The following is a guest post by Growth Hacking consultant Roy Povarchik.
Do you want to know the secrets behind some of the best Shopify shops out there?
If you are looking to improve your Shopify store or perhaps just get started or simply want to get some inside information on how successful stores get to be successful - look no further!
We have rounded up 25 Shopify store owners who we feel are doing something right, to give their advice regarding the best practices to sell using Shopify.
We asked them “What is the best tip you can give to new upcoming ecommerce store owners?” This is what they answered:
Dan Provost from Studio Neat:
“Focus on clarity and simplicity. The worst thing you can do is confuse, bombard, or disorient a potential customer.
They want to buy your thing! You should make it as easy as possible for them to do so.”
Adrian Lee from Little Sparrow Tea:
“Be Yourself in your approach.
If your brand and shop is a natural extension of you then it will be natural and engaging and a pleasure for you to develop.”
Jordan Schau from Pure Fix Cycles:
“Test Everything. I come from a background where I want to test and measure everything. If you can measure your results, the decision process becomes much easier.
Testing everything from page layout, navigation, marketing efforts (by channel, messaging, imagery, landing page, etc) allowed us to optimize our site and content to help boost sales!”
Wendy Guerin from Cookbook Village:
“The best advice we can give to a new ecommerce store owner is to listen to your market and your own instincts when it comes to marketing and running your online store. Many people will give you all kinds of advice on how to sell and market.
They will tell you how to perform your search advertising, your SEO, your cart, and more. You know your product and customer best, and need to follow the path that you know is best for your customers.
Don't be pressured or swayed into doing something until you first research it on your own. Cookbook Village understands its market well. We don't market by trend. We cater 100% to serving our customers the way we know they want to be served.”
Viviane Goodwin from Goodwin & Goodwin:
"Keep evolving your ecommerce store, don't just stop after your new site has gone live.
We are constantly developing our store and typically spend 1-2 days a week improving the SEO, updating the homepage, refreshing the copy and images and always looking at new ways our customers can find our products quicker and faster through navigation."
Jennifer Cobersky from Bottle Cutting:
"There are several factors that we consider components of our success in selling online. Great quality pictures in a real life setting, good customer service (which can be lacking when everything is done online and through text..its important to remember that customers are human!) and lastly, we do most of our advertising through social media.
We have developed a brand and send the same messages consistently about our products."
Andre Jr. Co-Founder & CEO at JM & Sons:
"There’s two key insights we can share with new upcoming ecommerce store owners.
First, an ecommerce should be used as a testing ground for your products and brand. In other words, it is a inexpensive to channel to reach out to your clients (or potential clients) to test the demand your new designs/products 7/ pricing without incurring massive overhead, R&D, inventory holding costs and the risk of having to liquidate your inventory.
We’ve realized that the best way to validate the demand of our new designs/products is to create a prototype and launch it on our site and gather feedbacks and data (we usually hold an adequate, yet small inventory to fulfill orders if the new item sells).
And secondly, great product photography. The visual appeal of your products online is a source a differentiation between brands and your competition."
Maggie Battista Founder Eat Boutique:
"Focus hard on the imagery. All you have is your brand and imagery is the most straight-forward way to convey the emotion and message behind your brand.”
Marcwenn from Marcwenn:
"Do as many things that do not scale as possible.
They should focus on each individual customer obsessively. It may seem counter-intuitive to do things manually that is impossible to do to scale. But these things really do create loyal customers and breed good word of mouth. Doing things like personally emailing your first 500-1000 customers, sending personal thank you notes, asking for feedback and Implementing it, and going through the ordering steps with customers.
These things really go a long way in helping validate what new features or products your store needs, it allows you to provide amazing customer service. and also identify the pain points in your website."
Nabil Samadani from SALT SURF:
"Keep it simple, and use the Shopify features the way they were intended to be used (without too much reconfiguration on the back end).
Shopify is a great tool, and its straightforward to use. Straightforward design (on both the front and back end) is one of the most important aspects in a successful shopping experience!"
Hillary Bilheimer from HELM Boots:
"The best tip HELM Boots can give new upcoming eccommerce store owners is to never fall behind on your customer service.
Any emails that you receive, answer as quickly as you can and be as helpful and as friendly as you can. You should make your customers feel that by purchasing your product, you are entering a relationship with them.
Your customers and future customers are your livelihood and you need to make them feel confident in what you are offering and that they will be taken care of throughout the ownership of that product.
Setting the tone with great customer service is a good way to establish that.”
Giselle Gyalzen from Rare Device:
“A great website design is a must, but don't forget that you also need great, consistent product photography.
You must also have clear store policies and accessible and responsive customer service.”
Paul Cunningam from Leather Head Sports:
“There are a lot of elements that contribute to a successful online store. When I set about designing the Leather Head Sports Shopify website, I started with great photography. Big, high quality pictures are at the heart of our web-site.
Customers want to see what they're buying. If you have visually compelling products, it is critical that you showcase them with great photography.”
Janine Vangool from UPPERCASE:
“I've been on Shopify since the early days (I'm store number 83!) though the focus of my business has changed and grown over the years, Shopify has been a constant. It has been very reliable and has served me well.
When I first started, ecommerce was just a supplement to what I do -- now it is the mainstay of my business.
My tip for new ecommerce store owners is to recognize the 24-hour potential of the store. It's great to wake up and see orders that have accumulated overnight from overseas visitors. It is important to set up good customer service so that these customers' needs don't feel neglected.
As a one-woman operation, that means that I do have to be available for customer service at odd hours and check on my store throughout the day and into the evening, but this nurturing pays off in the long run with long-term customer relationships and consistent sales.”
Rosie Oneill from Sugarfina:
“It’s all about the photos. Be sure to invest in high-quality photography that showcases your product in its best light, especially if it’s a food product. Remember, you eat with your eyes first!
Share your story. Your customers like knowing the people behind the product. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get to know your customers directly. Have a personality.
Great brands differentiate themselves with great copy and a strong brand voice. Infuse your personality throughout your creative, from the homepage to the confirmation email and all the little details in between.”
Ryan Barr from Whipping Post:
“I think its common for new store owners to be obsessed with getting as many new customers as possible.
We need new customers to grow. However, I wouldn't neglect your existing customers and their experience as they can be a critical mouthpiece for your brand.
An exercise I like to do is think, "what kind of experience will this customer need to have to want to share my brand with others?". This can be beautiful packaging, freebies with purchase, handwritten notes, or very personalized emails. There are a lot of options to get creative with.”
Regine Paquette from Victoire Boutique:
“Being that we started in brick & mortar retail to then open our online shop, I would say our best tip would be to communicate your brand in every way you can so that people get as much of an experience shopping with you online as they would by stepping into your shop in person.
For us that means helpful email communications with current and potential customers, taking unique & playful product pictures, engaging with our customers on social media, and wrapping our orders with great care so that customers really feel they've received something special.
People are buying more and more online, but they still want that human connection.”
Michael Cohen from Wrightwood Furniture:
“KISS. Engineers have an expression, KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. There are so many possible features that can be added on an ecommerce site. Starting a business we are so eager to do everything for the customer and try to help them in every way.
Don't, at least not at first. Any new business is more work than you think. You can always add more features later. Keep it simple to begin.
Responsive. Make sure you have a responsive site. Responsive means that the site looks right on desktop, tablets and phones. More than half of your customers are going to shopping on something other than a PC. There are lots of Shopify templates that are responsive, make sure to use one. Also, have the site tested on various devices. It may be great on iphone 6, but there could be some obscure bug that makes the site not look so great on, say, the an android table.
Do an email popup. One of the best ways to market to customers is with email, but you need their email address first. Do an email pop-up. These are a little annoying for the customer, but they collect a lot of email addresses. People who have come to your site and are interested want to be informed about great things you are doing. We have found that the "bounce rate", ie number of people who leave right after getting the pop-up is surprisingly low, but do track that for yourself."
Meriel Lesseig from Air Plant Design Studio:
“Take the time to put together a marketing plan with reasonable goals, that feature different seasonal promotions that you want to run.
Shopify lets you create discount codes easily, and also integrates really well with most of the top email marketing campaigns and social media platforms. Don’t underestimate the power of investing in your marketing – especially pay per click advertising in the beginning to get some initial sales going.
Pay per click (or paid search) advertising, when done right, can be a really great way to get some immediate customers while you’re building your brand, and those initial sales can help not only grow your marketing budget but also your confidence and enthusiasm as a new business owner.
We were able to grow our Shopify store AirPlantDesignStudio.com over the past year by investing all of our profits (and a lot of time) back into the business, with a good portion of that toward search marketing and social media marketing. The old adage “if you build it they will come” just simply isn’t true when it comes to E–Commerce."
Scott Lummes from Dahlia:
"The single most important thing to consider for new upcoming ecommerce store owners is to have a physical person, with a telephone, who can be a link to the real world and deliver personal customer care when needed.
Too many companies have tried to establish themselves as ‘purely online’ and don’t offer telephone support, and take far too long to respond to customer queries by email.
This move away from traditional values simply degrades the customer experience and if issues aren’t addressed swiftly, they propagate and damage your reputation faster than you can type an apologetic reply!"
Jonathan Levine from Master and Dynamic:
“Outside of the obvious needs, involving traffic and customer acquisition, it's imperative to also focus on all customer touch points and interactions.
This involves everything from product unboxing, shipping confirmation emails, or even refund notifications, all points of contact in which your customer interacts with your brand.
As a store owner you should be looking at these as opportunities to further delight your customer and increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. The customer journey doesn't come to an end once a customer clicks "Place Order.”
Jeff Sheldon by Ugmonk:
“Product photography is one of the most important parts of running a successful online brand.
Since customers don't have the ability to physically touch and hold the products, the photos need to accurately convey the details and quality of the products. Shooting good product photography is very time-consuming and tedious, but is worth the effort.
A lookbook with lifestyle photography takes it one step further and shows off the personality of the brand. Having a well-shot lookbook helps customers picture themselves wearing or using the products and understanding the overall vibe of the brand.”
Jack Neville from Jack Neville:
“I would emphasize content strongly, we are constantly changing up the homepage so it looks fresh.
Don’t be tempted to have a launch sale, keep that in the bag for further down the line. Be social and approachable, get yourself featured on as many blogs and in as many magazines as possible.
In the end your website is a messenger, you’ve designed a product that you love and your website is letting everybody know about it so put as much of yourself and your brand into it as you can, create your own style!”
Nic Annette Miller from Tattly:
“Be 100% passionate about your product.
Not only just what it is, but how it's produced, photographed, and the overall experience. This type of passion will translate in how you market your business and the type of customers you want to attract to support what you're doing.
Oh, and have fun!"
Joanna Goodman from Au Lit Fine Linens:
“The best tip I can give new online store owners is to treat your online shop as you would a brick and mortar shop. In other words, an online shop has to be ‘merchandised’ regularly (new images/ homepage refreshed) the same way a brick and mortar shop is merchandised with fresh vignettes, displays and windows.
The same goes for the customer service experience. We’ve tried our best to recreate the intimate experience in our store online, which means educating our customers any way we can - with videos, diagrams, “swatch requests” so they can touch our fabrics, and as much detail about every product as we can offer, but in a way that is clean, clear, aesthetically pleasing and tightly edited.”
Have any tips to add? Leave them in the comments section below!
About The Author: Roy Povarchik is the founder of a growth hacking and a content marketing agency that helps startups grow. Roy is an advisor to Captain Up, a platform that allows you too add game mechanics to your Shopify store.