Starting a new business online can be intimidating—and one of the most disheartening challenges you can run into is when you’ve done your research, poured days and weeks of work into your online store, and you’re still not seeing the traffic or the sales that you’d like.
Don’t give up.
There’s no one secret to creating a successful business, but we have a ton of fantastic resources to share. Not only that, but this community is an incredible place to reach out for advice and feedback on your store. We couldn’t be more proud of the incredible merchants and partners that do so much to support each other.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the things that you can do to get traffic flowing to your store, and to help encourage customers to buy once they’re on your site!
Don’t Neglect the Basics
Setting up shop online for the first time is exciting, particularly when you’ve got a business that you’re passionate about. That can make it tempting to skip some steps as you’re getting set up, but before you open, you’ll want to make totally sure that your site is ready.
We have a great checklist to help you make sure all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted, but in particular it’s a good idea to pay close attention to a few key details:
Run some test transactions to make sure your tax settings are accurate, your shipping rates are working as intended, and that your payment provider is set up correctly.
Give some thought to the theme you’re using. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for in a theme, we’ve got a great article right over here, and you can easily preview themes without replacing the one you’ve published in your storefront.
Get lots of feedback. Your setup will seem totally logical to you, since you created it, but that’s not always the case when a visitor comes to your store for the first time. Reach out to family and friends, and find out if there’s any difficulty getting to the products they want to see. Our Feedback on My Store forum is an awesome place to get opinions on your store as well!
Customer trust is incredibly important. Sadly, some have had bad experiences ordering online, so you want to do all you can to make sure your customers feel that they can trust you:
Make sure that you have a Contact and and an About Us page, with ways for your customers to reach out with any questions or concerns, as well as links to social media accounts - the more ways people can reach out to you, the better.
Ensure that your store’s policies are easy to find, and include everything your customers will need to know.
Consider adding security or trust badges to your site - we have an awesome guide on adding our own trust badge.
Get More Traffic
If you’ve tested everything, made sure that your site is well designed, but you’re not seeing visitors in your site, it’s a good idea to give some thought to your marketing and SEO. These are rich subjects, but here are a few things to check out as you get started:
One of the best things you can do to improve your shop's visibility is submitting your sitemap to Google, to make sure that your shop is getting listed in their search results. Check out our guide on submitting your sitemap.
To go beyond SEO, we have an amazing guide on 50 ways to make your first sale. Not everything in that guide is useful for all businesses, but it’s a fantastic resource for sparking ideas on how to promote your store.
Apps can be a great value-add as you’re working to promote your shop. The marketing section of our app store has apps for referral and loyalty programs, coupon popups, email campaign tools, and more.
If you’re considering advertising, our virtual marketing assistant, Kit, is incredibly useful. It can help you create and manage ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, as well as integrate with several other tools to make marketing your store simple and effective. While you do have to pay for whatever advertising campaigns you set up using Kit, the app itself is totally free for all Shopify merchants!
Improve Your Conversions
On the other hand if you’re seeing a good amount of traffic but it’s not translating into sales, it may indicate there’s something about your site that’s not convincing customers to go through with a purchase. Exactly what that is can vary from store to store, but customer bounce can usually be traced back to one of three issues:
Ease of use is a big factor in making sure that your customers go through the checkout process. Make sure that your “add to cart” button is prominent and easy to find, and that your collections and menus are organized logically—our blog post on common conversion killers goes into this in lots more detail.
If your site isn’t aesthetically pleasing, it’s more difficult to convince your customers that you’re worth buying from. We have a fantastic guide that talks about this in fine detail.Try to get your product images as high quality as possible, and make sure that your writing is evocative and free of typos or grammatical errors.
It’s important to give some thought to your pricing strategy. Simply setting your prices as low as you can while still making a profit can actually devalue your brand! These tips can help you create an effective pricing strategy for your business, and keeping the benefits of psychological pricing in mind can reap remarkable benefits.
Analytics tools are helpful in tracking down which of these issues might be affecting your store. Google Analytics is invaluable for tracking your customer’s behaviour as they navigate through your store, and there are apps available that can graphically map the actions taken on your website for you, such as Lucky Orange or Hindsight. Once you know where in your store your customers are leaving, you can take steps to fix the issues that are causing them to abandon their purchases.
Remember—You’re Not Alone!
Every business is different, so while these tips can apply to many stores, they’re not intended to be a comprehensive list by any means! The information in this post is a great starting point, and you can always reach out to other merchants here in the forums, or contact us here at support directly for help. If there are any resources you feel that we’ve missed, or advice for fellow merchants, don’t hesitate to post your responses below!
I would like to add the importance of setting and Google Analytics at the beginning. It's good from the point of driving traffic to landing pages and undersatnding ROI. Thanks to Shopify that there is the simple field with inputing the Google analytics ID and the option to enabled "Enhanced Ecommerce".
With the Enhanced Ecommerce we can know the funnel of customers from additing to cart, abandonment and successful sales.
Great read! We've been lucky that through social media and word of mouth we've been able to make sales around the city, through mostly hand to hand. Our brand has become somewhat recognzeable locally, but struggle to bring in sales online, both from a lack of visitors which translates to a lack of sales. I am excited to put some of these ideas to work! Thanks
I want to agree with what you are saying but am caught in what feels like a rat running on a treadmill. Our site sadiescountrystore.com has been up and down since starting a few weeks ago- we have been at it around the clock trying to address things- at this moment we have steady 80 to 110 visits per day coming mostly from paid fb kit ads that link directly to product pages- but as of yet we have no sales. Not sure what to do, we really want to believe quality images, content and such will lead to sales- but this does not appear to be the case. any advice? here is url of sample latest product page
Just a few thoughts, I think your site is simple yet beautiful. But the logo is in a low resolution and it could be better if you give a more detailed description to the products like material (what kind of wood?), sizes...