How long does it take to make my first sale on Shopify?

Based on researching over 100 stores, it could take anywhere between the first hour to 4 weeks.

Your first customer is a huge milestone for any entrepreneur and although some businesses get lucky, some take a while longer.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and business aren’t built overnight.

There is a huge variance in terms of what factors go into play into making your first sale

Here are the most important variables for your first sale

  • Traffic
  • Ad spend budget
  • Product Type

The most important variable when you are starting out? TRAFFIC

traffic first

Mistakes you will make…

Every initiative you decide to work on, you are taking time away from working on something else.

The biggest mistake that across the board for new entrepreneurs is over focusing on...

  1. Store design,
  2. Conversion rate optimisation and
  3. Pricing.

While both these are important, they shouldn't be what you are spending 100% of your time on.

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Here are some questions to ask yourself

  • Does the store have a clear layout?
  • Are the product descriptions well-written?
  • Are prices reasonable? (estimate from competitors, 20% variance)
  • Are shipping and returns policy well-written?
  • Is the checkout experience simple enough?
  • (Repeat above for mobile)

If the answer to all the above is “Yes”. Move on and work on something else.

buyer journey

Note:
I’m not saying that store design or conversion rate optimisation isn’t important.

If I had 100 hours to allocate, I would spend 75 hours driving traffic and the rest on store design and CRO.

Why?
Because in the early days, you probably have less than 1,000 visitors a week. You won’t even have enough traffic to “optimise”

What NOT to do…

If you are time strapped, do not spend hours tolling over every SEO blog or tweaking your promotional offers on your store.

Why?

Because these things are for playing the long game. Not when you are cash and time strapped.

What you should be doing…

Your focus has to shift depending on the stages of your business.

A new start-up cannot afford to spend weeks making sure that their marketing collaterals are pixel perfect and companies like Apple and Amazon cannot afford not to.

For this, we will be splitting the business stages into three major sections.

Below 2,500 visitors a week

If you are at this stage, your sole focus day in and day out should be driving more traffic.

Depending on your niche, you should be able to drive traffic from…

  • Paid ads
  • Influencers
  • Brand collaborations

You have to decide which works best for your budget and your niche.

Between 2,500 to 10,000 visitors a week

Here, you should be splitting your time driving traffic (60%) and capturing that traffic (40%).

Capturing traffic means setting up campaigns in the middle of your funnel to better utilise the traffic coming to your site.

This should include

  • Email capture into email drip sequence
  • Retargeting ads

Above 10,000 visitors a week

At this stage, if you still haven’t made your first sale, you should be working on store design, conversion rate optimisation and pricing.

If you need feedback, try getting it from other Shopify store owners...
(Get feedback)

ph gallery 1

Other factors to consider

Seasonality

For some stores, the focus may be around a certain theme (e.g. costumes or flowers).

If this is the case, just know that your store will be highly dependent on the purchasing seasonality of these products.

Product usage frequency

Something that isn’t talked about enough is how often a particular product is used will determine its’ purchasing frequency too.

If you are purchasing a drill that you plan to only use once or twice in the next 3 years, chances are, you won’t be shopping for another drill during that time period.

Price Range

This should come as no surprise but the higher the price, the longer it will take for someone to deliberate the purchase.

You don’t purchase a car and a bicycle the same way.

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Here is a rough guide…

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