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5 things to avoid when starting out with e-commerce

Collectively in our Shopify Support Team, we visit hundreds of stores each week - some established and some just getting started - and it's always a fascinating journey. We thought it might be helpful to offer a quick round up of what we see as a few sticking points some new store owners let stand in their way of success!

Katie Welton
December 17, 2019

Collectively in our Shopify Support Team, we visit hundreds of stores each week - some established and some just getting started - and it's always a fascinating journey.

The differences in approach users take can be quite stark. We thought it might be helpful to offer a quick round up of what we see as some of the major sticking points new store owners let stand in their way to success when they really don't need to.

1. Procrastination

You've dreamed of creating the perfect store for some time now; you've spent a good long time choosing the right theme, having carefully weighed all the options; you've lovingly selected the absolute best images from the 1,000 you have for each product; you've thoughtfully crafted the most eloquent descriptions for each item; you've created balanced and robust returns and shipping policies.

Suddenly, it's been six months since you first joined Shopify and bought your theme.

Procrastination is the curse of almost every project ever that didn't have a strong, focused leader in charge. Chances are you're launching on your own, but that doesn't been you can't be your own commander! You can talk yourself out of one more check that all your product descriptions are in top shape (not that we advise against proof-reading, but five times is probably enough!), you can dissuade yourself against rebalancing the colour of every pixel in every image.

If you are just starting out, don't prevent yourself from actually STARTING

All of Clean Theme's themes contain all the necessary settings to control your colours, add logos, slideshows, other image content and videos without any coding needed - helping you get ready to go in the shortest possible time.

2. Pre-Optimisation

Optimisation is defined as making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource. So, if you're paying for the Shopify platform and you've purchased a theme, the optimal use of those resources is to use them! Spending a month or two working with an SEO expert to re-write all of your product descriptions and meta data, writing the perfect alt-text for every image on your site, these are things to pursue after you've launched.

Optimisation is not a singular act of perfecting - rather it's an ongoing process of refinement. Launch your store, then start to optimise individual aspects - product descriptions, meta data, the positions and colours of buttons on your storefront.

If you're moving minor page elements before launching, you're not optimising, and you might actually just be obsessing.

All of Clean Theme's themes are fully integrated with the many SEO facets of the underlying platform:https://help.shopify.com/manual/products/promoting-marketing/seo

3. Desktop is all-top

Whatever you might believe about the internet, if you're starting a webstore, most of your traffic is going to be from mobile sources - at minimum 60%, and continuing to rise annually. There's no defined segment that won't demonstrate this, nor target market share that behaves in opposition to it - neither geography nor age changes the simple fact that a majority of your traffic will be on mobile.

This means a lot of 'nice' features, zoom functions, hover effects and rollover images simply don't apply to the majority of your audience, and you should consider whether you're in the position of best trying to capture that smaller audience segment, or whether you're potentially paying money for elements or effects that have no value to your largest market.

If you're starting out and want to optimise how your store looks, ensure that it is first and foremost from a mobile standpoint.

All of Clean Theme's themes are fully optimised to give your visitors the very best experience on any handheld device.

4. Fact without information

There's a common tendency to become pre-occupied over the placement of specific elements within a homepage, remove whitespace or follow antiquated rules like 'above the fold' content. Do these help your store? Is that a fact, or was it something you read in a blog article that was written in 2012 and has long since been archived?

As the human creatures we are, it's very easy to swallow unsourced information whole and remember it as hard fact in our minds, all the while forgetting just how quickly the world is moving on around us.

If you're looking to move a button a few pixels or paragraphs, do you actually have the data to prove that it's going to improve your store, or do you just feel that it will? If there's any danger of it costing you money or delaying or launch, you should probably reconsider - at least until the market has had an opportunity to react to your product and your storefront.

All of Clean Theme's themes are designed and regularly updated by a team of dedicated professionals with many years of industry experience, built to look fantastic right out the box.

5. Apps, apps and more apps!!!

Apps are great. We say it a lot, and we mean it! The instant provision of functionality without the requirement of expert input or protracted development time is invaluable.

But apps have a cost beyond the monetary, and you need to consider it carefully, each time you install a new app. Every app, from the most animated to the most apparently benign, will have an overhead costs - they have their own resources, images and scripts which have to be downloaded to your visitors' device to view your storefront. If you install 20 apps, that's 20 extra sets of external resources having to be downloaded before your storefront is visible.

It's always vital to ask yourself, 'Do I need the extra functionality this one more app will provide? Is it actually going to improve my conversions, or is the additional loading time actually going to drive potential visitors away?'

We carefully optimise all of our themes to offer the best possible performance on Shopify, this can be damaged by overloading your storefront with unneeded add ons and apps.

These are just a few things we notice many new store owners doing from week to week that we hope sharing will help some of you avoid.

Success is well within your reach!

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