Want to launch your business online but have no idea where to start? You’ve heard about Shopify’s eCommerce platform, and know it’s perfect for merchants just starting out online. Despite Shopify’s ease of use, you’ll still need help getting pointed in the right direction in the beginning. Within the first 30 days of launching your online store you encounter many different options and choices to make. Start out on the right foot, by following my breakdown of launching your Shopify site, growing it, and installing the best apps from the get-go.
Finding your growth channels
Brainstorm the top five high level channels you could engage with potential customers on and rank them (the most popular are listed below). Then under each, determine the ways you could try to penetrate that channel. Keep in mind your strengths. Pinterest is not the top social network to start with for example, but if you are much more familiar with this over Twitter for example that may be where you start. The following is a list of digital channels to get started. Don’t necessarily rule out traditional media, although I’m not a fan because it’s hard to measure success.
If there is anything on this list you’re not familiar with, like Reddit for example, do a quick Google search and learn about it before you rule that channel out.
Test and Rank
After brainstorming ideas and hopefully learning about all these channels, next pick the top three which you are comfortable with and have the best ideas for. Run some tests which depending on your budget could range from $75 to $2,000, but anything in that range is fine. Now you may be thinking, I don’t want to spend money growing my business. Well if you spend $75 on Facebook ads and it brings in 8 customers who spend on average $40, that’s $320 in revenue and that doesn’t even account for repeat business.
You can’t afford not to test advertising.
Now that you’ve run some tests, determine how much it costs to acquire a customer from each of these three channels. You also want to estimate how many customers are available through this channel, and if they’re the kind you want right now. People of all demographics hearing a radio ad is probably not who you want to be your first customers. Based on the information from your tests, you can rank these channels. Classify each as either promising right now, future potential, or a long shot. It’s important you remove your built in bias (likely towards Facebook) and focus on the results, not what you believe will work for your business.
Focus on what works
You’ve tested, you’ve ranked, you’ve decided where to allocate time and resources so now it’s time to step on the gas and start growing your business! As time progresses you may find channels switch places. You can only advertise on Facebook to fans of basketball in Ontario for long until many have already clicked and your ROI is dropping. That’s when you pivot focus onto the next best channel, or start again and see if the landscape, or your business has changed. It may be time to test some new channels again and start from the top.
Your Shopify store out of the box comes with a basic analytics dashboard which is a good start, and you should definitely get acquainted, but don’t stop there. If you’re not familiar with Google Analytics this is critical part of your business. You need a thorough understanding to identify what you’re doing well and what needs to improve. You can read a great beginner’s guide here.
Once you’ve got the hang of GA you should start creating and analyzing the following reports:
- Customer Behaviour Report
- Audience reports
- eCommerce Overview report
- In-Page Analytics Reports
Learn how to create these here.
Related: Google Analytics 101
Data Driven Improvements Using Google Analytics
By understanding the age and gender of your highest performing segment you can begin to plan accordingly
This means not only planning your product offering to cater to your best demographics, but also user testing. You want to get as many people as possible that fit into that demographic to test your website, give feedback and ultimately make changes.
You can target your adverting to this demographic as well
By visiting Behaviour -> Behaviour flow -> Site content -> Content drilldown and adding device category, you can see the pages that are performing poorly on mobile. This could mean something is breaking, not enough products are visible on the screen, etc. but with mobile traffic approaching 50% for most of our clients understanding mobile experience is more important than ever.
These seem like a great idea from a marketing perspective because you get to show off multiple top products, and give them the spotlight. However, humans are very easily distracted. If you land on a webpage see a great look in the hero image and start looking at the various articles of clothing the model is wearing, but spend more than 3 seconds (obviously) it switches, and now your attention is broken, you’re now seeing something else and if that is not even better, there’s a good chance the visitor will just leave. It’s annoying, it’s distracting, and they didn’t even get to your navigation before leaving! On top of that, sliders negatively impact your website’s SEO.
Launching Your Shopify Store
While we advocate on behalf of Shopify’s ease of use, that won’t guarantee when it comes time to managing your eCommerce operations that you will have all the knowledge you need in order to run your store successfully. Driving traffic and sales online won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. Consider what I’ve outlined above, and add it in to your strategy for the first 30 days of your store’s launch. Consider your growth channels, but don’t forget to run tests. Keep in mind your strengths while focusing on what works best for your business. Although Shopify has built-in analytics, you’ll want to get your site set-up on Google Analytics to make the most of the data that’s available to you. The data you can collect will play a big role in strategy building and execution. Design considerations also should be made when you’re launching a site. Consumer behaviour is changing rapidly, and can dictate your results. Best of luck in your eCommerce adventures and be on the look out for more helpful Shopify tips coming your way on our blog.