Finally, you are in the launching store stage after all the effort you put into your business. Launching an online store is both exciting and overwhelming. You tried your best to complete everything for a perfect launching but you can not stop nervous. You wonder whether you miss anything.
Relax your mind and stay organized with the essential Shopify store launch checklist. A checklist can help reduce ambiguity and streamline the work that needs to get done and you may not miss any simple but critical steps.
10 Essentials for Shopify Store Launching:
- Add a custom domain
- Review standard pages
- Conduct a content audit
- Optimize all image on your website
- Review tax and shipping setting
- Review check-out and payment gateway setting
- Set up your email notification
- Create an abandoned cart email
- Install an analytics tool
- Install essential apps
1. Add a custom domain
Why is your domain so important? Yes, for one big reason: branding. “Branding” is the act of creating that public perception about your business – that brand. Hence, making your business easy to recall, unique, and consistent by your domain. It will be a pity if customers want to shop on your online store but can not remember your website name. For example, when launching, Shopify store Tattly decided to go with a .ly domain making it www.tatt.ly. Since then, they’ve been able to purchase tattly.com, which is where their site currently lives.
You can also use a different top-level domain (TLD). A TLD comes at the end of a URL: .com, .net or some common TLDs in eCommerce include .store and .shop. Based on your products, your industry, you can get creative. If naming your domain with .com isn’t available, you still have the option of using a different TLD, you can always rename your domain with .com after your business grows.
2. Review standard pages
Your website likes the face of your business online, which provides site visitors with marketing and information communication about your product and service offerings (for example: What does your company do? What products and services do you offer? Any promotion is applied?). These are recommended pages which an online store should include in the sitemap and optimize the content of each page:
- Home page: In essence, a great page is simple and straightforward. While important in itself, it simply makes a little impact if the fundamentals aren’t in place; like a house built from a poor foundation. A good home page should:
- Include your main headline at the top of the page.
- Include the main call-to-action on the top and bottom of the page.
- Include any testimonials, article feeds, and trust/authority credentials somewhere inside your main page content.
- Include your successful case studies (if have)
- Contact page: Ensure your customers can contact you in a simple and easy way. This page should list a phone number, email address, local brick, and mortar stores (if have) in order to offer shoppers reassurance of an authentic store.
- About: This page is where shoppers learn more about your company and brand as well as people back your products. An inspiring story about your business, your mission, and your values may get sympathy and loyalty from customers. According to ICMI, businesses that chat with site visitors have a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, a 40% increase in conversion rate, and a 10% increase in average order value.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): At launch, you might not have lots of information about which questions customers will ask the most. You can ask your network to visit your website and give questions as customers. You also can visit your competitor websites to learn from them. Universally, customers often have questions about shipping and return policy, order fulfillment, warranty. You also invite your customers to join your community to quickly react and sustainably nurture them.
3. Conduct a content audit
Sometimes because you are so familiar with your website, you won’t notice small mistakes like spelling, grammar, or broken links. Therefore, you should ask for someone else to double-check as a strange website visitor. If you want to self check, you can review backward—starting with the last paragraph and working your way to the top—will help you spot errors you may have missed. Remember to test on both desktop, mobile phone, and tablet.
Being consistent with your copy by adopting a particular editorial style guide. You also find what words people are using and list down the keywords along with their search volumes. Then match them with your product description and choose a consistent structure for your meta title tags. This will help improve click-through rates and conversion rates.
4. Optimize all image on your website
Shoppers do not want to wait. Slow-loading images can hurt their shopping experience and performance in search engines then drag lower conversion rates. Additionally, image optimization can enhance SEO. Shopify handles the technical complexity of keeping your images loaded fast. Here are recommendations from Shopify to improve load speed and optimize your images for the web:
- Be descriptive when naming your images. This helps with the SEO ranking of your site and product pages. Use keywords that you’re trying to rank for.
- Optimize your alt attributes carefully. Alt attributes are used for web accessibility and SEO. Again, be descriptive and consider your target keywords.
- Reduce the size of your images. On Shopify, you can keep images at the same quality you’d use for print, but try to keep them at reasonable pixel size. For example, a typical thumbnail image is 50 x 50 pixels, so there’s no need to upload an image that’s 4000 x 4000 pixels.
- Choose the right file type. For most online images, a good rule of thumb is to use JPEG images for photography and PNG images for graphics and icons. Learn about the image file types supported in Shopify.
- Review your thumbnails. Your brand logo is incredibly important. It’s how customers associate the name of your business with a visual. Thumbnails show up all over eCommerce sites, so make sure they’re clear across their many sizes on your online store.
- Test your images. You’ll want to know what’s working and what’s not and, more importantly, why. Run some A/B image tests to see which types of images work best (i.e., contextual vs. white background).
5. Review tax and shipping setting
Shopify provides calculations and reports to help store owners stay organized when it’s time to file and remit taxes. Shopify makes accommodations for scenarios where you can count to include taxes in product prices, override default tax settings or charge taxes on shipping rates. Tax is quite complicated and requires high specialization so you should seek specific tax advice from a local tax authority or professional accountant to make it easier.
The real challenge when figuring out your shipping strategy is determining a solution that cuts into margins as little as possible and yet remains attractive to customers. Whether you want self shipping, warehousing, or drop shipping, you can set up their preferred shipping methods from the shipping settings page. Edit the default shipping zones, identify what is domestic and international, and create new zones by country or region to start building your rates. You also should have a plan for handling backorders and returns before launching. If your business grows and order volume increases, the store’s shipping strategy will need to evolve. This may require the support of warehousing solutions or inventory apps with shipping capabilities to further automate fulfillment workflows.
6. Review check-out and payment gateway setting
If you don’t want to lose out on any sales due to a poor payment process, you should smoothen any friction during this process. Make sure that shipping rates are shown clearly, discount rates & taxes applied, cart edits, and popular payment gateway options to make this process a much easier one for the customers.
There is an option for order status tracking and an email confirmation for each purchase. A language and currency switcher and a shipping policy clearly stating who pays duties and taxes are both available if offering international sales and shipping.
You can place a test order on your site with a live payment gateway to make sure everything works with Shopify Payments.
7. Set up your email notification
Email is a powerful tool for online store owners. You can create an email sequence, which follows the customer journey. It can show your care to current customers or further nurture your list and ultimately drive sales. On your Shopify store, there are several automated emails you can optimize for your store. For a new customer, you can consider the following emails:
- Welcome series
- Order confirmation
- Shipping notifications
- Thank you email
- Additionally, you also give promotion emails, gift cards for public holidays, birthdays to promote sales.
8. Create an abandoned cart email
In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 68.63% according to e-commerce research firm Baymard Institute. There are many reasons for pending payment such as technical site problems, not yet ready to purchase, a better price after comparison shopping. So, what can you do to get those customers back to your checkout page to complete their order or try you again? A friendly reminder email that they left something in their cart is an easy first step. You can include a small survey about the reason for an abandoned cart then give a corresponding guide. It could be that they couldn’t get a coupon code to work, had a question about a product, or another issue that you could easily resolve.
9. Install an analytics tool
Your Shopify store will have its own set of analytics reporting built-in, but you may also install a third-party tool. Google Analytics is one of the most well-known and popular analytics tools. You should not skip some basic metrics: web traffic (visits over time), conversion rate, total sales, average order value, repeat customer rate. This data will give you valuable insight into your visitors and customers.
10. Install essential apps
Though there are tons of apps in the Shopify App Store but some won’t make sense for your online store at all. When you’re just getting ready to launch, you should install only the most essential apps depending on your business and your industry. There are free Shopify apps that can help streamline operations in your business such as digital marketing apps (e.x KIT, Klaviyo), QR code (e.x shopcode), live chat (e.x Tidio Live Chat), email marketing (e.x Privy), shipping (e.x Free Shipping Bar).
Your store is mostly ready to launch when you complete this checklist. Keep in mind that the first launching version will not be perfect 100%. You should test and innovate your store online basing on actual operation and customer feedback.
We hope this article can help you reduce worries. If you get any trouble when going through this checklist, let us know, we will join a hand with you.