You were messing around on social media, just killing time and came across this article that sounds great….10 Tips That Lead Small Shopify Stores to Success.
You’ve thought about having your own ecommerce store, maybe you even have one that doesn’t generate income for you, and you wonder to yourself…
Is it REALLY POSSIBLE to run a successful store on your blog?
Is it really POSSIBLE to make money on auto-pilot and build a side empire that co-exists and matches your current blog perfectly?
Yes, it is. 🙂
My very FIRST month I started on Shopify, I made $52,060. That’s not to say everyone can do that and have it be so successful right off the bat. You’ll need to first understand a few things:
- I’ve been selling on ebay for over 20 years. When I ran ebay full-time (before I started blogging), I had over 700 ads! I’ve had an empire on ebay. I know what I’m doing. I’m not coming into this with no knowledge.
- I already had a well-established blog. I have an email list with over 44,000 people on it at this point in time. I have a blog. I had been blogging around 4 years when I started up my Shopify store. I already had an audience.
- I hit a nerve quick. I produced an item that had VERY little competition (think: 3-4 others at the time) and it was the best of the best, going far above and exceeding other products on the market.
Does that mean you can’t be successful unless you have all that?
You can still be successful, absolutely. But, I’m not here to put fluff in your ears and give you a false sense of hope saying you can make that much money right off the bat. Running a successful Shopify store takes hard work and discipline.
If you’re still reading, congratulations! You’re in the right place. I believe in hard work. Not because of the money, but because I learned to have a good work ethic, and I’m hoping you do too. Because if you do, you can master your own Shopify store, if you really want it and are willing to do the work.
So, let’s get started! Here are the 10 tips that lead small Shopify stores to success.
10 Tips That Lead Small Shopify Stores to Success
There are basically ten principles and Shopify tips for beginners that you will want to master that will lead your small Shopify store to success.
1) Add quality products as fast as you can
You’ll be tempted at first, I am sure, to produce as many products as you can in your store. You’ll want to get them out quick, you’ll want to skip corners, cut costs, be fast.
As I was building my store, around the 8 month mark, I started getting a lot of comments from customers saying how my products were the “best on the web” or how they were “greatly impressed by the quality of the product.”
Honestly, I never really ever even thought about it, not consciously anyway. I was just doing what I personally loved, from a place of passion, and I wanted to do my absolute best, not for any other reason than to just do my best, because that’s who I am.
See, I’m an all or nothing kind of person. I either go full out or I don’t do it at all. There IS no in between with me. I’m not wired that way, and while sometimes, I very much WISH, I could have just a more serene and peaceful personality, this is the personality I was born with. Fire and ice.
For my store, it was my baby. I was fire. I created a lot of products and I did my absolute best.
Eventually, I became known for quality goods. People buy from me, knowing and trusting that the item will be of good quality, and because of that, I get more sales.
Add as many products as you possibly can, yes, but don’t skimp out on things, don’t cut corners. Take your time and do your best. You customers WILL notice!
2) Be a solution
If you already have an audience on your existing blog, you already have lots of people who are in NEED of something.
YOU’RE job is to find out what that is!
What is it that you can create that will solve their need, solve a problem, address their pain point?
What do they want more of in their life? What can you do that will help others?
Finding the perfect products to sell isn’t about selling whatever and getting a paycheck at the end of the month. It’s about doing something you’re passionate about.
When I was selling on ebay, I started this fad of dressing up your Littlest Pet Shops with clothes and bows in their hair. It took off like gangbusters. Everyone was buying from me by the hoards. I started selling random lots of Littlest Pet Shops too, at a really cheap price. I made a fortune doing that.
Soon after, Hasbro started doing mystery bags of pets to purchase (single pets).
The things that I started were huge. I was good at what I did. Why? Because I was a solution.
My own daughter couldn’t have Barbies. I don’t allow them in our home. Sorry folks, it’s a personal decision and it’s just something I’m not comfortable with. But half the fun of having a Barbie doll is dressing her up. And my daughter was so in love with Littlest Pet Shops, I thought, why not dress THOSE up?! Why not give my daughter what she couldn’t have with a Barbie, but COULD have with the pets.
So, at first, we started taking Blythe doll outfits and dressing up the pets. Eventually, I stumbled across bows for real dogs and thought they might be similar size. Grabbed a canister of them on ebay and they fit perfectly. So…I started picturing my new Littlest Pet Shop pets with bows on them, hoping they’d sell better. After all, it’s all about presentation, right?!
They sold like crazy. A little 5¢ bow made my pets sell like crazy. Suddenly, I was the new “it” girl on ebay. Everyone knew who I was. Competitors started doing this and copying me, but it was too late, see. I had already got the attention of being an innovator.
The same thing is true in blogging. The owner of Board Booster, a few years back, called me an innovator of Pinterest. Because I was really good at it. And the same thing is true of my store.
All it starts with, is a solution. You hear the story of the Poo-Pourri founder. All she wanted was to go to her boyfriends’ bathroom and not have the toilet stink. Wala, Poo-pourri was founded. It was simply a solution to her own problem.
On ebay, with the bows and clothes, it was a solution to my daughter’s problem.
Problems are all around us. What can you create in your store that will solve a problem your audience has?
3) Offer something no one else does
Going along with my dressing up Littlest Pet Shop pets, I created something no one else did at that time. I was offering something no one else offered.
Same thing is true in my Shopify store. When I started selling my binders, there were maybe 3-5 other bloggers selling binders, and they just had 1 binder. One of the bloggers had 2. I didn’t think it was very successful because at the time, she hadn’t created her last binder since late 2015.
I was taking a huge risk creating something that seemed like it didn’t do that well. But, I saw what my peers were doing and I knew I could provide so much more.
Their binders weren’t big enough. They were 20 pages and didn’t solve enough of a problem. They didn’t offer an ENTIRE solution, but a little bit of one. And some bloggers sold planners. The spines get on my nerves when you turn the pages. I want something to lay flat as I write. And I don’t want to have to pay for a whole planner, when I can print out JUST the pages I need. I don’t NEED all those pages. I hate waste. It’s wasting money, it’s wasting paper.
So, I solved all those problems by offering binders that were 180 pages. Surely anyone would find EVERYTHING they need in that ONE binder. Without having to search all over the place and piece together several packets of printables, with all different designs (that annoys me). I like things to be the same design.
I took all MY OWN frustrations, all the things I wanted, and started creating my own binders with all that in mind. Things I would personally use. Things I enjoyed and loved.
I got binder crazy real fast. I loved being organized. It makes me feel POWERFUL to know where everything is and to have everything in it’s place. I created spines on the binders so that the binders were easily distinguishable from each other.
At the time, I offered something no one else did. And if others come behind me and start offering similar products, it won’t matter. It won’t take my sales away at all. Because like the Littlest Pet Shops, I’ve already established myself as the “best on the web.”
I already have my empire built and I’ll just keep building and no one can ever catch up because of the amount of work it requires.
I did something no one else was doing and it led to an empire, which is exactly what you want to do as well. Speaking of empires…
4) Build your empire
You need to know that building your empire takes time and patience. This isn’t something that happens overnight.
Right now, I have 74 products in my Shopify store, and the store makes me 7 figures/year.
It takes time to create and grow your Shopify store. While, yes, my store was extremely successful from the get-go, I only HAD ONE product to start.
I surely didn’t have 74 products. I had one. And that would have gotten old real quick, lemme tell ya. I had to create more. I had to start meeting the demand.
My audience would email in, I’d like you to make me this binder or this binder or that binder. I’d test it with my entire audience and if it tested well, I’d create it. It’s one step after another step. Consistent steps to build that empire.
5) Choose help wisely
If you decide to delegate tasks to your team, you need to make absolute sure that you are hiring people who understand your overall vision and are on board with it. The more successful you get, the more likely it is for fakes to come along and use you just to learn about their own store/blog/fill-in-the-blank, and once they get the information or learn that they cannot do what you do, they are the first to leave, and you’re stuck investing time into someone else, which sucks up more of your time.
Some will just use excuses all the time and try to sabotage you. I couldn’t meet your deadline because…
It’s always excuses. The buck stops with you. You’re the owner. If they are not pulling their weight, it doesn’t matter. If they don’t meet a deadline, they don’t care. It’s not THEIR neck on the line, it’s YOURS. If they don’t take their job seriously and just wanna mess around all day, you are wasting your money paying for a shotty job.
All that falls on you.
You want to make sure you hire employees that are helpful and right for your business. Who are loyal and stick around, who are full of integrity and honesty and ARE personally invested in your vision of your business.
Because if not, they won’t work out and it just puts you further behind. You’ll get frustrated, annoyed, you’ll become irritable and then you’re not putting YOUR best work forward to your audience.
You can’t change other people who don’t want to change. But if they are not pulling their weight, it’s better to let them go, because you CAN’T change them.
6) Systematize EVERYTHING
Absolutely EVERYTHING in your business should be systematized. The more you systematize things, the smoother things will run.
Again, it takes time to build your empire, to set everything up, to get into the flow of things, to see patterns that you CAN systematize.
I’ve worked the last couple of years of my life systematizing my blog and my store. To the point where now things run so smoothly, I don’t HAVE TO be online working 80-120 hours a week anymore. I did that for 5 years. I’m done.
Now, it’s just about maintaining things and if I want to take time off, I can. I can have a life. I can do the things I want to do, and my store STILL earns money while I’m ON that vacation or at the park with my son.
The store earns money while I’m sleeping or hanging out with friends. And I haven’t even GOTTEN into any paid advertising yet. I want to start Facebook ads soon. Then, income will come in even faster. But I couldn’t do everything I do without the help of my team and without having everything systematized.
7) Watch for trends
New trends crop up every day and as a small business owner, you need to stay on top of them. If you don’t, you will lose your entire business slowly over time as you become a “dinosaur” in your field of play.
What new apps does Shopify have?
What new ideas can you implement?
What kinds of tools do you wish the stores you buy from have?
What are the things they DO have that you enjoy?
How can you set yourself apart from everyone else?
How can you be different?
In going around to other stores, I realized that no one else has ads in their stores. So, I’m testing out ads on my site. I want to see if it makes a difference in sales or not. So far, it’s increasing my income in ads ($700/month approx.) and in my store, I’m earning more sales daily too.
Another thing that I realized I really enjoy other sites I buy from, is that they have wishlists or bookmarks. The apps for that are a little spendy, so I’m thinking about that. Would my customers enjoy it? Would they use it? Would they like it? Would it help them purchase more in the future?
Stay on top of trends and things that are modern. Be an innovator. Make your OWN rules. Be different and stand out.
8) Make customer service #1
I have spent an obscene amount of time, answering FAQ questions that my customers have before they buy or supporting them after their purchase.
One of THE BIGGEST things I get through email is saying they can’t download something. But, here’s the thing….I can’t see their technology. I can’t see what’s going on, and for me to go back and forth and play technician is not something I excel at anyway (technology is NOT my strong suit), so I’ve placed a “How to Download” tab on every ad in the store. I’ve put how to download in their order confirmation, and currently, I’m working on getting the same blurb in the actual download email as well.
I’ve gone through great lengths to avoid them having to email in before they have to.
That’s great customer service. I know it takes them time and they get frustrated if something doesn’t download properly, and with my products, because they are things like 180 pages of PDF’s all in one file, mobile devices aren’t good at downloading that type of massive file.
You want to be there for your customers. You want to show them you care. But you always want to set things up previously, to minimize the customer support needed. It’s easier on them and it’s easier on you.
Make their buying process as enjoyable as you possibly can. And when they do write in, be prompt to answer and courteous.
We’re all human, but do try your absolute best to be really good in customer service and go the extra mile. It matters.
9) Learn a lot
If you do anything in life, you’re going to need to learn about what you’re doing. It starts in Kindergarten (and probably sooner than that). Think about it. You wanna tie your shoe laces. What do you have to do? You learn how to do it.
No matter what you do, you’re going to have to learn it.
What most people do is stop learning, and I’ve found myself in this same boat as well. I had stopped learning and it stopped my growth.
You have to learn to grow.
Learn about your store.
Learn about Shopify. Perhaps take some Shopify training.
Learn about your customers.
Learn about your own products and how they affect the marketplace.
Learn about your peers and why others like them and their stuff.
Learn about how to run a successful business.
Learn, learn, learn. Because without learning, you cannot grow.
One of the things I think is so oddly funny is that I see lots of small business owners go to great lengths to create a product and then they pitch it to their own audiences.
They put up a link on their store. Maybe they even pin some things, but that’s where it stops.
That’s where the promoting stops. They just expect some magical fairy to come along and get them customers.
That’s not how it works. There’s no magical fairy pixy dust to sprinkle on your products and make they fly off the shelf with sales.
Every week, one day a week, I take and fully devote to promoting my stuff.
How do I do that? What are some common things I personally do to promote that one day every week?
- Take time to SEO all my products
- Hang around Facebook looking for pain points and ideas of products to create
- Talk about my products on Facebook
- Network market
- Give stuff for free
- Take time to be active on social media
- Work hard to get product reviews
- Create YouTube videos of products
- Write a guest post
- Promote my products on my blog
- Focus on building my email list
- Tell friends and family about the newest product out (if they are interested to hear)
- Create discount codes
Those are just SOME of the things you can do to promote your small Shopify store, but get the word out. Don’t rely on the world to make you rich. Make the time to promote your products. Creating your products is only half the battle. The other half is marketing for Shopify success!