How to Grow Your Shopify Store: 9 Tips For E-Commerce Success

Growing a Shopify store from scratch can be tough. That's exactly why we created this guide.

Over 375,000 online stores are using Shopify to get their products on the market.

The software is sophisticated enough to please experienced retailers and established businesses – but simple enough that regular folks can use it to quickly launch a business to earn some extra income.

Online Shopping

That’s the beauty of Shopify.

But what a lot of people have found is that we’re now at a stage where creating the store is the easy part. There’s so much competition due to the reduced barrier to entry that, often it can be hard to cut through the noise and start generating sales.

If you’re one of the many people who has faced this challenge then just know that you aren’t alone, we get hundreds of emails from frustrated store owners pulling their hair out wondering why no-one wants to buy their products.

Before we go on I want to preface this guide by saying that there is no substitute for hard work and dedication. You can’t just build the store and expect users to come flocking (unless you have a very unique product).

But we’ve written this guide to guide you in the right direct with real, practical ways to grow your Shopify store without blowing a hole in your budget or potentially risking your business. Let’s start with some tips that can literally double your traffic:

1. Make Your Store Mobile

It was only a few years ago that desktop computers were responsible for the majority of online traffic. This has changed, however. In North America, mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, are responsible for 60% of all internet use, and Europe is not far behind.

Mobile Shopping Stats

So since over half of all internet usage comes from mobile devices (and 10% of people’s time on mobile devices is spent inside E-commerce apps), not having a mobile app essentially means you’re instantly losing half of your opportunities to engage and convert website visitors before you even go live.

SkinnyMe Tea Mobile Page

The obvious objection to this is that for now, the world is still figuring out how to drive more mobile app sales. In 2015, they were “only” responsible for 15% of all E-commerce revenue.

But here’s why that doesn’t matter:

  1. Mobile E-commerce is a lot less competitive, which means getting that 15% of mobile revenue is significantly easier than selling from desktop traffic.
  2. We’re already spending more time on our smartphones than we are watching television. This trend is expected to continue – and as mobile retail matures, it’ll start to dominate E-commerce and do wonders for your business.
Mobile vs Desktop Statistics

So unless you want to miss out on most of your target audience’s online time – or make sure your business stalls in the mobile-powered future – you need to consider whether the Shopify theme you’re using is responsive for mobile or not.

Shopify Mobile Responsive Template

This will open the door for an abundance of mobile visitors to engage with your store and also provide a few extra benefits:

  • Visitors are less like to bounce away on mobile devices
  • You’ll start driving sales on mobile
  • Improved overall experience for customers, they’ll be able to add products to the cart on mobile then buy on desktop if they wish
  • Your store is more likely to rank in Google Search for mobile specific queries
  • Shopify also has a responsive checkout, so users will be able to convert on their device too
  • If you’re running Paid ads, you can test how well mobile users convert (instead of excluding them completely)

This is a simple step, but in a world where mobile is becoming increasingly dominant, it’s one of the more powerful things you can do to set your Shopify store up for success.

Once you’ve optimised your store for mobile, you’ll be ready to sell to just about everyone, and the choices you make about exactly what you sell can have a profound impact on your success.

2. Selling More Products

This tip might sound a little too simplistic, but it’s absolutely true. If you want to make more money, sell more products. This is an obvious strategy, and it’s anything but new. In fact, retail giant Amazon used this exact concept to beat brick-and-mortar bookstores when it was just starting out.

Here’s how.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, most people still bought physical books from physical stores.

Bookstore

Unfortunately, these stores could only stock so many books, which meant that people would often have to go without the product they wanted – or wait for days, weeks or even months for it to be ordered in.

So what did Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, do?

He made an internet website that had all the books, 24/7. Many of these books sold in low volumes, but that didn’t matter. They still sold, and they made Amazon a lot of money while pulling in customers who weren’t satisfied by other stores.

Amazon Books

This would later come to be known as the long-tail strategy. The same principles helped the Washington Post overtake the New York Times in daily traffic for the first time when Jeff Bezos bought the publication.

Now, we’re definitely not saying you should do the exact same thing. You can’t realistically sell everything – and even if you could, you’d be competing with Amazon and its $462 billion in market cap.

We’re simply saying you should offer more stuff to make more sales and engage more people.

But how can you make sure you’re doing this the right way?

For starters, you need to carefully research your options and make sure you’re flexible with what you sell. You want to make sure whatever you have on offer is highly relevant to your brand, but you don’t want to limit yourself.

Take The 5TH as an example, they originally started out just selling watches – now they sell sunglasses and accessories.

The 5th Landing Page

These are complementary products which mean that someone is likely to buy both (thus increasing your average order value).

In the beginning, you’ll want to sell a product that either scratches your own itch, is unique, or something that’s selling well globally (and not saturated like fidget spinners 🤔). Then, as you start getting traction you can add more products.

YOMG is a popular frozen yoghurt store here in Australia. Originally they started out just selling frozen yoghurt but have since added burgers and fries to their stores. People drive from all over Melbourne to get their burgers, so not only is there a sense of scarcity (as they figure out the business model) but the burgers really complement their overall product offering.

Adore Me started out as a Lingerie retailer, but have since expanded their offering to include activewear, swimwear, and even cosmetics to maximise their sales. This expansion has greatly broadened their offering while keeping their beauty-focused brand image untarnished.

Adore Me Product Expansion

Having more products allows you to group them into broader categories to drive more traffic from SEO too.

Adore ME SEO

It makes sense to sit down and research how you can group products and which complementary products you can launch to satisfy your audience.

Here are some ways to see the types of products other retailers are doing well with:

  • Search on Amazon and sort by reviews, this can show you some obscure products that people love

Here’s a good example I found that would fit perfectly if you ran a men’s grooming store or a store that sells beard oils like Beardbrand.

A simple search on Amazon and I came across the BaKblade, a razor for shaving your back that has over 2100+ incredible reviews.

BaKblade Amazon Page
  • Google product categories and see what comes up first in ads and the shopping tab. This is a surefire way to determine success.
  • Make a dummy Facebook account, then visit stores similar to your own and see which ads you get shown in your Newsfeed. If a product is getting promoted this way, it’s likely doing pretty well for itself
  • Check out the top sellers in your category on websites like Amazon, eBay or AliExpress
Amazon Travel Best Sellers

Now that we’ve got some basics in order, lets start jumping into the stuff that’s really going to help you increase your sales:

3. Customer Retention

On average, 65% of sales come from previous customers. This means that spending time retaining these customers (and growing their average spend) is much more cost effective than acquiring new customers.

Just think about how much more likely you are to buy from a brand you know and trust than someone entirely new.

So you know that successfully retaining customers is important for your business, but you may not realize just how dramatically powerful it can be.

A Bain & Co study found that improving customer retention by just 5% can increase profitability by 75%, and successful businesses were found to allocate far more of their resources to customer retention than unsuccessful ones.

Menulog Reminder Email

To put it simply, retaining customers is essential to growing your Shopify store. If you’re losing existing customers, then you’ll need to be pulling in huge amounts of new customers to make up for it, and working a lot harder just to maintain your current revenue. This isn’t what you want.

To prevent this from happening you need to take active steps to ensure you’re retaining your customers.

Here are our top 10 most effective ways to improve your retention:

Regular Email Communication

Send out regular e-mails. This will keep users engaged, and make your store the first one they think of when they’re ready to make a purchase.

The Iconic Email

There’s plenty of reasons to send customers an email:

  • Notifications for new product ranges in stock
  • Sending them a birthday message
  • Announcing sales or special offers
  • Seasonal emails for Summer, Autumn, Spring & Winter
  • Specific holidays (like Labour day or No Shave November)

Surprise and Delight Customers

You need to try and go above and beyond for every single customer. Sometimes a little thought can go a very long way.

One great way to do this is to send handwritten notes with each order:

Improve Your Packaging

No-one likes getting their products in bad packaging, just look at the amount of time Apple puts into making their unboxing experience feel magical.

You can do the same, but you can also use your packaging to an advantage:

  • Send it to relevant YouTube channels and ask if they’d do an unboxing of your products
  • Put handwritten cards in your boxes
  • Put coupons or vouchers for discounts on your next order
  • Put refer a friend vouchers so they can hand them out to friends
  • Provide manuals that helps your user with their purchase
  • Be unique, funny or quirky with your packaging to make your customers smile

Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails

We’re all busy people, sometimes we can get cold feet or get interrupted when making a purchase. Normally these sales might be lost (as the user can forget to come back) but you can send them a reminder to recover their cart with an abandonment email.

Casper Abandoned Cart Email

This only works when the user is logged in and you know their email address though. In a scenario where you don’t, you can use abandoned shopping cart popups like the one below.

Exit Intent Popup Example

Retargeting

Another sneaky way to retain customers is by using retargeting. This places a cookie in their browser with information about the products they were looking at – which then allows you to show them ads via Google Ads or Facebook to entice them back.

Facebook Retargeting Ads

Birthday Emails

Everyone loves a surprise on their birthday and so will your customers. Delight them with a coupon code or a nice message to brighten up their day (and give them somewhere to spend all that birthday money! 🎁)

ASOS Birthday Email

Run Giveaways

We’ve written at length about how running giveaways can both engage existing customers and also raise awareness of your store.

Remember, your users love your products – so give them a way to win what they love (and reap the social rewards and sales).

Repeat Buyer Discount

The absolute best way to grow lifetime order values across clients is to incentivize them to come back and shop with you again!

You can do this easily with additional discounts after a user buys from you. Give them 10% off their next order, or give them 10% and a friend 10% – there are lots of potential ways to drive these sorts of repeat sales.

Artifact Uprising Repeat Customer Discount

Create a Loyalty Program

Just like being a frequent flyer customers love to be rewarded for their loyalty. So consider setting up a loyalty program that allows them to earn points from their purchases – this will increase the stickiness of your store and improve customer value and retention.

Nerdvana Loyalty Rewards Program

Curate Product Reviews

Reviews help sell products, they can also help users decide which products to buy (based on the experience of other users).

How often do you use reviews on Steam or Amazon to decide on which games or products to buy? I do it all the time.

With this in mind, you absolutely should consider a way to let users give feedback on your products.

Shopify Customer Review

The example we’re using here is Free and made by Shopify themselves:

  Check Out Shopify's Product Reviews   Learn More   Use This Template

Contests are clearly a terrific tool that can’t be left out of your marketing repertoire. But don’t forget about one of the more traditional e-commerce promotional tools, that when used properly, can be well and truly worth the cost.

Ready To Run Your Own Competition?

Check out our documentation on setting up your own Competition or get started right away!

9. Using Paid Ads Effectively

For a few years in the early 2010s, organic traffic seemed like the future of marketing. But due to platforms like Facebook and YouTube taking drastic measures to minimize organic reach this has begun to change.

In 2016 alone, Facebook’s organic reach plummeted by 52%, and this trend is continuing into 2017.

Facebook Organic Reach Graph

This has lead many to buy traffic from platforms like Facebook and Google by investing in SEO, paid ads and social media marketing, as with the decline of organic reach many digital marketers have come to realize that paid traffic is still a top way to drive business, especially in the e-commerce space.

Just consider that the top ad on Google Search gets clicked on 19.3% (desktop) to 27.7% (mobile) of the time. That’s outstanding, especially because these users are inherently interested enough in a product to search for it and click the ad, which means that they have enough interest to at least strongly consider making a purchase. This just goes to show that using Google Ads can be well and truly worth the investment.

Gleam Google Ad

Facebook is another platform that is well worth some advertising spend, as the average cost per thousand impressions is only $7.29, and with so many businesses flocking to Facebook’s paid ads and never looking back, the effectiveness of paid advertising is becoming clearer and clearer.

Australian Open Facebook Ad

Running ads offers a number of business benefits:

  • They can help you understand how consumers react to certain types of marketing messages
  • You can test ideas before you commit to them
  • You can test conversion rates before you start optimising for SEO
  • Once you find something that works you can throw money at it to scale

This is something you can’t do with organic strategies like list-building and organic social media marketing, which can often take months to produce substantial results.

ASOS Google Ad

There’s a number of factors you’ll also need to consider before promoting products via paid ads (in order to see success):

  • What are your top selling products?
  • Are your prices competitive?
  • Can you send users to branded products? (they typically convert higher)
  • What’s your conversion rate? (the higher it is, the higher your ROI will be from paid ads – if it’s low you might consider fixing that first)
  • Are you capturing emails from bouncing users?
  • Are you able to target existing customers by uploading a Lookalike audience in Facebook?
  • Is your store mobile optimised? You’ll need to filter in or filter out mobile traffic based on this

Getting these points nailed down will help you drive more and more ROI from your paid ads spend.

It should be pretty clear by now that paid ads can play a valuable role in your marketing strategy, and if you want to turn your ads into a bona fide traffic, lead, and sales generation machine then combine it with content marketing using the tips we’ve discussed.

With these 9 tips in mind growing your Shopify store should be a walk in the park. You’ve got no reason to wait, so get out there, put these strategies to work at watch your store take it to the next level!

Author

Ahron Burstin

Ahron is a Growth Marketer at Gleam. Shoot him a Tweet if you got something out of this post ☺