When is the best time to start a Shopify store? Well, that depends who you ask.
In recent months we’ve noticed that there are two prevailing schools of thought when it comes to deciding the right time to launch an online store. We’re hearing a lot of people say that you should get on with it as soon as possible. There has also been an increasing transparency from very successful Ecommerce entrepreneurs showing just how much work they put in to their businesses before launching their store.
In many ways this reflects the fact that some of us prefer to take a planned, methodical approach and some of us are spontaneous. However, it’s always slightly concerning when people become entrenched in their position and fail to see that there are multiple ways to achieving the same outcome. We’re a little concerned that Ecommerce – and therefore Shopify (which is now searched for more than ecommerce) – is in danger of being oversimplified and portrayed a get-rich-quick scheme. Clearly we’re all in Ecommerce to make money, but we think there’s far more to it than that.
We thought that it would be helpful to give a balanced view to the question of when is the best time to start a Shopify store. We’ll therefore be answering the question from two perspectives:
- From the school of thought that says you should launch your Shopify store NOW!
- In accordance with those who would argue that there’s a whole lot of work that has to go into your Ecommerce business before you launch your Shopify store.
Now, the two aren’t mutually exclusive, as we’ll explain at the end of the article, but broadly speaking these are the two prevailing views that we’re seeing. Naturally, you probably identify more closely with one than the other. That doesn’t mean that you should necessarily take that particular approach, but it might give you some answers.
When is the best time to start a Shopify store? Now!
Here are some of the reasons why the best time to start a Shopify store might just be right now…
- You’ll learn as you go. Speak to any businessperson and they’ll tell you that there are some things that you just can’t learn until you’ve tried them. We all learn through experience and making mistakes, and the same is true with Ecommerce.
- It might take several attempts to find the right product. Part of the attraction of platforms like Shopify is that it’s cheap and easy to set up multiple stores – simultaneously if you so desire. The argument is that it might take you a while to figure out which product is going to be ‘the one’ – or that it’s better to have several stores turning over modest sums than be completely dependent upon one product.
- It takes time to start getting organic traffic. There will always be people who manage to get their site ranking in a matter of weeks – usually through leveraging links from highly influential site – but for most of us growth is steady. A new store is unlikely to generate much traffic from Google for several months, and if you’re in a competitive niche you’re going to have to work hard at your long-tail keyword strategy if you want to get onto page 1. With this in mind, the sooner that you get your store up and running – and Google begin crawling your content – the sooner you’re going to be getting consistent organic traffic.
- Paid advertising undoubtedly offers unique opportunities for store owners. Whilst we’re convinced that this isn’t the best way to build a successful online store in the long-term, there are entrepreneurs out there who are generating a big ROI by using highly targeted Facebook advertising. When combined with a carefully chosen dropshipped product (one that’s made by a third party, carries your branding and is typically distributed for you) it’s true that you could start making money in a matter of days.
When is the best time to start a Shopify store? When you’re ready to launch.
In many ways this is a rather more sophisticated argument, but then again that probably just shows what our preference is! Here are some of the reasons why it’s better to build your business as slowly and deliberately as you need to:
- Many of the most successful Shopify stores – those that launch their store to an audience of thousands – worked hard to build an audience beforehand through social media and collecting email addresses. There are many different ways to go about this, but the argument is that if you’re able to generate a pool of potential customers then your launch is going to be that much more effective. A simple placeholder website is a great way to collect emails, and you shouldn’t forget offline marketing and networking too. If you’re passionate about your produce and can generate a buzz prior to launch then you’re going to have much more of an impact when you go live.
- Running a successful Ecommerce business is seriously hard work. Yes, building an online store offers many of us the very thing that we’ve always wanted – independence, the chance to work for ourselves, financial success etc – but the reality is that it’s incredibly difficult. Because it’s hard to build a successful Shopify store you should do your homework beforehand to identify the systems and support that you’re going to have to put in place. The reality of running your own business is that you are the CEO, the cleaner, the marketing director, the accountant, the lawyer, the customer service representative and so much more. Most of us have weaker areas, and planning ahead (and outsourcing some of these tasks if possible) will help to reduce the stress that your business puts you under.
- Instead of making all your mistakes after you’ve launched your store, it’s wise to spend time in the build-up to launch perfecting your brand and reaching out to potential influencers (both online and offline). This often starts with family, friends and colleagues but should include as many people as you can. If you’re not passionate about your product for an extended period of time prior to launch then it’s going to be difficult to create a sense of momentum. You’ll also know in advance the reasons why people don’t want to buy your product – giving you an opportunity to either fix the problem or tailor your marketing so that you’re persuading the cynical.
The obvious conclusion is that you can set up your Shopify store whenever you like. With a 14 day free trial there’s nothing to lose. However, we wanted to bring a little counterargument to the notion that anybody can make serious cash in a matter of days. The reality is that a sustainable, successful store is going to take a lot of work, and there aren’t any shortcuts. It’s up to you how quickly you work. If you’re very motivated, have a high capacity or can do this full-time then there’s no reason you can’t emulate Tucker and make your first $1,000 inside 3 weeks. For others, it’s going to take a little longer. And that, we suggest, is the beauty of Shopify.
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