Last updated on 3rd October 2023 at 18:57 by Alex Nicholas
Shopify has rapidly become one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in the world because it offers entrepreneurs a user-friendly way to set up their online stores quickly and easily with minimal ongoing maintenance headaches.
And with thousands of businesses turning to Shopify for their eCommerce needs, it can be easy to wonder just how successful these stores are. So in this article, I'll explore the factors that contribute to the success of Shopify stores and why I recommend it as a Shopify SEO consultant.
I'll help you get to grips with the strategies businesses employ to maximise their online presence, customer engagement, and sales.
Topics covered include Shopify store marketing, design, cost, payment methods, and more. By examining what successful Shopify stores do to beat their competition and their strategies, we hope to provide insights that can help others achieve their own eCommerce success.
How many Shopify stores are there?
It's estimated that there are over 1.5 million active Shopify stores worldwide today, which is a great testament to Shopify's focus on improving its platform and supporting its customer base.
Shopify has taken large amounts of market share over the last 5 years from open-source platforms like WooCommerce and Magento because it allows small brands to take control of their own website without the need to pay expensive developers and expensive hosting.
Shopify also handles things such as payment gateways straight out of the box, which is a great solution for a busy entrepreneur because they get to focus on important things, like selling and making money.
And to give you a little more confidence in the platform, Shopify is used by some of the largest household names in eCommerce such as Gymshark, Kyle Cosmetics, AllBirds and Budweiser.
What makes a Shopify store successful?
What makes a Shopify store successful isn't any different from what makes any other eCommerce website successful. It comes down to having a good product, good, margins, marketed correctly and well-managed cash flow.
Aside from the business basics though, Shopify's wide array of features and tools make it an attractive choice for businesses looking to establish or expand their online presence. With an easy-to-use interface and design features, affordable pricing plans, and scalability, Shopify provides a strong foundation for eCommerce success.
In addition to its core functionality, Shopify's extensive app store allows businesses to customise and enhance their store with integrations that suit their specific needs no matter what industry or niche they're in.
Sell the right products to the right people
This is the main thing that new Shopify store owners must understand, because if you sell the right products at the right price to the right people, quite literally everything else becomes much easier.
And assuming that your clients are open to and happily purchase from a range of brands, i.e. there aren't a handful of large bands dominating your niche, you'll find that you have space to increase your prices if your products are really good and have great reviews.
You don't need to overthink things, just make sure that you know where your target market hangs out, then give them what they want.
Shopify store marketing
This basically goes hand-in-hand with the right product at the right price to the right audience. But to drill down a little deeper, you need to make sure that the channel(s) you focus on are the right ones, then fine-tune and optimise them until your ROI (return on investment) is at it's maximum.
But you must understand that getting to this point will take time and budget. You can and should also use the most appropriate software or tool to help you understand the data, or preferably hire a specialist to work alongside you.
Successful Shopify stores often utilise a combination of strategies, including social media, email marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), and paid advertising (PPC). By targeting potential customers across multiple channels, businesses can maximise their reach and drive targeted traffic to their stores.
Shopify store design and branding
An attractive and user-friendly store design plays a crucial role in converting visitors into customers. High-quality images, engaging product pages, and seamless navigation all contribute to a positive shopping experience. Additionally, with the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, optimising a store for mobile browsing is essential to reaching and retaining customers.
This means that your UX (user experience) needs to meet the demands of your customers. I so often see eCommerce sites that massively overcomplicate their designs in an effort to look great, but unfortunately, whilst they might be visually appealing, their conversion rates are poor because their customers simply want the product, not a web version of the Sistine Chapel.
And to give you a hint on how to design an eCom store, look at Amazon and how they go about it because Amazon's conversion rates aren't only down to shipping speed and trust, it also comes down to non-stop testing until they squeeze their conversion rates as high as possible.
In my opinion, Shopify's integrated payment system is great because they're 100% PCI compliant without any input from you, and their processing fees are fair.
Shopify also is fantastic for allowing you to integrate multiple different payment gateways so your customers have a choice when it comes to paying. This genuinely helps your conversion rates, too.
For example, on top of Shopify payments, you can give customers the option to pay using PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, Shop Pay, Klarna (buy now pay later) along with accepting all major credit cards.
Providing multiple payment options and ensuring a secure checkout process is vital for building trust with customers and encouraging repeat business, and Shopify stores that cater to a diverse customer base by offering various payment methods, including credit cards, digital wallets, and bank transfers, are more likely to succeed in the competitive eCommerce landscape.
Shopify store costs
While the cost of setting up and maintaining a Shopify store is relatively low compared to other eCommerce platforms, businesses must still consider their overall expenses and expected return on investment. By carefully managing costs and focusing on the most effective marketing and design strategies, businesses can optimise their revenue and profits.
I can't really speak about the cost of your personal store because every website has different needs, but what I can tell you is that the cost to actually build the site if you do it yourself, and I do recommend that you build it yourself because you'll learn so much, will be the cost of your time.
But if you do want someone or an agency to build your Shopify store for you, you'll be looking at anywhere between £500 to £5000 depending on the complexity of your needs.
Web hosting is free and included with your plan, so all you need to do is choose your theme and set up your store. And if you want my recommendation for themes then I always recommend themes from Out of the Sandbox because they build themes that are simply better than the rest.
I personally use Out of the Sandbox themes on my personal projects because they're fast, super flexible and very well supported. They're not free or cheap, but they are the best.
As for monthly Shopify plan fees, here's the breakdown:
- Basic Shopify – £19 per month
- Shopify – £29 per month
- Advanced Shopify – £249 per month
- Shopify Plus – from $2000 per month
You can also upgrade or downgrade at any point if you need to.
Great customer service
Providing good customer service should be baked into every store owner's system by now because there's absolutely no reason to not provide it.
And whilst to some, it might mean simply having a heading tag saying “we have great customer service” on their about page or mission statement, what it actually means is:
- Fast shipping
- multiple shipping options
- A proper returns policy
- Worthwhile product guarantees
- Fast response times to customer queries
- An “I can help you” attitude, even when the customer is being a Karen!
And in all honesty, I find it as rewarding to get a message from a customer saying how happy they are with a service I've offered when backing up a product from one of my Shopify stores as I do when I hear that beautiful cha-ching sound on my mobile when I've switched off for the day and my store is still making money.
That's a wrap
Success on the Shopify platform is attainable with the right strategies, commitment, by focusing on effective marketing, engaging store design, convenient payment methods, and cash flow management.
Businesses can maximise their chances of building a thriving eCommerce store by continually learning (cheesy, I know) from the successes of others and adapting their strategies to fit their unique brand.
If you want a full breakdown as to why I believe Shopify is such a good platform for everyone from beginners to experienced web retailers, read my Shopify review, and if you have any questions don't be afraid to get in touch.