Tips On How to Make a First Sale in Your Shopify Store

You’ve chosen your niche products for sale. Have a good looking site with the terrific landing page and several relevant posts in your blog. It’s really time to start selling. Why do you keep putting it off, delaying and, to be honest, just feel scared? There is some vague feeling, something nasty and dark, whence little evil voice come, whispering all kinds of discouragements. You do know that your products are good, prices are attractive and you checked, double checked and triple checked everything possible and some things beyond that. Still…

Stop! Hesitations and fears often accompany the new endeavors and are very natural. The goal is to stop them from becoming your besties while you struggle to fill the shoes of a successful e-commerce entrepreneur.

Getting your first real sale done is a serious milepost on your journey to success. After all, only the first earned money will confirm the fact that the idea of the e-store was a worthy one.

However, in order for this fateful event to happen, you will have to try your best and, as with any difficult but doable task, the best thing is a checklist of must-have-done, which will ensure that all the obstacles will be eliminated. With the right warm up and due diligence you’re sure to get enough satisfaction and profits to make your own dream come true.

So, get comfortable, grab a latte and let’s go step by step through the secrets of getting from bedroom entrepreneur to merchant prince.

1. Social media and its inhabitants (alive and not so much)

Wha-a-at? You don’t have an account in FB, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the rest? Whew, you do and moreover planning to use it as an additional source of unpaid traffic and advertising platform? Good, since ignoring social media today spells disaster.

In social networks, you can use a whole bunch of advertising tools, both on the regular pages and in the specialized communities. Try to keep the text of ads short and personalized accordingly. If using images or videos, choose optimized ones to ensure the best loading speed.

Try to think about engaging friends, family members and colleagues. Don’t be pushy, but don’t be timid either. After all, you’re not selling junk for thousands of dollars but quality products at attractive prices.

Extra trick

Think about the time of peak attendance in social networks. For many the correct answer is ‘working hours’, but this can’t be the right answer for every audience. Consider the main traits of your TA, including time zone, demographics, time of year, etc. Then configure the display of banners, campaigns and the likes respectively.

2. Contests, giveaways, sweepstakes

Imagine yourself in need of a new umbrella. As you haven’t been living in a cage, you have your favorite e-store, and without further ado or googling you decided to look on their shelves. However, you got distracted, clicked something that your friend shared and oi… you ended up in a completely unknown store, which also sells rainwear and accessories.

You all get ready to leave but you notice the flashing ad of a contest, where you can win a car! The rest is predictable, right? You start reading about this contest, looking around and getting ensnared by there, let’s say, promo action. The end result? You bought umbrella and gloves to match in this new store.

When implemented correctly, the attraction of contests and the likes is truly unbeatable. Ideal for our purposes too, since it offers the opportunity of launching with a bang. Put emphasis on a flashy logo and tempting promise of a prize and remembering about urgency effect, think about using countdown timer.

Extra trick

Consider photo caption, selfie, essay or a viral video contest and think of how you can use it later in your blog or photo reviews. Making a discount for some products a prize in repost or referral contest will also guarantee you purchase from the winner. Might be a good choice for more expensive products.

Also don’t forget about Shopify apps which can not only automate the whole campaigns for you but provide valuable insights and actionable analysis and reports, such as Gleam Competitions.

3. Pay money to make more money

Paid advertising is a serious step and, perhaps, not one that you’re willing to take right at the beginning of your path towards becoming e-commerce tycoon. However, let’s look at some numbers:

  • 6% of people click on Google ads when they are looking to buy an item online;
  • Facebook accounts for more than 65% of the total ad spend, LinkedIn is used by 94% of B2B marketers and Twitter is used by 84% of B2B marketers;
  • companies make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Ads.

Something to think about, eh? Now, it’s more important than ever to be found quickly by customers with the cutthroat competition and overabundance of sales channels and venues. You can become outdated pretty quickly even with the best products and lowest prices if you don’t get noticed.

So, if you want immediate results and quick and efficient exposure, especially if you’re selling expensive and high-quality products, it’s time to consider the merits of paid advertising.

Extra trick

Test and track every ad. If you don’t know for sure which ad is earning money for you, it means you’re losing money. Clicks, Impressions, Clickthrough Rate (CTR), Cost, Cost-per-click (CPC), Cost-per-impression (CPM), Conversions… Those are just basic metrics to focus on since they can tell you how well your advertising body is functioning and which limb or tooth requires your attention at the moment.

Use free tools, such as Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Social Analytics, or paid ones like Simply Measured.

4. Optimization isn’t limited to SEO

Having a website with a clean, free from clutter home page, which loads quickly and features obvious and convenient navigation is just a beginning, though a necessary one.

Next step is getting all optimized for SEO, which ensures getting good rankings. However, there are several more tricks, that you can employ for prepping up your site in regard to optimization.

Google Places is a useful service, often overlooked by business owners, and ignoring it can already be called a full-fledged error since it leads to losing potential customers. Today on the search engine results pages the users get a mix of Google Places links and ‘good ole’ SEO results. Moreover, it should be remembered that after enabling Google Places, you’ll get access to the performance statistics.

So, do not hurry to forget about your profile and use it to get actionable insights about the needed adjustments. Another place you don’t want to ignore is Google Shopping, because put simply, those campaigns mean lots of exposure and big growth.

Extra trick

Or tricks in this case. Do pay attention to comparison search engines, since according to the statistics more than half (52%) of users use them regularly while shopping in on the Internet and 80% use them to find best prices.

Paid search ads on Yahoo, Bing Network can yield a notable increase in targeted traffic and, of course, optimization for mobile devices is a must these days.

Last but not the least, make use of all available analytics tools, including Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, and such apps as Shopify’s Compass, a great free app which enables you to track more than 30 e-commerce metrics in one dashboard.

5. Pictures

Did you hear the saying ‘If you can’t stop thinking about it… buy it’? Isn’t that the best illustration on the power of visuals or what? So, do pay attention to what kind of pictures you post, and for the gods of trade and the rest of relevant deities, stay away from poor quality stock photos, which can cheapen and sour the first impressions instantly.

Use your own great photos, which are not that difficult to make as you might think. Read below for some helpful tips:

  • get the proper camera. While DSLR cameras are sure pricey, it’s highly likely that you know someone who already owns one, so try to borrow it. Just invite the owner to be a star for one of your product photo shoots and you can be sure about their positive response;
  • shoot with the best angles and range. If you are photographing a product with a lot of important details, like a jewelry piece, go for close-up photographs. For a larger item, such as a piece of furniture, take a photo from a distance to capture the beauty of the product and create a sense of dimensions relative to the surroundings;
  • consider using a tripod;
  • get the right lighting. If you’re not making a photo of rainwear, wait for a sunny day;
  • most of the time, try to avoid a background cluttered with other objects since they distract the attention from what you are trying to sell;
  • edit and optimize your pics for the quickest loading speed possible.

Extra trick

To create attractive and lifestyle photographs you don’t need top bucks to pay professional photo studio with gorgeous models. Do you have friends? Willing to buy them a pack of beer or treat them to some pizza and ice cream? Voila, you’re all set for a cool photo shooting session practically anywhere, from that pretty brick wall next to your apartment building to the nearest the park.

All you need is decent weather, not-too-cheap camera (can be borrowed for the occasion) and folks willing to laugh and make happy faces in front of a camera. Just set some props for the lifestyle you want to promote, whether it’s stylish cuteness of being a nerd or being a chick magnet with a kitten wearing your pet jacket.

6. Become a chatty Kathy

Well, maybe not literally, but you certainly should get active and post, post, post. Also comment, comment, comment. Social media is not called social for anything, there’s a huge audience out there, ripe for converting into shoppers.

Just become interesting, don’t be afraid to post a controversial line of two and engage people. Where? Everywhere where you TA hangs out, including communities, forums, groups, blog posts, articles, etc. In other words, anywhere where you can get your e-store noticed.

Extra trick

How to get people to react and get noticed? Not so simple as it might seem, but there’re several tips that are guaranteed to work:

  • Use relatable comparisons. For example, post two images of Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader (two characters everyone knows) and ask who is the better villain of the two and why (clear opening for a discussion on a fun topic);
  • Make it personal. Talk to people, retweet, share and don’t afraid to pay compliments. Remember, a little sympathy goes a long way;
  • Use ‘Coming soon…’ concept and give your TA a sneak peek of your next new offer or an upcoming update. Besides building up anticipation, it would also make them feel special and privy to what the rest of the world doesn’t know yet.

7. Pay attention to the payment

Giving hard-earned money to a company, that is yet unknown, is always accompanied by a hesitation, which is normal and understandable. Since your store is not yet widely popular, you have to establish your reputation and build up a trust using every available resource.

A reliable payment gateway is a powerful leverage that helps to ensure your trustworthiness to your clients.


Many people before opening think that they need money to get noticed, to attract people to look at their wares, to retain the customers, to increase… You caught the drift, right? While investing in the right assets certainly helps, being involved with the proper attitude on the right subject on social media can get you some organic followers. It’s a start and not a bad one.

Remember, that there’s no one-size-fits-all method to succeed. You have to explore, try, fail and improve, all the while discovering what is working for you and what should be amended or discarded. However, all these things can happen only to an actual store, not a concept.

So, stop stalling, get your store out there and start growing from zero to hero. If you got especially interested in one of the points in our list, please comment and we’ll gladly elaborate.

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