Did you know that in 2020, eCommerce sales in the United States alone jumped by an unprecedented 44%, beating all forecasts?
Or that globally, the eCommerce penetration rate had jumped to more than 21% last year?
Due to the prolonged lockdowns worldwide, 2020 witnessed the rise of eCommerce to a peak that would have otherwise taken a decade or so!
For comparison, just have a look at 2019’s stats: the United States’ eCommerce growth rate was around 15% or nearly 1/3rd of the 2020 boom.
For vendors like you who use Shopify’s platform to reach major global markets, now is the time to really scale up your efforts and begin planning for the future- by figuring out what 2021 and beyond will be like.
Because there is no turning back!
eCommerce has reached its tipping point, and nothing is preventing you from unlocking new doors, improving your existing sales funnel & supply chain–and cashing in on the estimated US $5 billion that the global online marketplace is set to be worth by 2021-end.
Oh, and did we mention that it is estimated that 3 billion consumers will be online by 2022?
To reap the rich dividends waiting for your business on Shopify, you must follow both local and global trends. One of them is the untapped potential of emerging markets like Brazil, South Africa, and India.
We know you are eager to hit the ground running in this dynamic online environment.
But are you ready?
Be smart. Be prepared; check out these 9 essential elements for Shopify store growth in 2021 and onwards!
Why Should You Use Shopify over other eCommerce platforms?
Shopify’s enormous popularity lies in its unique characteristics, which means it is, was, and will always remain your go-to platform.
Listed below are some principal reasons you should choose Shopify.
- Some 10,00,000 businesses of differing sizes, spread over 175+ countries and covering the entire eCommerce spectrum rely on Shopify’s platform. Wondering how much revenue this translates to? More than US$200 billion!
- Shopify accounts for almost 20% of all existing eCommerce platforms globally.
- Are you just launching your business online? Worried you may end up choosing the right platform that covers every aspect of your store? You can try out Shopify free of cost for 14 days. No strings attached. No hidden charges. And you can cancel anytime.
- In this fiercely competitive online retail environment, your business needs its own identity to stand out.
To reach out and impress more clients, choose from the 100+ themes Shopify offers to add that extra zing to your online store. Several high-end themes are available for free; some are paid themes.
Pro-tip: The 2 most popular themes are ‘Porto’ and ‘Wokiee’. Else, you will find themes like ‘Colors’, ‘Kodo’ or ‘Universe’ both innovative and quirky!
- Say goodbye to the behind-the-scenes nightmares starring servers, databases, domains, and other web-hosting challenges. Shopify is a completely Cloud-based setup accessible from anywhere in the world so long as you have the login details. The built-in marketing tools suite possesses several key features your store will benefit from.
- To round off, Shopify gives you the liberty of choosing payment gateways. You can opt for standard gateways if you wish; if not, check out Shopify’s very own secure payment gateway.
This proprietary gateway does not charge anything extra while also charging lower credit card usage fees.
1. Implement Messenger marketing
Before messaging apps made it possible for store-owners like you to reply to any query or handle complaints in real-time, email marketing was the only way of handling most client issues.
Store owners too had to send emails for marketing their products and provide updates to their target audiences globally.
But those days are long gone.
Messenger marketing has made this process much simpler. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger remain the most popular apps, and it is very easy to integrate the Messenger of your choice with your Shopify store.
Other similar applications include WeChat, QQ, Telegram, Snapchat & LINE, but their reach is somewhat limited.
It is estimated that by 2021-end, approximately 2.5 billion users will rely on at least 1 mobile messaging app. Also, some surveys have shown that more than 50% of customers prefer to interact with Messenger apps instead of calling up customer support helplines.
It makes sense to start implementing Messenger marketing right now if you haven’t already!
There are several benefits of using Messenger marketing applications.
- It simplifies the process of handling all your social media profiles by bringing them together, saving you time while also showing important aspects of consumer behavior.
- Once you gain experience in Messenger marketing, you will be able to provide certain services in real-time. These may include addressing complaints, polling, maintaining multiple shopping carts simultaneously, advising your clients in case of price changes of their chosen products, and so on.
- You can include your customers’ comments and feedback in your marketing outreach posts on social media handles. A recent study across several countries by Facebook for Business suggests that around 1/4th of all patrons appreciate these little aspects and feel more valued.
You can also use Messenger services to welcome new customers and identify why some orders are abandoned.
How to implement Messenger marketing on your Shopify store
Just follow these steps and get started:
- Access your Shopify Admin panel and choose your store.
- Look for the ‘Sales Channels’ option. You’ll find ‘Add channel’ right next to it. Click on it.
- Now, select the Messenger app you want to use and add it to your Shopify store.
Not that difficult, right?
Costa Coffee, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s are market-leaders in their segment: these 3 giant fast-food & beverage chains use Messenger marketing to connect with clients using social media.
Job-hunting sites including Naukri also use specialized Messenger apps like ‘CutShort.’
2. Plan Cart abandonment recovery options
Cart abandonment is rampant in the entire eCommerce spectrum and is something that online retailers fear. There are several reasons why your customers will enter the sales funnel, choose what they want, but back out at the point of purchase.
These reasons include high shipping costs, expired coupons, slow page-loading speeds when shopping for something in a hurry, repeatedly filling out forms, and so on.
It is immensely frustrating; what’s more, cart abandonment leads to losses of around US$ 18 billion to the global eCommerce industry each year!
What you have to focus on are checkout optimization and a simple sales process.
On Shopify, there are very few options to tackle these issues; that means you’ll have to focus on recovery options.
In the previous section, you read about how Messenger marketing is essential. Did you know that this strategy can also help you understand why Cart abandonment occurs?
By reaching out to those customers who left at the checkout counter over social media platforms, you can create a customized experience for the buyer.
You can also understand what worked and what did not.
Tracking Cart abandonment and using the recovery option will help you increase sales by a significant margin. It might take some time to show positive results, however.
Also, using the information you gain by using recovery options, you can send tailor-made emails reminding the customer that some items are still left. You can also use the data to create retargeting ads that can bring back 25% of the buyers who did not finish shopping!
How to implement Cart abandonment recovery options on your Shopify store
The steps are:
- Go to your store’s ‘Orders’ section. Select ‘Abandoned checkouts’.
- You can select the order which you are trying to recover depending on the type of information or insight you need. Simply type in the ‘Checkout number’ to view details.
- To send a recovery email, click on ‘Send’.
Remember: the recovery mail is a generic template. You can add in some personalized notes to make the customer feel ‘special’!
Amazon usually sends recovery emails immediately after you sign out. Besides, luxury footwear majors like Charlotte Stone, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo all use very innovative approaches to bring back customers.
3. Have Minimal Design
This is a common mistake among many Shopify store-owners; they tend to go over-the-top when it comes to decking up their online stores.
Evergreen style icon and immensely respected fashion designer said it best: “Simplicity is the keynote of elegance.”
Put simply, less is more.
Since Shopify has a limited number of themes, there are only so many options you have. Despite that, you can make your store appear minimalist. The message the customer receives is:
“Their goods must be so impressive that they do not need a fancy website!”
If you visit the websites of super-successful brands, you will notice that most of them have a bare-bones layout. This approach has several advantages.
Benefits of having minimal design
The most obvious advantages are:
- Your customers can window-shop online as much as they wish since your website showcases your wares perfectly.
- ‘Heavy’ websites take more time to load on mobile devices. Some studies suggest more than 85% of all customers– across businesses- will leave your online store if the page-loading speed is low.
- Also, the modern shopper wants instant gratification. They will not try to dig out something they like from your Shopify store if it’s hidden and the site is cluttered.
There are only 3 steps.
- First, head over to your Shopify store Admin panel and navigate to ‘Theme Settings’. Find ‘Layout’ under this menu option.
- Opt for ‘Enable wide layout.’
- Don’t forget to save your changes!
Ensure you start with a minimalist theme first.
Plus, it also underlines Uber’s motto of accessibility for everyone!
4. Use Eye-catching visuals
No one wants to go through a chunk of text on an eCommerce website unless they’re reading product descriptions!
Stunning visuals are your best friend, something that also goes well with minimalist websites.
Visually appealing content or goods sell better, according to visual merchandisers. Experts suggest that the proper use of color, empty space, sales-enabling signage, and an overall approach to retailing using storytelling is the future of eCommerce.
No wonder that catchy visuals are sometimes known as ‘The Silent Salesperson.’
Benefits of using eye-catching visuals
- When used properly, you can convey an entire idea to your online visitor in a very brief period.
- Often, smart visuals help customers make purchase decisions immediately.
Implementing visual marketing
Unfortunately, Shopify does not provide too many tools on this front, although you have a wide variety of stunning visual layouts ready to use.
But if these resources aren’t enough, you should consult a graphic designer for a professional and appealing finish.
5. Get ready for a Mobile-friendly shopping experience
If your Shopify store is not ready for easy access on mobile devices, you must immediately take steps to rectify that.
The massive penetration of mobile devices in countries like the United States is proof enough that it is the future of online retailing.
Consider these figures:
- 77% of all Americans own at least 1 mobile device; smartphones, tablets, you name it. Around 80% of them buy online using their mobile devices.
- Globally, there are more than 3.8 billion smartphones in use.
- It is estimated that by 2022, around 54% of everything customers buy online will be booked via a mobile device.
Very interesting numbers, aren’t they?
To cash in on the coming ‘M-Commerce’ boom, you must ensure your Shopify store is mobile-friendly and page-loading speed is high.
Benefits of a Mobile-friendly shopping experience
You already went through the numbers given above. They present the picture very clearly and highlight why you must have a mobile-friendly website.
Other benefits include:
- Faster check-out time with encrypted payment systems.
- Push notifications help you track orders-on-the-go.
- You will be able to reach out to more people than ever before.
Unlike the other key elements, you do not have to go through any steps here. Shopify’s themes, whether free or premium ones, offer complete mobile-friendly shopping experiences.
6. Make Product videos
Product videos are a proven way to let a potential customer enter your store’s sales funnel. Simply put, it involves making short but HD videos of everything your store sells. It will give the user a first-hand look at how your Shopify store’s products are, how well they perform, their functionalities, and their advantages.
It is essentially a 360® view of your wares.
Benefits of making product videos
- Increases sales conversion rates to a great extent. According to experts, if you place a well-produced and detailed video on your store’s landing page, you can improve conversions by more than 70 to 80%!
- It gives your potential client a pretty good idea of what they are buying.
- Posting videos build trust between your prospects and yourself as well.
- Lastly, posting such videos will also improve your site’s ranking on search engines. Google search loves video content!
- On your Shopify admin panel, head over to ‘Products.’
- Click on ‘Add Media.’ Shopify will now let you upload video and HQ images too. Try and share some of these videos on YouTube and Dailymotion with a return link to your Shopify store!
- Check to see if there are any mistakes. Save and exit the panel.
Luxury car manufacturer Mercedes Benz and Heinz have superbly shot & professionally edited videos. Some websites use AR and VR-augmented videos too.
7. Use Product Referral rewards
Product referrals will help spread word-of-mouth publicity of your store for free.
But you have to be very careful and follow a thought-out strategy!
Essentially, if you can convince an existing client to promote your website to a few other people, it is product referral in action. Studies have shown that almost 9 out of 10 people will visit a store- both offline & online- if they are convinced by someone they know.
You can promote this peer-based marketing strategy by offering referral rewards.
Such rewards may include cashback schemes, extra discounts, gift coupons, third-party vouchers and even free samples of upcoming products.
Benefits of using product referral rewards
- You do not have to actively pursue a marketing strategy. This is a passive method.
- You can expect a long list of new customers, provided your referral reward programs are innovative and add value.
- Also, such rewards motivate your loyal clients to spread the word even more than they would have if there were no rewards program/s.
- From your Shopify admin panel, go to ‘Campaigns setup’. You can easily create a referral program from this point.
- Start adding the names of those customers you believe will be great at networking.
- Ensure you have a well-defined reward scheme.
8. Always understand & address customer concerns
2-way communication- when done properly and with responsibility- can make your business.
But, lack of transparency, poor customer support, not engaging enough with your clients, and not taking an active interest can break a business faster than you can imagine.
In the end, it comes down to trust and goodwill. If you actively listen to the problems your customers are facing and take steps to address them, you are on the right track already.
Benefits of addressing customer concerns
The advantages of such an approach are very obvious. Still, here are some statistics to consider:
- Almost 77% of consumers worldwide say they would entertain a firm that interacts with them directly.
- Unlike what many eCommerce experts think, research proves people view offline and online buying experiences with similar viewpoints. The scenario may have changed a bit after 2020’s pandemic, but it still remains mostly true.
- As you earn the trust of your customers, your Shopify store will gradually retain a loyal clientele.
- Finally, over 60% of all consumers trust a firm or an online store if their concerns are heard patiently.
Communication is everything!
Again, this is a very simple task. Download one of several ‘Review Applications’ from Shopify’s store and get started by listing what the customer wants!
Hasbro, the world-famous toy manufacturer, is sometimes called the most ‘customer-centric company. But that is an unofficial claim.
9. Display Real customer reviews and personal testimonials
Never display fake positive reviews on your store’s website; your customers will quickly catch it & call you out!
It is always advisable to display real customer reviews and personal testimonials to spread the word about your store. When you display only positive reviews and ignore mediocre or negative reviews, it makes no sense in the long run.
And once you have lost the goodwill of your customers, it will be very tough for you to make a comeback.
Customers know that it is impossible for any store or business to receive glowing reviews. Some negative or mid-range reviews will always exist. You must carefully mix and match them before displaying them.
It is a very fine line, but you will learn the tricks over time!
Benefits of displaying real reviews and testimonials
Some major advantages are:
- Your existing and prospective clients will understand that you are not afraid to showcase the truth. Most customers appreciate that.
- Your goodwill in the online marketplace will rise.
- Most importantly, people will identify your company or store as a more reliable alternative to a competing eCommerce store that displays fake or manipulated reviews.
- Lastly, there are several third-party rating websites where you cannot control the ranking patterns. If your Shopify store displays paid positive testimonials, your business will be exposed by those who read these external reviews.
Wouldn’t that be an embarrassment!
Again, there are no steps to follow. Shopify allows you to showcase your store’s reviews. Simply ensure that you have enabled the ‘Review’ section from your admin panel.
While there are several dozen elements for rapid Shopify store growth in 2021 & beyond, these are the 9 most essential ones. Test them thoroughly; if required, you can contact the Shopify support team too.
Everything else: front-and-back-end development, fine-tuning your website, upgrading your Shopify account, and properly allocating your resources to rest on these 9 pillars.
On a parting note, hope for the best but also prepare for any contingency. If you keep up these best business practices, you can be unbeatable once the economy regains steam!
Guest Post Contribution from AdNabu
Creating an approved Google Shopping Feed & running profitable Google Ads is a multi-step process. AdNabu’s app helps you to easily create a Google Shopping feed & run profitable Google shopping Ads. All changes from your Shopify store are fetched and updated automatically in the feed.