Shopify is an intuitive, affordable, yet powerful e-commerce platform known for its easy setup. It allows online entrepreneurs to set up attractive virtual storefronts with minimal coding, and it’s easy to integrate various marketing tools. However, a Shopify store must be streamlined for your primary purpose: to make sales.
With that in mind, let’s look at common beginner mistakes on Shopify. By avoiding these pitfalls, you can set up your Shopify site for success.
Using the Default MyShopify.com URL
Just like a business website at BrandName.Wordpress.com, the MyShopify URL makes you seem unprofessional. At best, the store will seem unfinished, and it’s also bad for SEO. At worst, you’ll appear inauthentic and perhaps even fraudulent.
Go to Settings> Domain in your Shopify admin to add your domain. You can use your main domain e.g. BrandName.com or a subdomain e.g. Shop.BrandName.com.
Note: If you haven’t registered your domain through Shopify directly, you’ll need to change your CNAME settings in your registrar’s account (e.g. Bluehost, GoDaddy). Ask your webmaster for help if you’re not sure how to do this.
If you’ve spent any amount of time shopping online, you’ve seen product listings that were laughably bad — and odds are, you didn’t purchase that item. Low-quality images include:
- photos that were badly altered in Photoshop
- grainy or unfocused pictures that don’t show product detail
- shiny stock images that made the product seem fake or inauthentic
Don’t chase away business with bad images. Whenever possible, hire a professional to shoot high-quality photos of your products.
If you’re on a budget, try investing in a lightbox to take evenly lit photos, or simply place products against a neutral background with plenty of light. Crafty items may be artfully staged with tasteful decor (as long as you disclose that the decor is not included).
Too Many Apps
With hundreds of apps available, it’s tempting to install everything that seems appealing. However, just as with WordPress, too many plugins can hurt your site’s performance. You want to keep your Shopify simple and streamlined — not cluttered with add-ons.
Your core apps might include marketing automation (e.g. email newsletters or abandoned cart reminders), integration with your CRM, and sizing charts or customers reviews as needed. Often, that’s all you need.
Avoid adding tons of social media carousels, advertising pop-ups, or fancy design elements as those are often more annoying than effective.
Not Refining Your Niche
If you have lots of products available, you run the risk of appearing like a “kitchen-sink” brand: you sell any- and everything rather than targeting certain audiences.
Here’s a secret about marketing: customers don’t want to feel sold to. They want to feel like you’re speaking their language and showing them solutions. That’s less likely to happen if you have hundreds of products on your site that run the gamut from housewares to sports gear.
In short: you can’t compete with Amazon in that regard. Niche down your shop selection so visitors feel they’re browsing a specially curated collection rather than a yard sale.
Not Branding Your Site
Speaking of brand identity, be sure that your Shopify site aligns with the rest of your digital presence. If you’re sending traffic from your Instagram, for example, your Instagram profile picture, aesthetic, and tone of voice should all carry through to your Shopify channel. Before you even start building your Shopify store, identify these key brand elements and use them consistently:
- Your store name and how it’s stylized (capitalization, spacing, the full name, etc.)
- Your brand colors (TIP: identify your HEX color codes and keep them on hand to customize your Shopify site)
- Your tagline
- Your visual tone (the types of images you use, the overall color scheme, 2-3 typefaces, etc.)
- Your verbal tone (diction, sentence structure, casual vs. formal, etc.)
Caution: Avoid using neon colors and wild-looking typefaces. These rarely appeal to your visitors and can make your site harder to navigate.
Not Optimizing for Conversion
Once you’ve refined your niche and branded your Shopify store, you’re almost ready to go. However, there’s one more key mistake that even experienced online entrepreneurs make. Ever clicked on a product ad and landed on an e-commerce site’s homepage? If the product you wanted was nowhere in site, you probably didn’t go searching for it.
Every Shopify entrepreneur must understand two things to be successful:
- A Shopify site will not attract customers on its own — you must drive traffic to it, AND
- That traffic must reflect your target customers’ buying journey, so each ad or social campaign must drive to a specific landing page.
Always plan out these sales funnels before you assemble your site. For example, if you have a flagship product with accessories sold separately, your PPC campaign should link to that product-specific page. The accessories could then be an upsell option before the customer checks out.
Also, be sure that each page of your Shopify site welcomes visitors and follows from their buying journey. Remember to use consistent images, tone of voice, and messaging to assure them they’re in the right place.
By avoiding those six mistakes, you’ve already made your Shopify site stronger than most. Remember, it’s a tool of your business, and just like any tool, it requires care and maintenance! The biggest mistake you can make is assuming that your Shopify site will passively attract customers. Consider it an active project: promote it heavily, watch your results, and tweak as necessary. Happy selling!