7 Tips to Build Your Store on Shopify: Learn from D2C/B2C Experts
Sector: Digital Commerce
Author: Nisarg Mehta
Date Published: 05/30/2023
Congratulations on making the exciting decision to launch your brand direct-to-consumer (D2C)! This is a significant step, especially considering the changing buying patterns and the shift toward online shopping.
While the idea of starting a D2C brand might feel overwhelming with all the tasks and uncertainties involved, you don’t have to worry because we have you covered.
Here are seven cool tips that will help you get started.
7 Tips to Build Your D2C Shopify Store
Let’s begin with building the foundation.
1. Plan Your Store Structure
Designing the structure of your Shopify store requires careful thought and consideration to create an intuitive and user-friendly layout.
Use the following steps to ensure an effective store structure that enhances the overall shopping experience:
Understand Your Products
To begin structuring your Shopify store, it’s essential to understand the products or services you’ll be offering. Take the time to identify the key attributes, variations, and any specific categorization that may be relevant.
This knowledge will be the foundation for creating a well-organized and user-friendly store layout that effectively showcases your offerings.
Categorize Your Products
Based on the characteristics of your products, create logical categories and subcategories to organize them. Consider how your target audience would navigate and search for products on your site. Keep the categories broad enough to encompass a reasonable number of products but specific enough to facilitate easy browsing.
Shopify allows you to create collections, which are groups of products that share similar attributes or are related in some way. Collections can be based on various criteria, such as product type, brand, seasonality, or any other relevant factors. This allows customers to browse products within specific themes or categories.
Consider Navigation and Menus
Construct a clear and intuitive navigation system for your store. Use primary and secondary menus to provide easy access to different sections of your store, including product categories, collections, pages, and additional features like a blog or contact information.
Think About Search Functionality
Implement a robust search functionality that allows customers to quickly find products based on keywords or specific attributes. Shopify provides built-in search capabilities, but you can enhance it further with third-party apps or custom development if needed.
2. Choose a Clean and Responsive Theme
When picking the best Shopify theme for your store, it’s important to consider various factors that align with your brand, functionality needs, and customer experience.
Hence, before browsing themes, identify your specific requirements. Consider the design elements, features, and functionality you need for your store.
For example, do you need a theme optimized for large product catalogs, a specific layout for showcasing images, or integration with third-party apps?
The following steps will help you choose the right theme.
Assess Your Branding
Look for a theme that lines up with your brand identity and values. Consider the overall aesthetics and feel of the theme, including its color schemes, typography options, and customizable elements. Choose a theme that allows you to present your brand in the best possible way.
Ensure that the theme is mobile-friendly and responsive, as a significant portion of online traffic comes from mobile devices. Test the theme on different screen sizes and devices to ensure that the layout and functionality adapt seamlessly.
User experience (UX)
A good theme should offer a positive user experience. Look for intuitive navigation, clear product presentation, and easy-to-use shopping cart functionality. Pay attention to the theme’s page loading speed and consider themes that prioritize performance optimization.
Reviews and Ratings
Check reviews and ratings for the themes you’re considering. This will provide insights into the experiences of other users and help you gauge the quality and reliability of the theme. Look for themes with positive feedback and a good track record.
Demo and Preview
Take advantage of theme demos and previews provided by Shopify or theme developers. This allows you to explore the theme’s features, layouts, and customization options firsthand. Evaluate how well the theme showcases your products and whether it meets your visual and functional expectations.
Support and Documentation
Consider the level of support and documentation offered by the theme developer. A well-supported theme will provide resources, documentation, and responsive customer support to assist you in setting up and customizing your store.
Compatibility with Apps
If you plan to use specific Shopify apps or integrations, ensure that the theme is compatible with them. Check if the theme supports the required app extensions or has built-in features that fulfill your needs.
Consider your budget when selecting a theme. Shopify offers both free and paid themes with varying levels of features and customization options. Paid themes often provide more advanced functionalities, but there are also many free themes available in the Shopify store.
Updates and Longevity
Look for themes that are regularly updated to ensure compatibility with new versions of Shopify and security patches. Themes with a track record of longevity and ongoing development indicate that the developer is committed to maintaining and improving the theme over time.
Look for themes that provide flexibility in terms of layout, color schemes, and font options. Customizability allows you to tailor the theme to your brand’s unique requirements.
3. Streamline the Checkout Process
Optimizing the checkout process is a crucial aspect that can not be overlooked when setting up a new store on Shopify. Neglecting to fine-tune your Shopify checkout page with the necessary elements can result in missed opportunities to convert potential users into paying customers.
Here are some tips to help you do it:
Provide Guest Checkout Option
Let customers check out without creating an account. Some users prefer a quicker purchase process without the hassle of signing up.
- In the Shopify admin dashboard, go to “Settings”; “Checkout.”
- Under the “Customer contact method” section, uncheck the option “Require the customer to log in to their account before checkout” unchecked.
- This allows customers to check out without creating an account.
Use Progress Indicators
Display a progress bar or step-by-step indicators to show customers where they are in the checkout process. This helps them understand how much more is left and reduces the chances of them abandoning the process.
Shopify themes often come with built-in progress indicators for the checkout process. If your theme doesn’t have one, consider installing a Shopify app or customizing your theme to include a progress bar or step-by-step indicators.
Offer Multiple Payment Options
Provide various payment options, including popular ones like credit cards, PayPal, and digital wallets. Giving customers choices increases the chances of completing the purchase.
- In your Shopify admin dashboard, go to “Settings”; “Payments.”
- Enable popular payment gateways like Shopify Payments, PayPal, and other third-party payment options.
- Consider offering digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay for faster and more convenient checkout experiences.
Enable Automatic Address Completion
Implement address autocomplete to minimize typing errors and make it easier for customers to enter their shipping details.
- Shopify has built-in address autocomplete functionality. In your Shopify admin dashboard, go to “Settings”; “Checkout.”
- Under the “Order processing” section, check the box that says “Use address autocompletion.”
4. Enable Customer Reviews
In today’s online world, the first step for many customers when making an online purchase is to seek out product reviews. With the inability to physically experience products before buying, online reviews serve as a valuable resource for consumers to make informed purchase decisions.
Customer reviews also help online retailers build trust and credibility. They provide social proof, assuring potential customers that your products or services are reliable, trustworthy, and worth investing in.
Customers, on average, are willing to spend 31% more at a retailer that has excellent reviews.
To integrate customer reviews into your Shopify store, you have a few options:
- Built-in Shopify Reviews: Shopify provides a built-in reviews feature that allows customers to leave reviews directly on your product pages. Enable this feature in your Shopify settings, and customers can submit their reviews, which will be displayed alongside your products.
- Third-Party Review Apps: Shopify has a wide range of third-party apps that provide more advanced review functionalities. These apps often offer features like review moderation, customizable review displays, and integration with social media platforms.
- Social Media Reviews: In addition to customer reviews on your Shopify store, you can also integrate social media reviews. For this, you can use social media feed integration apps that are available on the Shopify App Store.
Remember to encourage customers to leave reviews after their purchases by sending follow-up emails, offering incentives like discounts or loyalty points, or displaying review request pop-ups on your website.
5. Implement Abandoned Cart Recovery
Set up email notifications to remind customers about their abandoned products and encourage them to complete their purchases. This can help recover lost sales.
To get started, you can use Shopify’s built-in abandoned cart recovery feature or install a Shopify app that specializes in this functionality.
Here is how you can do it via Shopify’s built-in functionality:
- Go to “Marketing”; “Automations.”
- Under “Recover sales with reengagement automations,” turn “Abandoned product browse” on.
6. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)
82% of marketers acknowledge the positive impact of SEO on business goals.
According to Greg Bernhardt, an SEO senior specialist at Shopify, SEO serves as an effective inbound marketing strategy, connecting consumers in need with relevant solutions.
eCommerce SEO involves strategically optimizing your web content to convey the value and relevance of your offerings to search engines.
This, in turn, enables search engines to match user searches with the solutions you provide.
Here is how you can optimize your Shopify store for SEO:
Conduct Keyword Research
Identify relevant keywords and phrases that customers might use to search for products like yours. Use keyword research tools or platforms like Google Keyword Planner to find high-ranking and relevant keywords.
Optimize Your Product Pages
- Use descriptive and keyword-rich titles for your product pages.
- Write unique, engaging, and informative product descriptions incorporating relevant keywords.
- Optimize your product images by using descriptive file names and alt tags.
Improve Your Site Structure
- Ensure your URLs are clean, concise, and include relevant keywords.
- Create a logical and organized navigation menu for an easy user experience.
- Implement breadcrumb navigation to assist users in understanding the site structure.
Enhance Page Loading Speed
- Optimize your images by compressing their size without compromising quality.
- Minimize the use of unnecessary apps or plugins that can slow down your site.
- Enable browser caching to improve loading times for returning visitors.
Utilize Meta Tags
Write compelling meta titles and descriptions for each page, including relevant keywords to improve click-through rates from search engine results pages.
Leverage Heading Tags
Structure your content using H1, H2, and H3 tags to highlight important headings and subheadings. Include relevant keywords where appropriate.
Enable SSL Certification
Ensure your Shopify store has an SSL certificate, providing a secure browsing experience for visitors and potentially boosting your search engine ranking.
Generate Unique Content
Regularly publish informative and engaging blog posts or articles related to your industry or products. This helps drive organic traffic, encourages backlinks, and establishes your store as an authoritative source.
Utilize Shopify's SEO Features and Apps
- Take advantage of built-in SEO features provided by Shopify, such as customizable meta tags and URL structures.
- Explore SEO apps available on the Shopify App Store, such as SEO Manager or Plug in SEO, to further optimize your store and gain additional insights.
7. Enable D2C
In highly competitive markets, where numerous competitors exist in every category, successful businesses thrive by cultivating a strong eCommerce brand with a unique identity tailored to their target market. By establishing a distinct presence and identity, eCommerce companies like yours have unlocked more efficient avenues for growth.
While the market may be saturated, your ability to differentiate yourself through branding can enable you to build thriving customer bases and achieve remarkable success.
Emphasize Brand Storytelling
Brand storytelling involves crafting a narrative around your brand to create a deeper connection with customers. It allows you to communicate your brand’s values, mission, and history, fostering an emotional bond.
For example, Warby Parker, an eyewear company, highlights their mission to provide affordable and stylish glasses while also supporting social initiatives.
Highlight Product Benefits
Communicate your product features and its benefits clearly. This helps customers understand why they should choose your brand over competitors.
For example, HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service, excels in showcasing the advantages of its offering. HelloFresh emphasizes the convenience and time-saving benefits of its service.
It also highlights how their meal kits simplify the cooking process by providing pre-measured ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes, eliminating the need for meal planning and grocery shopping.
Offer Subscription or Membership Options
Subscriptions or memberships provide customers with regular access to your products or services. This creates recurring revenue and enhances customer loyalty.
An example of this is Peloton, a fitness equipment and digital content company. Peloton has successfully implemented a subscription-based membership model. Customers who purchase Peloton exercise equipment gain access to their subscription service called “Peloton All-Access Membership.”
The Peloton All-Access Membership provides customers with unlimited access to a wide range of on-demand fitness classes, including cycling, running, strength training, and more.
Personalize the Customer Experience on Shopify
With Shopify, you can leverage various tools and apps to personalize the customer experience. Utilize customer data and behavior tracking to provide personalized product recommendations, create targeted email marketing campaigns, and offer customized discounts or promotions.
Shopify’s built-in customer segmentation features allow you to group customers based on specific criteria, making it easier to deliver personalized experiences and improve customer satisfaction.
Implement a Referral Program on Shopify
Shopify offers numerous apps and integrations that enable you to set up and manage a referral program for your store.
You can use Shopify apps like Refersion or ReferralCandy to create customized referral programs where existing customers can refer their friends in exchange for rewards or discounts. These apps track referrals and automate the reward distribution process, making it seamless for your customers to participate and drive new customer acquisition.
Seamless Multi-Channel Selling on Shopify
Shopify provides a robust multi-channel selling capability, allowing you to sell across multiple platforms and channels.
So, utilize the Shopify ecosystem to integrate your online store with marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or social media platforms.
This enables you to reach a wider audience, manage inventory across channels, and provide a consistent shopping experience, regardless of where customers encounter your brand.
Implement Post-Purchase Marketing on Shopify
Shopify’s order management system and app integrations make it easy to implement post-purchase marketing strategies.
Use Shopify’s built-in email automation or connect with email marketing apps like Klaviyo or Mailchimp to send personalized order confirmations, shipping notifications, and post-purchase follow-up emails.
Also encourage customers to leave reviews, provide feedback, and offer additional product recommendations based on their purchase history. This post-purchase engagement helps foster customer loyalty and drives repeat purchases.
Building your own D2C brand is indeed a great step towards scaling your business. With more customers shopping directly from you without any intermediaries, you’ll get more revenue per customer.
However, your road to the D2C eCommerce brand might have some roadblocks, such as your lack of eCommerce development expertise and Shopify platform customization.