The Shopify Gameplan – For Any Stage of the Game

Just about all of us here at ForeFront Web are die-hard football fans, which naturally comes with living in a football-obsessed town (go Bucks!). Since we’re knee-deep into the season, it only makes sense to put a full-contact spin on this article.

We have the pleasure to work with clients in every stage of their store build-outs, from the very beginning stages of store layouts through mature stores that are aggressively focused on site conversions. We’ll break down this life cycle into four parts – four “quarters” – with some helpful tips for each stage.

How to Launch a New Shopify Store

First Quarter: A Big Kickoff

There’s nothing worse for a football player to get all amped up and ready to play, only to have the opening kickoff sail out of bounds after a 20 yard shank. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure you boot that ball through the end zone.

Here’s your first quarter checklist:

  • Check your competitors! It’s astonishing how many prospective clients come to us without a logo, poor product images and inflated prices, when all they would have to do is spend an hour scouting competitor sites and realize what they have won’t fly. Do your research so you know what you’re up against.
  • Invest the time/cost to have great images. No, the pictures that you took on your iPhone with the bad lighting won’t work. Would you buy a product without seeing it well?
  • Have great descriptions. While pictures sell, great descriptions seal the deal. Here’s a fantastic example from our friends at SeaVees. This is “just” a tennis shoe, and they describe everything from the eyelets to the history of the shoe (a skateboard contest in 1963). Be the Ray Lewis of hyping up your products!
  • Be prepared. Make sure to read the Prenatal Guide to Shopify if you haven’t already! Don’t step on to the field without a playbook.
  • Consult an expert. Even if it’s simply to check your store and make sure you did everything right, it’s worth it to have another set of eyes on things. Especially folks that work with ecommerce stores every day – you’ll find they can be an invaluable resource.

Developing Marketing Plans for Shopify Sites

Second Quarter: Establish Your Game

Think of the time and energy that goes into a successful football game plan. Each week, plays get added, tweaked or even removed based on the competitor. A top-tier football team is an ever-morphing beast that adapts to the game at hand. It’s not a stretch to apply this mentality to a high-performing ecommerce store. Too many shop owners have a “set it and forget it” mentality. That just won’t fly! You have to adapt your offers, your showcased products and your content to the changing whims of your customers. Become the Peyton Manning of marketing strategy.

If the “first quarter” was all about a successful launch, the second quarter is all about learning. Analyze your stats (Shopify provides good reports, and Google Analytics and Search Console are invaluable resources) and look for trends. What worked? What didn’t? What offers did customers take advantage of, and which did they ignore? This is the time to dig into the info you have so far and make adjustments.

This is also a great time to reach out to some selected customers and get feedback. Call or email the five customers that spent the most. Find out how they enjoyed the experience, the products – get as much feedback as you can, and reward them with a generous coupon code. Do the same for folks with large abandoned carts. The more you can find out, the better you can establish your game.

Creating a Solid Drip Marketing Campaign

Third Quarter: Open Up the Playbook

Now that you have lots of good intel, it’s time to step up your game. Since decisions made at this point are more educated, you can take a few more risks. If you haven’t already established a proactive email marketing campaign, it’s a great time to start. Marketing automation is a proven performer; make sure you check out MailChimp and their platform, which is amazing. Experiment with different offers, and if your product or service lends itself to it, consider creating a loyalty program.

The biggest issue at this stage is to not get stagnant! Ideally, you will have boosted sales via repeat customers and/or referrals. Either way, you’ll need to work to keep your customers interested. Be sure to change the homepage call to action often, get fresh new imagery as often as possible, explore new product offerings and keep them coming back for more.

How To Optimize Your Shopify Store and Game Plan

Fourth Quarter: Prepare for Victory

By this time, you should have a great handle on what works – in general. The “fourth quarter” is all about leveraging that intel and capitalizing on it. Continue to refine and squeeze every yard you can get; conversion is the name of the game. Here’s your fourth quarter checklist:

  • Test and tweak. Consider A/B testing to dig even further into the nuances that will lead to more conversions. A/B testing is time consuming, but done correctly can add considerably to the bottom line.
  • Expand Your reach. If  Marketing Automation was a good idea before, it’s a must-have at this point. A proactive outreach is critical to ongoing success.
  • Develop an abandoned cart strategy. This is an often-overlooked tactic that can lead to many recovered sales. Abandoned cart strategies allow you to be the Aaron Rodgers of late-game marketing.
  • Understand what Google thinks about you. Have a qualified SEO expert analyze your site and make suggestions. Your site should be humming now; it’s time to get more eyes on it.
  • Conversions are king. For more tips and additional detail, be sure to read our article on Improving Shopify Conversion Rates. If you’re in the 1.75-3.0 conversion rate range, you’re doing well.

How To Win Big On Shopify

Keep Your Winning Strategy All Season Long

Just as in football, winning one game does not a season make. By applying a concerted effort and relentlessly identifying areas of improvement and adjustment, you’ll keep your winning formula intact. And don’t forget the immortal words of Vince Lombardi, “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

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