It’s a new year, which means you’re probably in the right mindset for a fresh start. The first week of the year is when I like to look back on how the year has gone, take the time to be thankful for my successes, and plan for the future. It’s the week for making resolutions, and laying out exactly how we’re going to achieve them.
Entrepreneurs do double or triple duty this week. First, we’re making all of those personal resolutions, just like everyone else: the fitness goals to make up for holiday treats, the financial habits we’d like to start, and the vows to be kinder and more loving. But it doesn’t stop there - we also have resolutions for our businesses and our professional lives! And that third shift? Well, if you’re a Shopify store owner, you’re handling returns and exchanges, and getting your store ready for 2018!
What goals should a Shopify store owner have in 2018? What can entrepreneurs do to make sure their businesses is even more profitable than it’s ever been? How can we avoid the mistakes and pitfalls that we committed in 2017? After chatting with my friends, clients, coworkers and colleagues, I’ve come up with a definitive list that every ecommerce entrepreneur should at least consider putting on their resolutions list this year:
Resolution: Update Your Website
After spending months putting up festive calls-to-action and emails, you may feel like you’ve done enough design work - but the post-holiday-season is the best time to revamp your website and wow your customers.
Focus on more than making your Shopify store look great though - make it more functional, easier to use, and more effective in converting customers. Just as you’d want to continuously improve a physical store, it’s a good idea to keep improving your online presence, or you’ll risk looking outdated.
When your customers are shopping online, they’re looking for accurate, appealing images of what they’re going to receive. Investing in high quality photography for your Shopify store will do wonders in convincing your site visitors to actually purchase.
I love the photography of Growth Spark client, Assouline. They create beautiful books for the most cultured libraries in the world. Because their products are luxury, it’s important that they not only communicate what the contents are, but also get as close as possible to giving the viewer a taste of how rich the construction is, and what it will feel like to turn the heavy, sturdy pages.
Keep in mind that your images are going to serve in place of the customer physically picking up and inspecting the product, so make sure they’re high resolution, accurate, and (if possible) show multiple angles. Lastly, give a reference to how big it is!
You know how it’s really jarring to go to a website that hasn’t been updated in a really long time? When the graphics look out of date, the font is something that has been deemed distasteful but used to be trendy, and it just feels, well, disorganized? Your customers will get the same feeling, but more unconsciously, if you let your own site’s design fall out of date. This is especially true if your website is not mobile friendly. According to the Consumer Technology Association, over 41% of consumers used their smartphone to shop during Black Friday week 2017, which beats desktop computers’ 38%, and laptops’ 34%; in no uncertain terms, if you’re still putting off creating a mobile compatible website and app, you’re pushing sales away.
A great example of this is Growth Spark client, Dormify. They offer an enormous range of products, but their site is able to switch effortlessly between their expansive desktop site, and their easy to use mobile site.
I’m not advocating complete redesigns on a regular basis, but it’s important to evaluate which parts of your site are starting to show their age, and which could be improved to make your site more competitive and usable to today’s consumers. January is a great time to do this, while your mind is in a state of thinking of fresh beginnings and improvements.
Do you have a store where the owner, or maybe some of the employees, know your name? Does that make you less likely to go to their competitor? Think about that when you’re designing the content that goes on your website, both written and visual. The purpose of everything on your website is not only to get consumers to buy once, but also to keep coming back because they trust your brand, and it makes them feel a certain way.
A great example of this is Growth Spark’s client NOBULL, which appeals to their very specific audience. It both inspires purchases while also indicating that they “get” the motivations of athletes who would be attracted to their merchandise.
Resolution: Optimize Your Product Listings
While we’ve already covered improving the overall content on your website, make sure to focus on optimizing your product listings in 2018. More often than not, your product listing will either clinch a sale, or drive the customer away.
But what’s new about writing product listings? In 2018, use data analytics to find out which products are the most popular, so you can push them to the top of your site. Stop making customers hunt for what you already know they want - serve it to them immediately.
We recommend using Glew, an app that analyzes your product catalog performance, which enables you to focus on what sells, and stop wasting your investments on products that are collecting (metaphorical) dust on the shelves.
Resolution: Offer A Better Customer Experience
Many Shopify stores are run by a single person, or maybe just a small team, which may make it seem that customer service is not something that they need to worry about yet - this is far from true. Every store should follow basic customer service best practices; after all, many of them are legally required.
If you don’t already, that’s okay! Make 2018 the year that you offer the best customer experience you can (and no, that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive). Not only will this help you keep customers for life, you’ll also have the customer service tools and protocols available for when your store inevitably experiences a setback, so you can quickly turn a bad situation into a great one for customer loyalty.
Lastly, make sure 2018 is the year that your store (and your bank account) stay safe and protected: take steps to guard against fraud from your customers, employees and vendors. There are many free tools available that you can install today that will help you keep hundreds, or even thousands, in lost income from those who aren’t operating with integrity.