, order weights or order prices.
On the Unlimited Shopify plan, you can also have real-time shipping rates from the big transporters like UPS, FedEx and USPS. If you have an external service offering order fulfillment, dropshipping, real-time inventory and other shipping related services, then you can use this section. You can set up your store to work with Amazon Services, Shipwire or Webgistix. Or if you work with another service, you can set it up so that they are emailed orders.

On this page, you can set the tax rates that will be applied to customers coming from each country you ship to. The tax rates will be based on your country of business. Shopify will pre-fill what it understands the tax rates to be based on the country you chose when you set up your Shopify account. You may need to check these with your accountant though. From this page, you can also choose whether or not to include taxes in your product prices and whether taxes are also applied to shipping rates.


Customers are sent an email from your store when they confirm an order, an order is shipped or is cancelled. In this section, you can customize the design and text in these emails. You can also customize emails that are sent to you or your team when orders are confirmed.

In this section you can choose the address that visitors will use to access your store. You do this using what are called domain names or domains for short. Well-known examples of domain names are: shopify.com, google.com, etc. In this part of the admin, you can register your own domain (for an annual fee) or set up your store with an existing domain that you already own.


Next you will find a section called "Files". Here you can upload files, for example images, documents, etc. that you can use in products, collections, pages and blog posts. You can also delete files that you no longer need.


Lastly you will find the account settings. Clicking into these will open a page that provides lots of details about your Shopify account. The "Account overview" shows how many SKU (or individual products including variations) you have from the total allowed on your current plan plus how much storage space you are using from what is offered on your current plan. You can see on the screenshot above, I have not used any SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) and I can add up to 100 more to my account. I have 1 gigabyte (or 1GB) of storage space left for storing product photos, etc.

On the account page, you can also find the date of your next invoice, when you signed up for Shopify (Member since), your Account status and your Current plan. Shopify offers a number of different plans which allow for different numbers of products, quantity of storage space and other features. If you click on the link Change plan type at the top of the page, you can see the different plans. The best plan for your store mainly depends on how many products you will offer and also how much revenue your store will make. Click back on your browser to return to the account settings.

Further down the page you will see a list of staff accounts. You can edit your own account by clicking on your name. You can also invite another staff member to use the admin for your store. Lastly on the page, there is a list of issued invoices and a button to close your store. Don't do this, unless you really me an it!


In this section, we went through the simple steps to create your store with Shopify. We looked at the navigation of your store admin and we did a tour of all the different sections that make up your admin. You should feel pretty comfortable getting around the admin now. In the next section, we will move on to look at the key features that make up an online store.