How to Grow Your E-Commerce Store in 8 Steps

Deborah Mecca
August 29, 2023

If you’re starting a new e-commerce business – whether on e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, or Etsy – no one needs to tell you that it can be challenging. If you’ve already wanted to stick your head in the sand a dozen times already, well, you’re in good company. As in, the company of all entrepreneurs ever.

Finding success on e-commerce platforms requires grit, determination, and staying power for any small business, after all. There exist numerous competitor stores with multiple offerings, and they also want to succeed in the raging maelstrom that is the internet, making it hard to know how to grow your ecommerce store.

But don’t lose heart. The market is always growing, giving new startups plenty of room to maneuver.

“E-commerce sales are expected to grow 10.4% in 2023,” Forbes Advisor reports. Moreover, “The global e-commerce market is expected to total $6.3 trillion in 2023” and “By 2026, the e-commerce market is expected to total over $8.1 trillion.” And in 2023 alone, the US market is expected to reach $1.1 trillion.

There are many ways to increase the popularity and success of your e-commerce store. These include providing excellent customer service to existing customers, using SEO to improve your search engine rankings and educate new customers, and choosing the right sales channels to increase your conversion rates.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the main strategies you should put in place if you want to accomplish the above. Although successful shop owners might look like wizards, they’re not … they just understand how to use winning strategies to make business boom.

Want to join their ranks? Read on.

1. Improve Product Pages with Customizable Product Options

We’ll be honest: this is the most important tip in this article. Why? Because without great customization tactics for your products, you’ll quickly get left behind by the competition.

Put simply, optimized product pages are essential in e-commerce. If you sell handmade art or one-of-a-kind vintage finds, then sure, you can post products one by one. But many (if not most) Shopify stores offer customization of their products with multiple variations.

Let’s say you sell T-shirts. Your customers don’t just want a large, peach-colored shirt with the logo and font you choose. They want to select the size, color, fabric blend, cut, sleeve length, and design themselves. But to create a different product listing for every combination of the above would quickly result in hundreds or thousands of different listings … impossible for you to maintain, and impossible for them to sort through.

Yet that’s all Shopify offers through its native interface. To make up for what it lacks, you’ll need an app such as Product Options & Customizer. It allows you to offer tailored products to your customers, so they can make your offerings their own. Shopping in your store immediately becomes so much easier, so your customer base grows and their purchasing decisions become much simpler.

All you have to do is download it from the Shopify store, plug it in, and start improving the user experience on your product pages today. It is hands-down the best choice to optimize product pages and increase e-commerce sales, especially in Shopify.

Don’t sell T-shirts? You don’t have to in order to get use out of a tool like Product Customizer. Check out customization examples for several use cases, including jewelry, mobile accessories, furniture, or even cars. If you’re looking for an e-commerce win, you’ll definitely find it with this app.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

A target audience is “a group of people defined by certain demographics and behavior,”
explains Sprout Social. Such demographics often include age, profession, gender, location, income, interests, parenthood or marital status, and other defining characteristics. Overall, “Finding a target audience means discovering what kind of people are most likely to be interested in your service or product.”

It’s important to note that a target audience is not your idea of a great customer. It is, rather, a set of people who think your products are great and will be hooked by a page’s product description. In a way, each potential customer self-selects into your target market.

Once you understand your audience, you can use that information to create a “persona” that will guide your e-commerce marketing efforts. This is a fabricated amalgam of people in that bucket, meant to help you “get to know them” so you can market to them as though they’re real people. If you have more than one audience, create more than one persona.

For example, if you sell custom engraved jewelry, you need to know who’s going to buy it. If necklaces are your jam, then you’re likely looking at mothers commemorating their kiddos and brides handing out bridesmaids’ gifts. Tough-looking bracelets, rings, or dog tags are more likely to appeal to men. For each, create a persona: Memento Maggie or Tough Ted, then list out everything you know about them.

Now that you know who you’re marketing to, it’s time to figure out where they’re at.

3. Look for New Sales Channels

A sales channel is a platform through which an e-commerce brand can reach its potential customers. The right sales channels help online businesses gain brand exposure and target multiple potential customers. Selecting the right channels for your business and products can improve the customer experience and your bottom line.

There are numerous choices, and different online businesses will choose different combinations. Some of the most popular options include (but certainly aren’t limited to):

  • Social media: TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn
  • Retail sites: Shopify website, Amazon, Etsy
  • Product comparison sites: Google Shopping, Shopzilla, Flipp
  • Directory sites: Yelp, Google, Angie’s List

With so many options, some Shopify owners feel a little bit faint at the prospect of choosing. The best approach is to start with one and go from there. Don’t take on too much too fast and fail to properly nurture the audience in each channel.

4. Implement Upsells and Cross-Sells

Cross-sells and upsells are critical aspects of any product marketing strategy, physical to digital.

When you upsell, you encourage a customer to choose a more expensive version of the one they’ve chosen: bigger, made of nicer material, in a package with accessories, etc. When you cross-sell, you show customers how additional products can make their purchase better: a frame for a print, say, or fancy shoelaces to replace the default ones on a pair of shoes.

It’s important to note that while upselling often happens in the moment (Do you want “A” instead of “a”?), cross-selling can happen at any time during or after the sale (Would you like to add B to A to make A better?). Either way, they add serious value for you. You can use pop-up messaging for this, put it on your product page, or make it appear on your cart page.

Using the right messaging can help you increase upsells and cross-sells and decrease cart abandonment by making products more useful. Try In-Cart Upsell for a handy app to help you do it easily.

5. Optimize for Better Mobile Experience

A huge amount of online sales happen through mobile devices. This can include simply utilizing a mobile-friendly Shopify theme, or using an actual mobile app that’s dedicated to shopping on your web store alone.

“A whopping 60% of consumers prefer mobile shopping apps over mobile sites because of better user experience,” Tidio says, “while 88% of consumers have at least one shopping app on their phone.”

Therefore, it is crucial to have an e-commerce site or app that provides new and existing customers with an excellent mobile experience. If you don’t, you risk losing them to a competitor faster than you can say “Shoot, wish I’d optimized for mobile … ”

If you’re leaning towards creating an app, just know that hiring a development company to create it for you can be a costly endeavor. A much more cost-effective option would be to use a tool like Shoutem to build a no-code app for your Shopify store in minutes.

6. Develop SEO Content for All Sales Funnel Stages

Search engine optimization (SEO) copy presents a significant opportunity to any ecommerce store. It can target terms that your shoppers are searching on Google or other search engines. A product page that’s optimized for one of those terms would then appear at the top of a potential buyer’s search results. That’s how you bring in new customers without having to market at all.

You can use SEO to your benefit most heavily in the awareness stage, when people are first shopping for a product. This is a great complement to paid ads (if you have the funds for them) and email marketing (which is usually quite cost-effective, see below).

The main goal of SEO is to create content, product descriptions, or landing pages around certain terms for which people are already shopping. You can use tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Keyword Explorer to identify opportunities for your own site.

With this info in hand, you can then create blog posts that answer questions that you know your target audience is asking, and highlight product listings that provide solutions. Use specific key words naturally in titles, descriptions, and metadata, and you’re off to a great start.

For instance, let’s take a look at a term such as “best dog food for puppies.” A pet brand with an ecommerce store could create a page with content around that term, linking to their different brands of puppy food available for purchase. You would also use that term within the content on the product page, which tells Google it’s a good place to send people who are searching for it.

7. Run an Email Marketing Campaign

An email marketing campaign is a series of emails designed to remind new or returning customers about your products and influence them to return to your shop. It is a planned strategy that builds on itself, often using automation, which helps the business owner further build brand awareness and increase conversion rates.

There are many types of email marketing campaigns a business owner can run, such as new product emails, coupon emails, checkout process review emails, social proof (testimonial) emails, and more. Plan on sending about one email a week.

Offering a freebie, coupon, or customer loyalty points can encourage people to sign up for your email list. Once you have their information, you can send emails promoting sales and new product launches. After sending your messages, be sure to regularly review the analytics associated with them. Look at the open rate, clickthrough rate, and conversion rate, so you can see what’s working and what’s not.

Once you have more information, optimize your email campaign to do more of what works for your e-commerce website. A/B testing can help here, and most email providers make this very simple. For instance, you can run two different subject lines in your emails to see which has a better response, then build on that information for future campaigns. Or you could use the same subject line and body text, but have a different call to action to the same link at the bottom.

An intelligent email marketing campaign can help nurture your customer base to finish their checkouts, upgrade their purchases, and buy cross-sell items – all of which help your bottom line.

8. Work with Social Media Influencers

Social media can feel impossible, especially if you’re not a guru. But understanding its merits will help you boost sales on new products and old, connect with your prospects in real time, and grow your potential customer base with each post.

It is, in other words, a non-optional digital marketing strategy. With it, you can notify customers of upcoming deals, drop new products, take advantage of seasonal shopping surges, and stay connected with people with behind-the-scenes content.

That’s why it’s worth considering bringing social media influencers in as part of your content marketing campaign. Their large audiences can help you penetrate the market quickly, putting out your message to thousands or millions of people by working with just a few accounts on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or Twitter. This will help you gain exposure, boost sales, and promote new products.

Social media fits nicely into your larger content marketing design, too. When you’ve got an email going out that contains a great coupon, make sure to highlight that on social media to encourage people to join your mailing list. Run giveaways through social or through website entries or email signups. Solicit user-generated content that looks good on your page and promotes the influencer account at the same time.

Remember, while social isn’t necessarily intuitive, it is important. Choose one platform to start with if you don’t have one and learn to use it well. Once you get up and running, you’ll quickly see how useful social can be as an overall part of your approach to getting more sales.

Grow Your E-Commerce Business with Product Customizer

We all know that creating a new e-commerce business can be challenging. You’re not the only store that shoppers can go to for multiple offerings and excellent customer service, and for better or for worse, you never will be.

Happily, you don’t have to be the only one out there in order to provide a great user experience and increase your online sales. It’s as simple as using the above strategies to gain great rankings, pull in new customers, and increase retention and conversion rates. Put them into action, and you’re guaranteed to see more traffic to your product pages and increases to your bottom line.

Of all the above tactics, though, customizing your listings is one of the easiest to complete with confidence, and most likely to make a difference to your Shopify sales. Updating your online store with customizable products is the first step, because your store must be completely in order before you start driving a ton of shoppers to your website.

Check out this demo site and you’ll see all of the ways Product Options and Customizer can improve your Shopify store and help boost sales. Then sign up for your free 14-day trial and get to work optimizing your own eCommerce store today. Don’t wait any longer to get the sales you deserve!