Whoever said that it’s hard to make money with an eCommerce store hasn’t done all the things they can do.
This doesn’t mean everyone can build a successful online business and 3X their income. Rather, if you know how to do things in the right way and try as much as you can, you have a huge opportunity to make it.
To prove this is true, we sat down with Mike Turner (Shopify store owner at Ola.pet) to talk about his success in selling online. Six months ago, he made sales worth $108,000 in total. He now has a plan to scale up Ola.pet and then, start the second store at the end of this year.
Within only 11 days, he made $7388 in sales:
Today Liam will share with you his tactics of how exactly he got this amount – in his own words
I truly believe that most of us have the potential to become a successful entrepreneur. Even though I started my Shopify store not so long ago, I never doubted my belief.
In Oct 2017, I’ve been launching and building my first Shopify store called Ola.pet. After three months of running it, I made $1082 in revenue.
At that time, it was a huge success, but I knew I could do better. I set the bar higher because I wanted to go bigger.
I quit my 9-to-5 job and spent 100% of my time growing my store. It’s worth.
In 11 days, I built a plan to make $5000 sales. And you know what? That plan ended up resulting in $7388 in my store revenue.
Let me be clear, you don’t need to be a genius or a master to succeed. I’m certainly not. I just have an ambition, like you, with a huge drive to create my own legacy.
Just make sure that you put the work in and try as best as you can. Be unstoppable.
This story will detail all of the work that I did to take my store from nothing into a successful Shopify store. Everything from planning, building my store to applying marketing tactics, to get $7388 in sales in only 11 days. It’s all in here.
Okay, ready? Let’s go.
SIDENOTE: Because there are a bunch of tutorials out there telling about how to find a winning product, I’ll skip this in my story. If you still don’t know, read How to choose the best products to sell online. I followed some tips in this guide and finally, found my ‘winner’: Pet accessories.
First things first, plan to make $5000 sales in 11 days
… luckily (and unexpectedly), this plan helped me hit approximately $7388. 😊
After leaving my full-time job, I had more free time. Hence, I set a very concrete goal for my new store to keep myself busy.
In the past, I usually jumped from one goal to another. I even had 10-15 goals at once. I didn’t achieve any of them.
When I started my business, I decided to set my goals very clearly. In the best case, one goal at a time.
(Now, with some experience, it’s more obvious to me why I had no chance at all back then. I was too distracted and didn’t focus on anything.)
To create a specific goal for my store, I followed a common practice: S.M.A.R.T. Here was what I wrote down on my notebook:
– Specific: My “S” is: “I want to make $5000 in sales”. “Make as much money as possible” is far away from being specific. I avoid all general things like that.
– Measurable: If you say “much money”, what does “much” meaning? How much do you really want? How can you measure your results? How will you know when you obtain your goal? That’s why I specifically said “$5000” in my goal.
– Attractive: A goal has to motivate you. “Make $5000 in sales” won’t help me become a rich man, but that’s not the point. For me, it’s enough attractive to go out of my way. Also, pet accessories are something I personally love (I am a pet lover, by the way). I usually buy them for my pet.
– Realistic: “Make $5000 in sales” isn’t my life goal. It’s just a short-term goal that I want to get. Also, it would mean I have to sell over 180 items (180 if giving a 20% discount). I didn’t see any problems with achieving it.
– Time-bound: Without a deadline, setting a goal is just playing around. Knowing this, I had to ensure the time for reaching my goal is long enough to be realistic. Nearly two weeks (11 days) seemed OK for me.
With these in mind, I came up with my S.M.A.R.T goal:
I want to grow my eCommerce store and make $5000 in sales in 11 days.
It looked good so far, and… a bit risky. But I’m ready to strive for my goal.
Build a Shopify store – do right from the start
In the beginning, my store looked terrible. Low site speed. Bad image quality. Text-heavy descriptions. Most of the time purchases I received came from my friends (and their friends) 😥.
When implementing this $5000 plan, I rebuilt my store.
I scrolled through all free themes on the Shopify Theme Store but couldn’t find one that had the options I was looking for. So, I bought a theme for $160.
Then, I followed these guides: How to create an online store and How to design an online store – Best eCommerce website design practices to customize the theme. Very detailed and useful, especially for Shopify beginners.
For the initial setup of my store, I didn’t have any app. But for this store site tune-up, I installed the following:
My friend told me to install this app. He said it would help encourage my visitors to complete their orders. I still don’t know how to use the app, but I installed it anyway.
Price: 7-day free trial, then $30/month
It’s a paid app, but it’s one of the best upselling and cross-selling Shopify apps. Hence, I decided to give it a try.
Price: 7-day free trial, then $19/month
This app provides smart recommendations like “bought this also bought”, “best sellers of the store”, “recently viewed & featured recommendations”, etc. It might be helpful later.
Price: 15-day free trial, then $27/month
Again, my friend told me that I would need this app. He explained that it was good for reducing abandoned carts. I said, “OK, I’ll add it to my app list”.
Apart from design and apps, I paid much attention to product description as well. Here was what I did:
- Use bullet points and short paragraphs to make information easy to scan and skim.
- Use videos to help shoppers quickly grab how my products work and their benefits.
- Optimize product description for mobile viewing. I did this because I realized I had a lot of mobile customers.
Perfect! I could start selling and shipping!
Apply marketing tactics to get first sales (and hit goals)
Time to promote my store and make sales.
But I had no idea how I could do this.
No marketing background, no sales skill.
So I started reading as many different eCommerce marketing blogs as I could (like other beginners actually). I tried every tactic that they said.
The first two days, I got ZERO sales. “Am I wrong? A perfect business plan but now what? Too dreamy!” I asked myself these questions all the time.
But I didn’t give up. I gave myself the third day to try again. I did research on successful Shopify stores, read their cases studies, and looked for what makes them different.
I found four golden nuggets.
I tweaked and then applied them to my store. The results? I made a surprisingly $7388 sales within the remaining 8 days of testing (remember my goal was just $5000). Awesome, right?
What I did to get this wasn’t magic. I didn’t throw any penny to social media ads.
In the last part of this story, I’ll tell you all golden nuggets and what I did to tweak them. You can steal them. Easy. Simple.
1. Add some urgency and scarcity to ‘force’ customers to buy
The second golden nugget:
As humans, we always want what we can’t have (me included). That’s why urgency and scarcity marketing has been trending. Sales teams love them – because they work (so well).
I knew this when I built my store (recall that I installed the Countdown Cart app). But I didn’t know how to make use of it.
While browsing on the Internet, I came across a store called Peperpline. I noticed they were using urgency and scarcity.
I had spent two hours figuring out how they did that, and interestingly, they used Countdown Cart as well.
Then, I stole their tactics and added the following to each of my product pages:
- Added a countdown timer to let shoppers know how much time they’ve left to make a buying decision.
- Added a countdown stock to alert shoppers of scarce items.
- Used widgets to show the number of visitors viewing an item and the number of sold items.
This tactic brought me a lot of sales.
2. Show a 10-second discount popup to entice first-time customers
There are many popup ideas and tips out there. Not all of them fit my business.
I knew this because I tested a lot. Also, I believe in simple, not something fancy.
I decided to create just one 10-second discount popup using the free SiteKit tool to convert visitors into email subscribers… and email subscribers into $$$ money in my pocket.
So far, I’ve gained 1646 email subscribers.
And it didn’t stop at email subscribers. I also acquired 83 new customers who bought at least one product from my store.
Here is my high-converting discount popup:
When designing this popup, I focused on 3 key conversion elements:
- Discount offer: Keep it simple and think about what my potential customers want. I used three words: “Get 50% Off”.
- Description: Tell people more about the benefits of giving their email address. I wanted to offer value, not spam.
- Benefit-driven CTA: Highlight the main call to action button using a contrasting color and benefit-driven copy like “Get My 50% Off”.
Then, I installed SiteKit to create the popup:
It took me two minutes to complete the setup. The best part? It worked on autopilot EVERY. SINGLE. DAY (until now I even got sales from this popup).
I wanted to increase the conversion rate for sales. Who doesn’t want more sales for the same amount of traffic, right?
Then, I tried something a little different (and more fun), compared with successful stores I read, just to see what would happen.
At this time, my goal was to direct more visitors to my store and (hopefully) convert them into my paying customers faster.
The idea for this experiment actually came to me after Ola.pet was featured on Beeketing.
I wanted to see if there was a way to convert all that traffic and attention into more than just transient visitors.
I had limited development resources, so on the day my store was featured, I set up a Smart Bar that looked like this:
I created this bar in a few clicks using SiteKit. I didn’t have to install any other app.
This simple little bar helped me:
- Convert 3% of all Beeketing referrals into new customers (this equated to over $1034 in sales).
- Expand word of mouth and social media attention to my store even more.
This data was from 11 days that I am telling you alone. Over the past five months, this Smart Bar has continued to convert visitors into new customers.
All it takes is a one-time setup to reap ongoing results. Money!
3. Use an irresistible exit-intent popup to reduce abandoned carts
I received a lot of abandoned carts. They were even more than the number I thought.
Of course. But I didn’t feel frustrated. Instead, I made a plan to convert abandoned cart shoppers into my real customers.
To do this, I used the Checkout Boost app I installed early on to design a ‘hail mary’ popup.
A ‘hail mary’ popup is the offer you make when everything else you’ve tried to do has failed to convert the user, either directly into a customer or even into a lead or subscriber. – Aaron Beashel.
Here’s how it worked:
- Shoppers added an item to their cart on my store.
2. When someone tried to leave his cart, the ‘hail mary’ popup showed up offering him a sweet deal.
3. After he clicked the Checkout button, he was directed to the Checkout page with free shipping offer.
My customer was happy because he got free shipping. I am happy too because he made an order and I got… money. Win-win.
Since setting this ‘hail mary’ popup, my abandoned cart rate decreased by 25%.
And 32 people claimed the discount and converted into sales.
This ‘set-and-forget’ popup keeps working for me over and over again whenever new customers try to abandon their cart.
4. Upsell and cross-sell products to increase average order value
After doing all of the tactics above, I couldn’t achieve my $5000 goal.
I digger deeper into all successful Shopify stores, and luckily, I found a super-effective strategy. Most of the 6-figure stores have used it a lot.
It’s called upselling and cross-selling techniques.
In case you don’t know what they are, I recommend you read this: How to use upselling and cross-selling techniques to get more sales for your online stores.
With them, I reached my target and increased my average order value (AOV) by 35%.
To apply this strategy, I worked with the Boost Sales app. In fact, in the beginning, I didn’t know what this app was meant for and how to use it. I just installed it because my friend advised me to do. It’s affordable, super easy to use, and has some cool features like Last-step Upsell.
For the cross-sell products, I displayed them in the Quick View – when someone clicks a product to view the information:
The Quick View feature is integrated in the Boost Sales app. I really like it because my customers can see more detailed about an item and add it to their cart without having to go to the product page. This also improved the checkout flow on my store, and so buying experience for my shoppers.
For the upsell products, I showed them:
- After someone added a product to his cart.
- In the cart page.
- When someone clicked the Checkout button in the cart page, one last up-sell offer would show up to suggest him more items he might want to add before checking out.
“How could you know what you should upsell?”
Good question. Below I have some suggestions for you in case you don’t have an obvious upgrade.
- Offer MORE of something. “Why not get your pet a new leash set?”
- Feature “you and your best friend” products. “You got something for your pet… now, why not make your best friend’s happy, too?”
- Promote related or recommended products. “People who bought this also bought: Cutest summer body shirt for your pet.” Install the Personalized Recommendation app to do this.
- Create a Buy One, Get One For A Discount (BOGO) offer. “That shirt will look great on your pet. Why not get another for 30% off?”
The final sales result
To make it short: I made $7388 sales in total.
11 days – this was an exciting time.
It’s filled with new things to learn and challenges that genuinely engaged me.
I started with a store which didn’t get many sales. But I overcame bad days, learned from past mistakes, and put in the hard work, then I found my success.
I set a high goal and forced me to work harder and smarter.
Never give up – it sounds cliche to say but there’s so much truth in it.
Now, it’s time for you to put the lesson into practice. Copy Liam’s tactics, A/B test, and check which one brings you sales. Comment below if you want to share.