This is a guest post from Patrick Foster, an eCommerce entrepreneur, coach, and writer. He currently writes on EcommerceTips.org where he shares engaging eCommerce content for entrepreneurs, bloggers and business owners.
So you have decided to take the plunge and start your own eCommerce journey? Good.
Got your products sorted? Been through market validation? Now, the next logical step is to build up a solid online brand that will help launch your products to the world. Here are some top tips on how to get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey with Shopify.
Don’t be restricted in what you sell
There is real money to be made if you are brave enough to put a truly innovative product out there. Don’t be restricted by conventions – think outside the box when it comes to selecting the perfect products. Whether you are developing something from scratch, or retailing someone else’s merchandise — the most important part of product development is market validation. You need to make sure that people will actually pay for what you have to offer. You don’t have to please everyone (far from it), but you do need to prove that you can sell enough to make a profit.
Shopify will allow you to sell pretty much anything – physical products, gift cards / vouchers, appointments, courses, content downloads. If you’ve got a ton of expertise and knowledge to share with the world, why not sell an online course? You can help people do better in their lives — help them become better writers, managers, colleagues, designers, digital nomads…the list goes on.
Create the right product that is going to genuinely help people. Make sure it’s something that they need (and want); bland products that everyone else is selling won’t help you stand out.
Invest in email marketing and list building
Email marketing is a super important part of any good eCommerce strategy — email is the perfect way to engage with customers.
- Make sure that your email campaigns are professional: always follow best practices and try not to abuse your list with too many promotional emails, as they turn people off.
- Shopify lets you easily send out cart abandonment emails to any shoppers who haven’t gone through and completed a transaction. You can even embed a custom discount code to sweeten the deal. Use this feature to maximize your sales and conversions, take abandoned cart recovery to the next level with Jilt.
- The best emails stand out in people’s inboxes – try to make them as funny as you can. Here are more email marketing tips for your Shopify store.
Sell in tune with the seasons
Make sure that you invest in advertising around key events in order to maximize seasonal traffic spikes. You will need to prep your store with appropriate seasonal content, and make sure that you’re well-equipped to deal with any traffic or customer increases.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are key shopping events that you need to prepare for, but eCommerce seasonality doesn’t stop there. Think about how all the little (and big) holidays throughout the year impact consumer habits. You might want to set up custom banner ads or tweak your email campaigns to reflect these changes. Offer seasonal promotions and deals to cash in on holiday spending.
Make content central to your strategy
Content is at the heart of great eCommerce in 2017. You need to be able to produce quality content that is going to compel people to explore your product range and brand in-depth.
Investing in blogging is a great eCommerce strategy (and you can use an app like BlogFeeder to sync any blog with Shopify). Blogging will help you create real connections with your customers and will mark you out as an expert in your field. Use your product and customer knowledge wisely – don’t overload your blog with tired sales messages.
Invest in app-collecting
The best Shopify merchants (unsurprisingly) always thank their apps for their success. Shopify apps are the perfect way to manage your store; they connect up with thousands of other useful online (and offline) services and platforms. They can help you with accounting marketing, pricing, inventory; the list goes on.
Don’t waste your time doing things manually and trying to figure out everything yourself – you will only end up doing things backwards and having to start again.
Test out apps to find the best ones for you, and then invest in them. Spending a little bit of money up-front will help you manage costs and business growth in the long-term.
Build brand loyalty
There are loads of hacks and tweaks you can make to improve your customer experience. Invest in the experience to build brand loyalty – always be asking yourself what more you could be doing for your customers?
- Squeeze value out of every interaction, no matter how mundane. Don’t settle for a boring order confirmation page – use Happy Checkout to help customers engage with you after the sale. This moment is when they’re most committed to you as a brand – don’t waste it.
- It’s important to get your customers to socialize with you – social media is a great place for you to share insightful content and brand stories. Engage with your followers and host giveaways and competitions to up your follower count.
- Go above and beyond with your packaging, customer service, and customer support. Great customer experience is all in the details.
Use free trials to test out new ideas
Shopify offers a free trial for a reason – they are keen for you to test the platform out and get going with your business. Embrace Shopify’s offer to help you validate your ideas – don’t sign up until you’re ready to meet your market. Embrace a culture of testing – your have to commit to constantly refining your offering.
Pro hack: Scour the app store for new releases, and keep an eye out for new apps in your existing “app family”. Try out new apps frequently to help you save time and money.
Use the resources wisely
Shopify has created a wealth of useful and insightful resources to help you become a better entrepreneur. Engage with their content and discover more about the platform and how to grow in the right direction. Here are some great resources:
Still want more from Shopify? Speak to the Shopify experts who can guide you in the right direction!
Getting the most out of any eCommerce platform hinges on how much effort you put in – no one will be able to run your business for you. Be curious about your niche, and never stop learning about your customers. Invest in developing great products and great brand experiences – and don’t lose sight of your initial passion, even when things get stressful. What eCommerce challenge will you be tackling in 2017?