The most common request we’ve received in the past 12 months has been how to sell more online, specifically with a Shopify store. As a bunch of marketing experts and a Shopify Partner, we’re always up for the task.
There are many different tactics that we use that depend on the size of the site and who the ideal customer is. Given that information, we select tools that have proven to be the best fit.
*The list of eCommerce growth tactics below is in no particular order*
This post contains affiliate links. Products and services recommended in the article below may pay us a small commission, at no extra cost to you, for recommending them to you.
How to Grow Your Shopify Sales:
Use your judgement, dig into your customer data and take your next step!
- Automated Email Sequences
- E-commerce SEO
- Email Newsletters
- Updating Site Architecture
- Product Merchandising
- Google Shopping
- Facebook Ads
- YouTube Ads
- Facebook Messenger
- Affiliate Programs / PR / Influencers
All of these are effective, however, be mindful of the cost associated with each and the potential time it takes to set up and get working well. As e-commerce continues to grow, take advantage of when people are looking for products that you carry. Don’t be late to implement some (or all) of these tips.
The Tactics: 10 Ways to Sell More with your Shopify Store
If you get excited reading one of the particular tactics below, go apply it to your Shopify store! Each of these is actively running on at least one of the Shopify stores that we built or manage.
Automated Email Sequences
When you think about how often a customer purchases from you, the common answer is that it should be more frequent than it actually is. Even if they only see a need to buy from you once, a proper follow-up sequence can make a difference for your brand. The benefits of having a systematic follow-up sequence include:
- Getting more online reviews
- Customer Feedback
- Repeat Sales
- Up-selling or Cross-Selling
Setting this up is in addition to the automatic emails that are sent based on transactions in Shopify. Those automated messages are based on changes to order status, meaning they are focused on customers receiving their orders from you (order confirmation, shipping notifications, etc). What we’re talking about here are emails that go above and beyond – often customized sequences for specific products or categories.
Search Engine Optimization is a massive undertaking and can have a huge impact on your business. The challenge is that there’s not nearly as much information about SEO for online stores. Most websites that are getting organic traffic are providing information or selling a service. The outcome, tools, and tactics are all the same; it’s how they are applied that changes when dealing with products. For example, optimizing a Google Search result for a local business with a service can be optimized with Google My Business and Google Guaranteed. An online store, however, would benefit from Google My Business and the Google Product Feed.
Here are a few tips to get started with SEO:
- Have complete product descriptions that are geared to your customers (more below)
- Make all admin policy pages available (privacy, shipping, returns, etc)
- Create multiple “About” pages for what you sell, your company’s story and who you are.
- Bundle products for a particular use that will work together
- Include all your promotions on Google My Business
If you’re looking for a great tool to show you how you rank against your competition (or show you who your competitors are), check out SEMrush. It’s a great tool for seeing how you stack up and what you can do to improve. Their ads library is fantastic for how products are being promoted.
How often do you connect with your customers in a way that isn’t transactional? It’s not uncommon for the answer to be, “never.” An email once per quarter (or once a month) is a great way to talk about what’s happening in your business or in your customer’s lives. That last part might sound too personal, however, you know more about your customers than you may think.
Using their location and what they are ordering, you could probably predict what holidays they are celebrating, activities they would be doing and what’s top of mind for them.
Here’s a sample editorial calendar. You can see that there are some obvious topics like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, while others like outdoor living and BBQ are quite audience-specific.
Craft this month’s email to get people thinking about your online store and incentivize them to make a purchase. Use a relevant coupon code that’s easy to remember and available only for a limited time. For example, if you’re going to talk about summer BBQs, put together a list of your best barbecue-related products for your customers going to, or hosting a BBQ. That could be sunscreen, cooking accessories, storage kits, blankets, or the perfect outfit.
Get creative with the topics to cover, and because they will be great seasonal topics, post the article portion to your blog and have it be relevant for many years to come.
Updating Site Architecture
The easiest way to describe site architecture is that it’s the organization of your website. There’s a lot more to it than that, but making sure someone can navigate your online store to find exactly what they are looking for in a logical hierarchy is essential. Some industries have a norm that everyone follows (think fashion: footwear, tops, bottoms, accessories), while others can be up to the individual store owners.
To make the process even more customer-friendly, use Shopify’s “Collections” to group your products in a number of different ways. It could be by who is going to be using the product, what they will use the product for, unique characteristics, overall fit, or how the product is made.
Staying with the fashion example, you can also create collections like:
- Winter-Approved Gear
- Yoga/Biking/Basketball Socks
- Organic Cottons
- Made in Canada
- Kids Sizes Available
- Tailored Fit
- Easy to Layer
These collections work because the additional characteristics cross the boundaries of the standard product hierarchy. For an online store with hundreds or thousands of products, this can seem like it would be a very time-consuming task. Luckily, you can create collections that are automated. To make this quick and easy, create automatic collections in Shopify that pull based on a product tag. Then, as you make a habit of adding and updating products, adding the “Canadian” tag to a product would automatically add it to the “Made in Canada” collection.
Having a good product page seems obnoxiously obvious, yet many stores are plagued with missing, outdated or incorrect information. While it isn’t done on purpose, product information can be difficult to articulate to your typical customer. Product Merchandising is a very important part of building a store that will convert. It’s actually the first step for all the stores that we work with on conversation rate optimization.
Start with a reasonable amount of changes that you’d want to make on your product pages, like having “ingredients” added for all of your products. Think about what it would require to find all of those details (asking a different department, or tracking down a supplier), verify that they are correct, and add the time it would take to update each item. Completing one product would give you a better idea of how much time to allocate to a batch. We find this helps budget time correctly, instead of feeling like it’s an endless task.
Here’s checklist of what to include on each product’s page:
- Complete Product Titles
- Have complete product descriptions that are geared to your customers
- Add customer reviews to each page (and if you don’t have any yet, your automated email sequence will help)
- Take more photos of the product and add a brief 1-minute demo or introduction video.
- Use tags that include the product type, category, collection, manufacturer, etc.
- Add products to relevant collections
Making these changes gradually is completely fine. As you work through them, you’ll see more people buying those products. Potential customers who come to an optimized product page are more likely to turn into a sale.
Many customers are looking for a particular product or have a good idea of what problem they are trying to solve. This is a shopper with intent and Google is the absolute best at showing results for intent-based searches. As part of Google’s goal to create better search results that help people get to where they need to, Google likes to show more than just text results; think maps, YouTube Videos, images and products.
The product feed is a big component of Google Ads and can have a major promotional side to it, but getting started is free. Start by installing Google Channel and getting connected/setup to your Google Account. This will require you to have your Google My Business, Google Ads and Google Merchant accounts active, which the app walks you through if you have not already created it. The few additional clicks needed to properly set it all up are well worth it!
Once the feed is active, look into what the options are for your products to be found. This could be understanding what your competitors are doing and getting results from or promoting your own best-sellers. Be sure to set a budget that you’re comfortable with and one that is a good fit for your customer acquisition cost (CAC) model.
Whether you have created your own products or you’re a store selling other people’s items, it’s always smart to have better photos than the competition. Sometimes that means more current, higher quality or just slightly different. Since you’ll be compared side-by-side with others, make sure that you’re not making your images so different that a prospective customer doesn’t understand what you’re selling them. Your single product image for your Google shopping feed, for example, should fit in with your competitors while standing out a tiny bit.
The strongest platform for finding people based on demographic characteristics and activity is Facebook, and that’s what makes their advertising platforms for Facebook and Instagram so powerful. There are plenty of marketers who will only use Facebook Ads because it can be cheaper to acquire customers when you can target demographically. Unlike the intent-based searches in search-engines, Facebook users are scrolling and rarely use the search feature.
This creates an opportunity to show your product to someone that you know will benefit from it. Alleviating the need for someone to take the first step to find you themselves, Facebook and Instagram ads can be one of the quickest ways to acquire new customers for a store or brand that’s relatively unknown.
Facebook Ads give you a variety of formats to choose from, all with a click-through to your website:
- Boosted Posts
- Promoted Products (through Facebook Shopping)
- Product Carousel (through Facebook Shopping)
- Image + Text Ads
- Video + Text Ads
Depending on the product you are selling and how familiar people are with your brand, you might need to use multiple types of ads to appeal during all of the first impression, reminder and follow-up stages of purchasing.
As the second largest search engine, YouTube commands a healthy share of traffic and queries. Much like Google, you can create ads based on intent, but the video content and audience profiles allow you to also target demographically like Facebook. Youtube continues to be undervalued given the results that you get.
Overall, YouTube is a powerhouse, but you need to have the right creative to get attention and clicks. Keeping in mind that your ad could be stopping someone from seeing their desired video, if you’re going to make a video, be quick and on-brand to get your message across in less than 5 seconds. More ads are skipped (read: ignored) on YouTube than any other platform, but the results when you do have a click are strong.
Keep YouTube as a complement to other platforms, as your audience will probably spend more time on social media than YouTube daily. Consider making a first impression here, then use a retargeting ad on Facebook or Instagram that will quickly increase the frequency of your offer being seen.
The most popular messenger program is Facebook Messenger. It’s an awesome tool for online shops because it is so natural for customers to use and the chat stays logged in their list of conversations.
In a short period of time, the progression of apps that are have been built on top of Facebook Messenger is incredible. You can add many features to help you sell, including the Facebook Messenger app from Shopify that will recommend products so people can get straight to the purchase page. Our favourite is automating the start of the chat using Mobile Monkey. Mobile Monkey is a tool to create automated conversations using qualifying questions, much like you would if you were talking to the customer and trying to figure out which product is best suited for them.
Since you’ll be making conversation, be concise and ready with ways to get them to close. Consider coupon codes at various amounts, bundle/combo deals, or free shipping. Hearing from the customer is a great way to understand what triggers they need to hear to complete the transaction.
As much as we’re talking about selling more and making the sale easier, Messenger is also about post-sale interactions and building a strong relationship with customers after they have purchased. Keeping in touch and making it easy for them to chat with you is crucial to keeping your brand strong and increasing their likelihood of coming back.
Affiliate Programs / PR / Influencers
There’s some hustle involved in this one because it’s about gaining sales while working outside of your site. Creating opportunities to create relevance, authority and referral sales through an affiliate, public relations, or influencer program is an incredible way to grow.
The upside to building this is clear and very attractive to any business:
- Your products and store receive social validation (someone else says you’re great)
- The traffic coming to your site is usually pre-educated and motivated to purchase
- The site/people you’re working with are a voice of influence with their audience
The downside to this depends on some factors out of your control.
- Many of these channels will need a discount and a commission – you’ll need to have the margin to support this
- The availability of relatable sites or people in your space can be limited
- It takes a lot of time to build some of these relationships in hopes that they work out
- Managing your affiliate channel can be a big time commitment (time you could be doing more with)
Regardless, being open to this opportunity can be as simple as adding an inquiry form on your website specifically for influencers or affiliates. Some people are only looking for a free product to review, while others are expecting a commission on sales or a payment per post. Be aware of this, but be open to opportunities.
To actively pursue this channel, a good place to start is with an affiliate network like Share a Sale. It’s a network where there are people and websites that already know what they are doing to generate sales. This also puts you in a marketplace where you can see how you should structure your offer to be one of the first to be promoted.
Each of these tactics has a different level of expertise required to implement, with most being quite easy. If you need help, our team is happy to answer any questions you might have. We’ve structured our team to complement your product and customer service models. We can build, manage and grow your store. If you’re looking to grow, get in touch.
If you haven’t started your Shopify Store yet, get started. Read our blog post on What to know before you open your E-Commerce Store for more information.