7 Tips for Starting an Online Business with Shopify
Starting a Shopify store can be intimidating. Not only are you starting your own business, but you also have to become more computer savvy for your store to thrive.
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Although Shopify takes you through the process step by step, it doesn’t help you with the finer details. And ultimately, it’s the smaller details that will make your store a success.
Anyone can put products up on Shopify, but it’s the extra care and attention that sets stores apart. Every aspect of your store should be well thought out. If you don’t know where to start, check out these seven tips for starting a Shopify store:
1. Come Up with a Business Plan
Every business needs at least one thing: a business plan. Without one, the business will lack direction, making it much easier to fail. Your business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Before opening up your Shopify store, take some time to think about your business and write your thoughts down. This will save time and help you make more consistent decisions later on.
A basic business plan should include a business vision and description, any strengths and weaknesses, a market analysis, policies or terms, financial information, and any business goals. At the very least, your business plan should be able to answer these six questions: What do you do? What are your products? Who are your potential clients? Who is your competition? What are your annual revenue goals? Where do you want your business to be this time next year?
Of course, you can make yours more detailed if you want. Remember, the more detailed you are in your business plan, the more prepared you’ll be.
2. Make Sure Your Shopify Theme Matches Your Brand
If Starbucks were to start a Shopify store, you wouldn’t expect them to have an extravagantly coloured theme. It would most likely be pretty basic with their classic white and green because that’s their brand. Your chosen theme should reflect your brand’s identity as best as it can.
Your business plan should give you an idea of what your brand will be. And if it doesn’t, just ask yourself what your business’s values are. Do your products help people? Is your business environmentally conscious? What do you hope your products will incite in your customers? Once you’ve decided, keep your brand in mind as you look through Shopify’s themes. The last thing you want to do is confuse your customers with a theme that is wildly different from your brand.
You should also consider the theme’s functionality in reference to your products. For example, if you have multiple color and size options for certain products, choose a theme that allows you to list these options under a single product page, instead of having to make a separate entry for each option.
3. Research and Invest in SEO
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is arguably the most important part of your Shopify store. If you don’t optimize your store for Google or other search engines, new customers won’t be able to find you when they search for your products. SEO might sound overwhelming at the beginning, but there are tons of informational blog posts and free courses to help you available all over the internet.
Once you do your research, you should create a budget for SEO tools if you can. These tools will make your SEO efforts infinitely easier. If you can’t afford any paid tools, such as Moz or Ahrefs, there are some free ones out there as well. However, these tend to have limits on how many times you can use them per day, so it’s best to invest in SEO tools if possible.
4. Use a Mobile-Friendly Design
Nowadays, most online shopping is done over a smartphone. It’s much easier to scroll through your phone and click “Add to Cart” than it is to drag yourself to a physical store. And with your phone, you can do all your shopping from your bed! Who wouldn’t want that?
Keep this in mind when setting up your online store. Before you launch your store, make sure to check that the mobile version of your site looks the way it should. It’s also not a bad idea to double check this by visiting your shop on your own phone. This will also help you get an idea of your loading speed. You want your store to load as fast as possible. Otherwise, potential customers might leave before they even see any of your products.
5. Take Advantage of App Integrations
Shopify gives you the ability to integrate multiple apps into your store. These apps allow you to automate certain processes, sell your products on other sites (like social channels and marketplaces), keep track of payments, evaluate SEO and marketing tactics, and more!
If you aren’t using these apps, you might be missing out. A lot of these apps help to improve your store’s productivity. Without them, your store might not be as successful as it could be. Although most of these apps are paid, there are some free ones out there. So even if you can’t afford some of the pricier ones, you should check out the free or cheaper ones, as they will make your life easier by helping you run your store more efficiently.
6. Create Social Media Campaigns
Marketing and advertising are important aspects of running any business. You need to make sure your products are in front of your customers; otherwise, they may not know you exist. To do this, try running some ad campaigns across as many different social media platforms as possible. Make sure to research social media marketing and take into account any recent trends, as these will increase your campaign’s reach.
Even if you can’t afford to run ads on social media, you should make social media accounts for your store. Post as many updates about your products as you can and keep your posting consistent. You should aim to make at least one new post a week. This will help you gain new followers and ensure that they’re aware of everything you have to offer.
7. Put Your Policies in a Prominent Place
People tend to place their trust in shops that are more transparent. Transparency is especially important for online stores, as it’s much harder to trust a brand you can only interact with online.
The best way to foster trust with your customers is to be clear and open with them as much as possible. Put their minds at ease by making your policies easily accessible. Whether that means placing them at the bottom of each page or creating a separate page for them, make sure they are in a place where none of your customers will miss them. This will ensure that your customers aren’t caught off guard at any point throughout their shopping process, which will encourage them to shop with you again.
Keep these tips in mind when starting your Shopify business. If you have any questions about these tips or more, feel free to reach out! As Shopify experts, we’re here to simplify your Shopify experience every step of the way.