You've spent the past few months negotiating contracts, dealing with manufacturers, wrangling logistics partners, setting up your website, and preparing collaterals for your launch. You've nailed your branding, created all your social media accounts, published your launch posts on socials, and perhaps sent out press releases. You might even have been growing your mailing list and sent out the initial launch mailer.
The 90 days after launch are the most critical time for a founder, because it's the time to prove whether or not your business idea holds water. Is there a market for this product? Are you hitting the right target audience? Is it the right time to be introducing your new brand? Nobody tells you what to do after launching a Shopify store.
It's the Wild West... or is it?
Amidst all the noise from all directions (investors, vendors, friends and family, personal expectations), there are really only a finite number of things you need to focus on. We'll help you figure them out.
Who is my target audience?
What's the first and most important thing for a brand new ecommerce website to do? Figure out who would care the most about it. This step is critical for you to hone your marketing messages, and get your brand in front of the right people.
A brick and mortar business might advertise its opening to people in their local area, as they might be one of their target audiences. However, for an online store, your audience may not be bound by geographical region, e.g. if you ship worldwide.
So how do you find your target audience? Here are the factors that you want to keep in mind when designing your ideal customer profile:
Identify the key demographic characteristics of your target audience, such as age, gender, location, occupation, and income level. Understanding these factors will help you tailor your products, marketing messages, and pricing to appeal to your specific audience.
Dive deeper into the psychographic aspects of your target audience. Consider their interests, values, lifestyle choices, and purchasing motivations. This information will help you create a brand identity and marketing campaigns that resonate with their desires and aspirations.
Analyze the shopping behaviors of your potential customers. Figure out the following:
- Where do they typically shop?
- Do they prefer online shopping or visiting physical stores?
- Are they more inclined towards impulse purchases or thoughtful research?
- What is the typical buying cycle of a shopper looking for your product?
Understanding their shopping habits will inform your distribution channels and marketing strategies.
Pain points and needs
Identify the pain points, challenges, or unmet needs that your target audience may have in relation to your brand offering. For example, if you launch a fashion brand...
- Is your audience looking for sustainable clothing options?
- Are they seeking affordable yet trendy pieces?
- Do they have trouble finding items of certain sizes, designs, fit, and so on?
By addressing these pain points, you can position your products as solutions and differentiate yourself from competitors.
Study your competitors and their target audiences. Identify gaps or underserved segments within the market that you can target. Look for opportunities where you can offer something unique or provide a better experience to attract customers away from your competitors.
What makes my store unique?
Every store must have a unique selling proposition (USP) to set it apart from competitors. The USP gives customers a reason to purchase from you, and gives your ecommerce website a reason to exist. While you should already know what your USP is in the process of drawing up your business model, your next step after launching your Shopify store is to communicate its unique aspects to potential customers.
Here are some factors to consider when planning your ad and on-page communications.
Evaluate how your online store stands out in terms of product offerings. Consider the uniqueness, quality, and variety of your products. Answer the following questions for your brand:
- Are you offering exclusive or hard-to-find items?
- Do you specialize in a particular niche or have a signature collection that sets you apart?
Highlighting the distinctive features of your products can attract customers looking for something special.
Brand story and values
Define your brand story and communicate it effectively to your audience. Talk about:
- What inspired you to start the store?
- What values and beliefs does your brand embody?
A compelling brand story helps customers connect with your business on an emotional level, fostering loyalty and differentiation in a crowded market.
Consider how you can provide an exceptional customer experience that sets your store apart. This encompasses factors such as personalized customer service, hassle-free returns and exchanges, fast shipping, and packaging that reflects your brand's aesthetics. A positive and memorable customer experience can generate repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Pricing and value proposition
Evaluate your pricing strategy and the value you provide to customers.
- Are you competitively priced compared to similar stores? Do you want to be?
- Are you a value-brand, a niche brand, or a premium brand?
- Do you offer discounts, promotions, or loyalty programs that make your customers feel appreciated?
Ensure that your pricing aligns with the perceived value of your products and services; this may involve doing some market research and surveying your initial customers.
Unique marketing and promotional strategies
Explore innovative marketing and promotional strategies that capture attention and differentiate your store. This could involve collaborations with influencers or other brands, creative social media campaigns, engaging visual content, or hosting exclusive events. The more unique your marketing campaign, the more potential it has to "go viral" on the Internet, and exponentially increase your number of new website visitors for that time period.
How do I bring people to my new site?
Now comes the exciting part, or the part that businesses tend to place the most emphasis on—marketing.
Before we proceed, it is important to emphasize that this step should not happen before the previous two questions have been answered. Trying to do marketing for your Shopify website without having a clear picture of your target audience or your USP is like trying to catch butterflies in a garden with a small fishnet while blindfolded.
Growing direct to consumer brands may spend on average $10-15k on their marketing budget every month. That's a lot of money to burn if you don't have clear objectives for each and every marketing campaign.
Here's what you need to consider when thinking of ways to bring more traffic to your website:
Develop a compelling content strategy to engage and inform your audience. Create visually appealing product descriptions, high-quality images, and videos to showcase your products effectively—with the plethora of AI and no code tools now available online, the costs of doing this have lessened considerably. Use these visuals in your carousel ads or video ads, especially for your owned media so you can set your branding, which may not be possible with user generated content (UGC).
With social media, brands are increasingly jumping on the opportunity to be discovered through viral trends. Participating in existing social media trends is a great and inexpensive way to increase your online exposure; however, authenticity is key when creating such social content.
If you have more resources, you may wish to implement a more long term organic content strategy. For example, if you are running a fashion store, you may consider incorporating a blog to share fashion tips, style inspiration, and industry trends.
Your content strategy usually encompasses a wide range of activities. A well-executed content strategy can help build trust, establish you as an authority, and encourage repeat visits.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Everybody wants to be discovered through organic search—so you want to ensure your website is optimized for search engines, to improve its visibility in search results. Research relevant keywords and integrate them naturally into your website's content, meta tags, headings, and URLs. Pay attention to on-page optimization, such as image alt tags and internal linking. This helps potential customers find your online business when they search for keywords relating to your brand.
Social media strategy
Evaluate how effectively you integrate social media as part of your online presence. Choose platforms that align with your target audience's preferences and engage with them through consistent posting, responding to comments, and sharing user-generated content. Leverage social media to showcase your products, run contests or giveaways, and collaborate with influencers or brand ambassadors to expand your reach.
If you have an advertising budget, running ads is the way to go to push for faster growth. The key to successful growth through digital marketing is constant experimentation and testing. Many brands experiment with ads on Google, Facebook, and TikTok, to see which channels work best for which campaigns.
During these experimentation stages, it is important to continuously monitor your campaigns, analyze their results, and make small adjustments where necessary. Leverage marketing analytics tools to help you run your analysis much more quickly and easily.
Define your goals
Last but not least, you need to clearly establish your goals for each and every marketing campaign. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, boost sales, or improve customer retention? Having specific and measurable goals will guide your marketing efforts and allow you to track your progress effectively.
Is my website optimized for user experience and tracking?
Once you have brought visitors to your website, you want to make sure they have a good experience. The key to this is in meeting or exceeding the expectations that you have set for the site visitor when they arrive at your website.
What do we mean by this? When you promote your online store to your target audience, your messaging offers a promise of something that they can expect to achieve by shopping with you. The website is the stepping stone that they have to cross to get there. You want to make sure that your potential customer doesn't get deterred by their experience with your website that they fail to cross that stepping stone. It's even better if you can deliver an on-site experience that exceeds their expectations, to encourage them to convert during their first session.
That said, should your website visitor not end up converting immediately, that's fine—so long as you are able to track their behavior and learn something about them, to help you with retargeting efforts.
When reviewing your website optimization, consider these points:
Website design and user experience
Evaluate the design and user experience of your website. Is it visually appealing and aligned with your brand identity and website name? Is the navigation intuitive and user-friendly? Optimize your site for easy browsing, quick loading times, and mobile responsiveness to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience for your visitors. For product pages, make sure you provide as much information as possible on the individual pages of your website, so that visitors don't have to search around your entire site for basic information, and you reduce the need for customer service.
If you have these basics covered and are looking to bring your user experience to the next level, you may also wish to consider enhancing your website with tools that automatically recommend, upsell, or help visitors easily take advantage of ongoing promotions. As your website grows, you can look at implementing more interesting and novel ways to keep visitors engaged.
For products with a longer buying cycle, it makes sense to nurture your customers over a longer period of time. To do this, the best thing to do is to set up an email capture form on your website. Give visitors a compelling offer for signing up to your newsletter, then offer valuable educational content through email marketing and a site blog to nurture your audience and build relationships. When it comes the time for them to make a purchase decision, you are already top of mind for them.
Analytics and tracking
Implement analytics tools, such as Google Analytics or Microsoft Clarity, to track and analyze website performance. Ensure you have the Facebook Pixel and TikTok Pixel installed so you can effectively track conversions on your site that come from ads. Monitor key ecommerce metrics like traffic sources, bounce rates, conversion rates, and average session duration, to see if your on-page efforts are effective at increasing visitor engagement. Analyze the data regularly to gain insights into customer behavior on your website, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your online presence.
Are my customers getting a good post-purchase experience?
The work doesn't end once the sale is made. Here's what you need to look at to ensure a good post-purchase experience and increase your rate of repeat customers:
Prompt order fulfillment and shipping
Ensure that orders are fulfilled promptly and shipped in a timely manner. Monitor your fulfillment and delivery times, and keep an eye on your logistics partners to ensure smooth operations. If there are any potential issues flagged, communicate transparently with customers about order processing times, shipping updates, and tracking information to manage their expectations.
Packaging and presentation
Pay attention to the packaging and presentation of your products. Make sure they are carefully packaged to protect them during transit and arrive in pristine condition. Consider adding personalized touches, such as a handwritten note or a small gift, to create a memorable unboxing experience that exceeds customer expectations.
Easy returns and exchanges
Streamline your returns and exchange process to make it easy and hassle-free for customers. Clearly communicate your return policy and provide a simple and efficient process for customers to initiate returns or exchanges. Promptly handle return requests and refunds, ensuring a smooth experience for customers who may encounter issues or have change-of-mind situations.
Proactive customer support
Offer proactive customer support to address any post-purchase concerns or questions. Provide multiple channels for customers to reach out, such as email, live chat, or phone, and respond promptly to inquiries. Be empathetic, professional, and go the extra mile to resolve issues, ensuring customers feel valued and supported.
Post-purchase communication and follow-up
Engage with customers after their purchase to express gratitude and gather feedback. Send personalized follow-up emails to thank customers for their purchase, request product reviews, or offer exclusive promotions for future purchases. Show genuine interest in their satisfaction and use their feedback to improve your products and services.
These are the 5 main questions that you need to stay on top of during the early stages of launching your Shopify store. As a business owner, you need to make decisions on a daily basis, and to do so you'll need to be on top of all of the above; and if you outsource certain aspects of running your business, such as hiring a performance marketing agency or outsourcing to a 3rd party logistics company, you also want to be able to monitor their effectiveness. Ecommerce-focused tools like Airboxr can help you gather all the information you need into a central command center so you can optimize business decisions.
Regularly asking yourself these questions and adapting your strategies accordingly will contribute to the success of your Shopify store. Remember, it's an ongoing process, and staying proactive and customer-focused will be key to achieving your business goals.