Shopify Success Rate: How many stores fail? (+7 pro tips to help you succeed)
What's the average Shopify success rate?
Is it 20%, 30%, 40% or 50%?
Nope, it's none of the above. While the data is mixed, the best evidence we have suggest that only about 10% of Shopify stores succeed.
Out of every ten startups, only one will last through the times and become successful. From what we know, this holds true both on Shopify and off of it.
But that doesn't mean starting a successful ecommerce store is up to luck. In fact, it's just the opposite.
Using the lessons we'll share in this article, you can massively boost your chances of success.
In this guide, you'll learn our top 7 tips you can use to ensure your Shopify store becomes a raging success.
But before we get into that, let's start with why most Shopify stores fail. Avoid these common pitfalls and you'll already be on your way to running a profitable store.
Shopify Success Rate Killers: 4 Reasons Why Most Shopify Stores Fail
While this list isn't comprehensive, here are some of the most common reasons that new Shopify stores fail.
1: Bad Customer Service
84% of customers say that their expectations haven't been exceeded in their last interaction with customer service.
And 79% of customers who used online channels to complain about customer service were ignored.
All of this is to say: Brands everywhere underestimate the importance of customer service. This is especially true for new brands.
When your business first starts, every piece of positive online feedback is worth more than gold, while every negative remark can be a permanent dampener on your revenue.
This is why customer service is often the downfall of many new brands. While a happy customer experience creates loyal followers, an unsatisfied customer can be the exact opposite.
2: Low-margin products
Low-ticket products can be tempting when you're first starting your business. Low price means an easier time getting each new customer to buy, right?
A tight profit margin means that every converted customer is less revenue for your brand, and you'll have to convert significantly more customers to make sure your business is in the green each quarter.
While it's not impossible to build a successful business selling low-ticket products, it's often the reason why many Shopify startups end up running out of money and shutting up shop.
📚Suggested Reading: The Best High-Ticket Dropshipping Guide (Products, Tactics + Examples)
3: Unoptimized Websites
Without trust, a customer won't make a purchase on your store.
And one of the first steps to building that trust is a strong front-facing presentation.
Some studies suggest that first impressions are made within the first tenth of a second of seeing someone or something.
If your storefront loads slowly, or doesn't appear professional, there's a high chance that users will bounce before they ever reach the checkout page.
This holds true for mobile too.
Google has found that over half of all internet traffic comes from mobile sources.
This means that a store unoptimized for the mobile experience is losing out on at least half of its potential customers.
📚Suggested Reading: eCommerce Merchandising: 8 Simple Tactics You Can Learn From Everlane
7 Simple Tips to Boost Your Shopify Success Rate
Now that we've gotten the most common mistakes out of the way, it's time to discuss what you should do to increase your chances of success.
Here are our top 7 tips for increasing your Shopify success rate.
#1: Optimize Your Storefront for Mobile Devices
The first step towards a successful store is to ensure your whole shopping process- from first impression to the checkout- is mobile-friendly.
A mobile-friendly Shopify store also helps all around with things like content marketing and SEO, so it should be one of your first priorities before the launch.
Here are a few ways you can help optimize your site for the mobile experience:
1. Compress Your Images to Reduce Loading Times
Large file sizes for page images add a huge burden to your site and increase the time each page takes to load significantly.
Even just a few seconds of extra loading time can cause plenty of mobile users to bounce before they ever reach the checkout.
To avoid that, use an image compression tool like TinyPNG to reduce file sizes while maintaining high-quality images.
2. Run Each New Page through Google's Mobile-Friendly Test
Since mobile optimization is so critical for modern websites, Google has a handy (and free!) tool that anyone can use to check their own site.
Each time you add a new page to your website, run it through the Mobile-Friendly Test to ensure it passes.
If it doesn't the test will provide insights on how you can optimize.
3. Minimize Unnecessary Plugins on Your Site
One of the biggest benefits to platforms like WordPress, Shopify, or Wix is that there's a massive selection of plugins to improve your site.
The downside of those plugins is that each one increases the load time, some of them more significantly than others.
While it can be tempting to add lots of them, keep plugins to what's necessary for your store to operate at its best.
👉Key Takeaway: A large portion of your visitors will be using mobile devices. Make sure to keep your site well-optimized for both desktop and mobile experiences to avoid lost customers.
#2: Use an Upsell App to Increase Your Shopify Success Rate
Upsell apps like ReConvert can help to increase average order value with a minimal upfront investment, ultimately leading to even higher ROI.
Using suggestive selling tactics in your own store is one of the best ways to increase your average order value from every transaction.
Post-purchase upsells are a great way to add on complementary items that customers might not have thought to buy otherwise.
While you can add small pre-purchase items or services like protection plans to boost your average cart value even further.
👉Key Takeaway: Upselling is a great way to increase average cart values across the board and boost profitability for almost no extra spend. Consider using an upselling app like ReConvert to boost your own store.
#3: Create and Utilize Your Email List to Its Full Extent
Email marketing forms the backbone of many huge brands' marketing operations, and for good reason.
It's one of the best ways you can recapture abandoned carts, stay at the top of consumer minds, and provide valuable content that converts casual customers into loyal followers.
Once you have a customer's email, you've got the golden ticket. A large email list is an excellent opportunity for marketing, here are a few ways you can use it:
1. Create an Abandoned Cart Funnel
The vast majority of customer carts get abandoned before they get to the end of the checkout process, but all of those customers aren't lost. Send out automated emails to customers who've abandoned carts to recapture some of your audience.
You can even offer bonus discount codes to make the purchase even more enticing. Not sure where to start? Install an app like Carti Abandoned Cart Recovery and it'll run on auto-pilot to bring customers back to purchase.
2. Offer Special Discounts to Increase Your Email Signup Rate
Pop-up email forms are great, but often unwelcome from the customer perspective.
To make them a bit more customer-friendly, offer a special discount to first-time visitors.
This is also a great opportunity to create an automated email flow for people who haven't made a purchase from your store.
3. Use Automated Emails to Welcome New Customers to the Community
Welcome emails are a great way to introduce customers to your brand.
You also can use them to offer discounts, send valuable first-time content, or invite them to visit your social media page.
4. Create a Monthly Newsletter
The best brands don't just take from their customers, they give value too.
Email newsletters allow you to provide helpful content to your audience on a monthly basis and stay top of mind at the same time.
If you have an active content marketing campaign, a newsletter is a great way to repurpose that content and kill two birds with one stone.
5. Use Email to Ask for Reviews
Asking for reviews immediately after a purchase isn't always going to yield the best results.
In addition to that, use customer emails to ask customers to leave a review 14-days post-purchase. If they're happy with the product, it's likely some of them will gladly leave shining reviews.
👉Key Takeaway: Email marketing is the unsung hero of the eCommerce world. If you aren't already, start collecting customer emails and use them as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.
#4: Invest Resources in Marketing Channels with High ROI
Online advertising is great, but sometimes brands find the most success with less competitive channels. Consider diverting a portion of your marketing resources towards less competitive channels:
1. SEO and Content Marketing
Content marketing has hit the online world by storm as it's a great way for new brands to compete against established giants.
It's also a marketing channel with some of the highest ROI out there since upfront costs are low.
Create a blog on your website and upload SEO content on a regular basis to bring in consistent organic traffic through Google.
📚Suggested Reading: 7 of the Best Shopify Blog Examples [Copy Their Strategy]
2. Affiliate & Referral Marketing
Your best marketing can often come from avid brand followers.
Consider creating an affiliate or referral program for your store to encourage regular customers to bring fresh faces into the mix.
Search the Shopify App Store for an app like Smile.io or Referral Candy to get a program up quickly and easily.
3. Form Strategic Brand Partnerships
Brand partnerships are another powerful way to market your brand and combine two audiences.
Reach out to brands in neighboring (but not competing) spaces to develop strong partnerships. Then, use those partnerships to cross-promote both brands.
For example, you could offer discounts to customers who purchase from, the partner store, and vice versa.
Or you can post guest posts on both blogs to increase backlinks, boost your SEO score, and generate referral traffic.
👉Key Takeaway: To get the most bang for your buck, consider investing resources into alternative channels with potential for high ROI such as SEO, brand partnerships, and referral marketing.
#5: Prioritize Stellar Customer Service for a Higher Shopify Success Rate
Bad customer service can mean a lost customer and a negative review for your business. On the other hand, great customer service can be the start of a customer's journey towards being a loyal brand follower.
Here are a few tips you can use to improve your store's customer service:
1. Reduce Waiting Times
One of the most frustrating customer service experiences is waiting in a long queue.
Ensure your customer service team is equipped to help resolve customer problems promptly.
This can either be by increasing the team's size itself, or by investing in a customer service tool like EasyCall to help the team efficiently manage their existing workload.
2. Use a Live Chat App
Live chat apps can help customers easily contact your team without the hassle of a call.
It also means each of your customer service reps can quickly resolve multiple customer issues at once.
If your store doesn't have a live chat widget, now might be the time to consider one.
3. Take Customer Feedback Seriously
Customer feedback is invaluable to any business. Always end each interaction by asking if a customer would be willing to take a survey. Use that feedback to improve your service going forward.
Thank you pages are another great opportunity to ask for feedback and reviews from customers.
Remember, the goal of your customer service team is to ensure every customer walks away 100% satisfied. Even if it means slightly lower short-term profit, a happy customer means a likely repeat purchase.
👉Key Takeaway: Brands can't survive without a loyal customer base.
To keep customers coming back, maintain a top-notch customer service team that can efficiently provide solutions to any problem unsatisfied customers may throw their way.
#6: Ensure Your Shipping is Fast & Reliable
In the age of Amazon shopping, ecommerce customers expect lightning-fast shipping.
If your store doesn't provide fast shipping, or even worse, products arrive damaged. You'll likely see a flood of bad reviews, returned products, and lost customers.
To avoid that, make sure that your products are shipped and delivered promptly.
If you're dropshipping this could mean sourcing your products from the US or contacting your supplier directly to make sure they're reliable.
For non-dropshipping businesses, it means you'll need to fulfill product orders as soon as possible once customers place them. Adding a shipping tracker can help to keep customers informed as well.
👉Key Takeaway: In the age of Amazon, customers expect lightning-fast shipping times. Work directly with your suppliers or keep enough inventory to be able to fulfill orders quickly and efficiently.
#7: Focus on High-Ticket Products with High Markups
A low product markup means you'll have to use the minimum amount of resources possible to earn each purchase and stay profitable. This can be especially tricky in the beginning when you're trying to build awareness of your brand and get customers to purchase.
A markup of at least 200% means that you won't be cutting it too close for most products, and you'll have ample resources to make a significant profit on every purchase.
To set a quick example, let's imagine we're starting a dropshipping business using Aliexpress.
At first glance, this USB-C cable might seem like a great product; it's got a low price, lots of reviews, and a high order count. But when we look at a close alternative on Amazon, it starts to become clear that the cable isn't an ideal item.
Amazon's product costs $7.99, which means to compete with them (while taking into account their shipping times), we'd likely have to charge under that.
If we set the price to $6 to stay competitive, then we would have $2.93 left over after paying the product cost.
Which means we'd have $2.93 to acquire each customer, ship the product, and then keep the rest as profit.
A gross total profit of less than $3 per product isn't sustainable for new ecommerce brands, especially when you factor in the other overhead costs that come with running a business.
Here's an example of a product that might work well for a dropshipping business:
While the initial cost is higher than our previous example, let's look at the closest competitor on Amazon for an idea of what the average price is:
The lowest price of a similar item on Amazon is $31.99.
If we mark our product up to $29.99 (an over 200% markup), we've got significantly more funds ($17.16) to allocate towards shipping, customer acquisition, and other overhead costs than we would have if we sold the cable instead.
👉Key Takeaway: Low margins and low ticket items are much more challenging to generate consistent profit with. Instead, focus on products that bring in significant revenue per customer.
Wrapping Up: How to Ensure Your Shopify Success Rate is High
Ecommerce success on the Shopify platform isn't about luck. It's about using smart tactics to raise your Shopify success rate and providing high-quality products to your customers.
To sum up what we've covered today:
- Optimize your website for the mobile and desktop experience to avoid alienating customers.
- Use upselling apps and tactics to increase your average order values, and focus on products with potential for high markup so you can get the most profit from each transaction
- Invest in marketing tactics like email, affiliate marketing, SEO, and brand partnerships to get the most out of your marketing dollars
- Ensure your customer support is top-notch to avoid unsatisfied customers and bad reviews.
- Choose high-margin products so you have more marketing spend to work with.
Hopefully, this guide helped you get that much closer to running a successful online store.
If you found it valuable, make sure to check out some of the other content on our blog.
Have any extra tips for Shopify success? Make sure to share them in the comments below, we'd love to hear from you!