I have worked with thousands of Shopify store owners, as a former-Guru and web design setup expert. Listed below are the most common mistakes I've seen new eCommerce entrepreneurs make, ordered by severity. Before you launch your Shopify store, be sure you're not making any of these common mistakes!
Without setting a primary domain (and redirecting all traffic), your customers may see your .myshopify.com URL instead of your custom domain name. This is definitely an easy fix, but often a step many new merchants forget when going to launch their Shopify store. If you've forgotten to set your primary domain, you'll need to see here for step by step instructions on how to set the primary domain for your Shopify store.
Apps can be added to your Shopify store to provide additional functionality. There certainly are many helpful apps you can add, but there's a fine balance between adding extra features to your site, and cluttering your site (which lowers loading speeds). Of course, it all depends on which apps you're adding, but I recommend keeping the total number of apps added to your store under 10. Don't have any apps on your store yet? See my blog - 16 Must Have Shopify Apps - where I list my favourites.
Using poor quality, blurry, or improperly-size images is one of the quickest ways to dissolve customer trust. The images you use are the biggest factors as to whether or not someone is going to make a purchase. Poor quality product photos can be mistaken for poor quality products. Over-sized logos and banners can come across as 'spammy' or unprofessional. Using images that are bigger than how they load on the page can also drastically decrease your loading speeds. On average, if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, the customer is likely to leave. I personally use PicResize to size images, and I use TinyPNG to optimize file sizes.
If you're selling clothing, sizing charts aren't optional. One of the biggest drawbacks to purchasing apparel online is that customers can't try it on before purchasing. This means you need to make sure you're including sizing charts on your site, so customers purchase the right size - the first time. Not all brands are the same sizes either. Your customer may be a medium size shirt in one brand, but a small in another. Without sizing charts, they may order the wrong size which results in a negative experience (and this is a fast way to make sure someone doesn't purchase from your store again). I recommend adding your sizing charts to the bottom of each product's description.
We all hate popups. I've never met someone who goes to a site and hopes a popup takes over the better part of the page. However, they are effective at collecting customer emails, and distributing discount codes, if done correctly. One of the biggest mistakes I see merchants make with popups is having them come up right away. You need to give your customers a chance to browse the site before you ask them to sign up for something. Otherwise, they'll be annoyed right off the bat, which makes them less likely to continue browsing your site, or make a purchase. I recommend setting your popups to occur after a minimum of 30 seconds (or even better, 1-2 minutes after arriving at the site). Additionally, you only want the popup to come up once - not every time the customer clicks to a different page. You only get 1 chance at a first impression - don't ruin it with 'spammy' popups!
It seems that many merchants are under the impression of, "the more products I offer, the more likely customers will find something they like and make a purchase." This couldn't be any more incorrect. The majority of successful stores I've seen have focused in on a niche, rather than 'shotgunning' their options and hoping for the best. You're not competing with Amazon - so don't bother trying. Focus in on a handful of products you know people will like and promote them inclusively. Find out which of those products sell the best, then put up to half of your marketing budget into that one product and see what happens. You'll be surprised how much easier it is to sell one product, rather than thousands of products at once. This also helps prevent your customers from falling into the 'Paradox of Choice'.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. The customizations available to merchants building stores on Shopify is almost limitless. However, this often leads merchants to trying to make their site 100% unique. In theory, this is a great mentality to have - you certainly don't want your site to look like one of your competitors, or else your potential customers might see the site as a 'copycat' or 'knock off'. With that said, when it comes to your website's colour scheme, my advice is to stick with what works. This means a white background (many recommend an off-white colour instead of #FFFFFF) and using your brand's colours to accent your site (links, buttons, headers, etc.). The absolute most important part of your colour scheme is to make sure all of the text on your site can be easily read (without any straining on the eyes).
So you've spent the whole weekend building your site from scratch. It looks amazing on your MacBook, and you think you're ready to launch? Wrong! Just because the site looks great on your computer, doesn't mean it will look the same on other's, or mobile devices (phones and tablets). You'll definitely want to test your site on multiple devices to make sure things are working and displaying as they should. You may need to resizing certain images, or change the way you're presenting your content so that your look (and brand) stays consistent across all devices. For example, one of the most common issues I've seen involve tables - they tend to look great on computers, but then end up 'smushed' together (or with large horizontal scroll bars) on cell phones. One solution to the tables issue is to use images rather than HTML if possible.
Facebook and Google ads are certainly the two most popular ways to advertise websites. However, they're not exclusively the only options you have for marketing your new online store (and they may not even be the best options for your specific business). For local businesses, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use for getting your brand known locally. This involves actually talking to people in person, and looking them in the eyes when you speak. This is important because it creates a personal connection with the customer (but try not to be weird about it, and avoid staring at them like a deer in the headlights). This can, for example, include handing out business cards with discount codes on the back, or collecting emails for your mailing list at your local mall. There are a number of different methods you can try. I highly recommend checking out this blog - 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale - for help brainstorming different marketing methods.
This is without a doubt the biggest mistake that I see being made by what seems to be nearly all new eCommerce entrepreneurs. Just having a beautiful site isn't enough to guarantee you any sales. You have to invest time (and/or money) into marketing your brand & products. There's over 600+ million active websites on the internet. The likelihood of someone finding a newly launched site organically is slim to none. Without proper marketing, it's highly unlikely you'll find yourself the owner of a successful business. A business plan is essential to all new online stores. Who are you selling to? Where are these customers from? How are you going to let them know about your site? What methods work best for attracting customers? These are just some of the questions you'll want to find answers to - sooner rather than later. Dozens of people post on the Shopify eCommerce forums every week, asking why their store isn't getting any sales? More often than not, the problem isn't the actual website or products, it's the store owner's marketing methods. Sharing a couple posts on Facebook, running a $20 ad campaign, and then sitting back - hoping for the best - isn't going to work. Put the effort in to properly market your online store and you'll see much better results! Need help with marketing your store? Hire an official Shopify Marketing Expert to work with you to generate sales.
Stephen's World Mailing List
Sign up to get the latest blog posts, offers, advice, and more ...