3 characteristics of strong Shopify stores

"This is too long to read" summary:
What makes a store strong? What do stores that last for years and make big sales numbers do differently than those that fizzle out?

I say that Shopify merchants should build stronger businesses, and that being strong is always better than being weak. What exactly does “strong” mean in this context?

Online stores are just websites that sell things, right?

Not so much. They are businesses. One of them is YOUR business. If you want it to stay alive and stay profitable for years to come, you need to build a deep system of roots so that it can not only weather storms, but thrive year after year.


 Characteristics of strong stores

What defines a strong store? You could talk about numbers. Recurring customers, revenue levels, sales totals.

All of that would be valid, but if you are in the process of building a strong and profitable store, it’s probably a lot more helpful to think about what you can do to make it happen, rather than setting some arbitrary finish line for you to cross.


1. They build strong, lasting relationships with their customers

Your audience, your customers, your tribe. Whatever you want to call them, these people are the reason you have a business at all. They give you money in exchange for what you do.

The best kind of customer happens when you create a long-lasting relationship with them. Not only do you make them happy with their purchase decision, you continue to learn about them, to offer them more chances to buy. You communicate with them on a personal basis.

By having an ongoing conversation with your customers, you give them a reason to keep coming back, and to refer their friends and family to buy from you as well. Higher customer lifetime values, more good reviews, free marketing by word-of-mouth. There is no reason not to cultivate strong relationships with your customers.

Keep your customers around. Communicate with them at the right time, with the right message. Make it worth their while to keep coming back to your site. Build a real relationship, not a one-buy stand.


2. They use solid data for decision making

You should always be collecting and using both qualitative and quantitative data. Knowledge is the solid foundation for your decision making process, because it answers the important questions you need answered when running your business.

This isn’t about vanity metrics, either. Whether you want to make your site better at converting visitors to customers, make your marketing more effective, or develop new products, you need real, usable data. Stores that collect that data and have a habit of using it are in a stronger position to make good decisions.

Don’t grope in the dark to try to find the right path. Get the information you need to map your way and move forward.


3. They optimize for profitability

Companies can grow huge without really being profitable. You can have massive conversion rates and sales numbers by offering big discounts or even free stuff. That doesn’t mean there will be money for you to take home at the end of the day.

Chasing after nothing but more traffic & new customers all the time isn’t a strategy that makes for strong stores. Luckily, there are other ways to improve your profitability.

Pursuing other ways to bring in revenue is key, and there are many ways you can go about it:

  • Average order values
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Improved marketing ROI
  • Order frequency
  • Raising your customers price tolerance
  • Conversion rate
  • Customer retention rates

These metrics are key to building a strong business around your Shopify store. But they aren’t as sexy as talking about Facebook ads or overnight successes, so they don’t get discussed as often.

Look for more ways to increase revenue disproportionately to cost. What if every customer started spending $10 more? What if your conversion rate went up? What if you could reclaim half of your abandoned carts? Wouldn’t your business be in a stronger, more profitable position?

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