How to set up an Online Essentials Store and Pick-up in India

COVID-19 is disrupting India in an unprecedented manner. In order to deal with the CoronaVirus, with a country of over 1.3 billion people going into lock-down for a period of 21 days starting March 25th, 2020.  While essential categories, such as grocery and pharmacy are going to be available during the lockdown, this creates problems for shops as well as consumers. 

At Shopify, we're acting quickly to respond with product updates and new offers to help retailers like you navigate these challenging times. We’ll announce more changes soon. Right now, local businesses need to find creative new ways to stay engaged with their customers, even while their retail location is unavailable.

This is a tutorial that helps you quickly set up an online store, so your customers can buy online and safely pick up their products from your store, so that they don’t spend time at your store, or wait outside it for others to finish shopping.

In case you still need assistance with Store-build, scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to connect with select Shopify Partners who can help you go live.

Note: This guide is for businesses that are brand new to Shopify. 

How does ‘buy online, pickup at store’ work?

“Pickup at store” or “curbside pickup” allows customers nearby to buy something online and drive by your store to pick it up—without ever having to leave their car. This “drive-through” option is often more convenient and it can reduce shipping costs and minimize person-to-person interactions. Here are the steps:

  1. Your customer will order and pay you online through your new online store
  2. You’ll get the order emailed to you, so you can prepare it safely
  3. You’ll then tell the customer when it’s ready for pickup
  4. Your customer will drive to your store and find the package with their name on top
  5. They will safely pick up their order
  6. That’s it, you're done

Before you begin selling

Before you can start selling products online, it's helpful to have the following items ready:

  • Logo for your retail business. If you need a logo made quickly, try Hatchful
  • Product names, available inventory quantity & price
  • (Optional) Short product descriptions that describe your products and why people should buy. If you need help writing descriptions, read our guide.
  • (Optional) Product photos to showcase your catalog. You can take quality photos with most modern phones
  • Credit card/debit card to link with the store
  • Payment Gateway Account to start accepting online payments. We have tied up with Paytm who can help you get Payment gateway account activated in no time. Click here to register with Paytm to create online payment gateway account

Build your own online store

We encourage you to try and build a store yourself. Follow this tutorial,  which has been set up with the goal of getting your store up and running within 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how many products you upload. Let's begin!

The first step is to head over to Shopify’s homepage and start your 90-day free trial. Your store name will become your domain, or the URL that your customers will go to when they want to order from your store.

This tutorial uses a demo store: called You can buy a custom domain later, but it’s not necessary for launching your store. 

Then, create a logo for your online store using Hatchful by Shopify.

Learn more: Checklist to set up your online store

Add products 

You can add products in a few ways, but to quickly create a “buy online, pick up at store” experience, the recommended steps are: 

  • From your Shopify admin, head to Products > All products. From this page, click the button Add product. Enter a title for your product, along with a product description and photo. 
  • Make sure to select Track inventory 
  • If you are offering pick-up at store, you won’t be doing any shipping. So uncheck This is a physical product. However If you will be doing Shipping, keep that check.
  • Make sure to edit variants if your item has more than one option (e.g. different sizes, colors, etc.) 

If you are selling a lot of products, uploading a product CSV with all products at one go will ease things out for you. You will need to prepare a product CSV for the product catalog as per the required format. The sample product CSV for a grocery store can be downloaded from this drive here. Make a copy of the CSV if you want to edit the same. The columns filled with the values are mandatory ones and others can be left blank. Please note: Sample CSV doesn’t have variants for any products. To know how to add variants and what goes in each column, click here. Once the CSV file is ready, you will need to import it to Shopify.

💡 Tip: Keep your online store simple by only adding only your best-selling products or “essentials” and keep current demand in mind. Fewer products will reduce your setup time and get your business back up and running faster.

Learn more: Adding and updating products in Shopify

You can group products into categories by following the instructions outlined in this article. Please note: While you are making automated collections for various categories of your products, you will make use of Tags (explained earlier) to group them in different collections.

Setting up the front-end UI of your website

A sample template, customized for essentials (such as grocery), has been created. To install this, follow these steps:

  • Download the theme* file from this drive
  • Go to Admin->Online Store->Themes
  • Under Theme Library, you will see an option to Upload a theme
  • Click the Upload theme option and select the above theme file you just downloaded
  • Click the Upload button, wait for some time till you get the message “Theme Uploaded”
  • Click the Actions button and select “Publish”. The front-end design is ready for your website
  • Select View from the Actions dropdown to see how your website will look like

This theme has been designed by Gypsyphi, a Shopify Partner. 

If you’re a grocery store, This is what your website could look like with the custom built theme:

After you have uploaded a theme, you need to customize it to add announcement bar, some 2-3 banners and category tiles images on the home page 

  • Go to Themes then click the Customize button to edit the homepage of your online store. 
  • Edit the theme's default sections using the theme editor. Select Image with text overlay and Text column with images. 
  • Click the remaining sections and click the Remove section button. Alternatively, you can simply hide them by clicking on the eye icon. 
  • Select Image with text overlay. This section on your website introduces your store to your customers. Add a photo of your business and customize the heading and text. You can see how the store looks below.
  • Include a button with a call to action. Select All products as the Buttonlink so customers can start shopping immediately.

Now, head back to your theme editor. Configure Text columns with images to include more details. For this store, we are using this section to explain to customers how pickup at store works. You can also use this section to explain how local delivery works.

After that, return once again to your theme editor. Now select Header to edit the top of your website. This is a great place to add your logo. 

Learn more: Themes for your online store

Setting up menu-navigation

When you are setting up your online store, you will need to add your product categories and sub-categories in the menu-bar so that customers can easily find products or navigate on your website.

By default, your menu-bar will contain Home and Catalog as the menu items. To add multiple menu items, follow the steps outlined in this and this article.

Customize your product pages

Now it's time to set up basic product pages to showcase your products. Head to the drop down menu at the top of your screen and select Product pages. 

Select Show quantity selector to allow your customers to choose as many of each item as they want. After that, select Show variant labels.

Customize your shopping cart page

The shopping cart page is where customers can view all of the items they've added to their cart, or the products they intend to purchase. We'll want to make some quick changes to set up our "buy online, pickup at store" experience.

  • In your drop down menu at the top, go to Cart
  • In the left panel, select Cart page
  • Select both Enable automatic cart updates and Enable cart notes. We need the cart notes so that customers can add any additional instructions they would like to give while placing an order.
  • In the left panel, select Theme settings

Finally, consider playing around with your theme settings. If you have social media, I’d add it now. Here's how:

  • Go to Online store > Themes and click the Customize button 
  • In the left panel, you’ll see Social media. Select and add the URLs for your social media accounts 
  • Consider using your logo as the Favicon

None of this is required, but it helps make your site look more professional and customized to your business.

Customize your emails 

Nice work, you're almost ready to go! Let’s configure the emails your customers will receive from you after they complete their order. These notification emails will let your customers know when it’s time to come pick up their order.

To begin, make your way to Settings and select Notification emails > Order confirmation. This is the default email that customers will receive when they place their order.

In the Email body (HTML) you’re going to edit a little bit of code. Don’t worry, we'll walk you through each step. 

Let's begin by selecting the following text from the body of the email—and only this portion!— and then deleting it: 

{% capture email_title %}Thank you for your purchase! {% endcapture %} {% capture email_body %} {% if requires_shipping %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, we're getting your order ready to be shipped. We will notify you when it has been sent. {% endif %} {% endcapture %}

In the second line of the email body, paste in this copy (if you are offering pick-up from store option):

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! We're getting your order ready for pickup. We will notify you by email when it is ready for pickup! {% endcapture %}

In the second line of the email body, paste in this copy (if you are offering local delivery option):

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! We're getting your order ready. We will notify you by email when it is out for delivery! {% endcapture %}

Preview the email to make sure you’re happy with how it looks.

Now, go back to the notifications list to edit another email template called Shipping confirmation. This is the email you’ll send customers when their order is ready. 

Start by deleting this code from the Email body (HTML):

In the first line of the email, paste the following copy if you are offering pick-up from store (feel free to make your own edits in the below template)

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! It’s now ready for pickup. Please head to our storefront and find a package with your label on the top. Please show an email with order details to any one of our staff before picking up the package. If it's a COD order, you need to pay us before leaving with a package.   {% endcapture %}

In the first line of the email, paste the following copy if you are offering local delivery (feel free to make your own edits in the below template)

{% capture email_body %} Hi {{ customer.first_name }}, thanks so much for your order! It’s now out for delivery. Our delivery staff will be there in another xx minutes. If it's a COD order, you need to pay an order amount in cash to our delivery staff before accepting the package.   {% endcapture %}

Then, update your Subject line to read: “Your order from {{ name }} is ready for at-store pickup!” or “Your order from {{ name }} is out for delivery”

Configure local pickup for online orders and Manage order pick-up

You can set up the option for customers to pick up their online orders at your retail store, curbside, or any location that you choose.

To do this, you need to enable the local pickup option for each location where customers can go to get their orders.

You can also specify any pickup instructions or information, such as the store hours or a reminder to the customer to bring a copy of their order confirmation or the expected time when the order will be ready for pickup. The customer sees this when they complete their checkout.

To understand step-by-step procedure to follow, check this video out: 

Configure shipping fees

If you plan to offer delivery with the help of your local delivery staff, you can charge additional shipping fees from the customers while they are placing an order.

To configure shipping fees, please follow the instructions as listed here

Launch your store 

You can do everything above in Shopify before you pick your plan. Once you're ready to go live, it's time to choose the right plan for you. The Basic Shopify plan is likely all you need to offer a "buy online, pickup at store" experience for your customers.

Once you select a plan, you’ll be prompted for payment information but you won’t be charged the fixed subscription fee until your 90-day trial is up. However, the transactions will be charged. 

Go back to your Online Store and Disable password. Once you hit save, your online store will be live! 

Accept Payments

All leading payment providers in India are available on Shopify. You will need to enter your payment account details in setting and you are all set to accept payments. 

All Shopify-supported payment methods rely on third-party providers to process your transactions. These providers might charge extra fees, as well as enforce rules about what products you can sell using their service. When you set up a payment method, check with the company providing the service to make sure you understand their rules and fees.

Follow these instructions to make sure you’re set up to get paid

Configuring Cash-on-delivery:

  • Select Settings->Payment Providers
  • Scroll down to Alternative Payment Methods
  • Search for Cash on Delivery option and enable the same
  • Now visit Apps - Advanced Cash on Delivery
  • Set min-max price limit for COD orders
  • If you want to charge extra COD fees, select “Create new Cash on Delivery shipping rates” option under “Cash on Delivery shipping rates”
  • If you wish to restrict COD to only certain pincodes, select “Limit where Cash on Delivery is available” next to Postal codes section and upload CSV file with list of available pincodes


Need help building your online store? 

Shopify has tied up with select partner agencies in Indi, during covid19 who can create and launch your store to be up and running at a really short notice. We’ve had stores go live in less than a day as well. 

Gaurav, a business owner for Rangeet rice brand shares his experience working with the partner agency Gypsyphi:

“I was able to set my store up with a Shopify partner in a day, thanks to GypsyPhi. We not only set up a store, but also set-up a Business account with PayU within a day and are now accepting orders!"

For setting your store up, the partner agency will charge a flat fees of 10,000 INR (one-time) to setup a basic storefront which will include the following:

  1. UI/UX design using a free theme template- upto 3 banners and 7 pages( including about us, contact form, collection pages)
  2. Product upload upto 50 products or at max 10 categories
  3. Payment Gateway onboarding & integration & COD
  4. Shipping Charges & contact us Page
  5. Linking up to 5 free apps as required
  6. Setting up pick-up point, if required
  7. Tax Setup

This cost doesn’t include : 

  1. Domain name purchase costs
  2. Additional customisations
  3. Operational costs that you may incur once the store goes live

Here's a list of Shopify Partners who can help you with this: 

Start your free trial on Shopify today.

 With your Shopify store now live and available to customers, there are a few other steps you can consider to improve their shopping experience:

    We're here for you. If you'd like additional help, please contact our support team. We're available 24/7 to offer guidance—anything from moving your retail business online to advice on navigating your current business challenges. 

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    Frequently asked questions about starting an online grocery store

    How do I start an online food store?

    1. Find your niche (what food items you want to sell)
    2. Identify your target audience
    3. Identify your target location (where you want to/ can deliver)
    4. Tie up with a supplier
    5. Create your brand, packaging and labels
    6. Price your products
    7. Create an online store on Shopify
    8. Choose your delivery partner
    9. Market your products

    How do I start an online grocery business from home?

    1. Identify the products you want to sell
    2. Locate the suppliers who can help you with sourcing the products
    3. Identify your target audience and location
    4. Choose a delivery partner
    5. Create your brand, packaging and labels
    6. Set a price for all your products
    7. Create an online store on Shopify
    8. Set up online payment methods
    9. Market your products

    How do online grocery stores work?

    An online grocery store basically works on the hyperlocal concept. This is to ensure that the products/ goods get delivered to the customers within 24 hours. When you set up an online grocery store, the customer can place an order for the products they need, make the payment and then choose to either have it delivered or picked up from your physical store.

    What is the best grocery delivery service?

    eCommerce platforms like Shopify easily integrate with a number of logistics and delivery partners. All you need to do is find the one that serves your target market and has good performance ratings. Check some of our partners here.

    What should I sell online in wholesale?

    There are a number of products that you can sell, depending on who you want to market to and the suppliers you're in contact with. Here are some examples: Travel accessories Smart watches Skincare products Health and wellness products Lamps and lighting Hobbies and craft products/ kits

    Do you want to create your own online store?