Are you new to starting your Shopify business? Congratulations, this is the right decision! The eCommerce store trend is at an all-time high with the prospect of reaching new heights. Among all the major platforms launched over the years, Shopify is ranked in the top 5 best platforms, according to Ecommerce CEO.
Supporting close to a million businesses in over 175 countries, Shopify is a great trend for online business start-ups. Due to such popularity, many people want to become a Shopify store owner, but do not conduct thorough research when planning their choice. Therefore, they often run into problems and make mistakes when opening a Shopify store, which can cost them money or put their business at risk.
First of all, you should prepare a clear Shopify business plan and decide what you are going to sell. It’s impossible to avoid all business mistakes, but with a business plan and right preparation you have quite a high chance of avoiding most common mistakes.
How to prepare a Shopify business plan?
Every business needs a solid plan to succeed. A well-structured Shopify business plan and a well-thought-out strategy for implementing the plan will always keep a business ahead of the competition.
Did you know that many businesses fail within the first year of their operation? Just because they don't have a plan, they don't have market or product research.
Let’s have a look on how to write a Shopify business plan with 9 main points that every business plan should include.
- Executive summary.
The Executive Summary describes your business goals and sets out your mission. This is basically an overview of your business and the problems your business will solve for your customers.
Although this is the first section of your business plan, write it after you've completed the rest of your business plan. It's much easier because you'll be able to draw conclusions from the sections you've already written. This way, it will be easier to identify the best parts of your business plan to include on the first page.
2. Business description.
Describe your business from your perspective and discuss how you plan to grow. Explain where your profit will come from. Explain what kind of customers you are going to target and how your products or services will help them specifically.
3. Market analysis.
Carefully analyze the market you are targeting and prove that there is a demand for the product or service you are going to offer. Include information about the size of your market and how many customers you expect to have and how many repeat customers you are expecting to have. Study your competitors. What is their feature? Think about how your business will stand out from others.
4. List your products or services.
This section should explain what you are going to sell on your Shopify store. Also, include information about how you will price your products compared to your competitors, expected profit margins, and production and delivery details.
If you sell many types of products, list the main product categories and how many products you plan to offer in each category. This makes it easier to visualize your business offerings as a whole to determine if you need more products in the same category in order to fully reveal your online store.
5. Marketing and sales plan.
In this section, describe how you will reach your desired market. Describe the marketing and advertising strategies you intend to use to promote your product to potential customers: search engine marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and influencer marketing techniques.
TIP: Learning the marketing tactics of your competitors will help you set up your own strategy to build a customer base and ultimately take your business to the next level.
6. Management and organization.
This section describes the structure of your business as well as how you will staff and manage your business, who the owners are (if you have more than one), and the types of staff you will need.
Include the team members you want to hire as well as those who are already working with you at this stage. Write a one-paragraph profile of every existing key team member, including yourself, so you have a clear picture of your team and everyone’s skills.
7. Financial plan.
This is a very important section for your own planning. But even more important if you are looking for investors.
This is where you create a cash flow forecast to describe your monthly projected income and expenses. A break-even analysis is also needed to show how many sales you need to make to cover your initial costs and make a profit. Also include a sample income statement using expected values, and a balance sheet that describes the current assets, liabilities, and equity of your business.
8. Logistics and operations plan.
This section should show that you have a clear understanding of your supply chain and have contingency plans in place. This should give you a basis for making other important decisions, such as how to price your products to cover your estimated costs, and at what point do you plan to break even on initial costs.
This section of your Shopify business plan includes all the additional documentation required for all sections (researchs, testimonials, credit histories, etc.)
Once you have written your business plan, remember to review it regularly and update it as necessary. Your business plan should be a living document that evolves as your business grows.
Top 7 Common Mistakes
Even successful Shopify businesses have made mistakes, and continue to make mistakes. Business mistakes are inevitable and all we can do is learn from them and not repeat the same mistake. Let’s dive in and take a look at the top 7 common mistakes from our point of view.
- Bad customer service.
Customer experience is one of the most important factors influencing the success of your business. Customers may prefer another company if they are not happy with your service. According to Zendesk report, 50% of customers will move to another company in order to get better customer service.
As a future Shopify store owner, you should keep in mind that the great customer service should respond quickly (ideally provide your customers with the real-time communication service). You can consider including a live-chat tool to meet your customers expectations in real-time.
Another point to consider is whether your customer service is available 24/7. If you don’t have the possibility to hire a night shift agent, the best solution here is to use a chatbot. Chatbots work based on predefined workflows, which means they already know how to answer the most common customer questions. With the help of a chatbot, customers will quickly get the information they are looking for in your store anytime.
Also, provide customer service assistance through multiple communication channels and social media, so that each customer can reach you using any way convenient for them.
Customers expect seamless communication across all touchpoints. Therefore, make contact with them whenever they ask for help. Be on every channel and try to help them when needed.
2. Lack of social proof.
90% of customers trust recommendations from friends and family, not the business itself. The more your customers will promote your brand by leaving positive reviews, the faster your customer retention rate will grow and the more you will earn.
Thus, encourage your customers to leave reviews. Offer them rewards, like gift cards, additional reward points, discounts if necessary.
Tip: Don't rush to add your social proof if you just launched your Shopify store. Wait until you have a customer base and start adding reviews, as products with no or no reviews make shoppers suspicious of their quality. However, you should also avoid fake social proof to gain the trust of your customers.
3. Not using order tracking apps.
At first glance, order tracking apps don't seem all that important. But it's exactly the tool you need to earn customer trust and increase their satisfaction and post-purchase experience.
Providing your customers with the real-time tracking information you reduce their worries about the order location as well as improve their trust in your brand. Let’s consider Trackr, Shopify order tracking app, as a great tool to provide your customers with exceptional experiences.
Trackr not only collects the real-time tracking information from more that 900 carriers, but also allows you to create branded order tracking page on your store. This way, you don’t need to send your customers long tracking numbers anymore.
Another great feature of Trackr is the opportunity to send your customers email notifications about their order main status changes.
Bonus feature: Use Trackr app as an additional marketing tool. Add product recommendations to email templates or tracking pages to increase your sales. The product recommendation feature can help customers find the products they are interested in, and showing relevant products increases the likelihood of making a purchase again.
4. Ignoring mobile users.
It's easy to get carried away optimizing your website for desktop viewing, but don't forget that most of your website visitors are mobile users. This is a mistake that you must avoid by all means.
Interested why? According to Statista, 52% of in-store traffic and orders come from mobile devices. You will lose a lot of customers as well as revenue if you don't optimize your site for mobile traffic.
Tip: When designing your store, make sure your site is both mobile-friendly and desktop-friendly. In addition, you may also want to consider using mobile-responsive themes, scrollable product images, and creating an interactive user experience for your mobile visitors.
5. Not knowing your target audience.
Sounds crazy, I know. This is the thing you need to consider while creating your Shopify business plan. Once you decide what to sell on Shopify, you need to double-check whether people will be interested in your products or services.
You need to study your target market, understand its values and beliefs, online behavior and interests. If you don't do your research, your business will likely collapse because you may be selling to people who aren't interested in your product.
6. Poor marketing plan.
One of the biggest business mistakes is not having a proper marketing plan. Marketing plans should be your business's focus. Once you start your business and identify your target market, your marketing plan will be easy to customize. If you are promoting a product without a plan or target audience, you will not make much progress.
There are different types of marketing that you can use to grow your business and they mostly depend on the size of your online store and budget. Whatever plan you choose, invest your time and effort into it until you succeed.
7. Non-optimized images.
Another Shopify business mistake that you can easily make is not optimizing the product images in your store. When you don't optimize your images, they take longer to load, reducing traffic and engagement with your Shopify store.
However, once you optimize images, you increase your website's loading speed and improve it for the better.
Tip: Always optimize your images using various apps/tools and get a size preview before finalizing your products in the Shopify store. We recommend using Seo Audit + Image Compression Shopify app to achieve better results and improve your website.
Making mistakes is absolutely common for everyone in any sphere of our life. Mistakes are part of learning; they should never stop you from learning or trying new things. The main thing is to correct your mistakes and strive for excellence.
Understanding these mistakes and avoiding them will help you overcome some of the challenges and help you grow your business rapidly.