Published Nov 01, 2021

Guide to a successful Shopify business

Table of contents

Shopify has become one of the most widely used applications for E-commerce businesses to sell directly to their consumers, eliminating the need of an online retail middleman, such as Amazon or Ebay. This way, E-commerce businesses can retain a higher percentage of their profits and create a lean logistical process.

However, an outstanding product is not all it takes to build a successful business. There are many factors involved. This article will discuss how exactly you can develop your Shopify business to be the best it can be!

The rapid growth of E-commerce

Before we begin, we must acknowledge the boom of E-commerce, which was largely ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study by Statista, global E-commerce sales have increased by over 25% since the start of 2020, with a total market value of US$42 trillion. 

Therefore, we can conclude that: 

  • Firstly, E-commerce has become a huge market that can target a wide variety of consumers on a global scale
  • E-commerce will most likely continue to grow due to the ways in which the pandemic has changed consumer habits
  • The rise of platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce will facilitate the growth of D2C brands that trade outside of traditional digitized marketplaces (i.e. Amazon & Taobao)

That being said, we should look into what methods exactly are proven to be successful in building D2C brands on Shopify. Fortunately, these methods have been developed in great detail, thanks to the newfound availability of data in digitized retail businesses. 

The customer is always right

As a founder, you must create a productor service that has demand. You are building a business for the consumers, not for yourself. In fact, a study by CB Insights shows that 42% of startup failures were caused by misreading market demand. 

Successful businesses don’t just develop amazing products; they develop products that people actually need. Without demand, there is no need for your supply. Before you even sign up for Shopify, do your research. Conduct market testing by sending out surveys, or mailing beta-test products to your target audience and ask them for feedback. 

Market testing is not limited to pre-revenue research. When your product is released and revenue is being generated, find out whether the quality of your product is affecting your cash inflow. What percentage of products are being returned? Are customers satisfied with their product? Chances are, that if a friend of the potential buyer is unsatisfied with your product, they won’t buy it! 

Additionally, make sure that you give frequent updates to your product, adding cumulative innovation to constantly add value to your product. DVDs are great, but not much has changed since the 1990s. We live in an increasingly fast-paced world. Demands and trends change faster than they ever have in the history of humanity. Your product cannot remain static if it is to fit in with the up and coming trends. 

Manage your ad-spending

There are too many Shopify startups out there for passive marketing to be sufficient for generating sales. You need to spend money on ads. Be proactive about finding new customers, generate momentum so your business can start to grow organically.

Nowadays, social media platforms (and sometimes intrusive data policies) have made it easier than ever to generate targeted ad campaigns. Internet ads are also extremely cost-effective. For example, Instagram ad campaigns can be distributed for as low as US$5 per month. That is about the price of your iced frappuccino!

Targeted ad-campaigns on social media are essential to increasing brand awareness, exposing your product to potential customers. Ad-spending is directly correlated to revenue growth. By spending more money on ads, you are making your business visible to your target market. Depending on the efficacy of your content, advertisements will drive the growth of your revenue.

The three most prominent ad platforms are Google ads, Facebook ads, and Instagram ads. These three platforms are useful in different situations. Google ads are more general, targeting a larger, but less specific audience. Facebook and Instagram ads are more targeted. They reach a smaller, but more targeted audience. In a sense, Google ads can be seen as having a shotgun effect, targeting a broader audience in hopes of generating more leads. Facebook and Instagram ads, on the other hand, are targeted towards specific audiences in hopes that there is a higher chance of generating a sale.

Improve your SEO

Now that you have managed your active marketing strategies, it is time to refine your passive marketing material. Getting your ads in front of prospective buyers is great, but producing content is important for creating search-engine-optimization (SEO) and brand authority.

The importance of SEO cannot be overstated. It is necessary to ensure that your shop appears as the first result when someone searches your product. In the long term, SEO is more efficient than active ad-campaigns in generating passive traffic. It is more cost efficient and can reduce your ad-spend.

The process of creating good SEO content also has a useful side effect: it creates brand authority. Stumbling across an interesting business with very little content can lead to potential consumers doubting the legitimacy of said business. Creating quality content, that also improves SEO, will help to establish your brand as knowledgeable in your product and service, reassuring the lead of your capability to deliver. 

Hire a content creator

Unless your talents lie in both your literacy and copywriting skills, it is important to seek professional help in content creation. Creating quality content is necessary for generating both active and passive leads. By doing so, you are making sure that your branding is effective in attracting customers.

Additionally, investing into a professional content creator is also investing into consistency, which is an important aspect of branding. You want the voice of your business to be consistent across all platforms, ads, and social media. Whether you hire a freelance or in-house copywriter, make sure they are aware of your brand image and marketing goals, so that they can produce content that is in line with your aims and objectives. 

Foster a community

Good products satisfy customers, but great products connect them. To secure sales and create a lasting impact on consumers, create a medium in which customers can share and learn from each other. 

To start, make sure to encourage all customers to leave a thoughtful review on your Shopify page. This can go a long way in establishing both brand authority and persuading potential buyers to make a purchase. You may even go as far as to consider giving certain perks or discounts to those who leave thoughtful reviews. In the long term, it will definitely increase the likelihood of turning a lead into a sale.

Next, you can invest into a product or company forum, allowing customers or even fans to share information and opinions regarding your product or service. While this option may not be for every business, it is a viable option to consider if you want to generate community interaction and dialogue.

Lastly, you can encourage the creation of user-generated content (UGC). This can include pictures, consumer reviews, or (if applicable) fan content. One creative way to encourage the creation of UGC is to create a product contest, where participants can customize a part of a product, such as drawing a custom label for a shampoo bottle.

An excellent example of this is the ‘Colour Away Covid’ movement, a not-for-profit initiative that selected user artwork for customized masks, which were then sold to raise money for pandemic relief. 

Funding your endeavours

We have discussed extensively the steps it takes to develop your startup. However, all of these options come with a cost, which some founders may not yet have access to. One way to raise capital for expenditure is through revenue-based financing, a type of growth funding that is repaid through a unique revenue share model that ensures founders repay at their own pace. 

Revenue-based financing gives non-dilutive financing, which involves a seamless process that ensures you get your funding as fast as possible, eliminating the need for lawyers or auditors, so that you can get back to growing your business your way.

Find out more about your eligibility by signing up for the Choco Up app here.

Interested in learning more about raising capital for your company? Check out the following guides we prepared for you: