This step may be last, but it's definitely the most important step you will do as a store owner. If you skip this step, I can guarantee you that you will have very little sales (if any). Without a doubt, the biggest mistake that I see being made - by what seems to be nearly all new eCommerce entrepreneurs - is that they are not marketing their store effectively.
Just having a beautiful site isn't enough to guarantee sales. You have to invest time (and/or money) into marketing your brand & products. There are 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! If you need help marketing your store, consider hiring an official Shopify Marketing Expert to work with you to generate sales.
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. 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 also 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 many marketing methods you can try, so don't give up until you've exhausted all of your options. If you do find yourself running out of marketing options, and you can't afford to hire a professional marketing expert (or you have and it hasn't worked) then you may need to consider other business ideas. There's nothing shameful in giving up on one business to start another. Most entrepreneurs go through many failed businesses before they create a successful one. Never stop being creative, and if you believe in something, put all your effort into it. Otherwise, you'll most likely end up with regrets and a project/business/company that's only half as good as it could have been.
"Work like hell. I mean you just have to put in 80 to 100 hour weeks every week. [This] improves the odds of success. If other people are putting in 40 hour workweeks and you're putting in 100 hour workweeks, then even if you're doing the same thing, you know that you will achieve in four months what it takes them a year to achieve."
-- Elon Musk
Need more help with this step? Check out Shopify's marketing guide by clicking here.