Stephen's World - Create your own online shop

The FREE 'No-BS' Guide for How to Create & Setup an Ecommerce Website (Online Store) Using Shopify

Build Your Own Shopify Store

Image by Nicole De Khors.

Before Getting Started ...

As you probably guessed, my name is Stephen. I'm an eCommerce web designer, tenured former Shopify Guru (Customer Support Rep), and Official Shopify Setup Expert & Partner. I have nearly 3 years of experience using the Shopify platform, with over 14,000+ support interactions, 600+ positive reviews, and more than 20+ Shopify stores made from scratch.

If you're looking to build a website that sells products then there isn't a better solution than using Shopify. I full-heartedly believe that Shopify is the best ecommerce platform around, which is why I exclusively work with their platform and no others. There are many guides out there for how to build a Shopify store, but almost all of them are either outdated, incomplete, or written by folks who primarily don't use Shopify and are just looking for some quick ad revenue. This guide is the real deal: it covers the setup process inclusively from start to finish, and will be updated/edited regularly.

You probably want to know why I would give away all of my tips, advice, recommendations, and secrets for free? The honest answer is that I'm not. For every signup that creates a store from my affiliate link, Shopify pays me a small amount. If you have the time to follow the setup steps I'm sharing then you can avoid having to pay thousands of dollars for someone to setup the store for you. My goal for this guide is to save you both: time & money -- while making some passive income for myself.

If you get stuck on any step and need some help, you can always reach out to me via email (click the widget in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen). I always aim to respond within 24 hours, but if you need immediate help, Shopify does offer 24/7 support via phone call or live chat. 

With all that said - if you're still reading - let's get started by following the steps listed below!

Note: This guide is 30 chapters, and over 11,000+ words. I highly recommend breaking up your setup process into multiple sessions to avoid fatigue and frustration.

Step 1: Signup for a Shopify Account

Before you begin, you will need to have a few things figured out first:

- What are you going to sell?
- Are people likely to buy your products?
- Who do you plan to sell your products to?
- How are you going to sell your products?
- Where are you going to get your products from?
- How are you going to get your products to your customers?
- What is your budget for launching this project, and marketing your business?
- What are you going to call your business, and do you have a logo?
- Does your business name and logo accurately reflect what you're trying to achieve?
- Who are your biggest competitors?
- What are they doing well, and what can you do better than them?
- How will you distinguish yourself from your competitors? 
- Is it worth starting your own business, or would it be better to partner with an existing business?

Here are some helpful tools that are worth bookmarking before proceeding any further in the setup process: 

Shopify's Business Name Generator - We use science to help you find the perfect name for your perfect brand.

Shopify's Logo Maker - Create your very own logo design using our easy logo maker tool.

Shopify's Slogan Maker - Discover catchy slogan ideas for your brand.

Burst - Browse thousands of photos that are free to use.

LunaPic - Remove the background from images.

PicResize - Easily crop, resize, and edit your images online for free.

TinyPNG - Optimize your images with a perfect balance in quality and file size.

PageSpeed Insights - Test your site's loading speeds on both Desktop and Mobile.

HTML Table Generator - Allows you to build a table of placeholders, values, or data and then export it to HTML.

Fiverr - Hire freelance graphic artists, content writers, and video editors for reasonable prices.

Promo - Easily create beautiful marketing videos with your own logo and message(s).

Once you have the above completed, the very first thing you will need to do is signup for a free 14-day Shopify trial account (by clicking the button below). Please use this link for signing up and creating your store - as it helps me earn a little bit of money - since I'm sharing this guide with you for free. 

Signup for a Shopify Account

After clicking the "Get started" button, it will ask you for a password and store name. For the store name, this will be used as the URL so instead of putting your actual store name (ie. "Stephen's World"), put in what you want the Shopify subdomain to be (ie. "stephensworld" or "stephens-world"). The shorter you can make this name be, the better. If your store name is taken, don't freak out, as it doesn't necessarily mean that someone is copying your business -- just try another version of the name until you find one that's available (think of this like signing up for a new email address). 

Step 2: Pick the Right Shopify Plan

Shopify offers a few different monthly and annual pricing plans to pick from which you can see here. This page breaks down what's included with each plan, as well as their respective rates/fees. I highly recommend going with the $29 "Basic Shopify" plan to start if this is your first attempt at ecommerce, since you can easily upgrade at any time, once you start getting some sales.

Shopify Pricing - Plans

If you're not based out of Canada, scroll the the very bottom of the page and in the very right-hand corner, there's an option to change your location to view prices in your local currency. 

Shopify Pricing - Change Location

To pick a Shopify paid plan: login to your Shopify account > go to "Settings" > Click into "Account" > and click "Choose Plan" or "Compare Plans". When you pick a plan, it will prompt you to put in your credit card details. You will not be charged until your trial period (14 days) has expired. That means you have 14 days to complete the steps in this guide before being charged for the plan you picked. If you decide that Shopify isn't for you, then you can cancel/close your store from the same Account Settings page (at the very bottom) before the end of your 14-day trial, and you will 100% not be charged anything. 

Close a Shopify Store

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for plans & pricing by clicking here.

Step 3: Choose a Theme (Template/Layout)

This is one of the most important steps in the setup process as it directly dictates how your site can look. Choosing a theme can be a bit tricky, but Shopify has an awesome Theme Store with 60+ themes you can browse, using filters on the left-hand side to help you select the perfect theme for your business. 

Shopify Theme Store

They do offer a handful of free themes, but in my opinion, they are grossly over-used, so I do recommend going with a paid theme to make your store stand out. Here are some of my personal favourites:

- Parallax
- Retina
- Symmetry
- Blockshop
- Launch

The theme store does have a filtering option for "Industry" but I recommend not using that filter. I'm a firm believer that all Shopify themes can be used for any industry type, as you're able to fully customize it once it's added. 

Once you have a theme added, you can customize it by: Logging into your Shopify account > Go to "Online Store" > Click into "Themes" > Click the "Customize" button next to your theme.

Customize Shopify Theme

From here, you will be able to edit nearly every aspect of how your theme works. Here's a checklist of a few things you will want to make sure you have done:

- Add a logo (usually found in the "Header" settings)
- Customize/add content on the homepage (this will be something you frequently update as you add to the site)
- Add a favicon
- Put in your social media accounts (links to their respective pages)
- Edit your colours

Website Colour Schemes

It is possible to further edit your theme, aside from all the options listed in the Customize Theme settings, but it would require knowledge of HTML/CSS/Liquid coding. If you need something to be edited beyond what's offered in the settings, I would highly recommend reaching out to a Shopify Design Expert to make the changes for you. If you do want to give it a shot yourself, definitely remember to make a duplicate copy of your theme before making any changes, so that you can always revert back if you break something. 

Duplicate a Shopify Theme

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for theme customizations by clicking here.

Step 4: Add your Products

There are a few ways to go about this step, and picking the right method will depend on where you're getting your products from.

A) If you're looking for products to drop-ship (sell but not carry the inventory yourself) then I would recommend taking a look into the Oberlo app or Modalyst app.

B) If you're looking to drop-ship products with your own designs on them (ie. tshirts, hoodies, bags, shoes, totes, etc.) then I would recommend using the Printful app.

C) If you have already found a supplier, and they have provided you with a CSV spreadsheet containing all of the product details, then the easiest way to import the products into your Shopify store would be through the Syncee app, as it will convert the CSV file into the correct format to import in Shopify (saving you potentially countless hours of work). This app also has an auto-updating feature, for if the CSV file is hosted online and updated by the supplier. 

D) Alternatively, if you have a CSV spreadsheet file, and want to upload it manually (without an app) then you will just need to make sure that it matches the correct Shopify formatting (see here) before uploading. The formatting does have to match perfectly - with no errors - in order to upload successfully, which can take some time, but is usually doable with some simple copy-and-pasting and rewording of column headers. 

E) If you are selling products that you manage the inventory for, or if you're selling services, then you will most likely want to create the products manually, one at a time. To do this, follow the steps below.

Go to your Shopify admin > Products > Add new product.

Add Product to Shopify - Step 1

Put in the product's title, description, and add at least one image.

Add Product to Shopify - Step 2

Put in a product vendor & type (note: these are just used for organizational purposes on the back end -- customers don't need to see these labels). Also add any applicable product tags (these are not the same as keywords).

Add Product to Shopify - Step 3

Add the product's pricing, inventory, and shipping details.

Add Product to Shopify - Step 4

Verify that all of the information you've put in is correct, and then save your changes. Repeat this process for each product you need to add.

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for adding products by clicking here.

Step 5: Create Product Collections

There are two ways to create collections to organize your products: manual collections and automatic collections. Manual collections require you to select each product you want to appear in the collection, which easily gives you full control over the products that appear for your customers. Automatic collections are based on a set of 'conditions' that you can set for the collection, which Shopify will use to populate the collection with only products that match the conditions that you set. 

Both types of collections start the same way:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Click into "Products" > Select "Collections" > Click the "Creation Collection" button in the top right-hand corner. 

From here, give your collection a 'title' and a 'description' (if you have one, as descriptions are optional). 

Creating a Shopify Collection

Now you will need to pick if you want a manual or automatic collection. If you select 'manual' then you will need to save your new collection before it will allow you to add products to it. If you select automatic, you will need to put in at least one condition for Shopify to start curating products for you. 

Create Manual Collection on Shopify

Create Automatic Collection on Shopify

I definitely recommend starting with manual collections, if your collections have less than 50 products in them. They're very easy to setup and maintain, whereas the automatic collections can sometimes need a lot of troubleshooting if your products have not been set up perfectly (in terms of names, tags, prices, etc.).

Once you save the collection, the products will begin to propagate if you selected an automatic collection, or else, if you chose a manual collection, you will be able to start selecting products to add (see below). 

Adding Products to a Manual Collection on Shopify

On the right-hand side of the collection settings, there is an option to select a collection image. 

Set a Shopify Collection Image

You can set a collection image to represent the collection on any collection indexes on your site (usually found either on the homepage, if you use a 'collection list', or else in the /collections/ page where it lists all collections for your store). If you don't set an image for the collection, then Shopify will just use the image of the very first product in the collection to represent the given collection. I usually don't set a collection image for most collections, unless I'm trying to achieve a uniform look for all collections images in a particular store. Setting a collection image is definitely a personal preference that varies from merchant to merchant. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for creating collections by clicking here.

Step 6: Setup Domain & Email Address

A) To purchase a new domain name:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Domains > Buy New Domain.

Type in the root-name of the domain you would like to purchase, and it will show you a bunch of popular and recommended extensions for the domain (ie. com, ca, net, org). Next to each domain name, it will say if it's available or taken. If you find a domain you like, and it's available, then click the "buy" button next to it to purchase the domain.

Purchase a domain via Shopify

If you have already purchased a custom domain name via a third-party provider (not through Shopify), such as GoDaddy or Namecheap, then you can definitely add and use the domain for your Shopify store. 

B) To link an existing domain name:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Domains > Connect Existing Domain.

Simply type in the domain name you would like to connect, and click next. Follow the steps provided, which usually requires changing your domain's DNS records, or if you're using GoDaddy, it will prompt you to login to your account so that Shopify can automatically set the correct records. 

Connect Existing Domain via Shopify

From here, you will want to verify the domain's connection by clicking the "verify connection" button after adding the domain name. 

Verify Domain's Connection - Shopify

If everything was setup correctly, you should be prompted with something similar to the following message.

Domain Connected Successfully via Shopify

C) To setup email forwarding & send-from capability:

You can create a forwarding address for a domain purchased via Shopify by going to your Shopify admin > Online Store > Domains > Click on the name of the domain you purchased > Click the "Add forwarding email address" button.

If you purchased your domain via a third-party domain provider (such as GoDaddy) then you will want to reach out to their respective support team for instructions on how to setup a forwarding address. Pretty much all domain names come with free forwarding addresses, so no matter who you purchase through, this should be an option available to you.

If you're looking for a free way to send emails from your branded forwarding address (ie. then the best way to do so is to link the forwarding address, as an alias, to either Outlook (click here) or Gmail (click here).

Alternatively, if you're looking for professional email hosting, then your best options are to use either G Suite or Zoho. Shopify has a built-in integration to work with both G Suit and Zoho (see here).

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for domain setups by clicking here.

Step 7: Add Payment Gateway(s)

In order to get paid from your customers when they place their orders, you will need to have at least one payment gateway set up. To setup a credit card payment gateway:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Settings > Payment Providers > Add a Provider.

Add a Payment Gateway to Shopify

If you're based out of the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Singapore, then you can use Shopify Payments as your payment gateway. This is the best/most-integrated option for payment gateways, so it's definitely the easiest to use, with the cheapest rates (for most merchants). The only time you would want to use a different payment gateway, if you're from one of the above countries, is if you're selling Prohibited Items (such as: sex toys, drug paraphernalia, event tickets, in-game currencies/items, etc). If you can't use Shopify Payments, then I would recommend looking into as your payment gateway. 

Select Payment Gateway Provider for Shopify

In addition to using a credit card payment gateway, you can also add alternative payment gateways, such as PayPal, BitCoin, or Manual Payment methods (ie. cash, bank deposits, etc). If you decide to add PayPal, I recommend using the 'PayPal Express Checkout' as it's the easiest to setup and doesn't cost anything extra per month. 

Setup PayPal for Shopify

If you end up using Shopify Payments, you will only be charged a 'credit card rate' per order. This rate is determined by which Shopify plan you're on and is usually between 2.9% and 2.4% + 30c.

If you end up using a third-party payment gateway, such as or PayPal, Shopify will charge you a 'transaction fee' instead of a credit card rate. The transaction fee is determined by which Shopify plan you're on and is usually between 2% and 0.5%. You will need to keep in mind that the payment gateway you go with will most likely charge you a 'credit card rate' themselves. This means that you will have to pay a 'credit card rate' to your payment provider, as well as a 'transaction fee' to Shopify -- which is why it's usually cheaper to go with Shopify Payments as your provider than a third-party payment gateway. 

There is an exception to the above rule though. If you use multiple payment gateways, but one of them is Shopify Payments, then you will not be charged a 'transaction fee' on each order. For example: if you have Shopify Payments enabled, and PayPal Express Checkout enabled, but a customer pays for their order via PayPal instead of Shopify Payments, then you won't be charged a 'transaction fee' from Shopify (since Shopify Payments was enabled as an option) -- you will only be charged a 'credit card rate' from PayPal. In short, as long as Shopify Payments is enabled as an option for your customers to pick from, then you will never be charged a 'transaction fee', and you will only be charged a 'credit card rate' from Shopify on payments that go through Shopify Payments as a payment gateway. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for payment gateways by clicking here.

Step 8: Edit Checkout Settings

There are a number of settings you can set for how the checkout process works and looks. To edit your checkout settings:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Settings > Checkout.

Style - You can edit the way your checkout page looks by clicking the "customize checkout" button, which will pull up the theme customization page, where you can set a logo for the checkout page, as well as the colours used. 

Customer Accounts - I recommend setting this to 'optional' for most business types, as it gives customers the ability to check their previous orders and will automatically fill in their address for them on subsequent orders during the checkout process. If you set this to customer accounts are required, then you may lose some potential orders/customers who are either in a rush or are feeling too lazy to make an account. You can also disable this option completely (usually recommended for stores that sell single products, or 1-time services).

Customer Contact - These options are well defined on the page, and are a matter of personal preference. I usually go with "Customers can only check out using email" so that I can get their email for my mailing lists -- and then check the box for receiving shipping updates. 

Form Options - The following options are good ones to use, regardless of your business type (they're what I use for every store that I setup). Require first and last name, company name is optional, address line 2 is optional, and shipping address phone number is required. 

Shopify Checkout Form Options

Order Processing - Definitely check the first two options for, "use the shipping address as the billing address by default," and "enable address auto-completion." Set the 'abandoned carts' setting to "1-hour later" and the 'promotional emails' setting to "by default, customer agrees to receive promotional emails." Unless you're selling exclusively digital products, then you will want to set the 'fulfillment' setting to "automatically fulfill only the gift cards of the order." I usually don't check the box for automatically archiving orders, as I like to manually archive them once I know the customer has actually received their product and has no complaints or issues. For the additional scripts section, you will normally leave this blank, unless you have some tracking codes you need to include (usually from Google Analytics). 

Order Processing Settings - Shopify Checkout

Checkout Language - This should always be in the same language as your store (ie. English, if everything on your site is in English). If you're using an app to support translations of your site, then make the checkout language be the language used by the majority of your customers. 

Refund, Privacy, & TOS Statements - You will 100% want to fill these out. Do not leave them blank. If you don't have a statement prepared for each section, you can click the "generate sample policy" button next to each section, and Shopify will create a statement for you. Definitely read through the generated statements, and edit them as needed, so that they're accurate, and you know exactly what you're promising customers.  

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for checkout settings by clicking here.

Step 9: Setup Shipping Fees

Even if you're not planning to charge for shipping, you still need to setup your shipping settings. There are two parts to setting up your shipping settings: shipping zones and shipping rates. 

To edit your shipping settings:

Go to your Shopify admin > Settings > Shipping. 

At the top of the page, there will be a setting for 'shipping origin'. If you're shipping the products yourself, make sure that the address shown is the correct address from where you're shipping the products from. You can edit this by clicking the blue "Edit Address" link to the right-hand side of where the address is shown. 

The bulk of the settings you need to set will be under "Zones and Rates." You will want to have a minimum of two separate shipping zones: one for Domestic (set to the country you're based out of) and one for Rest of the World (set to all other countries you ship to). If you are only selling domestically, then you can get away with having just one zone. You can also have more than two zones -- some merchants set up a separate zone for each country they ship to (especially if you're based out of Europe). If you need to add a zone, click the blue link for "Add Shipping Zone." The page for 'adding a zone' looks the exact same as the page for 'editing a zone'.

Create a Shopify Shipping Zone

You will need to name the zone: I recommend naming it the same as the country in the zone, or the region of countries you've chosen (ie. if the zone is for Canada, then name the zone Canada, or if the zone is for Canada + USA + Mexico, then name the zone North America). 

For the rates, you have three options to work with: by weight, by price, or carrier-calculated. The most important thing you will need to keep in mind when setting shipping rates is that the rates you choose are inclusive. What I mean by this is that no matter what combination of products a customer chooses to purchase, there will be a shipping rate for them. If your rates are not inclusive, then a shipping rate may not show up for the customer, and if a rate doesn't show up, the customer won't be able to checkout and this could result in the loss of a sale.

Shipping Rates Gaps - Shopify

'By weight' works well if all of your products have accurate weights already setup, otherwise, you will need to go through each of your products (and their respective variants) and add weights, which can take a lot of time. 

'By price' is the most commonly used shipping setting, as all of your products will definitely have prices, and you can setup your shipping rates to scale as the value of the customer's order increases. You can also easily setup flat-rates via the by price feature. For example: $0-100 is $15 shipping, and $100+ is free shipping (which would cover all possible checkout scenarios). See below for an example of inclusive price-based shipping rates.

Inclusive Shopify 'by-price' Shipping Rates

'Carrier-calculated' is the newest addition to the shipping settings, and is definitely the way to go if you're not drop-shipping, and have accurate product weights set. This feature can integrate with Canada Post, UPS, USPS, and/or FedEx to offer custom shipping rates to your customers, based on the total weight of the products in their order, as well as where the customer needs the products shipped to. 

Pro tip: If you're using weight-based shipping rates - not Carrier Calculated Rates - and you notice that the shipping fees not being assigned correctly during checkout (usually this means that it's charging customers the next tier up, ie. a more expensive rate than you have set for that amount) then check your package settings.

Shopify Package Weights

Make sure the default package's weight is set to 0 kg/lb, and that should solve the issue for you.

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for shipping settings by clicking here.

Step 10: Confirm Tax Settings

Shopify allows you to take full control over the taxes charged on your online store. To setup & verify your tax settings:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Setting > Taxes. 

Under the 'Tax Settings' section on this page, there will be options for:

- Including taxes in product prices
- Charging taxes on shipping costs
- Enabling digital goods VAT taxes

I recommend not enabling any of these settings unless you 100% know that you need to use them. Taxes are a tricky thing to help people with, as they're usually different depending on exactly where you're from (they differ from city to city, state to state, and country to country). You will definitely want to do some serious research, or reach out to a local tax professional in your area, before setting this up, so that you know exactly what you need to charge. If in doubt, I recommend using the default tax settings, set by Shopify, until you know exactly what you need to charge. 

Under the "Tax Rate" section on this page, there will be a list of each of the countries/regions that you ship to (this is based off of the shipping zones you created from step 9).

Shopify Tax Rates

If you click on a country/region, it will bring up a page with the tax settings for that area. You can then set the tax amounts charged, which may look a bit different, depending on the country/region.

For example, the settings for Canada looks a bit different than the settings for the United States. 

Canada Taxes - Shopify

United States Taxes - Shopify

Depending on your business, you may need to set up specific products to be taxed differently than the rest of the products on your store (ex. New York clothing stores). In these situations, you will want to refer to the Shopify guide on how to setup Tax Overrides. Most merchants/stores don't need to setup tax overrides, but if you do, it's good to know that this feature is available for you to use. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for tax settings by clicking here.

Step 11: Create Custom Content Pages

You can easily create custom content pages to add to your site, which can be handy for showing policies, creating look-books, sharing information about your products, 'about us' details, and much more. 

To create a custom content page:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Pages > Click the "Add page" button in the top right-hand corner. 

From here, you just need to put in a page title, and fill the 'content' section with what you want to show up on the page. You can use the Rich Text Editor to change font sizes, add images, embed videos, add coding snippets, and other various edits. The page you're on now was created using a Shopify custom content page. 

Add a Shopify Custom Content Page

Almost all Shopify themes have a built in contact form template, so if you're building a 'contact us' page, you can select the "contact" template from the drop-down on the right-hand side. Some themes will have multiple page templates built-in, but you will have to consult the theme providers' help docs to find out more on how to use them and what they do. Most of the time, however, you will just be using the standard "page" template. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for content pages by clicking here.

Step 12: Add a Blog

One of the most effective ways to regularly add fresh content to your site is through blogging. Shopify doesn't have the absolute best blogging system, but they do have enough features to make it work. 

To create a blog:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Blog Posts > Click the "Create blog post" button.

Create a blog post on Shopify

By default, when you create your first post, it will create a blog category/section called "News". If you would like to rename this, you can do so by clicking the "manage blogs" button above your posts.

Manage blog posts

From here, click on the name of your blog (ie. News) and it will bring up some settings where you can change the title. Once you've changed the title, on the same page, click "edit website SEO". The page will expand a bit, and under "URL and handle" highlight the end of the URL (ie. "/news/") and delete it. This will replace the "news" handle with a new handle, matching your blog's new title. By default, it will offer to redirect the old URL -- let it do this. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for adding blogs by clicking here.

Step 13: Setup Navigation Menu
Step 14: Import Past Customers

If you're migrating from another platform to Shopify, you may want to import your customer list (if not, you can skip this step). There are two ways to do this: (1) manually import the customers, one at a time, or (2) bulk import the customers using a CSV spreadsheet file.

A) To manually add customers:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Customers > Click the "Add customer" button.

From here, simply fill out all of the required fields and click save. Repeat this process for each customer you wish to add. 

B) To bulk import customers:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Customers > Click "Import Customers" at the top of the page > Select the your customer CSV spreadsheet from your computer > Click the "Import customers" button.

In order to do a bulk customer import, you will need to be using the correct formatting for your CSV spreadsheet file. The column titles, and values accepted in each, are very specific. 

I recommend downloading the example CSV file and then working from and editing it to include all of your customer details. If you have a third-party CSV file with all of your customer details, you should just be able to copy and paste the data from that into the Shopify CSV, under the correct columns. 

Below is a table (from the Shopify help docs) outlining the column titles, and what values to put in each column. 

First Name The first name of the customer.
Last Name The last name of the customer.
Email The email address of the customer.
Company The name of the company that customer uses if applicable.
Address1 The first line of the customer's address.
Address2 The second line of the customer's address, if necessary.
City The city the customer lives in.
Province The province or state the customer lives in. You must also enter the Province Code if this field is completed.
Province Code The province or state ISO code. Shopify uses ISO alpha 2 codes.
Country The country the customer lives in.
Country Code The country ISO code. Shopify uses ISO alpha 2 codes.
Zip The postal or zip code for the customer's address.
Phone The customer's phone number.
Accepts Marketing Sets whether or not the customer agrees to subscribe to email marketing, such as a newsletter. Valid entries are yes or no.
Total Spent The customer's total amount spent. Valid entries must not have a currency symbol included. This field will not be imported with customer details.
Total Orders The customer's total number of orders. This field will not be imported with customer details.
Tags A comma-separated list of tags used to tag the customer (for example, tag1,tag2,tag3).
Note Additional information about the customer.
Tax Exempt Indicates if the customer is tax exempt.

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for importing customers by clicking here.

Step 15: Add Discount/Coupon Codes

If you're looking to set up any promotional discount codes/vouchers that customers can input during the checkout process to get a deal on their order, then you can do so simply by setting up a Shopify discount code. 

To setup a discount code:

Go to your Shopify Admin > Discounts > Click the "Create discount" button. 

Create a Discount Code on Shopify

You can create discount codes for:

- a percentage of the order off
- a fixed dollar amount off
- free shipping

You also have the option to have the code apply to:

- the entire order
- only products from specific collection(s)
- only certain individual products

It is possible to setup the codes to be only usable by certain customer groups (ex. wholesalers, repeat customers, etc.) but you would first have to set up Customer Groups in order to use this feature. Most of the discount codes you generate will most likely be promotional, meaning that any/all customers can use them. 

In addition to the above, there's an option to have the discount code only be usable if the order is over a certain price amount (ex. customers can only use the discount code if they spend $50). 

If you're looking to limit the number of times the discount code can be used, then you have two options (and they can both be used simultaneously):

- limit number of times this discount can be used in total
- limit to one per customer (this is based off of the customer's email address)

The last option you have to work with is a date-range. If you only want the discount code to be valid during a specific period of time, you can use the date range to set the start and end dates. This also means that you can set the code to activate at a later time. If you don't want the discount code to expire, simply do not put in an end-date and the code will last indefinitely (or until you delete it manually). 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for discount codes by clicking here.

Step 16: Set SEO Title & Meta Description

To setup the SEO title and meta description for your homepage (which is the most important page to set):

Go to your Shopify admin > Online Store > Preferences.

At the top of the page, you'll see options for "Homepage title" and "Homepage meta description."

- For the homepage title, you'll want to keep this short-and-sweet. Usually, this is just your store's name, unless your store's name doesn't accurately reflect what your business is (ie. "Ted's Shoes" pretty much says it all, but "Stephen's World" doesn't actually tell people that I'm a web designer).

- For the homepage meta description, you'll want to put in 2-3 sentences, describing your site, what you sell, and/or why customers should purchase from you. 

See my settings below - from Stephen's World - as an example:

Example Shopify Homepage Title & Meta Description

You will also want to set the title and meta description for all of your products, collections, blog posts, and content pages. This can be done by going into the settings for any of the above, one at a time, and then scrolling to the very bottom of the page. 

From here, you will see a "Search engine listing preview" section, with a blue link for "Edit website SEO". Click this link, and the section will cascade to show some settings to edit. Here's an example product's SEO settings from my site.

Example Product's SEO Settings - Shopify

By default, it will use the product/collection/blog/page's full name as the SEO title, and then the first sentence or two of the content for the meta description. This can often end up looking a bit tacky, if the product name is really long, or the description is heavily formatted (which can leave the meta description to be a bit of a jumbled-up run-on mess). 

It will also let you edit the 'handle' which is what shows up at the very end of the URL. This is a good place to use some of your keywords that you weren't able to organically fit into the title and meta description. Be sure to separate each word in the handle, using dashes. You either want to keep the handle as short as possible (which looks more professional for your customers), or else load up the handle with a bunch of keywords (which doesn't look as nice, but should help your SEO rankings on Google).

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for SEO settings by clicking here.

Step 17: Link Google Analytics

If you would like to use Google Analytics to manage your site's metrics, you can setup your store to share its' user data with Google. To begin, you will need to get your tracking ID from Google.

To generate your Google Analytics tracking ID:

Sign in to your Google Analytics account > Click "Admin" in the bottom left-hand corner of the page.

Google Analytics

Select an account from the menu in the ACCOUNT column (or create a new account).

Select a property from the menu in the PROPERTY column (or create a new property).

Under PROPERTY, click Tracking Info > Tracking Code. Your tracking ID is displayed at the top of the page.

Google Analytics

From here, you will need to add the code you've copied to your Shopify store.

Sign into your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Preferences. 

Paste your copied code from Google in the section for Google Analytics, and save changes.

Google Analytics

Check the box for "enhanced ecommerce" and then save changes again.

Google Analytics

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for Google Analytics by clicking here.

Step 18: Add Facebook Tracking Pixel

If you would like to use the Facebook tracking pixel, to help target your Facebook ads towards customers who have visited your site, you will just need to generate a pixel and then copy it over into your store's preferences.

To generate a Facebook tracking pixel:

Login to Facebook > Go to your Pixels tab in Events Manager > Click "Create a Pixel" > Click the "Create" button to finish creating your pixel.

Copy this pixel (it should just be a long number). 

Facebook Pixel

From here, you will need to add the pixel ID to your Shopify store.

Sign into your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Preferences.

Under the "Facebook Pixel" section, paste your pixel ID into the box, and save changes.

Facebook Pixel

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for adding FB pixels by clicking here.

Step 19: Setup Facebook Sales Channel

If you have a business page created on Facebook and would like to sell your products on it, then you can easily add the Facebook Sales Channel.

Sign into your Shopify Admin > Click the plus-sign next to "Sales Channels" in the left-hand menu > Click the "Add" button next to Facebook.

Adding Facebook Sales Channel - Shopify

From here, click the "Connect" button. This will prompt you to login to your Facebook account, and then select the business page that you want to link to the store. 

Adding Facebook Sales Channel - Shopify

After you've connected a page, Facebook will begin reviewing your store and products. This usually only takes 48 hours, but can sometimes take a day or two longer. If it's been longer than 4 days, and your page still hasn't been approved, simply disconnected & un-link your account from the Facebook Sales Channel, and then re-do the steps from above. If it still hasn't been approved, another 4 days from the 2nd time you linked the account, then reach out to Shopify's Support for help troubleshooting. 

Facebook Sales Channel - Shopify

Once Facebook approves your store, you will be able to click the "enable" button from the image above. This will make your products visible on your Facebook business page.

In order for your products to appear on Facebook, each product must meet a few requirements:

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for selling on FB by clicking here.

Step 20: Confirm General Settings

Before you launch your store, you will want to confirm that your General Settings are all set correctly. 

Sign into your Shopify admin > Settings > General.

There are three sections of information you will need to provide.

A) Store Details

Store Name - Put in your store's name. Try to keep it as short as possible without any 'fluff'. There's no need for including keywords or anything like that. 

Account Email - Your customers won't see this email address. This is purely for notification purposes, if Shopify needs to email you anything (as the account owner). 

Customer Email - This is the email your customers will see when they're emailed notifications about their order.

B) Store Address

Legal Name of Business - If you don't have an official legal business name, then use the same name that you put as the "Store Name" in the section above this one.

Phone Number & Address - Your customers won't see this, as it's pretty much used only for verification purposes with Shopify's support, or if they ever need to reach out to you in an emergency (which almost never happens). If you don't have a business address/number, then just use your home phone & address. 

C) Standards & Format

Time Zone - This is the timezone that you as the store owner uses, rather than the time zone of your customers. The time zone is used for admin purposes only, so your customers shouldn't see things in this time zone. 

Unit System & Default Weight - This is definitely personal preference to the store owner. It's usually best to set these to whatever your product details are provided in (if you're getting them from a supplier). 

Currency - This should be set to the main currency of your store (ie. what you want to be paid in when you get orders). You can only have one currency for the store, but customers can still checkout using payment options with other default currencies (it will just been converted into your store's currency at checkout).

Order ID Format - I recommend leaving these options as blank. These are basically used to add letters/numbers before the order ID's. By default, if you leave them blank, your order ID's will start with: #1001, #1002, #1003, ... and so on. If you set a prefix or suffix, it will add the tag you set to before or after the number, like this: #SW1001A, #SW1002A, #SW1003A ... and so on (where "SW" is the prefix, and "A" is the suffix). It's usually only worth adding the prefix or suffix if you're working with more than one Shopify store, under the same name (ie. separate stores for different locations, etc.).

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for store settings by clicking here.

Step 21: Support Selling Gift Cards

If you would like to offer digital gift cards for sale on your site, you will need to be on the "Shopify" or "Advanced Shopify" plan. The gift card feature is not available on the "Basic Shopify" plan.

To enable the gift card feature:

Sign into your Shopify Admin > Products > Gift Cards > Click the "Sell Gift Cards" button.

Your first gift card is created immediately, but it is hidden from sales channels by default. Click the "edit product" button, under the congratulations message after enabling the gift cards feature.

Activate Gift Cards Feature - Shopify

This will take you to your gift card products. Click on the "Gift Card" product, to open up the product settings. From here, click the "manage" button next to the Sales Channels in the top right-hand corner. Select each of the channels you want to offer gift cards on, and then save changes.

Activate Gift Cards Feature - Shopify

Next, you will want to edit the gift card product's description, add it to any collections you want it to show up in, and you can also edit/add variants (for the gift card amounts). By default, it will use $10, $25, $50, and $100. 

Activate Gift Cards Feature - Shopify

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for gift cards by clicking here.

Step 22: Customize Email Notifications

During the process of placing an order on your site, for your customers, and them actually receiving their product, they will be sent some automated emails with information about their orders. These are done automatically, so you don't need to worry about manually sending them for each order. 

You will definitely want to customize the notification emails with your store's logo and colour scheme. To do this:

Sign into your Shopify Admin > Settings > Notifications > Click the "Customize" button on the left-hand side.

Customize Email Notifications - Shopify

From here, on the right-hand side of the page, there will be some options for you to upload a logo to replace the plain-text store name, and also an option to set the accent colours for the buttons and links. 

Upload your logo, and set the size (I recommend making it at least 200 pixels). For the accent colour, I recommend using the same colours that you're using for the website's buttons, to maintain a uniform look. Save changes when you're happy with how it looks. It will apply these changes to all templates, so you only need to set them once. Here's how mine looks:

Stephen's World - Notifications Settings - Shopify

On the page where you clicked the "Customize" button, it does give you the option to edit each of the notifications individually, but this requires some extensive custom coding knowledge, in order to not break anything. I recommend leaving these how they are, or else reaching out to a Shopify Design Expert if you absolutely need them changed.

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for notification settings by clicking here.

Step 23: Add & Setup Apps (Plugins)

If you're looking to add any extra functionality to your store, then you will most likely want to consider adding some apps (which act as add-ons to provide extra features for your store). 

Before adding any apps, I highly recommend making a duplicate copy of your theme, so that you always have a version to revert back to, without apps added. It's highly unlikely that any apps will break your store by adding them, but it's better to be safe than sorry! 

You can browse all of the apps that Shopify has to offer by going to the Official Shopify App Store. Listed below are my recommendations for apps to check out. Only add the apps you actually need (try to stay under 10 apps total for the best performance and loading times). 

Pop-ups & Messages

Coupon Pop - Boost your store's conversion rates by offering your customers discounts for joining your mailing list or liking/following your social media pages.

Announcement Bar - Show an announcement (ex. shipping, discount codes, etc.) at the top of your website.

Gamify - Fun and entertaining way to convert your visitors into email subscribers and grow your emailing list.

Performance Optimizers

Photo Resize - Make all of your product images the same size for aligned collection pages.

Minifier - Optimize your product images to decrease loading times.

PageSpeed Guru - Decrease the overall loading times of your store for better PageSpeed Insights results. 

Security & Protection

Signifyd - Greatly reduce your chances of losing money to fraudulent orders (offers a "no chargebacks" guarantee).

Age Verifier - If you sell age restricted products such as alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, spirits and more, use this app to verify the visitor’s age.

TRUST - Decrease your customers’ perceived security and privacy concerns.

Locksmith - The best way to lock sections of your site to only be accessible by approved customers. This app also supports monthly subscriptions.

Increase Sales & Conversions

GoldMerchant - Increase traffic by building an affiliate network who earn money by referring people to your site.

Limespot - Show your customers products they are more likely to buy and increase both the average basket size and conversion rate.

Kit - Drive more sales with your own automated "marketing employee."

Customer Support & Live Chats

HelpCenter - Build a solid, attractive, and branded FAQs page. - A free live chat application designed to increase the effectiveness in managing the online customer engagement experience by chatting with live visitors on your site.

Zendesk - This app is the world's best premium live chat and email ticketing system available. It's what I use for Stephen's World, and what Shopify uses for their support team. Get your first year of Zendesk for free by clicking here.

Improve Customer Experience

Geolizr - 4 GEO TARGETING APPS IN 1: currency conversion, notifications, popups, redirects - all based on the visitor's location, and is highly customizable.

Social Login - Easier and faster login with Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn & Amazon.

Scroll2Top - People can move to the bottom of the page to see what they like, and instantly return to the top when they want with just one click.

Shipping Tracker - Keep you customers updated about their packages locations.

Wishlist - Let customers save products they're interested in using a wishlist.

Product Reviews - Increase the sales of reviewed products, and add SEO-friendly review scores to your Google search results.

Product Reviews Addon - An add-on to Shopify's Product Reviews app (must already have the app added). Provides more in-depth features, and helps increase your social proof.

Store Management

MailChimp - Automatically import your customers to your MailChimp newsletter list.

Order Printer Templates - Templates for professionally designed Invoices, Packing Slips, Return Forms and Gift Receipts that match your store’s design.

Customer Pricing - Offer wholesale, or customer-specific pricing to premium customers. Manually tag customers into groups, sell memberships to the special pricing, or set the app to do it automatically based off how much, or how often, customers order.

WholeSell - Easily create and manage a self-serve Shopify wholesale store, which acts as a duplicate to an already-existing Shopify retail store. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for adding apps by clicking here.

Step 24: Remove Storefront Password

To launch your Shopify store, you will need to remove the storefront password (so that customers can actually access the full site). 

Go to your Shopify Admin > Online Store > Preferences.

Under the "Password page" settings, uncheck the box for "Enable password page" and then save changes.

Remove Storefront Password - Shopify

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for initial setups by clicking here.

Step 25: Add Staff Accounts

If it's more than just you who accesses the Shopify admin, you can setup "Staff Accounts" to give your employees access to the Shopify admin, instead of sharing the same username and password with everyone.

To add staff accounts:

Sign into your Shopify admin (as the account owner) > Settings > Account > Click the "Add staff account" button, within the "Accounts and permissions" section. 

Add Staff Account - Shopify

Put in the staff member's first name, last name, and their email address. If you want to limit what they have access to, uncheck the box for "This staff account will have full permissions." This will cascade some options, and you can check-mark only the parts of the admin that you want them to be able to see and be able to edit. 

Add Staff Account - Shopify

Once you're happy with the permissions you've granted, click the "Send invite" button, and the staff member will receive an email (to the address you listed for them) with a link they can click to set their own login password.

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for staff accounts by clicking here.

Step 26: Submit Sitemap to Google

In order to have your site show up in Google's search results, you're going to want to add your sitemap to be indexed. 

Start by signing into Google's Webmaster Tools (using your Google account). 

Once you're signed in, click the red "add property" button in the upper right-hand corner. Add your domain, with "https://" before it (ex. "").

It will prompt you to verify the domain name. Click the "alternate methods" tab, and select "HTML tag." Copy the coding snippet it gives you.

Verify Domain w/ Google

Go to your Shopify admin > Online Store > Themes > Click the "Actions" button next to the theme you're using (the published one) > Select the "Edit code" option. 

From here, click into "theme.liquid" under the "Layout" folder, in the left-hand menu. Near the top of the file there should be a "<head>" code. The coding snippet you copied from Google needs to go on the first line under the "<head>" code in your theme.liquid file. 

Verify Domain w/ Google - Shopify

If there isn't a free line to paste it in (like my screenshot above) just click at the end the "<head>" code, and press enter to create a new line below it. In my example screenshot above, we would want to make a new line, between lines 8 and 9. Paste the code on the new line, and then save your changes. 

After you've added the code, go back to Google (where it gave you the code) and click the red "verify" button at the bottom of the page.

If everything was done correctly, it should accept the domain name, and the page should reload to the search console dashboard for that specific domain. It should look something like this:

Verify Domain w/ Google

There will be three horizontal bars: "Crawl Errors", "Search Analytics", and "Sitemaps. Click on the grey "Sitemaps" bar.

On the right-hand side, click the red "Add/test sitemap" button. Put in "sitemap.xml" as the value, and then click the submit. 

Verify Domain w/ Google

Once this has been done, your sitemap is submitted and you should be good to go. I highly recommend repeating all of the above steps for each domain name you're using (ie. all the domains listed in your Shopify admin under Online Store > Domains). For example: "", "", "", "", and "".

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for sitemap submission by clicking here.

Step 27: Minor Coding Edits

There are a few minor coding edits you will most likely want to make, in order for your site to run smoothly. It is worth noting that this is a completely optional step. If you're not comfortable editing the code yourself, then either skip this step, or hire a Shopify Expert to complete these for you (see my Pay Per Task page if you would like to hire me).  

Remove the "Powered by Shopify" text at the bottom of your site.

The "powered by Shopify" link at the bottom of the page can be a bit tacky if you're an established brand and already have an existing customer base. If you're a brand new business, it may be worth keeping the link to build trust with your potential clients, as Shopify powers over 500,000 online stores and is recognized as a leader in ecommerce globally. 

Click here for step by step instructions on how to remove the "powered by Shopify" text. 

Open all external links in new tab. 

By default - unless you set otherwise - links will open in the same tab as they were clicked in. This is normally not a problem, so long as you're not sending potential customers away from your site. If you're linking to an external page however, and it opens in the same tab, this will cause your customers to leave the page, and they might have a hard time getting back to your site, depending on how far they go. 

Click here for step by step instructions on how to add a safeguard for all external links to be opened in a new tab, to prevent customers from accidentally leaving your site. 

Select product variants by clicking their image.

In most online stores, products usually have more than one image. Sometimes, especially when the product options are very similar, it can be hard to figure out which option is which. For example, if you're selling a t-shirt but it comes in 3 different shades of green, it can be tricky for your customer to figure out which colour they want, if they have to pick by name alone. 

Click here for step by step instructions on how to enable selecting product variants by clicking on their image (customers will still be able to select from the drop-down variant options too). 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's help docs for liquid coding help by clicking here.

Step 28: Double-check for Grammar Errors

This step may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how many live stores I've worked on, that were launched with many grammar/spelling errors and poor formatting. Building a Shopify store can take many hours, days, or even weeks. After a while, you start to get immune to content errors. Sometimes, all you need is to take a break and look at the site again later on. Other times, you may need a second pair of eyes to review the site for you. 

This step doesn't have to be done by a Shopify expert. If possible, I recommend enlisting the help of a partner, friend, family member, co-worker, employee, or teacher - someone who has a good grasp of the English language - to go through the site and see if they can catch anything that you missed. You will always want the site to be perfect before it launches, and there's nothing worse than reading a product description full of misspelled words and poor formatting. 

Please do not skip this step -- especially if English isn't your first language. Professionally written content can definitely make the difference losing potential sales and gaining them. 

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's grammar guide for more details & info by clicking here.

Step 29: Test on Multiple Devices

All of the themes on the Shopify theme store are made to be responsive -- meaning they should look great regardless of the type of device used to view the site (ie. desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones). 

However, before you pop the champagne at your launch party, you should definitely make sure you've tested out the site on multiple devices. Try to get your hands on as many different computers, tablets, and phones, using as many different browsers as possible: Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, etc. Vigorously test your site by using these various devices and browsers to navigate through your site.

If you're having a launch party, I recommend getting everyone to bring their phones and/or laptops, then having at least 10 minutes or so, where everyone can browse your site and report any issues or errors they find. 

It's better to find out about any issues before spending lots of money on advertising campaigns and marketing. You don't want to be sending customers en-mass to your site, if a large percentage of them are going to have issues. 

Test, test, test, and test again. As with most things in this guide, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Need more help with this step? Check out Quirktools' free browser-based app, Screenfly, by clicking here.

Step 30: Market your Store

This step may be last, but it's definitely the most important step you will do as a store owner. If you skip this step, I can guarantee you that you will have very little sales (if any). Without a doubt, the biggest mistake that I see being made - by what seems to be nearly all new eCommerce entrepreneurs - is that they are not marketing their store effectively.

Just having a beautiful site isn't enough to guarantee sales. You have to invest time (and/or money) into marketing your brand & products. There are over 600+ million active websites on the internet. The likelihood of someone finding a newly launched site organically is slim to none. Without proper marketing, it's highly unlikely you'll find yourself the owner of a successful business.

A business plan is essential to all new online stores. Who are you selling to? Where are these customers from? How are you going to let them know about your site? What methods work best for attracting customers? These are just some of the questions you'll want to find answers to - sooner rather than later.

Dozens of people post on the Shopify eCommerce forums every week, asking why their store isn't getting any sales. More often than not, the problem isn't the actual website or products, it's the store owner's marketing methods. Sharing a couple posts on Facebook, running a $20 ad campaign, and then sitting back - hoping for the best - isn't going to work. Put the effort in to properly market your online store and you'll see much better results! If you need help marketing your store, consider hiring an official Shopify Marketing Expert to work with you to generate sales. 

Facebook and Google ads are certainly the two most popular ways to advertise websites. However, they're not exclusively the only options you have for marketing your new online store (and they may not even be the best options for your specific business).

For local businesses, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use for getting your brand known. This involves actually talking to people in person, and looking them in the eyes when you speak. This is important because it creates a personal connection with the customer (but try not to be weird about it, and avoid staring at them like a deer in the headlights). This can also include handing out business cards with discount codes on the back, or collecting emails for your mailing list at your local mall.

There are a many marketing methods you can try, so don't give up until you've exhausted all of your options. If you do find yourself running out of marketing options, and you can't afford to hire a professional marketing expert (or you have and it hasn't worked) then you may need to consider other business ideas. There's nothing shameful in giving up on one business to start another. Most entrepreneurs go through many failed businesses before they create a successful one. Never stop being creative, and if you believe in something, put all your effort into it. Otherwise, you'll most likely end up with regrets and a project/business/company that's only half as good as it could have been.

"Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour workweeks and you're putting in 100 hour workweeks, then even if you're doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve."

-- Elon Musk

Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's marketing guide by clicking here.

I've completed all 30 steps ... now what?

Now you're ready to start the entrepreneurial grind! You will only get as much out of your new online store as you put into it. Don't be content with sitting back and hoping sales happen. You have to be proactive in finding customers. This means: continually improving your marketing efforts, managing social media pages, and engaging potential audiences through multiple outlets & channels. Don't forget to add a few new products every once in a while, and to change up the content on your homepage from time-to-time. Congratulations, and best of luck with your new Shopify endeavour! 

Ain't nobody got time for this!

If you don't have the time or patience to build the site/store yourself, you can always hire me to build it for you! I offer Custom Websites (starting at $799 with 7 day turnaround times) and Setup Packages (starting at $1199 with 30 days of support). You can read all of my testimonials from past clients, by clicking here. Alternatively, if you would rather hire someone else to setup your store, you can find & contact other Official Shopify Setup Experts by clicking here.

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