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Shopify Launch Checklist: 7 key steps before launching the store

Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig

Certified Shopify Developer

E-commerce developer specializing in Shopify platform with 2+ years of commercial experience.

9 min read

written by

Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig

Certified Shopify Developer

Shopify developer who loves to build eye-catching and professional online stores and themes from a scratch.

Every concept of a successful online store starts with a vision, dream or aspiration. But, in order to make it work, you need to do a few things before starting the business. In this guide, we will walk you through 5 key steps to take before launching your Shopify store. Follow this Shopify Launch Checklist to stay one step ahead of the competitors who have no idea what they’re doing.

At the end of this post, you will be ready to make your store user-friendly, properly market it and overcome common problems Shopify store owners usually face. What’s next? Becoming one of them. To make sure, you set up the website well, follow our guide: how to start an online store using Shopify and integrated software.

Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig | Shopify Developer | Front-end Developer | Liquid Expert

Profile view of Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig, an expert that prepared Shopify Launch Checklist
If you want to start your eCommerce business on Shopify, it provides you with the ability to easily log in or customize your store, integrate it with payment methods and social media. – Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig, Shopify Developer

Why the Shopify Launch Checklist is so important

It allows you to step-by-step get your Shopify store ready to launch. Not just from the technical point of view, but also from the marketing perspective, which is crucial in running a business. Remember, even the top brands understand that customers' decisions are rarely rational. That's why they invest so much in exceptional design and communication. However, even the finest product will not be purchased if users are unable to browse or filter items as they do in other stores such as Zalando or Amazon.

Going live with the eCommerce takes a lot of work and things to remember. With this Shopify Launch Checklist, you can be sure that you did everything to set up a customized, user-friendly and optimized online store.

6 common problems Shopify store owners face

After launching your Shopify store, you will be busy answering customers, communicating with business partners, advertising your brand and distributing products. Or perhaps you won’t, because the store isn't getting any conversions. Traffic but no sales is a common issue that new stores experience. That is why, rather than solving problems, it's essential to avoid them in the first place. Knowing these most common 6 problems that Shopify store owners face will allow you to focus on growing and scaling your business rather than resolving basic issues. It simply saves time, reputation and money.

Undefined brand identity

Branding is a key to marketing activities, but it's also necessary for the store to perform. After doing market research and defining your niche and audience, you need to design the relevant brand identity. The only way to attract targeted customers is to clearly communicate your business goals, mission, and vision. The value proposition you provide by purchasing your products or services need to be visible in every aspect of the Shopify store. Starting with the content, moving on to the website design and how they explore it, concluding with the package they receive purchased product in.

Poor user experience

There are plenty of Shopify stores that are not user-friendly. Don’t be one of them. It’s clear the business you run is your source of income. But consider customers that want to purchase your products. They have their own needs and habits, and if they are dissatisfied with your shop, they might leave and never return. As the saying goes – you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure that users have a positive experience on your website.

Remember that customers’ behaviors change over time, so there will always be a need to optimize it. Still, there are a few rules to uplift your store’s customer experience that stay timeless.

No customized homepage

Shopify is a platform that gives you a wide range of opportunities to customize your store. Make sure the design represents your brand well and that users understand your product and its benefits completely. The homepage is usually the first page customers arrive at. Allow customers to go swiftly from the homepage to specific products, such as “bestsellers” or “new collection”, where they may begin to explore the store.

Sometimes users want to find specific information quickly. Live chat software for e-commerce might help not only meet their expectations and develop trust, but it can also provide you with valuable data to help with store optimization.

Lack of collections and filtering

Consider how time-consuming it would be for you to search through Amazon's 12 million goods to find one specific product. That would be crazy, right? Even if you have 50 items in your Shopify store, customers will likely leave if they can't locate what they're looking for fast. Collections and filtering are not so challenging to implement, but you can save your customer's time and patience by doing so.

Slow website loading speed

Poor website speed can damage the customer’s experience, lower conversions and affect search engine ranking. In a perfect scenario, 1 second response time is a maximum that customers probably won’t notice. With every extra second, mobile user bouncing increases. There are several factors for a bad website loading speed. It might be a slow e-commerce platform or hosting, large graphic and file sizes, broken links, slideshows, pop-up windows, etc.

This Shopify official guide will help you establish what elements on the website might need improvement to speed it up.

No mobile optimization

In 2020, according to e-commerce statistics, 60.1% of all customers used their smartphones to shop online. This number is still growing, so don’t consider mobile optimization an extra benefit for your clients. If they’re not satisfied with your website, 9 out of 10 will go to another store that offers a better user experience. Make sure all critical buttons are visible, fast loading speed, buyers can easily choose different collections and filters, and the purchase process is quick.

Shopify Launch Checklist: 7 key steps before launching the store

1. Find your niche and target the audience

First, decide what you want to sell online and conduct research on your competition. It’s critical to identify the market niche in which you will place your store. Consider it in terms of restaurants. Where do people go more often, and what is more popular – a certain cuisine, such as a classy Italian restaurant serving seafood, or a no-name short-order bar? The answer is rather simple. After you've determined your niche, target your audience and design all processes to reach them as effectively as possible.

It’s a good practice to create a list of dos and don’ts, where your “dos’ are benchmarks (online stores you aspire to) and don’ts – websites you don’t want to take an example from. Sometimes you don’t really need to differ the product a lot, but make sure to find a unique value proposition that will help you to stand out.

2. Invest in the development

Treat your Shopify store as if you only have one chance to attract customers; therefore, make sure everything is correct before launching it. It’s not only a beautiful layout you use on the website. Of course, web design is essential for making an excellent first impression, but it also includes UX design, integrations, theme development, SEO optimization, etc. Hiring an expert and getting access to their knowledge in areas you are unsure about is incredibly helpful. They deal with it every day and can offer not only professional development of your Shopify store, but also first-hand, useful tips.

3. Optimization for mobile devices

Most of the conversions and customers are coming from mobile devices, so it’s very important to make your store responsive to all of them. This is why most of the merchants fail in making any conversions – they don’t have a proper website design for different types of devices. – Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig, Shopify Developer

You can also learn more about the UX best practices for mobile devices to implement on the store and boost conversion rate. You will find here specific recommendations to apply to your Shopify store before launching it.

4. Make sure the website is responsive

Searching should be flawless. Otherwise, users might get frustrated after a few attempts and exit the website. It’s not only the response time or how you design the customer’s path. Every link must lead to the right page, and every button must allow the user to take the proper action. A non-responsive store might be the reason for you struggling in the future with abandoned carts or no clients registered.

Before going live, browse through your website and take every possible action to find errors. If you’re the curious type of store owner, you can learn more about how to reduce shopping cart abandonment.

5. Integrate the store with apps

Your first thought might be Facebook or Instagram, and that’s true. Nowadays, social media is a must. Consider where your customers spend time between work breaks or where they go to interact with friends online. Introducing your brand to the place they naturally use might be a smart idea to promote it.

But that’s not all. You can install different free and premium apps on your Shopify store to extend the functionality and improve the customer experience. On Shopify App Store, you can get plugins that will help you implement the web design, add payment methods, connect with social media, create a mobile app, support upselling, and many others.

If you want to empower your brand, rank higher on search engines and improve the conversion rate, think of custom app development. In that case, you will need help of a Shopify expert who’s going to develop a customized app tailored to your business needs.

Speaking of integrations – CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the integral aspect of e-commerce. It helps to automate procedures, manage relationships, and determine possible sales opportunities. Are you interested in speeding up procedures in your Shopify store and saving finances as a result? Learn 5 smart CRM tricks for e-commerce and focus on different things, or simply enjoy time you’ve just saved. 

6. Promote your business

There are many ways you can market your store for free. Start on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, depending on where you can meet your target audience. Shopify also has its own community. There are groups where merchants often share links to their stores and ask Shopify experts questions. That is the point at which you may increase the traffic in your shop. Also, don’t underestimate your network. Share your store on social media. The world of mouth is the best kind of marketing you can get.

To effectively market your Shopify store, create some eye-catching visuals, such as graphics, product pictures, etc. Videos are a great idea, but keep them short. Around 10-30 seconds will be enough. Show how and in what situations your product can be used and how it can help customers resolve their problems.

7. Test before launching

Let’s say you set up a launch date. Before it happens, test your Shopify store: go over it one more time or ask someone else to do that and try it on different sorts of devices. It’s better if you identify any bugs or errors rather than the potential customer.

Extra tip: Don't stop tracking traffic and conversions once you've launched your Shopify store. The data you collect will be beneficial for learning about users' behaviors and optimizing the website. You can learn more on our blog about maximizing your store’s conversion rate with the most popular e-commerce analytics tools.

Do you need to hire a Shopify developer before the store launch?

You can have your own idea or design in mind. But when you hire a Shopify developer, you get an expert that:

  • specializes in developing stores
  • have the knowledge of web design
  • knows how to make the website responsive
  • understands how to attract your customers
  • will tell you how to increase conversion rate

Shopify's experts will explain to you everything about launching the Shopify store. It’s good to take advice from a professional rather than customizing sections, adding content and applying products on your own.

Congrats! You’re ready to launch the Shopify store

What now? After completing this Shopify Launch Checklist, you are ready to start an online store using Shopify and integrated software. You can try to do it on your own, but if you don’t have much experience and want the store to be top-notch from the start, consider hiring the Shopify expert. In both cases – good luck with your business!

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written by

Muhammad Asad Ullah Baig

Certified Shopify Developer

Shopify developer who loves to build eye-catching and professional online stores and themes from a scratch.

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