At Brightscout, we know that building a Shopify store is one of the most fun and prospective things many entrepreneurs get to do. The excitement of finally having an online retail store on one of the world's most versatile eCommerce platforms can be challenging to hide. The process of choosing a target audience, designing the site, and branding it with your colors and products is fun. Then, in anticipation of money inflows, the entrepreneurs will choose a business structure and connect a payment gateway before they launch the store and wait for big money to flow in. However, for many Shopify store owners, that is where the excitement ends because this is where the hard work starts. While Shopify is a full-featured eCommerce platform with all the tools a shop owner needs to start a thriving business, many make grave mistakes that affect their conversions. If you are just getting started with Shopify, you have come to the right place. Here are six of the most common mistakes many entrepreneurs make that you should avoid when building a website with Shopify.
1. Assuming Online Presence Is All It Takes to Grow
In the physical world, all it takes to get a business off the ground is a physical address - preferably close to foot traffic. Merely setting up a shop is all it takes to attract customers. In the eCommerce world, things work differently. Do not make the mistake of thinking all it takes to get the job done is setting up a fancy Shopify store. The Internet is full of retail stores selling almost anything you can imagine. It will take time and effort to get your store and products noticed. Some of the most popular ways to drive traffic to your website include:
- Running paid social media campaigns on platforms your target audiences frequent
- Engaging with the target audience on social media and email
- Launching email marketing campaigns with quality leads
- Using influencers to reach new audiences
- Attracting potential customers with quality content
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) to appear on search results.
The gravest mistake you can make is to assume that users will keep coming just because you have to offer what they need. As a rule of thumb, soft-launch your site with your closest friends, family, colleagues, and supporters, to generate hype before the actual launch. This approach will help you get invaluable feedback you will need to optimize the store before the actual launch. New businesses have a hard time on Shopify for one reason: the competition is stiff. However, you will need to keep working on reaching your target market and optimizing your store for both users and search engines.
2. Failing to Know Your Ideal Customer
Whatever you are selling, you can be sure millions of people are willing to pay what you charge for the product. However, marketing your products to anybody and everybody at once is to fail the first rule of business, which is to know your customer. Even before you launch any marketing campaign, take the time to study the market and identify the ideal customer. There are many ways to achieve this, but one of the most effective is creating customer personas. Creating multiple personalities of your ideal customers is a great way to connect with the right audience and create winning marketing campaigns. Creating personas for the ideal customers will also help you manage your marketing and advertising costs. You will spend less on the campaigns, and since they are well-targeted, your efforts will be more effective as well. Once you create multiple personas of your target customers, segregate them by different parameters. This may include demographics, motivations, shopping behaviors, psychographics, etc. The more you know your target market, the better you will reach the ideal customers, and the more you will sell.
3. Not Branding Your Store the Right Way
The world of eCommerce is so dynamic that it has completely revolutionized how we do business. For instance, branding is a core element of setting up an eCommerce shop. The most successful stores are those that have a perfect blend of branded aesthetics and functionality. While still setting up shop, invest in designing a good logo that represents your store and consult a designer to select the best colors to use. One major mistake many first-time Shopify store owners make is launching their shops with inadequate branding. Many shops go live without a logo and with bits and pieces of branding all over the store to confuse customers. Professionally designed and relevant logo, fonts and font sizes, store design, and theme colors are critical to brand identity. If you need to, find good unique stock photos and be sure to optimize them well for your shop. Finally, be consistent with the navigation and appearance of the pages and the location of page items and sections in your store.
4. Launching Without a Solid Marketing Plan
It is one thing to identify the target market for your products. It is an entirely different thing to reach them and convince them to buy from you. For the second step, you need a solid business plan that outlines your competitive strategy and what marketing techniques work for the target market. Pricing is one of the most crucial factors when setting up a Shopify store. Developing a solid marketing plan even before the store launches will also help you create a marketing mix that targets the right market at the right price.Sure, it takes time to do market research and create a marketing plan. But then, if you do it right, the marketing strategy will get your products in front of the right customer, and sales will be off the charts.Your marketing plan must be a step-by-step no-fail manual for running the business. The roadmap should be comprehensive with a best-case scenario as well as backup plans for when things do not go as planned. It must cover:
- The target audience
- The brand message and USP
- Pricing and marketing strategies
- The potential reach and growth opportunities
- Best-case and worst-case scenarios
As a part of your market research, learn what marketing strategies the competition used to find out what worked and what you may need to adapt and improve upon.
5. Lack of Proper Contact Us or About Us Pages
You may know all you need to know about your customer, but your business could still fail if you put little effort into getting the customer to know you.About Us and Contact Us pages are some of the most visited pages on a Shopify store. Many customers will want to know the basic information about a merchant before you can give them their money. Do not assume that customers will trust the product you sell without trying to know you or your brand.You can remedy this mistake in several ways:
Tell your story: Customers want to know what your deal is. They know you must be getting out of the deal aside from the profit you make. On the About Us or About Me page, tell your story briefly - what makes your journey unique and why your brand is special. Customers will connect better with you when they feel they know you.
Include your location: Whether you sell physical products that need to be shipped or provide a digital service, people want to know where you are. Many customers factor this in before deciding to buy from an online store.
Add your contacts: Have a contact page where customers can leave a quick message. You must also provide a proper email address - preferably with your own domain name. This builds trust and loyalty and adds a hint of professionalism to the brand.
6. Leaving the Default SEO Settings
Shopify does an okay job of optimizing every page with default SEO settings. However, many people use search engines such as Google and Bing to find what they want online. Therefore, optimizing SEO for your products is critical to reaching as many people as possible without paying for ads. As a general rule, store owners on Shopify optimize their stores, websites, brands, and products to appear on the first page of search results when a user searches a specific keyword or phrase.There are five core factors that help your store or products appear on the first page of search results:
- The number of natural links on other websites that point to your store
- The authority of the websites based on, among others, user engagement
- How old your domain name or store URL is
- The site, structure, and content of your page or store
- How well the page is optimized for search engines
It is also worth pointing out that SEO for a Shopify page, or any other website for that matter, is never a one-time task but an ongoing process. As a part of your SEO, be sure to:
- Set up a hierarchy and site map on your store
- Research the right keywords for your brand, target market, and products
- Optimize store metadata for search engines
- Add alt text to images
- Create quality content pointing to your store and products
- Optimize the loading speed of the website
- Make the store responsive and mobile-friendly
There is much more you may need to do to outdo the competition and appear on the first page of search engines. These handful of points are the absolutely must-do to avoid leaving your store buried deep in search results such that users cannot find it.
Many entrepreneurs who set up a Shopify store end up failing because they make few but gravely mistakes from which their ventures do not recover. Luckily, there is information online you can use to avoid making such mistakes and to make your new store thrive. Researching and identifying common mistakes entrepreneurs make on Shopify is the first step to creating a successful site. The next step should be to talk to the experts to get personalized advice on how best to guarantee your store succeeds. If you are ready to take this step, Brightscout has a stacked bench of handy resources to steer you in the right direction!