It’s no secret that Shopify is the best platform for starting your eCommerce business. It’s a simple set-up, extremely intuitive and feasibly you can have at least one product, your bank account connected, and a simple theme up and running in less than an hour.
Just look at that for a moment. You can own and brand a shop in under an hour with most of the tools baked in that you will need for your business to operate on a technical level. However, anyone who has opened an online store knows that was the easy bit. Next up comes an array of issues and hurdles you need to understand and overcome to get some traction and by ‘traction’ I mean TRAFFIC.
Here’s a short list that all points to ways of getting traffic, but I won’t labour these here. Just be aware that garnering traffic and sales to your shop are a constant struggle that you can't avoid.
- Advertising with Google Adwords or similar.
- Opening a few manageable Social accounts where you can post about your products, competitions, sales and just, you know, talk to your customers. A slow build, but valid nonetheless.
- Referral Traffic. Getting banners and links on other popular websites or creating content for popular blogs who have an audience that has synergy with your brand and products.
- Sending product to accessible sites to review, hopefully favourably.
- Growing a list of email subscribers who you can market to directly.
There are more ways of drawing traffic to your site, but they are mostly variants of the points above unless you have the budget for TV, Radio or print campaigns. Be careful with printed publications, though, traffic conversions are not reliable unless you have a high profile ‘buzz’ piece in a very popular magazine.
So let’s set your Shopify store against Amazon, arguably the largest marketplace out there and your toughest competition.
We can draw analogy here to put things in perspective.
Your Shopify store sits inside a bubble on a very fast moving river. The water doesn’t know you are there; you just balance on top occasionally grabbing attention. Further upstream is a huge fallen log that will not be ignored.
Amazon’s strength is in its power to draw and retain traffic for a single purpose. To buy things.
The internet, in general, isn’t like that. We, as users don’t always go online with the intention of buying things, but when you go to Amazon, you are in ‘the market’ as they say.
Add to that the array of products, merchants, the promise of a one-day delivery, protection against dodgy vendors and the big catch in the form of the one-click buy button. Your credit card info is saved so customers can just buy and forget.
It’s a wonderfully crafted behemoth that continues to grow in our collective daily habits. Amazon Prime, Instant Video, Amazon Music, etc.
So how do you stand up to this Goliath with your lowly Shopify shop?
It’s all about agility, completion and confidence. An excellent product helps too because you are going to need kudos points to win this fight.
Amazon is remarkably linear. Your product images and surrounding visual content must adhere to very strict guidelines. In short, unless you are an established brand, you will always look very similar to your competition within the Amazon marketplace.
So you can help yourself by making sure you look fabulous. A professional Shopify theme will help with that, but use everything in your arsenal to create content around your products and your brand. That is everything from the name of your business, your visual identity, how you communicate with your customers, your product images, and your video content. Yes. Your video content.
To continue the River analogy, you need to get a disco ball and a projector in your bubble and make it very hard to ignore for the flow around you. Customers still love discovery, and although we all understand the convenience, there is an argument to support customers enjoying ‘difference’ or something presented to them in an interesting way. Many brands have grown this way and have gone on to be hugely successful. You’ve heard it before, but it’s all about Content Marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Well, it’s “content" right? It’s stuff that people read and watch and sometimes share. Every time you open your mouth to speak content comes out. Doesn’t mean it’s good though and here’s the challenge to make your content very, very good.
That sounds like hard work and it is, but if you have the product you believe in and a brand that is dying to jump into the world, you should be bursting with enthusiasm. Delivering content should be easy.
Take a breath and look around you. Do this exercise:
Browse around the internet, Facebook will do in a pinch and look out for content that draws you in or inspires you. Then, find twice as many things that make you groan or experience low-level anger. Understand the difference and move on, but importantly figure out why some content inspired you. Was it a well-crafted blog article or a colour scheme that spoke to you? Was the product presented in a way that made you want it or did it look a ‘thing’ on a white background?
Your path to building content and facing up against Amazon relies upon you crafting and maintaining an active routine.
Oh, and traffic is King.