10 Shopify Mistakes to Avoid for a Successful eCommerce Business
Thinking about building an online store? As you might know by now, Shopify is a great platform to use.
However, there are a few mistakes that beginners can make when using Shopify, which can cost you time and money.
In this blog post, we'll go over 10 of the most common mistakes made by Shopify users, and how to avoid them on your online store.
Whether you're a well-established or new online store, by the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of how to use Shopify to its full potential and grow your online business.
Don't make these Shopify store mistakes—let's dive in!
1. Choosing a Shopify theme before you know what kind of store you want to create
Choosing a theme is a great way to get started, but it's important to have an idea of what kind of eCommerce store you want to build before settling on a theme.
One of the biggest Shopify store mistakes I see is rushing to decide on a theme and then regretting your choice later (as it can be really time-consuming/expensive to switch themes later on!).
Choosing the wrong theme can cost you a good chunk of change when you inevitably end up buying another (better) one, spending the time to rebuild, and/or spending a lot on monthly apps for functionalities that should have been built into your theme.
There are loads of themes to choose from - both free and paid options - and each offers different functionalities for you to explore.
It's also worth noting that some apps may require a specific theme in order for them to connect with your store, so it's best to have an idea of which functionalities you need before diving in.
The main thing to focus on when selecting a theme
When narrowing down the themes that you're choosing from, the #1 thing you want to focus on is the functionalities and section layouts that a theme offers.
Don't let the design style/look and feel of a theme sway your decision—this can be changed easily when it comes time to build your store.
On the other hand, without custom code or apps, it's hard to add new layouts or functionalities that aren't already built into your theme. So, try and find a theme that is as close as possible to what you're going for with your store!
Overall, having an idea of what kind of store you want to create before selecting a Shopify theme will save you time (and likely money!) in the long run.
2. Slowing your Shopify store down with too many apps
Juggling multiple Shopify apps can be overwhelming and take up a lot of time when it comes to improving your Shopify store.
To balance customer experience and the ROI of using apps, make sure to remove any leftover code that you don’t use anymore, as apps usually keep accumulating information in the background.
Online stores can get really bogged down by the accumulation of data that apps leave behind when you uninstall them (note—you can frequently ask the app's support to help make sure this doesn't happen when uninstalling!).
Cutting out or replacing existing apps with better alternatives can go a long way towards keeping things running smoothly on your shop.
3. Focusing more on customer acquisition than retention
Many Shopify store owners focus on attracting customers rather than keeping existing ones, but it's important to consider the costs associated with customer acquisition in order to have a solid marketing plan.
ROI when focusing only on customer acquisition can be difficult to measure, as the costs of marketing and advertising add up quickly.
Furthermore, trying to acquire customers without ensuring that they stay might actually end up being more expensive in the long-run as it fails to maximize their lifetime value - a statue measure for how much a single customer is worth to your company over time.
Therefore, it's vital to consider both customer acquisition and retention when mapping out a marketing strategy so that ROI doesn't suffer in the long run!
4. Losing money on every order by forgetting to set up shipping rates
Setting up your shipping rates can be tricky, but it's also very important if you're running an eCommerce business.
A common Shopify mistake is forgetting to take the time to accurately calculate and input your shipping costs, therefore eating into your profits on every order.
Your competitors are already doing this, so make sure not to miss out! It's a good idea to see what they're charging for different shipping rates in order to get an idea of what your customers might pay.
All the time and effort you put into creating a great product will be for nothing if customers turn away because of the cost of delivery.
With careful planning, you can make sure that your shipping rates aren't impacting sales or eating into your profit.
5. Confusing your customers with poorly written/structured product descriptions
When it comes to your product pages, dropdowns and metafields can be incredibly useful in helping potential customers know exactly what they're buying.
Investing some time into making sure that your product descriptions are clear, succinct, and informative will go a long way toward creating a pleasant customer experience.
Instead of writing a multi-paragraph product description that's packed with information, try presenting your product details in a more digestible way through the use of different sections, dropdowns, and icons on your product page.
Metafields provide you with the ability to add additional details about the product when needed so customers feel confident in their purchase.
What's nice about metafields is that once they are set up, they're built into your product backend so you don't need to create a new product template in your theme for each and every SKU you have.
6. Not explaining clearly what sets your brand/products apart
In today's crowded marketplace, it can be hard to stand out from the competition.
Without a clear explanation of what makes your brand or products special, your message can get lost in an oversaturated industry where everyone is saying the same thing.
It's time to break away from the boring things other brands are doing and entice customers with something fresh and bold.
In order to do this, you first want a really good understanding of your target audience and how your brand message demonstrates the problem you're solving for them.
Explain yourself clearly and don't be afraid to shine - that’s how you’ll capture their attention and make them loyal supporters.
7. Not being able to convince your customers to buy with crappy imagery
In my eyes, this is probably the #1 Shopify store mistake that can deter first time visitors no matter how good the store's design.
Investing in stunning, clear, and engaging product photos for your store is essential for a successful business and increasing your online sales.
ALL truly successful eCommerce companies have product photography that's on point. This is an area where you don't want to cut corners.
Even though most of us aren’t professional photographers, it is possible to take great pictures without spending a lot of money.
High quality images are possible with the right lighting and background—you don't even necessarily need a proper DSLR these days to take stunning photos.
Nowadays, people are visual creatures and even good amateur photography can have a big impact on how many products you sell.
Invest in basic lighting and background materials to help your shop stand out and bring customers back!
Though, if you're ever in doubt about whether your images are really good enough, go with a professional—the $500 - $1,500 you spend on a small initial shoot will be money well spent when it comes to attracting your ideal customer.
8. Not properly optimizing your store for SEO
First off, site speed is important for eCommerce stores! A website that loads quickly will show search engines your site is legitimate and give you a ranking boost.
Mobile visitors are particularly sensitive to slow site speeds as mobile data is often slower than WiFi.
Secondly, accessibility should be a top priority in any optimization effort.
Making sure that visitors with disabilities or those on mobile devices can still access and interact with your site will go a long way to improving the user experience.
Watch out for baking text right into images/graphics (instead of making the text live on site)—search engines don't recognize words in photos or illustrations, so if your page relies heavily on these visuals it's worth adding additional content just for the benefit of these crawlers and visually impaired users navigating your site using screen readers.
Optimizing important landing pages even further through proper heading structure, image size, and proper linking is a way to drive lots of (free!) traffic to the important areas of your Shopify store.
9. Having a half-assed email marketing strategy
If you're skimping on your email marketing efforts, it may be time to reconsider. Nobody likes cart abandonment, but with a strong email marketing strategy, it could become a thing of the past.
Email is often regarded as the most valuable marketing channel - and with good reason! It's highly customizable, so you know you can provide real value to your customer base in a direct and personalized way.
Plus, when combined with social media campaigns, it can act as an effective tool to drive traffic and sales while increasing brand engagement.
So don't half-ass your email anymore - it might just be the key to get loyal customers in no time!
10. Forgetting about accessibility
Beyond SEO-related accessibility, it's easy for many entrepreneurs to overlook accessibility when designing a website or creating digital content.
This is a no-go as it can have a huge impact on the user experience. We ensure to make public spaces physically accessible for all people, so why shouldn't the same principles apply to the web?
Tips for making your store more accessible
One common thing a lot of Shopify stores get wrong is the contrast level between the store's foreground and background, AKA the color of the text vs. the color of the site's background.
Pair this with text that is too small and thin to be legible and you've got an accessibility disaster!
My favorite resource to use that combats this issue when creating color palettes is WebAIM's contrast checker.
You simply input your site's foreground and background colors and it lets you know if they meet accessibility standards.
Adding alt text to images is an important step to allow visually impaired visitors who use screen readers to access the information that the image conveys.
Picture how much context you'd be missing out on if you couldn't see any images that are on the web—that's why it's important to add these small lines of descriptive text to each photo!
It's also important to make sure all links on your site are clear, logical, and intuitive in structure without repeating terms and phrases.
For example, the hyperlink being applied to "schedule a call" is much more informative than "click here".
Taking these small steps now will ensure everyone can fully benefit from the content you create online and create a more inclusive and user-friendly experience.
If you're thinking about setting up a Shopify store, avoid making these 10 common mistakes.
By diving into your business plan taking the time to understand what kind of store you want to create, choosing apps wisely, and setting up your shipping & payment gateway properly from the start, you'll be on your way to creating a successful online shop.
As you make small improvements to your store over time, make sure you're keeping track of the growth in ideal customers that your store is experiencing (and obviously revenue as well!).
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Happy designing! 🎨 🛍️ 🔥