So you’re thinking about jumping on the “I wanna build a Shopify Business” train but you have little or no experience with eCommerce. You’re bound to be making some expensive mistakes and odds are that your lack of experience or inability to get good advice will not turn your project into a successful business. We’ve built this Shopify store guide to help you out.
The honest truth is that without a lot of dedication, time, energy, and financial resources no business will make it past its first year. But with the right start, you will at least see results and be able to figure out if eCommerce is for you or not.
This is an Easy Guide to a Successful Shopify Store
1. Understand what you are looking to sell.
- Do you own a retail store (brick-n-mortar business) and you’d like to list your products online?
- How about putting your hand crafted goods up for sale?
- Do you want to sell items that you will be dropshipping from manufacturers?
- How about starting a print-on-demand store for apparel, books, etc?
All of the above are do-able. Think about it, do a bit of research and decide on what products you want to sell.
2. Find competitors and learn from them
Whatever it is you want to sell you are sure to find competitor websites online. Make a list of 4-5 competitors that have great-looking websites and analyze them from top to bottom.
- How do their logos look?
- What is the global navigation structure (website menu)?
- Do they have a value proposition?
- Check their shipping costs and free shipping thresholds.
- How do their homepages, collection (category) pages and product pages look?
Analyze them and get a shortlist of what you liked the most.
3. Build your Shopify Store’s backbone
There is no point in spending money on themes yet because the catalog is usually where most businesses fail or hit a bottleneck. Build your navigation menu and your store’s collections (store categories) before anything else. Visualize them using the default Shopify theme.
4. Find a suitable theme
The free Shopify themes are super basic and you will need additional apps for more functionalities. Those apps will quickly drive your monthly subscription cost up.
The paid Shopify themes are expensive, they have good functionality, and they have free Shopify support. You’ll still end up needing some additional apps.
The Top-Rated Theme Forest themes (affiliate link) will have great functionality and support built into the cost. They are also much cheaper than Shopify Themes.
We personally prefer working with Theme Forest solutions. Their developers usually even help us in making specific customizations that the clients require. A great theme for any starter is Shella (affiliate link).
5. Install your theme
Be sure to find your theme documentation. You will need that in order to correctly install, configure, and use your theme. Get support from the theme developers and you should have no problem setting up the front end of your website.
6. Configure your website’s footer
Your website’s footer should include contact information, details about your business, your policies, terms & conditions. Also, depending on where you may be situated, you will need to include additional legal pages (GDPR, ADA, CCPA, etc)
7. Get the basics out of the way
Configure your payment methods, shipping methods, and taxes. Make sure to keep shipping as simple as possible and have at least 2 payment methods enabled (credit cards and PayPal but ideally you should have Amazon Pay, Klarna, Apple Pay, and others depending on what’s popular in your region.
We have gone through payment providers in more detail here: Getting the Most out of Buy Now Pay Later Services
8. Set up your email marketing automation
Email marketing automation is an absolute must-have and relying on the basics Shopify offers will have you at a grave disadvantage. You could set up a Free Klaviyo (affiliate link) account fairly easily and at the very least you should have the following automation flows:
- New Subscriber flow – with the target to turn new subscribers into new customers
- New Customer flow – with the target to turn new customers into repeat customers
- Site, Browse, and Cart Abandonment Flows – with the target to convert visitors back to the site and place orders
Follow our extensive guides and set up a corporate-grade Email Marketing Automation program for your Shopify store.
9. Extend your store
Connect your store to Google, Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart with Shopify’s own native apps.
Doing this will not only ensure you will be able to quickly get more traffic and sales but your business will have more visibility and legitimacy when it’s backed up by a social following.
At least 95% of all the requests we get on a daily basis come from failed or failing Shopify stores where the owners read somewhere that anyone can create a “risk-free” dropship-only business and launch a Shopify store.
Not a get rich quick scheme: it’s true, anyone can create a Shopify account, but after hundreds of clients, we are yet to find one that has made it without investing time, energy, and resources.
This is actually good news! Just by following the simple steps from this article, you will be in the top 5% of people that know what they’re doing.
Good luck with your Shopify Store and be sure to reach out if you need help!