You’ve probably spent countless hours (and possibly a lot of money) searching for what you hope to be your breakthrough ecommerce products. It’s time to add your new ecommerce products to your store, bringing you one step closer to opening your doors and going live.
Adding products in Shopify means creating product listings for the products you have sourced and intend to sell through your online store.
You create product listings in the Shopify admin panel (the back end of your site), and they are displayed to your store’s visitors on your website (the front end).
In this guide, we’ll show you how to add products to Shopify properly.
Step one: Getting started with adding a new product
To create a new product in Shopify:
- From your Shopify admin, click on Products → All Products. This takes you to a new page that displays all of your store’s products, with a green button in the top-right corner labelled Add Product.
- Click on Add Product. The Add Product page appears. This is the money page — the all-important page where you will add each of your new products.
- Add a product name in the Title field of the Add Product page. Check out what some of your competitors are doing with their product names, and when you have one, go ahead and place your product name in the title field. For example, if you are adding a pair of men’s jeans to your store, you want to choose a name that makes it clear you are selling a pair of jeans — so include ‘Jeans’ in the product name.
Step two: Adding a product description to your product
It’s a challenge to constantly write and produce content that pays homage to one product, particularly if you have a large range of SKUs (stock-keeping units).
You want the meaty stuff to appear in the product description, as it should appear above the fold of the product page (the content that sits in plain sight before a shopper needs to scroll down; therefore, it’s the MVP real estate on any web page) — in other words, this will stand out and be seen by potential customers, so think key features, measurements and technical specs.
Different themes display part or all of the product description above the fold, and some prefer to have it lower down, with the Add to Cart button or other information sitting higher above the fold. Browse your theme’s product pages to find one that suits.
I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule to follow — though I recommend you always AB test different layouts — but as a general rule I suggest trying to keep the meaty stuff on your product page above the fold.
Here’s a few ideas for what to include in your product description:
- Weight and dimensions of the product
- A description of the material used
- Any technical specifications that come with your product
- A clear summary of your product’s unique selling points (USPs)
To add a product description to your product:
- Return to the Add Product page from the preceding section ‘Step one: Getting started with adding a new product’. Directly below the Title field you’ll see the Description box (what Shopify calls the rich text editor).
- Enter your product description in the Description box. Your product description is the information your customers read when they’re weighing up whether to buy your product. This is where you can solve your customers’ problems using the written word!
Step three: Adding media to your products
The product description (refer to the preceding section) may help to sell your customers on the technical aspects of your products, but visual media is the eye-catching way you attract customers to your products at a glance — and you can add visual media in the Media section of the Add Product page (the Media section appears after the Description section on the page).
Media is another name for photos, images, GIFs (graphics interchange format), videos, augmented reality (think of an online rug store that allows you to upload a photo of your living room to its site, then shows you how your rug looks in your living room) or any other form of graphic that you can use to display your products.
When it comes to product page images, I think both quality and quantity are important, alongside a good product description. If you’re selling dog food online, you may not need as many images, but the product description and ingredients are likely to be more important to customers; however, if you’re selling clothes, you’re best advised to provide a lot of photos, along with a clear product description.
If your online store sells something visual — something that people display, either on themselves or in their households — it’s a good idea to show off that product in various scenarios, including real life, so aim to include product photos and lifestyle photos.
For example, if you’re selling a rug, you can show images of the front and back of the rug, as well as picture the rug positioned in a living room (or in various living rooms), so that the potential customer can envisage that rug in their own home (you can also offer an augmented reality option to see how it may look against a photo of their own living room).
If you want your customers to be able to view your products in augmented reality (AR), you need 3D models of your products. Try the Shopify Experts marketplace to find an expert to help with creating 3D models. You need to use a theme that supports 3D or augmented reality — the default Shopify Debut theme does not do this ‘out of the box’.
The same applies for clothing — while some stores show an outfit against a white background, most successful online clothing stores show the clothes on a model, in various poses.
A product zoom feature (which allows the user to zoom in on the details of your products) is always helpful, and most Shopify themes provide this option. Zooming in is particularly useful if you’re selling products with a lot of detail. If you add a zoom feature to your items, remember to test how it works on both a desktop and a smartphone.
To add product media, follow these steps:
- Return to the Add Product page from the earlier section ‘Step one: Getting started with adding a new product’.
- Click on the Add Files button located in the Media section. A box showing your computer’s file contents appears.
- Select a media file from your computer, and click on Open. The image or media file that you clicked on appears in the Media section of the product creation page.
- Drag the images into the order that you want them to be displayed on your website. The first image (the image in the first position) will be the image shown in any collections in which the product appears (for example, Men’s Jeans); therefore, this image will be the first image a shopper will see. Make it a good one!
If you also want to add a video, follow the same steps but select the video you want to upload, rather than images. You can have up to 250 media items across all products on Basic Shopify, 1,000 on Shopify, and 5,000 on Advanced Shopify.
Step four: Pricing your product
The next cab off the rank is pricing (the Pricing section appears after the Media section on the Add Product page).
The Pricing section has three fields in which you can enter information: Price, Compare at Price and Cost Per Item
To update your Pricing section, complete the three Pricing fields as follows:
- Price: Enter your original recommended retail price (RRP) into the Price field. Imagine you are selling my Charlie Jeans in Blue at $99. Enter 99 or 99.00 (the decimal only matters if I’m selling them at a price that is not rounded to the nearest whole number, such as 99.95).
- Compare at Price: Use this field to provide a price comparison when you want to discount your product. Imagine you now want to discount the Charlie Jeans in Blue. To do this, you move the original price ($99) into the Compare at Price field, and put the new price (say, $50) into the Price field. This allows your customers to see the original price with a line through it, and the new bargain sale price.
- Cost Per Item: Here, you enter your landed cost price (the cost of your products, including the cost of shipping them to you). Adding your landed cost price to your products helps you generate accurate profit margin reports.
If you ever need to adjust your pricing, or put a product on sale, you can find your product under Products → All Products in your Shopify admin. Simply search for your product and make the edits you require.
Step five: Adding your initial inventory quantity
The Inventory section appears below the Pricing section. It includes three sections: SKU, Barcode and Quantity.
To enter your opening inventory, simply enter the quantity of the product that you’re making available to sell in the Quantity field of the Inventory section on your Add Product page. For example, if I have 100 pairs of the Charlie Jeans in Blue to sell, I enter 100 in the Available box located under Quantity.
The other two fields within the Inventory section ask you to enter a SKU and a barcode (although it’s not mandatory). If you have a SKU (stock-keeping unit) code or barcode, enter them here.
A SKU is a code you or your supplier creates, which usually goes onto a barcode or product label; a barcode is a little sticker that sits on your product label, containing information such as size, color and price.
Both are ways of identifying each product and are particularly useful for barcode scanners and inventory management systems (IMSs).
Although you’re not likely to be using scanners at this point, I recommend entering your SKU as it’s going to be used to generate reports, and if you decide to sell on marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, or use a warehouse management system (WMS) or external warehouse to store your goods, or even list your products in Google Shopping or Facebook, the SKU is a universal way of deciphering one product from another.
Do you want to pre-sell stock before it lands in your warehouse? If so, check the Continue Selling When Out of Stock box in the Inventory section of your Add Product page (the checkbox is just below the SKU field).
For each additional order after you reach zero stock, your inventory drops below 0 and into negative quantities. If you adopt this strategy, make sure you communicate delivery times with your customer, and keep them updated.
Another option in the Inventory section of your Add Product page is to tick Track Quantity (also under the SKU field) if you want to keep track (through your reporting) of how many units you’ve sold. Leave it unticked if you have an unlimited supply of products (which may be useful when you’re not actually holding the inventory, such as when you’re using a dropshipping model).
Step six: Selecting shipping options
The next section of the Add Product page is Shipping.
The first item you see in the Shipping section is a checkbox (This Is a Physical Product). You check this for any product that needs shipping — so any physical product. You may think that this always applies, but if you are selling digital products, such as a digital course, you don’t check this checkbox as there’s nothing to physically ship.
The next part of the Shipping section asks you to add your product’s Weight. Adding the weight tells your carrier how much your parcels weigh, or it can help Shopify calculate your shipping rates if you have weight-based shipping rules. Enter your product’s weight in the Weight field.
If you’re charging a flat shipping rate, you can leave the weight at 0.00; otherwise, you need to weigh each product and enter the weight here.
You don’t need to add a weight, but if you do, resist the urge to under-declare the weight of your products, as shipping companies often hit you with increased rates based on the true, adjusted weight. Always be extra careful when providing weights (especially volumetric weights) to shipping companies.
The final part of the Shipping section covers Customs Information and only applies to international shipping. If you’re planning to ship internationally, you can enter your country of origin (in other words, where your product was manufactured) in the Country/Region of Origin field. You can also enter your HS (Harmonized System) code, if you know it.
Step seven: Adding variants
The next section of the Add Product page covers Variants (you find this section under the Shipping section).
Variants are extensions of products or extra options within products, such as colors or sizes. For example, my Charlie Jeans in Blue may come in three sizes (small, medium and large), where each size is a variant.
Each product can be described in up to three different ways, such as by size, color and style.
To add a variant to your product:
- Return to the Add Product page. If you are editing your product at a later time, click on Products → All Products from your Shopify admin. All your products, including draft products, will be listed here — just click on the one you want to keep editing.
- Scroll down to the Variants section of the Add Product page. This is the section after the Shipping section in the Add Product page.
- Check the box marked This Product Has Multiple Options, Like Different Sizes or Colors.
- Enter your sizes, for example Small,Medium,Large (each size/variant is typed with no spaces, just separated by a comma). Once you’ve entered in your Size options, you can move on or create a new option (by clicking on Add Another Option), such as color.
Each product can have up to 100 variants, although I’ve never seen any store come close to that number of variants of one product! (If you need more variants, you can find third-party applications to help with this — but I’ve never seen a store require this.)
Step eight: Making some final adjustments
The final section of the Add Product page is the SEO Preview section, which is not something you need to set up now.
However, just because you’ve reached the end of the Add Product page, it doesn’t mean you can’t make some final changes before your product is ready to launch. In the following sections I talk through some additional options you can access on the right-hand side of the Add Product page to make some extra adjustments to your added products.
The first section is Product Status, which is set to Draft mode until you are ready to launch your product. Change this to Active mode when you’re ready for the world to see your product — it will go live on your front end (the customer-facing part of your website), ready to be purchased by your customers.
Sales Channels and Apps
Next in the right-hand menu at the top of the Add Product page is the Sales Channels and Apps section. This shows you a list of all your sales channels, for example Online Store, which is, you guessed it, your online store sales channel. Check the boxes for all sales channels you want to sell your product on — for now, you should only see Online Store, so make sure you check that box.
Next up is Organization, and in this section you can update your Product Type and Vendor.
Your product type is often a repeat of your collection name, like jeans, or shoes, and is used in product reporting.
The next section on the right-hand side of the Add Product page is Collections, which has an empty box prompting you to Search for Collections. You can use this search function to manually add products to collections.
Tags are used in Shopify to help customers find your products when they use the search function on your site, and they’re also used to slot products into their respective collections!
The final section of the right-hand sidebar of the Add Product page is called Online Store. You’re not likely to ever use this. It has a subheading titled Default Product. Default Product is the standard product page theme that is available within the theme you select for your website, and you won’t be required to deviate from this.
Step nine: Activating Products in Your Store
After you’ve finished creating your first product, you’ve previewed it in both desktop and mobile, and you’re happy with it, you can go ahead and save it, or change it from Draft to Active in the top-right corner of the Add Product page.
Select Active when you’re happy with your product. As soon as your store is published (or goes live), your customers will be able to discover your active products.
If your store is already up and running, any new products go live as soon as they are made active.