<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=1360553&amp;fmt=gif">

Updated April 12, 2022

Shopify Shopify Store Launch Checklist & Guide: Maximize Conversions and Sales

Shopify Store Launch Checklist & Guide: Maximize Conversions and Sales

Make sure your store is setup for success by reviewing this 13-step Shopify store checklist.

Shopify Store Setup Checklist & Guide

Before you launch your Shopify store and open your (digital) door to customers, it’s essential to set your store up for success.

You have awesome products, bright ideas, and big goals for your new Shopify store. But is your site bug-free and optimized for maximum conversions and sales? To be 100% sure, you need a pre-launch checklist.

Knowing what, when, and how to optimize your Shopify store can be confusing and time-consuming when you’re already drowning in to-do lists. So we created a comprehensive Shopify setup checklist to keep you organized on your way to your first sale.

Quick reference

  • 3 reasons you need a Shopify launch plan
  • 13-step Shopify setup checklist
  • Shopify Store setup FAQ

3 reasons you need a Shopify launch checklist

Opening an ecommerce site without a launch plan is like cooking without a recipe—unless you have lots of experience, it can be a stressful process that leads to a not-so-impressive result.

Here are a few reasons every Shopify store owner needs a launch plan.

1. Checklists keep you accountable

It can be tempting to overlook tiny, boring details of your Shopify store when your big launch day is looming. A checklist can keep you on track so you don’t get ahead of yourself, which can cost time and money in the long run.

2. It debugs your ecommerce processes

Does your free shipping code actually work? Can customers successfully get refunds? These are just a couple of processes to test before you start selling on Shopify.

A bug in your workflow can result in abandoned carts or negative reviews, but a pre-launch checklist can help you work out any bugs before they have real-life consequences.

3. Lower the stakes for launch day

Launch days are hectic even if everything goes as planned. Don't add extra stress by realizing you didn't resize an image or activate email signup forms until after the site's already live.

A checklist lowers the stakes for your launch because it makes sure no to-do’s slip through the cracks, so you can focus more on growth and less on putting out fires.

Now that we’ve covered the “why” of Shopify store launch checklists, let’s dig into the “what” and the “how.”

Your 13-step Shopify setup checklist

This checklist ensures all your bases are covered when it’s time to launch your ecommerce website on Shopify. Below, you’ll find instructions and explanations for each item on the checklist, along with links to helpful resources.

  • Choose a custom domain name for your site
  • Build your Shopify store pages
  • Select your sales channels
  • Identify marketing channels
  • Build pop-ups and banners
  • Set up automated email marketing flows
  • Test your checkout and payment gateway
  • Confirm shipping settings
  • Create a return policy
  • Build your pre-launch marketing plan
  • Optimize your Shopify store for search engines
  • Set up analytics to measure progress
  • Launch your Shopify store

1. Choose a custom domain name for your site

Using a custom domain makes your site easier for customers to recognize and improves your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

The default URL for your Shopify store will look something like: your-store-name.myshopify.com. But a custom domain gives you a simpler URL like your-store-name.com.

You can browse and purchase a custom domain directly through Shopify or through a domain registrar.

2. Build your Shopify store pages

Pages are the foundation of your site—these are where visitors get in touch and learn key information about your brand. You don’t need too many pages for a successful launch, but here are some foundational pages you can publish ahead of time:

  • Homepage
  • About Us page
  • Contact page
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
  • Blog

You can create these pages by logging into your Shopify admin and clicking Online Store > Pages > Add Page. For detailed instructions on creating store pages, check out Shopify’s official guide.

3. Select your sales channels

Your Shopify storefront is just one of many ways audiences can find and purchase your products. To maximize exposure to new audiences, branch out into other sales channels (this is called multi-channel retailing).

Connect your Shopify account to any of the following sales channels to keep track of orders, products, and customers in one place:

Start by casting a wide net and selling on many of these channels. Once you have sales data, double down on your most successful channels.

4. Identify marketing channels

Customers need a way to find your products—that’s where marketing comes in. Here are four examples of marketing channels you can mix and match depending on your needs and budget.

  • Email marketing: build direct, personal relationships with subscribers so you can convert them into paying customers.
  • Social media marketing: platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are where millions of people discover and engage with new brands every day.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising: Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram Ads allow you to drive qualified users to your site, which can be a smart strategy to get off the ground if there’s room in your budget.
  • Influencer marketing: collaborate with people who have established, engaged audiences so they can advocate on behalf of your brand. Be aware that your potential reach hinges on the size of your budget.

5. Build pop-ups and banners to convert traffic into customers

One way to turn your website visitors into paying customers is with pop-ups, which display in the center of your site to grab attention. Pop-ups let you offer a discount or a unique piece of content in exchange for email addresses.


If you feel like pop-ups are too invasive, banners are a subtler way to catch a visitor’s eye. Banners start in a “hidden” state, then roll into sight at a specific time (for example, one minute after a visitor lands on your site) to engage with your visitors.

No matter which of these you choose, Privy has the tools to build and integrate custom displays or templates that integrate directly with Shopify.

6. Set up automated email marketing flows

Email marketing is one of the most efficient ways to nurture relationships with potential customers. Privy’s drag-and-drop editor lets you customize email templates and automatically send them to your audience at the exact right time.

Here are a few ways you can use Privy email to grow your Shopify store:

  • Newsletters: let everyone know when you launch a new product or have a sale.


  • Abandoned cart: remind shoppers when they have items waiting in their online cart so you can maximize your revenue.


  • Purchase follow-ups: say thank you, ask for reviews, or suggest related products.


7. Test your checkout and payment gateway

Place a test order to ensure your checkout and payment methods run smoothly. To do this, start by enabling test mode for Shopify payments:

  1. From your Shopify admin, go to Settings > Payments.
  2. In the Shopify Payments section, click “Manage.”
  3. In the Test mode sections, click “Enable test mode.”

From here, you can simulate transactions with different credit cards and currencies. You aren’t charged for any simulated transactions, so this is a great way to work out any bugs in your checkout process.

8. Confirm shipping settings

Before your Shopify store goes live, you need to plan how your products are shipped and how much you’ll charge. Configure this in your Shopify shipping settings, which has 3 main components:

  1. Locations: designate where you store your products.
  2. Shipping profiles: set shipping rates based on specific products.
  3. Shipping zones and rates: designate countries or regions that have the same shipping rates. For example, you’d likely charge less for local shipments than for cross-country shipments.

For a deeper dive into Shopify’s shipping options, check out Shopify’s official guide for setting up shipping rates. You can also hire a Shopify expert to configure your shipping settings for you.

9. Create a return policy

A clear return policy puts your customers’ minds at ease. While you don’t need an official legal document, your store policy should answer the following questions:

  • Will you allow refunds for all products, select products, or none?
  • How long does the customer have to return their item?
  • Are refunds issued as store credits or cash refunds?
  • Can customers exchange items?
  • Who pays for shipping on returned items?

If you’re not comfortable writing your own return policy, Shopify’s 14-day trial comes with a free return policy generator.

10. Build your pre-launch marketing plan

Here are a few ways you can generate buzz for your new store leading up to launch day:

  • Design a launch email newsletter and send it to people in your network.
  • Create a few days’ worth of social media and/or blog content to post during launch week.
  • Collaborate with influencers who can promote your store on launch day.

11. Optimize your Shopify store for search engines

Search engine optimization is a complex topic, but you can take a few basic steps to make sure your Shopify store shows up for the right people at the right time.

  1. Determine what keywords are important for the products or services you sell. For example, if you sell jewelry, your keywords might be “hand-made necklace” or “trendy earrings for teenagers.”
  2. Incorporate your target keywords into your page titles, product pages, and image alt text.
  3. Add your domain name to Google Search Console so that your website is easily indexed.
  4. Encourage other websites or blogs to link back to your site.

For more tips, check out Shopify’s guide to improving SEO.

12. Set up analytics to measure progress

You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Collecting data gives you an accurate picture of what’s driving sales (and what isn’t). That’s why you need robust analytics tools.

Privy’s reporting feature syncs directly with your Shopify revenue so you can get important insights, including:

  • Email list conversion rate
  • How much money you’ve made from every email, pop up, or text
  • Coupon redemptions to see how discounts impact sales
  • Customers’ purchase history and product preferences


13. Launch your Shopify store!

You’ve put in all the work; now you can focus on your customers and make sure your first sales go smoothly. Hopefully your mind is at ease since you tested and optimized the critical components of your store ahead of time.

If you have any hiccups during launch week, don’t hesitate to reach out to Shopify support—the quicker you resolve your issue, the better.

Launch Day Doesn’t Have to be Stressful

Throwing a Shopify store together without a detailed checklist is a huge gamble: it might save some time up front, but the consequences can be devastating in the long run. Just imagine if you spent months building a stunning ecommerce store, only to find out customers get an error message when they try to check out.

Stick to a checklist so you can spend more time growing your business and less time putting out fires on launch day.

Shopify Store Setup FAQ

Have questions about launching your Shopify Store?

Do I need to test my Shopify store before launching?

Yes, we recommend testing out your site before it launches. This will help you identify any hiccups and solve critical issues before making your store public.

What is Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus is a customizable solution for enterprise-level businesses that outgrow Shopify’s standard plan. Some of the key advantages of Shopify Plus include 24/7 priority customer support team, automation tools, a built-in wholesale channel solution, and advanced customization tools.

How will I know I’m ready to launch my online store?

Before you launch your Shopify Store, you should take the time test it out. Preview your site and make sure it's operating as expected. Once you're store has passed your testing, review the 13-step checklist on this page to ensure you've covered your bases.

Add Privy to your store before you launch

Create your FREE account (no credit card required)