Now that you’re the proud owner of a new Shopify store, there are a few actionable things you can do to improve the sales, maintenance work required and profitability of your new store. Some of these actions can take a few minutes, or a few hours to implement but will all save you time in the long-run.
While you can make many almost all these improvements to your store without apps, the apps provide easy ways to get them done so you can focus on growing your business.
There are three main areas we’ll be focusing on for new store owners.
- Traffic - Continued growth of any business requires traffic, which in turn will bring new customers to your business.
- Conversion Rate - Getting more traffic is crucial, but if the users aren’t purchasing from your store it won’t matter. Conversion rate optimization, or commonly known as CRO, can be one of the biggest competitive advantages for your business. If your business has a 2% conversion rate and your competitors have a 1% conversion rate it means you could spend half as much on ads and make the same revenue. Or maintain the same spend and receive double the sales.
- Workflow - Taking possession of a new business can be daunting and require some time to get familiar with the business workflows and processes. While you’re learning about the existing operational workflows to run the business, use this as a time to start thinking about ways you can improve the operations. The previous business owner may have been doing the same repetitive tasks for years and may not have questioned if they are the best way to do things. Increasing your traffic and the high conversion rate will be amazing, but if you’re not able to easily handle the influx orders you’ll end up disappointing customers.
Start tracking before anything
Before even starting to look at the three needle-drivers we’ll be going over, it’s prudent to ensure you’re tracking the right things on your store. Some of the data you’ll want to browse can’t be backfilled so we’d advise setting it up as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have plans to use the data right away, you’ll thank yourself later when you need it.
Shopify Analytics is always enabled on your store and the reports available to you vary depending on your Shopify plan. Within the Reports tab on the admin panel, you’re able to see information such as acquisition reports, customer behaviour reports, finances reports, a live view of your store, or even create custom reports if you’re on Advanced Shopify or Shopify Plus. All of these reports are automatically setup and you won’t need to do anything to get started. If you do end up switching to a plan that enables you to view additional reports, you’ll still be able to see data in the report for the time you did not have access to the report.
Google Analytics is widely used on businesses of all sizes but does require some initial setup to ensure data is properly being collected.
Note: Depending on where your business operates you may need to comply with GDPR to ensure you’re properly informing visitors how you are collecting and using data. A great overview can be read here, but it’s highly recommended to consult a lawyer to figure out what this specifically means for your business
Optimize your images for SEO
One of the best ways to grow your traffic is via organic traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. Search engines aren't able to read images, so if you haven't properly optimized your images you may be missing out on customers who are searching for the contents of your product photography.
SEO Image Optimizer by Booster Apps and SEO Image by Lion Apps both have 5-star ratings and are available for free. They work by allowing you to rename the image file names and alt tag for your images which will allow search engines to index your photos.
Fix 404 Redirects
Over-time as pages, and products get rearranged it is likely you'll have some 404 pages, which mean "not found". Users may have linked to this 404 page on social media, or Google may be showing a result to a 404 page, but you can fix this easily with a 301 redirect.
Within Google Analytics, you can search for pages with 404 in the title to and sort by traffic volume and manually redirect pages to their correct URL. If there is a product page which is 404ing and the product has been purposefully removed from sale, one option may be to redirect the page to a related collection.
Use Kit to get more marketing ideas
Kit is like your personal assistant powered by AI that becomes more useful and powerful as it learns from your store's performance. Kit proactively looks for ways to increase your sales and communicates to you through Facebook Messenger. You can also ask Kit to help you complete regular marketing actions like setting up Facebook ad campaigns or creating promo codes.
Minify your images
The longer your visitors have to wait for your Shopify store to load increases the likelihood they will leave. Especially as more visitors use mobile devices which can have varying connection speeds, ensuring your website is loading fast is imperative. There isn't a lot you need or can do, to increase your site performance as Shopify handles all the major areas in the background already, but images are one area worth taking a lot at. Images and video can be some of the largest files a visitor has to download on a webpage. There are some ways to keep your page loading fast and having high-quality product photography with image compression technology. Lossless and lossy are the two ways to compress your photos.
Lossless compression will only provide minimal size reductions, but no make no visual differences to the image. They may remove unused data attached to photo you may not even realize was there, such as the location of where the photo was taken. Lossy will provide much larger size reductions, but result in a noticeable decrease in photo quality. If site speed is a major concern due to the number of images you have, sacrificing some quality for higher speed might be something worth considering.
Make contacting your business as easy as possible with live chat options
At the end of the day, your customers are the ones who will help you achieve your dreams and maintaining an open line of communication to them is one way to ensure you’re constantly aware of what needs to be improved in your business.
If you’ve taken ownership of a large business, personally handling customer support might be one of the best uses of your time to get direct feedback from customers about operational problems, site accessibility issues, potential new products to explore, or marketing collaborations. Even if you just spend a few hours a week for the first few months of your business on live-chat, it could lead to you spending your time on other areas of the business that are more pressing by being in tune with customer complaints.
Live chat can be a great way to have 1:1 conversations, but email, phone or communication through Facebook Messenger are all other options. At the end of the day, you need to offer support where your customers are contacting you. If your customers are tweeting at you, Twitter is where you need to be, or if they want to talk via live chat through Facebook Messenger, be available to help them. If customers can’t easily get in contact to have their questions answered, they may give up and order from another online store.
Organize your customer support complaints in a spreadsheet
If you’ve decided to handle customer support and get an insight into the areas of improvement for the business, don’t view it as a never-ending cycle of questions. Catalogue and rank your customer support questions in a spreadsheet, or just a pen and paper.
At the simplest design, you can have a column with an explanation of the issue, links to an example ticket for more explanation, and a column for the number of times the issue has surfaced. You can then rank the issues by the number of times they surface and use this as a prioritized list of actions. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of issues, you could estimate a cost to the business each time the issue occurs and multiply the cost by the occurrence to have a more value-based priority filtered.
Some issues may simply require manual work from your end which you can automate, but other issues may be preventing customers from ordering at all on your website. Focusing on the highest impact actions in the coming weeks will help you grow your conversion rate.
Every question you’re able to answer through customer support channels is a question that another prospective buyer might also have. By adding that information to a product page, you’ll be able to answer more questions prospective buyers have and increase the likelihood of the purchasing your products.
There may be some bulk changes you want to make to your new store, such as changing prices or adding tags to sets of products. It’s not hard to change these type of attributes for a handful of products, but if you’ve purchased a store with thousands of products this can be quite a task.
Variants and products can be changed in bulk by downloading a spreadsheet, making your changes locally and then uploading them to your store. You can also use Shopify’s bulk editing functionality without uploading and downloading any files. Another option is Bulk Product Edit by Hextom which allows for complex bulk editing functionality without the use of spreadsheets.
One important thing to keep in mind is that there is no undo option once making changes to your store, so we highly suggest exporting your products in case you need to revert a change.
Create dedicated email addresses for operations of your business
Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, one pro-tip is to set up multiple email addresses which you display on your website and have them all forward to your personal address.
For example, you may create firstname.lastname@example.org and use exclusively for all accounting and finance matters. If your business ever grows to the point where you have a dedicated person working on accounting, this email could become their email and you won’t have to change email addresses with all vendors and services you use for them to receive emails they need to do their job. The same type of framework works if you have email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting list of emails to create:
- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t have plans to ever scale your team to multiple members or a dedicated person for each email address, it can still help you to filter your emails within Gmail or Outlook. By setting up a rule that puts all emails from “email@example.com” to an accounting folder you can keep all related emails organized together for easy access.
We’ve only provided a few examples of how you can take action in each of the few areas and this is by no means comprehensive. By being a new owner of a business for sale, you can take a critical and honest examination of the state of the business. While you might be tempted to continue operating the business as it had been previously, use this as an opportunity to find new areas of improvement.