Do you want to start your own online Shopify store? Maybe it sounds difficult to jump into this, but believe us, it’s not as hard as it sounds if you know exactly what you have to care about. Let’s see how you can have a successful online shop!
We try to give you an ace guide that can be helpful for starting the running of a Shopify store, from the first steps all the way to marketing. If you already have an online store and you want to know how you can be more successful, this article also suits you. You always have to learn new things.
Read the article carefully from the beginning to the end. In the second half, you can read about more creative recommendations.
There are a lot of e-commerce platforms that promise better and better deals. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages. However, in our opinion, Shopify is the best, and to confirm it, we created a dividual blog post where we talk about this topic. Check that out if you haven’t got a Shopify store yet and you are thinking about opening one. Shopify, by the way, is an all-in-one e-commerce solution. It is the friend of retailers, its usage is a piece of cake. This platform is successful because of properties like rationality, stability, resiliency, and because of the fact that they have a serious development team.
It’s never been easier to start an e-commerce business.
Get an idea that brings success
It’s different how future retailers get into their business, which step of the ladder they are standing on. Whether they just only know that they want an e-store, and that’s it, or they know exactly what they want to sell and how. Now, let’s focus on the former one. You have to consider some basic things before starting thinking about concrete decisions and ideas. Do you know what you need for having an e-commerce store? Well, I know, that for example for having a store working with the drop shipping model (by clicking here you can read about the newer and more reliable form of it, called remote warehousing), however, you still have financial affairs. You need capital investment, think about the hosting, applications, law things and so on. If you note this, you are ready for the next steps.
If you want to be successful, you have to believe in yourself and have to focus on being successful, and don’t give up when you are facing problems. You can do it! The other line I always like to mention is that if the visitors of your online store are insecure, they won’t buy. You truly have to realize that you are a seller and you do your job for customers. They have to trust you because they get items from you. Make sure that your store is neat and your message is clear.
Find the best product
You can sell anything online. It’s a never-ending list. There are some basic product ideas like clothing, electronics, bag, jewelry, and you can also think about more specific markets. The most important thing is to find a niche. So even if you are selling products in one of the common fields, you can find a unique niche, because everything depends on the location, customers, quality, exclusivity etc. However, do not sell items that are out of fashion, no longer trendy. And be different than others.
Find a niche!
Sell products that people need. It’s better to not get them from marketplaces like eBay or Amazon because everyone sells items from there. People can find those products everywhere, it’s not unique at all. You won’t be special, you can’t get a lot of income. Also, people will recognize that those are from the marketplaces, so they will go there, and just simply buy what they want for a lower price. And they are right.
How you can get product ideas, or how you can get the best product ideas? Well, there are a lot of ways. Maybe it won’t be the most effective process if you just sit down in a quiet room—I don’t say it’s impossible—, but a lot of good ideas come from the moments when you are out somewhere, doing stuff when there are a lot of impacts on you.
Maybe the most useful thing we can share with you now is the supplier list I am about to recommend. We have 5 supplier lists on our blog, and we categorized the drop shippers, wholesalers there, by location and by product types. Just scroll there and find out what to sell. Europe • The USA • Australia • Canada • Africa & Asia.
Another thing, that is also useful if you are already thinking about getting products and not just the idea itself, is a feature we released in spring 2018. This is Syncee Supplier Exchange. It is a supplier directory from where you can import the products of more than 60 companies already, included in the catalog, with just a few clicks. Click here to read more about this service.
Pinpoint your target audience
One of the most important things about setting up an online store is to find your target audience. You always have to focus on who you sell your products to. You have to recommend the best items to them on the main page, do marketing right, select products depending on their need. You have to set, for example, the Facebook ads right too when you set the location and the age and so on and your products have to suit it.
So, if you got the idea what you want to sell, you have to identify the right target audience for your online store. Think about the gender, the location, the age, the field of interest that is connecting.
Name your online store
The name of your store is one of the most important things when you are about setting up an online shop. It is deeply important to be attractive. In a lot of cases, it is the entrance, the title of a book, that is telling things about what people can find inside.
- The name has to be simple so that anyone can remember it easily. If it’s special and cool too, that’s the best.
- It has to tell something about your online store. It’s better if it refers to your products somehow.
- The spelling and pronounciation must be easy.
- Maybe it’s cooler if the name doesn’t have numbers in it.
- Find keywords referring to your online store, that can help you decide about the final name.
- Think about the social media. Your name has to look good as a page, profile there too.
Shopify Business Name Generator
Shopify has a free tool, you can generate business names and check domain availability instantly with it. It’s useful and tells you unique store names. All you have to do is to find a keyword as for your store on your own, type it in the appropriate search field and click on the Generate names button. It couldn’t be easier. The system will give you a wide selection of available names.
If you already have a Shopify store, it’s never too late to change the name of it, if you want. You just have to redirect the old site to the new one. It’s about the domain of your store, I will talk about it in a later paragraph. Scroll down for it.
It’s time to build your store! You can do it on the official site of Shopify. Click on the Get started blue button on the top right corner. There you have to fill a short form and just simply register for the 14-day free trial. When you will want to subscribe to a plan, you can choose from 3+2 plans that are the followings: Basic Shopify, Shopify, Advanced, Shopify Plus, Shopify Lite.
Do the settings
After registering on Shopify, there are a few settings you need to do, for example about the payment process or the taxes.
There is a section in Shopify’s Help Center that outlines the most important tasks to get your business up, they are talking about the process in details, I recommend you to check that out when you are about to set up your store.
It’s important to set up everything right—if you need help, you can ask your questions from Shopify’s customer support team—so that you wouldn’t have issues later that can ruin your business.
Create a good appearance
Make your website look great. You can use a Shopify theme for it. You can add a free one from the admin interface or you can add a theme from the Theme Store. Ones from the latter are developed by third-party designers and you have to pay for them.
Pay attention to the design, it not only depends on the theme you choose. It’s also about images and texts. The appearance has to be trendy, pretty, neat, and aesthetic. Make sure that the layout is not bothering. Also, make sure that everything is okay with the navigation, it’s not difficult to find anything for the visitors. Set it to be responsive to every size and device. Before you will publish the store’s site, you have to do some tests, ask others what they think.
It’s also important to use matching colors, use unified branding elements, use attractive headlines, slogans. These have to be easy to take in. Use high-quality, spectacular, demanding images. As for the menus: everything has to be touchscreen-compatible, and the font size and style has to be easy to read. Being clear-out can benefit you.
If your website doesn’t look good, people won’t feel comfortable and maybe won’t want to buy anything. With a nice design, they might think you are more reliable. Every purchase is about emotions.
People will judge by the book’s cover.
Add the important pages
Your domain is the URL or the website address you have, people will use it to reach your online store. So, you have to set up a domain for your shop. The domain name has to be identical to, or very close to the name of your online store that you show on the top of your website, page, and on social media.
When you register to Shopify you will have a domain like example.myshopify.com. However, even if Shopify is a precious platform, it’s more tempting to customers when they only see for example the .com after your store’s name or the relating ending to your location, without the myshopify part. What you have to do is to create a new domain at a domain registrar, at a third-party provider, and then redirect it to your Shopify store. When you have that new domain, there’s one more thing you have to do. You have to go to the management interface of your store and set it to redirected with just a click.
You can read more about these steps on Shopify’s Help Center. There, you can find a full guide, you won’t have any problems.
Decide on the business model
What is it about? Well, you have to decide whether you want to use the standard wholesale model or drop shipping. A lot of e-commerce business people jump into drop shipping without knowing that regardless you don’t have to invest money on the products it doesn’t mean it’s fully free and that the success will be there to you in one or two days.
What we recommend you is to use the remote warehousing retail fulfillment method that is a mixture of the drop shipping and the standard wholesale model and it is the best to use if you want success in the long run. Remote warehousing means that you don’t have capital as for the products, you will get data file, URL or FTP, for example, from your supplier with the products data that you can import into your Shopify store with the appropriate product managing application, for example, Syncee. You don’t have inventory in this way.
The process is the following:
The customer places an order in the online store and pays for the chosen product >> The retailer forwards the order to the wholesaler and pays for the items >> The wholesaler ships the product to the retailer or to the fulfillment center >> The retailer ships the product to the customer.
One of the main differences between remote warehousing and drop shipping is that the supplier doesn’t ship the product directly to the customer, it ships to you that means you can check the quality of the product. Also, that if the customer orders more products from your store but these are from more suppliers, the customer won’t get more packages, because the items are waiting for each other at your place that can be your own garage at first, or a fulfillment center later.
When you use the remote warehousing model, you work with local suppliers, and not with marketplaces. So you don’t have to worry about the warranty or lost packages for example, and the delivery time will be short, the customers won’t have to wait long weeks to get the ordered products. You can have unique products too, you won’t sell items that everyone else does that are getting the products from marketplaces.
Find the best supplier for your needs
You could already read a bit about what suppliers we recommend to work with, above, at the Products and the Decide on the business model subheadings.
We recommend you to work with local suppliers.
What are the beneficial points of this? Your customers don’t have to wait long weeks to get the products, there are short delivery time and low delivery cost. The prices of the products are also lower in this case, not like in other ways. What we don’t recommend much is to get products from marketplaces like eBay, AliExpress etc.
If you work with marketplaces, you sell products that everyone else does. You need to find a supplier that has products for your unique needs. If you work with local suppliers, you will feel safer, there won’t be lost packages. Banks won’t turn away, there won’t be problems on the warranty, with customs duty (maybe, it’s not something that can be guaranteed, it depends on the country, not the supplier, but in this way, working with local suppliers, it’s safer) and VAT. Furthermore, the products’ quality will probably be better.
Where can you find new suppliers? You can do searches on Google using the important keywords (the product category’s name + any of the supplier/wholesaler/drop shipping/shipping/feed) tags, you can order from the competitor and check who it works with if the name is on the package, you can attend trade shows or exhibitions, use directories, check forums or use online product sourcing tools. Two simple ways to find suppliers have something to do with Syncee. Let’s see.
One is, that we have supplier lists on our blog with hundreds of drop shippers, wholesalers shown in them, separated by product category and location. Europe • The USA • Australia • Canada • Africa & Asia. Also, another solution is the Syncee Supplier Exchange. This is a supplier directory that we have released in this spring and now it has more than 60 drop shippers/wholesalers in. The beneficial points of this are that these are reliable companies and that you can get product from here with just a few clicks. Click here to read more about this service.
If you want processes to be easier, it’s a good idea to check some applications on Shopify’s App Store. What you will truly need is a product managing app, a billing app, and a marketing app.
If you want to save time and money, it’s highly recommended to have Syncee among your installed Shopify applications. This is a product managing app that does product import and update, but you can also do upsert and export too. Export is only for the products data and not for the orders, and it’s mostly used when people move their stores or as store owners, they want to become suppliers and they want to provide a data file. You are able to import products from any suppliers using Syncee as long as the company can provide a CSV, XML, XLS(X), JSON or TXT data feed file. Provide a URL or FTP contact for example.
Forget about manual product management.
Let Syncee help your work and life become easier as for the automated management process.
To install Syncee you have to go to Shopify’s App Store. You can find the application within the Inventory category. Click on the Get button for Syncee. If you have already logged into your store, you will be directed to the installation page where you can do the final, necessary step. Just click on the Install App button, and you are done.
If you want to add a new import task with Syncee let’s look what simple steps you have to take. To add your supplier’s data feed to your Shopify store using Syncee, click on the Products button and choose Import task. You need to add a name to your task, choose the store you would like to use and choose the type of the import task. Click here to read about every important steps and fact about importing, in our Help Center.
If you install Syncee, you will be able to find our Supplier Exchange feature too in the management interface.
Why is it beneficial to have Syncee, briefly? You don’t have to waste time and money on manual product managing, Syncee will do everything automatically for you. You don’t have to do the importing and updating all day long, or hiring people to do that for you. Imagine how difficult would it be having hundreds and thousands of products. It’s hard to check everything. With this application, you can do upsert too besides import and update which means that when your supplier updates the data feed file, Syncee will recognize, and simply update the existing ones and upload the new items. You can also filter your products. And the app’s pricing is based on product number and not variant SKU.
After having products, we have to talk about the appearance of your website, your product pages. Make it neat. Try to work with a supplier that can provide you products with more images so that future customers can check the items from more direction before purchasing. Furthermore, it’s also good if you can upload images of all variants, but it depends on the supplier. It’s really important to see the items as realistic as possible.
Include all the necessary product information on these pages, make sure that people know everything about the certain items.
If the product’s page has only the name and the price of an item and nothing else, it won’t encourage customers. Show as many details as possible: exact name, sizes, colors, utility, features, delivery time, warranty. It would be also beneficial if you could upload photos of the products that you got from previous buyers. Place a short description about the manufacturer too, if it’s possible. The whole product page has to be easy to see through, you have to use headlines in the product’s description so that you can make it reader-friendly, don’t forget about good grammar, that’s very important to have. You can also create submenus. It’s also beneficial if you give an option to buyers to write an opinion. By the way, submenus like Description, Details, Reviews, and anything necessary like these. Include social media links with small logos on product pages so that people can share with their friends what they find impressive in your store. I would also recommend you to set a rating scale on the product page, it makes customers confident about buying, it helps them.
Place the most important information on the top of the page so that people can read them without scrolling. The page has to reflect the product’s quality, high standards. Encourage people for shopping, but do not be boring. Have a sort of hierarchy on the products page, headed by the name, price, Buy/Add to Cart button and pictures.
It’s good if you highlight the top selling products in your online store, it can be on the main page or in any submenu you find comfortable.
Now, if you are done with everything, you are not totally ready yet. You better ask for your friends’ or family’s help to check your online store if everything is fine or not. After fixing every problem and making sure that everything is pretty, it’s time.
Launch your online store now!
Do marketing right and do not burn money
After you set up your online store, you can’t just sit back and wait for your deserved income. The hardest days are just coming because you have to get sales somehow. You have to get people know about your shop and products. Do marketing. However, you have to take care because bad marketing can ruin your business easily. There are a lot of creative ways how you can inspire others to buy from your store. You have to search for ideas on how to do it or hire someone. I recommend you to hire a person to do this because running an online store is not a child’s play, the managing takes a lot of time and you also need a lot of advice. But be careful who you give the job to, it’s better to choose someone from your location you can meet and not work with a virtual assistant.
What you can use for advertising, and what platforms should you be on? Here is our advice.
- Facebook Ads
- Google AdSense
- Google AdWords
- Newsletter, Unique E-mails
You always have to have your eyes open, update your website regularly. Do marketing in the best way, send small a gift and postcard to every purchase, make the packaging neat if you have the opportunity, tell your story in a creative way on your website in a submenu, target well, have cool social media content, don’t create posts in every hour, and don’t sell newsletters more than two times a week. Your lines have to be easy to read, your images have to be of good quality and aesthetic. Also, publish a blog post at least once a week.
Offer sales often, in this way people feel that it’s a good opportunity buying a certain product, especially when they can know when the sale is going to end. If you want to read about the best practices for product pricing in general, we can offer you an article we wrote.
Use abandoned cart software
There are a lot of abandoned cart tools for Shopify stores. You can check those out at the Shopify App Store. What is this thing, by the way? In short, you can get more money thanks to this. In long, these apps and toolboxes help you get back those customers who put something in their carts but then left your shop. The app sends a notification to those people by e-mail or on Messenger. You wouldn’t think how many potential customers left online stores like this, and you also wouldn’t think how much these applications can help.
Well, it’s a bit different, but you can set a pop-up window when visitors are about to leave your website when the cursor is getting out of the field of the website. Probably you have already met this phenomenon, most of the time the store offers, for example, a 10% discount, a coupon code for the customer.
Focus on customer service
Introduce live chat in your online store. Caring for customer relationship is such an important thing. People always have questions about everything, even if it’s an information you have already talked about on your website. However, you can get questions that you haven’t been prepared for. Having a live chat software, opportunity, a real-time customer assistance can help you keep your visitors and turn them to become real buyers. Note, that if you have this kind of chat, or you provide an e-mail address, phone number, or the opportunity to people to write to ask you on Facebook, your response time always have to be short. You have to be always ready to help, before selling and after selling too.
If you want to know about 9 fundamental reasons why Shopify store’s fail, we also have something to recommend you to read.
Also, you can read about the
There you can find a lot of useful ideas, and some of them are not just for this year, they can be evergreen. I highly recommend you to read that blog post!
This place would be too crowded if I talked about every detail about how to be successful with your store. Nevertheless, you can read more in another article of ours. I provide you the subheadings here, and by just a few clicks you can read the topics.
price • reliability • main page • product page • quality • design • images • grammar • call to action • reference • text • orderliness • warranty • delivery • size chart • information • social media • live chat • aida • drop shipping • focus on the target
For more or for unique advice or information you can comment us below!
Content manager and e-commerce adviser at Syncee. Her passion is strong for e-commerce novelties, online stores, and Shopify. She is committed to helping others succeed by her writings.