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How to get your first sale (and future sales) for Shopify Store.
Ok, so you have decided to start an online business. Many journeys start with the discovery of various business models such as Dropshipping, Print on Demand or even a completely new product to bring to market. During the research phase, most wantrepreneurs in pursuit of becoming an entrepreneur setup their new venture on Shopify.
A usual scenario will include purchasing a domain, setting up a Shopify store, picking a great theme, populating products, installing many great apps and finally a few tests. Then comes launch day and a few hours pass… no sales. This pattern usually repeats itself on a daily basis. The unfortunate truth is, all the aforementioned is the EASY part. The HARD part is making actual sales. These are, after all, the single most important aspect of any online store.
How can I get my first online sale?
To get your first online sale (and future online sales) you need to get your store in front of the right audience. Now, at first, you can be a bit more relaxed about the “right” part. In general, just getting your store “out there” is better than not at all so you need to focus on channels you can achieve this with. There are 2 main types of channels; free and paid. Both these types have many sub types but chances are if you are a new store, the “free” channels are the ones you want to pursue.
Rather than going into the pros and cons of various sub-channels type, we are just going to list them out and allow you to make the decision of whether you want to pursue that channel for your store or not. After all, every merchants store is unique and whilst some channels are a great fit for some stores, they may not be great for all stores.
Tip: Bookmark this post now so you can re-visit it at a later date!
Free channels for getting your first Shopify sale
- Post on Social Media. This includes places like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and so on. They have reach and as long as you keep it moderate, you can pick up sales from friends, family and their networks.
- Facebook Groups. These are a great way to reach your target audience. Be careful though, if you get accepted to a group and immediately start spamming your store, you will most likely get banned. You should seek out opportunities to help other group members and include a low key link to your store with a discount code.
- Quora. Answering a question related to the field of your Shopify store is a great way to get a link in. For example, if you have a store selling kitchenware, then answering a question on cooking and then including a link to a relevant item from your store is a great way to link without spamming.
- Reddit. Similar to Quora, reddit is a great way to get instant traffic. Again, spamming your link will lead to suspension on subreddits. You should target a subreddit where you can bring some value and include a low key link that relates to the value you are adding.
- Coupon/Voucher sites. There are 100’s of coupon sites on the internet. Shoppers turn to these when they are seeking deals out for particular products. Offering a decent size promotion to get your store out there is a great tactic. Offering 40% off for example may seem a bit drastic but if you go viral for an offer and get a tonne of sales, you will acquire customers you can upsell to and create large life time values.
- YouTube Videos. Video sells product better than images do. It’s easy to watch a video and you can show off product features a lot better. If you have product to hand then demo it, send it to unboxing channels and so on. If you are drop shipping then order a few items yourself. Its easier to sell something when you actually know what you are selling.
- TikTok. Similar to Instagram, TikTok is a rapidly growing social media platform with huge potential to go viral. If you can attract an audience with a funny 10 second clip then you can market your store by linking it. Whilst this traffic won’t be high quality, it will certainly help to reach a youthful audience if your store is targeting that demographic
- Forums. Similar to Quora and Reddit, forums are places where communities get together and discuss related topics. If you are a member of an existing forum then look to get a link on it. If the forum isn’t linked in anyway to your store’s industry then post in off topic and ask for feedback or offer discounts for members. Remember, spamming your link coldly will result in suspension. There are smart ways to get your store out there when you offer value as well.
- Email. If you have an email list then tap into it. Email is a great way to not only make your first sale but also capturing repeat sales. If you don’t have an email list then start building one.
- Run a giveaway. There is a huge community of people who enter competitions on a daily basis. There are various ways to run a competition or giveaway but you can use an app for ease. Tapping into this community is great for raising awareness for your brand but also getting some nice links. Part of your competition can be to require an email so its also a great way to start building that email list.
- Marketplaces. The biggest are undoubtedly eBay and Amazon. Etsy is also a growing favourite provided your items are handmade, vintage or craft supplies. You can usually list for free are most marketplaces and you will pay only when you make a sale. This comes in the form of a final value fee and is usually a percentage. A great way to access these is using multi-channel software or by piecing together sales channels on Shopify.
- Blog. Blogging on your Shopify store is a great way to build SEO content. It’s important to relate your blog in someway to what you sell/offer. Coupling this with outreaching to influential outlets within your industry is a great way to get some potential exposure also.
- Create an Affiliate campaign. Having your own affiliate campaign is great way to only pay when you get a sale. Some apps offer a free tier and grown when you grow. Whilst you are giving away some of your profit, you are only doing so when you get a sale.
Paid channels for getting your first Shopify Sale
- Facebook & Instagram Ads. We have paired these together as you can manage both from the Facebook Ads Manager. Whilst people on social networks aren’t necessarily in a shopping mood, you can hyper target based on many interests and acquire new customers easily with eye catching campaigns.
- Google Ads. The most popular ad format is a Product Listing Ad or “PLA“. These are extremely powerful ads because the traffic is qualified to be in a shopping state. They can be costly however especially if your product is offered by larger vendors. Text ads are less powerful but can be very cost effective if targeted well.
- Influencers. Influencer Marketting has exploded in the last few years. Now established, it allows merchants to put their products in front of a target audience with an advocate promoting it. Whilst you will have to pay for these placements, with some running into the 1000’s, you can look for micro influencers with followings of less than 10k. Be sure to check the influencers engagement.
- Physical Media. National newspapers and magazines can be a viable way to reach a core audience. If you want to tap into a young audience, you could look at a student magazine. Some airlines have inflight magazines and placements aren’t expensive in comparison to amount of eyes they receive.
- Paid Newsletter. Some blogs allow you to advertise to their newsletter audience if your product is related in some way. These paid partnerships can be very lucrative and sometimes can be forged by offering a percentage of every sale in return for such placement.
I’ve tried all of the above but no joy
If you have tried all of the above but still have not had a sale then the following scenarios may apply.
- Your product prices are too high, consider lowering them. If your products are known to be cheaper elsewhere.
- Your product prices are too low, consider raising them. Your store can look too cheap and lower buyer confidence.
- You have a problem with your store. Are your payment gateways setup correctly? Are your shipping methods setup correctly? Is your store visible?
- Your store is not a good store. Hey, we aren’t all artists or can play the piano beautifully. Some stores will be bad. Take time to improve it, upgrade the theme, get a logo designer in, trim some products and make it niche.
It can be disheartening but remember, Amazon took 5 years to make a profit. Some merchants will have success initially and then sales may fade, other merchants may have no success and then suddenly a store gets traction. If you have some sales but not many, you may want to look at ways to improve your conversion rate. Remember, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. As long as you put the effort in to establish where you might be going wrong, you can address these issues and improve your chances of success.