Guides and Tutorials

Get the most out of Shopify!


I wrote this for my Tips & Tutorials blog on Prettify but I thought it might be of interest to you lot as well. Remember, if it wasn’t for Shopify, there wouldn’t be any Cakeify.

If there’s one bad thing about Shopify (and there may well only be one bad thing), it’s that they’re too modest. All the tips I’m going to give you can be found either in your Admin panel or in the Shopify Wiki or Forums but so many Shopify users have no idea about them. Many of these can be added in a few clicks and might just change your life!


Whatever your skill level, these are must-do tips but they’re all really simple too.

Turn around abandoned orders

Despite being listed in your Orders page as clear as day, this is like the hidden gem of Shopify. Just go to your orders page and click Abandoned in the right sidebar. You’ll now see a list of all orders that that never completed payment. Some will be you testing things, some will be by Mr aaa who likes to pretend shop regularly, some will be customers you recognise who changed their mind (or had a browser crash) mid-order and filled their basket again. The rest will be your mystery almost-customers. Except they’re not mysteries as they entered their contact details. So contact them and ask them what the problem was!

I contact almost all of mine with a standard email that asks if they were having any issues with the shop or PayPal that I can help with and gives them a link to their saved cart in case they want to have another go. You can get the cart link from their order page. Maybe 50% of these customers email me back, usually because PayPal gave them an error but once because the customer wanted 3 of something and I only had 1 available! What have you got to lose?

Having said this, I would advise against repeatedly contacting these people or adding them to your mailing list (even if they agreed to marketing). Be cool.

Add Google Analytics

Shopify offers basic stats with most packages but Analytics will give you much more detailed info on where your customers are coming from, what they’re looking at and what your conversion rate is from visits to sales. To add it, just follow the instructions in this guide and you’ll be all set!

Add shipping deals

Shopify quietly slipped in price-based shipping options a while back which makes things a lot easier. Now, as well as your usual weight-based options, you can add special deals for your best customers. For instance, I offer free UK shipping on all orders over £20.

To set this up, just go to Preferences > Shipping and click on ‘Add price-based rate’ for the relevant regions.

Set up a mailing list

Shopify automatically collects customer details for you from those customers that accept marketing. You can download these in the Marketing section. Set up a mailing list with a company like Constant Contact or MailChimp and sign them up. If you keep your newsletters to once a month and offer exclusive info and deals they’ll hopefully come back and buy again sometime.

Extra tip! If you don’t get many people accepting marketing, it could be the wording in checkout as the default text makes it a little unclear who is going to use the information. If you go to Preferences > General you’ll see a drop down box for Checkout Language. Choose ‘Create a new translation’ and you can edit any or all the wording in your checkout.


If you’re confident with computers and dabble a bit in code then you should manage these fine.

Use your own domain name

Why have when you can have It looks so much more professional and it hardly takes any effort. Just how much effort depends on your domain hosting company. Mine took 1 email and a whole 3 minute wait (I love United Hosting). Your hosting company may be idiots who take weeks to mess it up repeatedly before finally getting it right. I’ve seen it happen.

Have a look at the DNS section of the Shopify wiki which has details for the major hosting companies. Good luck!

Add a customer feedback page

This is a hack but a good one. Your customers may be too shy to email you personally and give you feedback on your products or service but give them a comment form and they might be more keen.

I just set up a new blog (in Blogs & Pages) called Customer Feedback and then a new post in that blog also called Customer Feedback. Make sure comments are turned on. You might want to set them to be moderated as well. Add some friendly text inviting feedback and publish it.

Your feedback post will have a ridiculously long url (mine is but use a service like tinyurl to create something more memorable (mine is Add that link to your shop menu, emails etc. for everyone to see.

Your customers can now leave comments and prospective customers can see how great everyone thinks you are. Win-win!

Customise your Email Notifications

If you go to Preferences > Email Notifications you’ll see a list of Email templates for the various auto emails. They are generally fine but why not personalise them? Even if you just add your own greeting and sign off, it will look a lot more personal. Even better, you can add helpful information or special offers.

For instance, my order confirmation email tells the customer I ship daily and gives them links to my blog and mailing list. My shipping confirmation email gives the customer estimates for delivery and a link to my customer feedback page so they can let me know what they think when it arrives.

Just click on the emails to edit them and save when you’re done. If you’re unfamiliar with code then copy and paste the original text into Notepad or something as a backup. Be careful of any content within curly brackets {} unless you know what you’re doing.


If you’re confident about editing your theme templates then these tips are for you.

Brand your checkout

If you’ve never tried out the checkout part of your shop then go have a look now. Ugly isn’t it? Your shop may be beautifully designed and branded but the default checkout makes for a jarring change and might even give your customers second thoughts about trusting you with their money. We don’t yet have access to edit the checkout pages but we can change the look with css.

You’ll have a very hard job making your checkout match the rest of your shop exactly so my preferred plan is usually to keep it clean and white with a simple logo. This way your customer is aware they’ve moved on from shopping into buying, but are still reassured that they’re still dealing with you and that you’re a professional.

This thread has some ideas and code to remove most of the formattting to give you a blank sheet, or feel free to email me and I’ll send you mine.

Make SEO even easier

Shopify is already very search engine friendly but there are some additions you can make to the code that will improve things further by automatically using individual meta information for each page from your descriptions, tags and content.

Read this thread on the Shopify forum for details (and make sure you read the whole thread!).

Customise your search and error pages

The Search and 404 error pages have recently been opened up for editing so personalise them to match your site. 404 pages in particular are a great opportunity to do something fun and original to amuse anyone unlucky enough to click a bad link.

They’re also a marketing opportunity. Anyone looking at your 404 page is lost so suggest somewhere for them to go! On my main shop, as well as a search box and all the usual navigation, I’ve added a few of my Featured Products and a way to browse the shop using tags. Take a look

For error pages, there are some basic code ideas in this thread, or email me and I’ll send you a copy of mine.

Do literally anything!

There really is no end to the custom features you could add to your shop. You’ll find lots of ideas in the Shopify Wiki or Forums, as well as designers and coders happy to help you work stuff out.

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I hope you have fun with these tips. If you’d like some help, or any of the files I mention, feel free to email me. I’m also available to design custom Shopify themes and features – see my portfolio at

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