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How to Get Sales on Shopify: A Complete Guide

Gokul
Co-founder, CEO


If you've ever wondered how to get sales on Shopify, welcome to the club. 5.6 million online stores use this wildly popular platform as per data. Research further suggests that an overwhelming 458 million shoppers purchased from a Shopify store in 2020. Furthermore, according to estimates, Shopify’s gross merchandise volume amounted to a staggering $43.2 billion US dollars in the first quarter of 2022. If there ever was a time to be active on this high-performing eCommerce platform, it is now.

That said, as amazing as the platform is to instantly and easily set up an eCommerce store, getting sales on the platform is not an easy ask. For instance, you need to have the right Shopify apps to multiply store conversion. You also need expert-approved tricks and tips to increase sales on Shopify. In this blog, we will deep-dive into time-tested tips on getting more sales on Shopify. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Sales on Shopify?

If you've just launched your Shopify store, it's only natural to wonder: "How long does it take to get sales on Shopify?"

There's no magic number or a standard duration. The supposed time for your first sale on Shopify is dependent on numerous factors such as:

  • The authority and age of your domain
  • Your existing network that is representative of your customer’s profile
  • Your email list that reflects your ideal customer’s profile
  • Your market research relating to your product, prices, competitors, etc.
  • The way you showcase your products, including images, product descriptions, branding and marketing collaterals, etc.
  • Product incentives and promotions (such as coupons for first-time buyers, free shipping and returns, etc.) your brand offers to your customers or potential buyers

If all these parameters are not in place, it may take weeks or even months to make your first sale. Before we look at how you can optimize your store and how to get consistent sales on Shopify, let's understand why your store might be failing you.

6 Reasons Why You’re Seeing “Zero Sales” on Shopify

To understand why you're experiencing a "high-traffic-low-sale" situation on Shopify, it is critical to diagnose your store. Here are some of the most common reasons why your sales on Shopify aren't taking off the ground:

1. You are targeting the wrong audience: You may have the best product in the world, but if your offering is not relatable to your target audience, your sales numbers will continue to dwindle. You can leverage paid ads to engage the right traffic and boost sales.

2. Your store's navigation is not easy to use: To understand whether or not your store's navigation is on point, get onto your Shopify platform with the mindset of a new customer and understand what kind of friction areas you are encountering. Remember that you can always move some of the unimportant pages to the footer navigation. For example, Bailey Nelson's website navigation is clean, simple, and straightforward:

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3. Your storefront's homepage is not properly optimized: From the kind of conversion-friendly Shopify themes you choose to the overall look and feel of your store, your Shopify homepage must allow customers to shop easily while demonstrating the brand's core values and aesthetics as accurately as possible. You might also be using the wrong kind of images, font, color palette, brand logo, and so on, creating a discrepancy in the customer's mind.

4. Your homepage does not have a compelling and easily visible Call-to-Action: Strategic placement of Call to Action buttons on your homepage can make a world of difference. For example, take a look at the following CTA below on Chewy's homepage banner:

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The CTA does not stand out. While it blends into the brand's aesthetic colors, it is not easily visible and gets lost in the crowd. 

5. The content of the Shopify website is not engaging enough: If your Shopify website's content is not engaging, to-the-point, and persuasive, your audience will not be motivated enough to hit the "Add to cart" button. Ideally, avoid long and convoluted sentences. Plus, endless paragraphs of information also do not sit well with most audiences. Take a look at the content spacing in the following website banner; it is all over the place. Typos and formatting issues can turn out to be a huge turn-off for your visitors as it makes the website look unprofessional:

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It is important to understand who your website is targeting and speaking to. A website that is speaking to everyone is actually speaking to no one. 

6. Your Shopify website is not mobile-optimized: As per data, an overwhelming "79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile devices in the last 6 months." So, if your Shopify website is not mobile-optimized and does not load properly on a smartphone, your customers will most likely run away.

The learning: There are thousands of contributing factors that may lead to the setup of a failing Shopify store. This is why before you go into troubleshooting mode to enhance your Shopify store, it is important to diagnose the root cause and take corrective measures (more on this in the next section). 

5 Foolproof Steps You Can Take to Get Sales on Shopify

Whether you want to drive traffic through word-of-mouth publicity or want to launch a full-fledged Facebook campaign to boost sales, you've got to start somewhere. This section outlines wide-ranging strategies your brand can leverage how to get more sales on Shopify and improve its momentum. Let's look at some real-life examples and ten tried-and-proven tips to get the most out of your Shopify storefront.

Step #1: Look into the 'Free' Traffic Sources Available at Your Disposal Before You Jump on the Paid Bandwagon

Before you invest any money on highly-targeted paid campaigns, it makes sense to make the most of your free traffic sources available. Here's how this will help:

  • You can start by assessing your store's target audience, which includes understanding:

- The type of people visit who visit the store

- The kind of opt-ins they go for

- Who is leaving your store without making a purchase or performing any action

- And finally, who is genuinely buying items from your Shopify store

A. Free Traffic Source #1: Connect with Your Inner Circle of Family and Friends for that First Sale

This strategy involves branching out to your friends, family, office colleagues, and other people in your network to spread awareness about your Shopify store. Here's how you can spread the word:

  • Share the launch of your Shopify platform on social media platforms and channels--from Facebook and LinkedIn to Instagram and Snapchat; there are plenty of options to consider.

Pro tip: Make sure to add your website link to your social media profiles to boost visibility and engagement across channels.

  • Ask your inner circle to amplify your brand's presence on social media too. By doing this, you'll be able to leverage their network as well. To make the sharing process easy for your acquaintances and closed ones, provide them with relevant content--do not expect them to create your posts or exciting captions for you. 
  • Provide first-time users with freebies, interesting coupons, etc., in exchange for getting referrals. The referrals system works swimmingly well if you want to multiply your sales organically. Focus on providing a positive user experience and be generous with your incentives as well as gifts.
  • Create limited period or early-bird discounts and enticing offers in exchange for people joining your email list. Here's an example of a carousel ad by Modcloth to get you inspired:
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  • Encourage customers to leave an honest review directly on your Shopify store to boost brand goodwill and positive publicity as organically as possible:
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This strategy works wonders in adding credibility, especially when strangers come to your website. They'll certainly trust other customers' words more than the brand's marketing efforts. 

B. Capitalize on Relevant Reddit Communities

One of the most overlooked platforms by business owners is Reddit. Reddit's power lies in the strategic use of forums – or subreddits as they are popularly known – for getting like-minded users to drive conversations around your brand. To kick-start, your Shopify's very own Reddit community, follow these tips:

  • Join brand-centric communities that center around your product's specific interests.
  • Browse through the platform to find communities where you can drive discussions with other business owners. For example, Reddit has a niche group called "r/shopify" for all things Shopify-based. This community empowers business owners to make the most of the Reddit platform for their Shopify store:
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The platform boasts of subreddits for nearly everything and anything--from r/Fitness for exercise and nutrition-based Shopify brands to r/SkinCareAddiction for skincare-related Shopify stores; there's plenty of ground to cover:

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So, irrespective of the niche that your brand might be in, it makes sense to be active on Reddit and leverage the community to:

- Ask the right questions

- Get insights into what moves your audience and how they think

- Identify key pain points your customers are struggling with

And more.

Pro tip: As a thumb rule, stay away from any kind of direct selling as most subreddits don’t allow it (and you can risk annoying your customers).

  • Use the community platform to offer useful tips and advice on how to use your products. This will help establish authority within the community.

Pro tip: Lookout for local subreddits that are relevant to your brand. You can also browse for subreddits based on region, state, and so on.

C. Set Up a Facebook and Instagram Store

Integrate your Shopify platform's link within popular social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram to get your sales going. The "View shop," as shown below, allows customers to find your brand in more innovative ways:

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If you are looking for tips on how to integrate your products directly on your profile and posts on Facebook or Instagram, keep reading:

  • Create an attractive profile and Instagram bio that summarizes your Shopify brand effectively. Note that your bio must contain a link to your store. You can also link specific products from your Shopify platform directly into your Facebook or Instagram posts, as shown below:
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  • Instead of going for static images, experiment with different formats and layouts to showcase your products. You can use videos, GIFs, memes, or images of real customers using your products to boost product awareness, affinity, and visibility. The following brand leverages User Generated Content (UGC) within Instagram and makes shopping key products from within the brand's Shopify store easy:
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  • In addition to the right visual content, you can use relevant hashtags on your posts, including your shoppable posts.
  • Additionally, engage with every user who comments on your posts to boost user engagement and make the most out of your social media strategy.
  • Play it up with your content strategy and drive more polls, surveys, and contests to get a pulse of the current audience and rope in new followers
  • Make sure to post Stories every single day to get your followers hooked to your brand's content. Remember that consistency and quality are key.

Pro tip: Instead of donning multiple hats, hire a seasoned social media manager who can help you optimize your Shopify store for sales while leveraging high-performing platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Snapchat, and more.

D. Get Active on Amazon, Pinterest, and eBay

If you want to boost your Shopify sales and expand reach, capitalize on the existing traffic of high-powering marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. Most customers frequent these platforms and trust the experience. Shopify provides you with an option to list your products on these marketplaces and Shopify itself. An excellent example of a Shopify brand that uses Amazon to expand its reach and audience is Leather Honey:

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Customers can choose to purchase from the original store and from popular marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

Another platform that you can leverage for on-point marketing is Pinterest. Here are a few tips to remember while setting up a Pinterest profile:

  • Pinterest works more like a search engine (as opposed to a social media platform) so you'll need to use the right keywords to boost your traffic.
  • Join relevant Pinterest group boards to establish your brand's authority within your industry and get industry experts to promote your brand for you.
  • Ensure that your Pinterest boards are more niche. You can also share products pins that redirect users instantly to your Shopify store, as SOBU demonstrates below:
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Pro tip: Since you will be competing with other similar sellers on these marketplaces, you need to include the right keywords and optimize your listing for said marketplaces. Additionally, use a healthy mix of blog posts, infographics, videos, etc., to pique your end customer's interest and keep them hooked. 

Step #2: Think of Ways to Monetize Your Email List

With free-flowing traffic underway for your Shopify store, the next goal must be to add value to each customer's time that they spend on your time. And one of the best ways to do this is to encourage customers to subscribe to your email newsletters. With the right email marketing tactics, you will be able to drive repetitive sales and get repeat customers through your Shopify store's metaphorical door. 

A. Start by Creating a Robust Email Marketing Strategy

Before you start sending emails, you need to figure out your email marketing strategy. Ask yourself the following questions when curating a strategy:

- What will your communication look like, with respect to your customers? 

- What kind of content would you like to promote?

- What kind of visuals and imagery will you use for your newsletter?

- What kind of Call to Action buttons will you use?

- What will your email campaign flow look like? Will you start with a 'Welcome' email? What will the next email in the series encapsulate in terms of content, deals and promotions, visuals, and so on?

Remember that your end goal at each step of your email marketing journey is to get you more sales. So, optimize your content accordingly.

B. Select the Right Email Marketing Tool

Once you've got your email strategy outlined, it is time to select the right email marketing platform that will help you to amplify your message. There are various tools to choose from, such as Drip, HubSpot, Omnisend, SendPulse, Mailchimp, etc. Using an email marketing platform poses multiple benefits, such as the ability to:

  • Send an email to a group of subscribers or all subscribers at one go
  • Create predefined email templates for different kinds of emails, such as the welcome sequence (for when users just subscribe to your emails), an abandoned cart sequence (for when users leave items in their shopping cart), re-engagement emails (for when users have stopped opening your emails), etc.
  • Analyze and monitor who is opening your email, clicking on relevant links, etc. These insights will allow you to better segment your customers based on the purchase history, user interests, and common pain points, among other factors.
  • Adhere to the legal requirements of sending an email, which includes having an "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of an email so that subscribers have the option of opting out of emails

C. The Art of Growing Your Email List

There are numerous ways to get your email list growing. Here are a few proven tricks that work:

  • You can provide customers with something meaningful or useful to them (think: freebies, discounts, offers, perks such as free shipping, etc.) in exchange for their email address. Here's an example worth considering where users get various perks such as free shipping on a minimum billing order:
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  • You can add an email subscription bar within your Shopify store. Note that there are various bar formats to choose from, such as floating bars (which display the latest offer, motivating users to join the list), exit-intent popups where users get a special offer if they try to leave the website, slide-ins (which appear once the visitor has spent a predefined amount of time on your webpage), and so on. Here's an example of a full-page pop up that occurs once the user lands on the webpage:
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  • With email marketing, targeting the right audience is key to improving your Shopify sales. For instance, you can send wishlist reminder emails such as the one shown below by DoorDash:
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Step #3: Skyrocket Your Shopify Sales with Paid Traffic

Now that you understand how to improve sales with free traffic sources and email marketing, let's understand what kind of paid campaigns you can indulge in to give your sales numbers a real boost. Before we look at the paid strategies, it is worth mentioning that most of your paid campaigns depend on the customer data you collected in the previous steps. The richer, deeper the data, the higher the chances of your paid campaign becoming a success.

A. Start with Facebook and Instagram Ads

If you want to scale your Shopify website's traffic, you need to be on Facebook, Instagram, or both, depending on where your core target audience lies. For instance, leverage the Facebook platform to target customers based on key parameters such as demographics, interests and likes, pages users like level of interactivity with the brand, location, pain points, and dislikes, etc.

Pro tip: Install a Facebook Pixel on your Shopify platform to gather real data about your Shopify site visitors. This data can be used to create a Lookalike audience, which is nothing but targeting people who are not familiar with your brand yet but have similar interests to your brand's core offering.

Let's move on to understand how you can leverage Facebook and Instagram ads to hook your target audience:

  • You can offer a discount, as Stone & Strand demonstrates below:
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  • You can showcase your brand's core values and beliefs and connect with your audience on an emotional and fundamental level, as the Wholesome Culture demonstrates below:
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The brand effectively points out the benefits of using its product and all its perks. 

  • Make use of carousel ads to advertise multiple products at once. This strategy comes in handy when you want to redirect customers to your product pages. Here's an example of a carousel ad by Alo Yoga that you can derive inspiration from:
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  • You can use Instagram to retarget customers who may be on your email list or ones who tend to frequent your website a lot. For example, you can use Instagram stories to build brand awareness and ad recall, as ASOS demonstrates below:
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Pro tip: When it comes to visually-driven platforms such as Instagram, you can mix and match different formats such as photo ads, video ads, slideshow ads, carousel ads, stories ads, etc.

B. Go All Out with Google Ads

Google Ads are way more expensive per click than Facebook or Instagram, but they are worth the investment! Whether you want to target customers locally or customers who are looking for something more specific, Google Ads is the way to go. Here's an example of a Google ad for a new swimsuit by Gucci. Basically, when a visitor types in the term, "buy swimsuit Gucci," results from Net a porter show up as the site has targeted this particular keyword phrase and paid money to show up at the first spot of the search results: 

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Pro tip: Before launching a Google Ad campaign, it makes sense to do your homework concerning using the right keywords. The end goal is to target customers who genuinely wish to buy your product. Your keywords and search terms must have a 'purchase intent'; otherwise, all that money will go down the drain.

C. Partner Up with Influencers for Paid Shoutouts

Influencer marketing is here to stay, even when it comes to boosting sales on your Shopify platform. As long as you select the right influencer for your audience, you are golden. Here's an example of influencer marketing done right for the brand Luxy Hair:

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Pro tip: When zeroing in on the right influencer fit for your brand, remember to set the right end goal and start small to understand how your target audience responds to your products. Influencer marketing can quickly drive up your marketing costs, particularly if the influencer's audience base is big.

Step #4: The Science of Optimizing Your Shopify Store

This strategy entails maximizing the value of each and every customer who lands on your Shopify store--be it via paid ads or through free organic efforts. As we witnessed with the other steps, there are innumerous ways to optimize your Shopify store, such as:

A. Integrating Live Chat into Your Shopify Platform

The era of instant gratification is upon us. Customers demand that their queries and issues be ironed out instantly and with no hiccups. One of the best ways to cater to your customer's needs in real-time and as quickly as possible is to include a live chat within your platform. If you don't have the budget or bandwidth to have live agents, you can also integrate a chat message self-service option, as BIKO demonstrates below:

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Customers can input their answers and get their questions addressed in no time at all.

B. Kickstart a Loyalty Program that's Worth It for Your Customers

If you want to lower your cost per purchase for every customer, you need to curate a rock-solid loyalty program. Customers have the power to generate more customers for your brand and pad up your bottom line--only if your loyalty program is strategically conceived and is able to add genuine value to the user's life. Here are some useful tips to help you get started:

  • You can ask your customers to refer your brand to their friends and family and literally reward them for doing so.
  • You can use automated tools such as Smile, Rise, Growave, and more to get your loyalty program up and running.
  • You can optimize your Shopify store for mobile users and ensure that your site loads quickly on mobile and functions properly. If customers have to pinch out and zoom in to read what's written on your Shopify website, you can bid goodbye to them.
  • You can optimize your product pages by adding high-quality images, detailed product descriptions, etc., and test various variations to see what's sticking with your target audience (and what's not). For example, Hiut Denim Co. is an excellent example of a brand with product pages that are optimized with enhanced imagery and crisp product descriptions to inform and engage customers:
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  • You can also add product reviews on your website and offer customized recommendations on every product page, as Allbirds showcases below:
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Pro tip: Some of the must-have data points that your product pages must include are stunning product imagery, plenty of product reviews, a clear and highly-visible Call to Action (CTA), a quick product video (as needed), a to-the-point description, product features, sizing and measurement, shipping and returns information, and beyond.

You can upsell or cross-sell your products depending on what kind of items your customers are adding to their cart. This usually refers to the "What you might also like" section on most Shopify sites. That said, make sure that the recommendations are personalized; otherwise, your customers may get irritated and jump ship. You can leverage Argoid's Shopify product recommendation engine to give your Shopify platform a great head start and get your eCommerce journey get started on the right note.

If you are wondering how to integrate customization within your Shopify store, the following example can help. For instance, the brand "Unconditional" showcases personalized items that users can buy on the checkout page through its "Featured Collection" section:

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Step #5: Make Sure that You Have an Awesome Product

Finally, remember that without a killer, out-of-the-box product in hand, your Shopify store will not take off the ground. Think about what makes your product unique. Laser-focus on your product's quality and think of ways to optimize it continually.

A. Collect Real Time Customer Feedback

If you want to get an understanding of why your Shopify sales might not be up to the mark, you need to ask your customers literally. Conduct surveys, polls, etc., and ask users what they like or do not like about your product/brand. You can leverage the inputs to optimize your product development cycle with the product feedback gathered.

B. Analyze Whether There's True Demand in Your Specific Market

This strategy involves conducting in-depth market research to understand whether there's a market for your product. What kind of gap is your product catering to? Think about the latest trends that your brand can capitalize on, and make sure to market this USP across your marketing campaigns. Create accurate customer profiles for your brand and see which kind of segments are most underserved. You can then build a highly-relevant product and see your Shopify store fly.

C. Brainstorm on Your Key Selling Points, Together with the Team

One final piece of advice: To be able to differentiate your brand from your competitors, you need to understand what makes it unique. The catch? Getting different viewpoints into the mix. From your investors to your customer support team, ask everyone across the board about why they think your platform is a cut above the rest. Depending on the answers gathered, your creative and marketing teams can chalk out the key USPs of the brand and leverage it to boost sales. The end goal is to get into the customer's mindset and understand why they'd go for your brand amidst a sea of similar competitors.

The Bottom Line

Your first sale or result on Shopify will not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work, effort, and strategic thinking to target the right customers with the right messaging. Luckily, you can leverage the free tactics outlined above in the beginning and test smaller waters before going all in. There are thousands of ways to drive sales with paid campaigns as we saw above. 

In the end, remember that every Shopify store is different, and the strategies you use must directly cater to your brand's biggest supporters--your target audience. Keep the pointers outlined above in mind and set yourself up for success. Happy selling!

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