Your eCommerce website is ready to be shown to the world and your Shopify store looks great, your product photos look spectacular (and 100% buyable) and they’re all uploaded to your shop. All your content is written and in place. You know your target market, and your post-launch marketing plan is on point. Are you ready to launch?
Maybe. eCommerce sites are made up of many parts making it possible that you’ve overlooked something really important. In the excitement of putting it all together, it’s easy to miss something small like a broken link, or something bigger, like an app that’s still in test mode and contains test data - not something you want your customers to see!
You want your new online store launch to go without any issues. The easiest way to do that is going old-school and using something super simple: a checklist.
If you’re about to launch a rocket into space, you will have a detailed list of things to check before lift-off. If something’s not quite right you’ll have the opportunity to fix it.
Of course, if your website has an issue you are not going to plummet to earth in a fiery hunk of metal, but you may lose a customer or waste your launch traffic boost from customers who will not convert and worse, won’t come back again. If users struggle to navigate through the checkout process, or if your online store is not optimized for mobile, chances are they’ll bounce.
To avoid this, make sure everything is A-okay before you launch - this is why a checklist is a GREAT idea. Without further ado, here are 10 super important points you have to check off before your launch and a checklist for you to begin with:
Determining your sales channel strategy is an important first step. To figure this out, it’s important to decide whether it’s more important to have full control of the customer lifecycle, or if your ultimate goal is as much exposure as possible, even if it means less control. Some of the sales channels you may want to include are:
You can connect sales channels with Shopify making it easy to keep track of orders, products, and customers in one place.
This will make your brand recognizable and help people remember your URL. Begin by searching for your preferred domain name in a whois lookup searchlike this. If the domain is available you’ll be able to register it through a site likeGoDaddy orHostgator. Once it’s registered, you can link it to Shopify,here’s how.
If it’s already taken, get creative with choosing a new name, for example, if you want to register your online sweet shop and your business is called Heaven but that’s not available, try h3aven, heavensweetshop, atasteofheaven, or heavensweets. Another option is to use another top-level domain, for example, heaven.com may not be available, but heaven.store, heaven.shop, or heaven.online may be. There are bound to be some interesting options available out there, have fun with finding your new online domain name!
No matter how great your online store looks if it’s not easy to use you’ll lose sales, especially if the checkout experience is challenging or slow. Before driving traffic to your store, make sure that users can complete a purchase.
According to Baymard Institute, online shopping carts are abandoned at a rate ofnearly 70%. Sometimes it’s due to natural consequences - the shopper could be doing a price comparison, exploring gift options, saving items for later, or they could simply be window shopping.Other reasons include security concerns, lack of trust, or a complicated checkout process.
To lower the risk of losing sales, it’s important to fix any errors during the checkout process. It’s very important that it’s as smooth as possible. Here are a few pointers for testing your checkout process to prevent any gremlins from getting through:
Your best bet is to place a test order with Shopify Payments with a live payment gateway to make sure everything works.
Shoppers are spoilt for choice when it comes to product options. One of the main things that will make your products stand out from the crowd is when shoppers trust your brand and research and reviews is what wins their trust.
If you have a few pages where shoppers can learn more about your company, it will give them insight into why they should purchase from you. Here are some of the pages you should take care of before your launch:
You know what they say about first impressions. This makes your homepage one of the most important pages on your site. Even if it’s not the first place they land, it’s often the second place they go to. This is where you have the opportunity to establish your brand’s look and feel and ensure they have a clear path to navigate throughout the store.
The contact page creates a level of trust in shoppers by showing them that your store is authentic. List a phone number, email, and a physical address if that’s available. If shoppers can’t contact you with questions you could lose out on sales.
This is where you shine. If shoppers want to learn more about your brand and the people behind your products, this is where they go. It can also be a sales tool in two ways:
Answering simple questions about your products can drive sales. You may not know exactly what customers will ask when you launch, until they start asking but you can still create a decent set of questions and answers. Take a look at competitor’s FAQ pages and formulate a few questions and answers based on that.
Don’t forget to add information about your shipping and returns policy, and how customers can contact you. As you add questions and the page begins to grow, make sure it’s searchable. You might want to consider moving some FAQs right onto the product page to help drive the online sales process.
Tip:Besides fine-tuning your standard pages, consider adding a live chat option available across most of your pages to make it easy for your shoppers to get in touch with any questions.According to research, live chat on an online store can increase hourly revenue by nearly 50%r, increase conversion rates by around 40%, and increase the average order value by around 10%.
Email is a powerful tool when you’re a digital shop owner, but only if they’re set up correctly. Make sure you customize automated emails before you launch. Some of the emails to take note of are:
Copywriters will tell you that it’simpossible to check your own writing for mistakes like grammar and spelling. It’s just as tricky to check for links, your mind gets so used to working with it, it just skips over it. It’s best to get a fresh pair of eyes to go over all content and check every single link. If you have to do it yourself, try working backward, paragraph by paragraph.
Once you’re done with written content and links, go over image-rendering and mobile responsiveness. Check your site from top to bottom on different devices and use different browsers on each device.
If your images are not optimized, they can take a long time to load and it can hurt your site’s performance in search engines. Here are some image optimization tips:
If you feel that this is a challenge,use this handy guide as a reference for uploading images.
Whether you use the built-in Shopify analytics tools, Google Analytics, or another third-party tool, the data you get from it will give you valuable insight into your shoppers’ behavior. Others you could try are:
Try them out and see whether one or a combination of more will work for you, or if you need something different. Analytics are invaluable.
Once you’ve launched your site, you’ll want the world to see it, and for sales to begin rolling in. To make sales you need to drive traffic to your store and that means you need a marketing plan.
Make sure you have this in place so all you need to do is follow the steps you’ve already outlined. Your plan may involve elements like social media, videos, special offers, or user-generated content to build engagement. And that’s just to name a few! Digital marketing is vast so it’s crucial that you have a firm plan in place before you launch.
Check your shipping rates and tax settings to make sure they’re appropriate for your products. If you don’t charge enough, it could eat into your profits. Figure out whether you need to add sales tax - this depends on where you and your shoppers are located. It’s best to consult with a tax professional if you’re not sure.
Make sure your billing information is correct so that you’re able to accept payments immediately.
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