More and more small businesses are going online to reach their customers. It allows them to expand into more markets and diversify their product and service offerings. They can conduct business transactions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are a growing number of companies that serve as e-commerce hosts for small businesses. One of the most popular among them is Shopify. This Canadian company allows users to build their own online store from scratch. You don’t need to have a lot of design or marketing knowledge to set up an ecommerce store.
Even if you’re not very tech-savvy, you can still set up an ecommerce store on Shopify in less than an hour. If you need assistance, there are some valuable online resources that can help. Sites, including Sun Bowl Systems and others will walk you through your store creation step by step. Their screen shots and easy to follow instructions make it easy to build and customize your store without a lot of effort.
Here are a few things that you should have before starting your Shopify business:
- Your own domain name. Most small businesses will already have their own website domain name. It should be something that’s short and easy to remember. It should also be something that’s easy for your clients to recognize and remember. If you don’t have one, you can always buy your domain name from Shopify.
- Check your content. Your website should be interesting and engaging. It should create a good call to action, have links to relevant information and should have easy online ordering. You should also have good email or chat link on your site that your customers can click on for any customer service questions or concerns that they may have. Maximize the efficiency of your “about us” page to use it as a sales tool. You can also make your “frequently asked questions” something that’s entertaining and fun.
- Have your sales channels ready. Another important element is adding your sales channels. Having multiple sales channels is a great way of reaching new markets and tailoring your marketing efforts to different demographic sections. You can also track your sales by the different sales channels. All of your sales channels should connect with your Shopify store.
- Review your email settings. Email is a great way to stay in touch with customers. You can email them when their order has shipped and follow up with them after a sale. You can send them a survey or offer a coupon or discount good towards their next order. Check your email notification settings, and pay close attention to the branding that you use. It should have your correct font, logo and any other relevant marketing content that you may already be using.
- Get the most out of your site images. Make sure that all images on your site are optimized for the best possible performance on the web. Smaller images have smaller loading times. Also, make sure to name your images using content that is easy to remember and will show up more frequently and prominently in search engine results. Test all images before going live so that you can fix or replace any problem images quickly.
- Add analytics. Shopify will give you analytics reporting as part of your agreement. However, it’s usually good to also have your own third-party analytics software installed. You can see where and how people are finding out about you and analyze the strength or weakness of your targeted keywords. This allows you to tweak your marketing efforts and keywords to achieve the best possible results.
- Review all content. Conducting a content audit before going live is one of the most important steps. You need to make sure that everything reads well, and that there are no broken links or any outdated content. Everything should be spelled correctly and all text should use proper grammar. If you use a certain font or type size for your content, be consistent with that in all text on your site. Review both the regular and mobile versions of your site for any problems that need to be fixed.
- Have a marketing plan in place. One of the last things to do is to have a good marketing plan in place. Your online marketing efforts should be in line with your print, television, radio, social media and other marketing campaigns. Your message should be clear and entertaining. It should give the consumer every possible reason to shop with you.
These are some of the most important things to prepare before going live with your Shopify store. You may want to create a checklist with these items and other areas of concern. The more legwork you do beforehand, the less stressful it will be when it’s finally time for your Shopify store to go live. It’s another avenue for customers to conduct business with you, and it only takes a minute or two out of their busy day. Making the experience enjoyable and satisfying for them often leads to word of mouth referrals to their family members and friends. Adding an ecommerce store is an easy way of growing your business for years to come.