Shopify / Tech

How To Start A Successful Shopify Store

How to start a successful shopify store
Published 14 September 2020

Last updated on 5 July 2022

Understandably, everyone wants their business to grow beautifully, but it’s important to know how to start a successful Shopify store. Of course, not every store has to make it, and according to some start-up business statistics, only 56% of the businesses make it to the fifth year. The numbers are quite small, and that’s because it can be hard to do everything right. 

Let’s go ahead and take a look at what you should to in order to start a successful Shopify store, what are the most common mistakes you can do, and of course, see what are the main reasons a business will fail. 

Why Do Shopify Stores Fail?

There is no way of giving just a couple of reasons why Shopify stores fail, but we can check out some of the factors that have a huge impact on an online store, even though it may not look like it.

1. The Store Doesn’t Have An Identity

Here, of course, we are talking about a brand. Nowadays, we have thousands of stores selling similar products, but only a few of them actually make it. This is because they managed to build a brand around their store. In a world where we have access to everything through a simple search, more and more people are looking for personality. They want to see what that brand is about, what are its values, and of course, its mission.

2. No Marketing Strategy

In order to be able to build a brand, you need to know who your target audience is, and what they are looking for. The chances of surviving in any industry if you don’t niche down are very slim, so before you get started, you need to know exactly who you’re selling to, and what they expect from a brand. Starting with the buying persona, through its journey, a well-researched sales funnel, and reaching the buying decision, everything needs to be known from the start. 

3. No Defined Goals

You need to define your goals even before you start your online business. If you don’t know what you want to do, you won’t be able to research your audience properly, and this leads to failure. The easiest way to define your goals is to lay your reasons on a piece of paper. Be realistic, and then think of the steps required in order to get there. 

4. Competition Is Too Strong

There are certain niches where it can be almost impossible to break through without the proper research. This is yet another thing you need to think about before you start. Some markets are supra saturated, and there’s no demand for those items anymore. This usually happens with trending items. If you remember the fidget spinner, for example, it was crazy for a while, and then it just dropped after everyone lost interest in them. 

5. No SEO Strategy

Even though SEO works slowly, it’s mandatory that you start working on it from square one. The moment your website is set up, you need to start applying the best practices in order to have a fast loading speed, engaging content, and to have a chance of being found in the organic results. Ad campaigns can become very expensive, and SEO can bring you impressive results for free. 

6. No Social Media Presence

When everyone is on social media, brands without social media accounts are only going to love in this world. Besides being in contact with your potential customers at all times, the brand is losing free publicity. People who used the products may want to share images and tag that brand, thus creating engagement, and UGC(user-generated content). 

Even more, a lot of brands are using affiliate or ambassadorship programs by using social media, which can help boost its social media presence, as well as credibility and sales. 

Every now and then, a new trend pops up, and most of them can be included in almost any store. Whether we’re talking about seasonal campaigns or trending ideas, it’s important to be open to ideas, and try to add even the slightest element to it. You can think about promotional campaigns, collaborations, or even bringing limited-edition products to feature. If you don’t join the trends, you may not be noticed by your target audience. 

Although these are some of the most common reasons Shopify stores fail, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other mistakes you can make. Keep in mind that different businesses have different particularities, and you will have to be very careful about those things when you start setting it up.

How To Start A Successful Shopify Store

We’ll go over some of the most important aspects you need to keep in mind when setting your online store, and of course, explain the reasons behind them. 

Define Your Goals

There is one big mistake when new business owners set their goals, is to only think about money. It’s normal to have this thought, but you need to start building with the thought of offering some sort of value to your future customers. Instead of setting the goal of making a certain amount of money, decide that you want to be the best seller in your niche, or that you will offer the best and most relevant information out there. 

Put all your objectives on a piece of paper in order to have an overview of the situation. This way you will know where you want to be, and you can start planning.

Research The Market

After you know your goal, you already have a defined niche. This means that you can start researching the market, and see where your competition stands. See what keywords they use, how they are organized, what and how they sell, and start building from there. 

The most important thing that’s often overlooked is the demand in a specific niche. For example, niches that are continuously developing, such as technology, baby supplies, and beauty products are always in demand, as people want the latest and best versions. 

Work With Your Competition

Contrary to popular beliefs, competition is healthy. In most cases, competition means that there is a demand in that niche, and it’s worth exploiting. Of course, I’m not talking about your direct competitors, as it can be hard to work together with a store selling the exact same products.

What you can do though, is check out the indirect competitors in your niche and reach out to them. Let’s say you want to build an online store that sells pet supplies, such as shampoos, toys, and harnesses. In this case, you can reach out to other online pet stores that sell foods or natural products, and create something together. Brands sometimes start working together when it comes to giveaway and contests. In this situation, a person is a lot more likely to participate knowing that they can win a whole package of dog supplies, and the popularity of both stores increases. 

Choose Trustworthy Suppliers

This is very important when it comes to dropshipping stores, as most of your activity relies on the suppliers. You need to make sure they are serious, order a couple of samples, so you know exactly what you are selling, and make sure the products get to the buyer on time. You can start by importing products from AliExpress, and check their stats, reviews, and reputation. 

Secure Your Store

This is something that you need to have set up from the first moments of activity. Besides setting up all the admin details, two-factor authentication, and employee accounts, you need to make sure that you have some fraud protection app for Shopify. Whether you’re selling digital or physical products, you need to be protected from fraudulent transactions and unjustified chargebacks. These things can have a big impact on your store’s credibility and reputation. 

Implement SEO

When it comes to SEO, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. 


The most important thing you need to do is keyword research. You are interested in getting as much organic traffic as possible, and for that, you should know what you’re competing against, and how you can get ahead of them.

In general, you can find many keywords with high search volumes and low competition, and if we’re talking about a local store, then your chances of coming up first are incredible. 

When you choose keywords, you will receive a couple of values. The first one is always the search volume. You need to choose long-tail keywords in the beginning, so that you get the perfect combination between a high search volume and competition. The competition needs to be as little as possible in order to rank your website. 

Basic Optimization

Since in stores we’re mostly talking about images, you need to know how to optimize images for Shopify, so your store loads fast, provides the visitors with a great experience, and Google won’t penalize you. 

Besides, your keyword needs to be present a couple of times in your pages, product descriptions, and of course, blogs. It’s very important to do this, so the search engines understand what your website is about. 


In order to see your stats, you will need to know how to add Google Analytics to Shopify and see how your website is performing, who is visiting, what kinds of devices they are using, and also how they interact with your products. Base on this data, you can improve your strategy and even send targeted offers to your prospects. 

Offer Value

This can be a little confusing. Everyone says that online stores should offer value, but they don’t always explain the concept. The principle is simple. Your visitors will stick around if they can get something from you, be it information, discounts, or exclusive products.

A very good strategy for any online store is to have a blog. Besides having the opportunity of driving more traffic from keywords, it also gives people some of the things they want. For example, if you sell baby products, you would have higher retention rates if you also provided your potential customers with information about the latest trends, product comparisons, and how-to guides. And this stands in any industry. This way people will subscribe, you will grow your following list, and you will be able to also sent targeted content their way.

Another way you can use in order to offer value is to offer amazing post-sales services. Whether we’re talking about in-depth instructions, special programs for customers or simply 24/7 customer support, your clients will know that you care, and they will be more likely to engage with your website and products.

Boost Your Social Media Presence

Social media is incredibly important nowadays, and online stores can greatly benefit from it. For starters, having a social media presence allows your prospects to get to know your brand, values, and interests. Besides, it’s a great way to receive user-generated content, and have proof of your products actually helping people. 

A very good strategy is to start your social media accounts before you set up your store. This way, by the time you are ready to launch, you’ll already have a following base you can sell your products and services to. 

Maintain Relationships With Your Customers

This is absolutely mandatory, and it’s an important part of the retention process. You need to make sure your customers are happy and enjoying their products, and at the same time, send them targeted content in order to keep them engaged. 

You can do this either by using social media, email or SMS marketing, and even assuring post-purchase services so they have a chance of coming forward to you. 

Without a doubt, there are quite some steps you should go through when you learn how to set up a successful Shopify store. If you do it right though, you have all the chances of creating something amazing, and actually making nice profits!

About Author

As a digital marketer, Andreea also has an incredible passion for photography, so she's here to give you all the information you need on the topic!