9 Common Characteristics of Top Shopify Stores

Hosting over one and a half million online stores operating from 175 countries, generating annual transactions worth $60 billion — Shopify has emerged as one of the most popular eCommerce marketplaces in the world.

With the range of support services store owners enjoy, the Shopify platform is attractive to many online entrepreneurs. These services include payments, analytics, marketing support, website hosting, site theme motifs, and shipping.

There is a vast number of successful Shopify stores on the platform, many of which earn tens of millions of dollars. There are even some hitting more than a hundred million in annual revenues.

So what makes these online stores attract shoppers and successfully sell to the online fraternity?

That’s what we’re here to answer. We’ll be looking at the common characteristics among the best Shopify stores — with the goal of inspiring you to stand out with your own eCommerce store.

Factors Behind a Successful Shopify Store

Factors Behind a Successful Shopify Store

Source: Pexels

Commonalities you can find with any successful Shopify store are:

  • A well-designed website
  • A mobile-friendly site
  • Great products
  • Beautiful images
  • Clever product descriptions
  • Good customer engagement
  • Strong social proof and customer reviews
  • Great customer experiences
  • Simplified checkout procedures

The successful combination of these factors makes for a satisfactory online shopping experience.

Let’s dissect each one to see just how they place these businesses among the top 5% of performers on Shopify.

Well-Designed Website

Market Tote

Source: wpstandard.com

The road to a successful business on Shopify starts with a great online shop design. Your site is the first contact customers have with your product offerings, and as the saying goes: first impressions matter.

A good Shopify website design provides shoppers with easy navigation. Your eCommerce store should be organized and eye-catching, with a compelling theme.

Your site design should also be in line with your store’s branding.

The products should be displayed clearly and free from obstructions by your site’s elements.

Speed is another factor in a site’s design, as fast-loading sites make shopping more convenient. Studies have shown that slow loading sites can make customers abandon an online store, taking away precious revenue.

WP Standard, a seller of luxury bags and wallets, epitomizes good website design. There are few navigation buttons and lots of white space on their product pages — conveying the same luxury and simplicity as the products themselves.

These aspects draw attention to the products and the site’s information.

With its minimalist theme, the WP Standard Shopify homepage scored Shopify’s 2013 design award, selling the opulence it touts.

Mobile-Friendly Site

person using blackand white smartphone

Source: Pexels

Mobile devices, like phones and tablets, are becoming more ubiquitous in eCommerce. Mobile eCommerce makes up more than half of all online transactions and is growing annually.

The best stores on Shopify optimize their sites for mobile use. They also offer mobile apps, enabling them to maximize their target audience reach.

eCommerce stores have to do more than shrink the size of their homepage for mobile devices. The mobile web has its own unique characteristics — including a mobile responsive design, which has to be incorporated into the homepage to ensure it shows clearly on phones and tablets.

A Shopify store that fails to optimize its site for mobile users could miss out on as much as 66% of their potential sales.

Great Products

Cardboard box with red ribbon

Source: Pexels

A well-performing Shopify store sells products in a niche area that they are familiar with. You need to be knowledgeable about your offerings, which will become evident on your site.

Your products should aim to fulfill a mission statement and a theme, a goal bigger than just selling. Many successful Shopify entrepreneurs target servicing an underserved community, fulfilling a social theme, or filling a need with their products.

These stores offer products that stand out from similar products in the marketplace. This aspect helps heighten the customer user experience, turns shoppers into repeat customers, and ensures a high conversion rate.

beard brand

Source: Sumo.com

For example, Beardbrand sells beard grooming products. They came into being with the aim of making bearded men look fashionable and stylish.

Since its inception on Shopify in 2013, the company has grown in leaps, selling products worth more than $100,000 monthly.

Beardbrand started with one product — beard oil. Presently, It sells a suite of beard grooming products along with other related merchandise.

Beautiful Images


Source: Tessemaes

One common factor of virtually all top online stores is the lovely photographs that feature on their homepage. They’re visually attractive and present the products in an eye-catching manner that sells.

The stimulating images will move you to the rest of their offerings.

Since shoppers cannot touch or feel the products, a Shopify store has to be visually appealing.

You have to spend time planning the presentation of the products along with a unifying theme.

It can be tempting to take the pictures yourself to save money. But investing in a professional photography service will serve you better in the long run. A photographer will lay out the products so they’re in tune with your site theme, and present them in a manner that sells effectively to customers.

Tessemae’s, a natural food products store, has attracted growing sales with its beautiful images, which are colorful and come with visually appealing backgrounds.

Clever Product Descriptions

Clever Product Descriptions

Product Descriptions by Bon Appetit Magazine

Shopify’s leading stores use memorable product descriptions. Rather than sales rhetoric, they describe their products in ways that appeal to their target audience and address their pain points.

The product descriptions on your homepage should fire up your customer’s imagination. You can use any theme, but injecting some light humor is a pretty failsafe avenue. And remember to also address the customer’s concerns and desires. This tells the customer you care about them.

Tell a story with your product descriptions. The main point is to convey the product’s benefits in a way that engages the customer and motivates them to make a purchase.

Customer Engagement

Cheering Fans

Source: Flickr

The average business sells to customers, but the most successful businesses build a community. Engaging with customers is like building a fanbase. The leading stores on Shopify have succeeded at this, enjoying a high rate of repeat customers.

These repeat customers are more than just customers — they interact with the Shopify store through various channels. Successful businesses have two-way communication with their customers, who feel like family and tout their products whenever they can.

Social media is a great place to host conversations with customers. The store can gain valuable feedback on their product offering and insights into their customers’ desires and aspirations. They can also address issues and challenges that arise with their products.

With user-generated content on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, customers can put their thoughts into action by providing content related to the products. It’s a hallmark of the deep engagement of an online business with its customers.

Content marketing is another great customer engagement tool.

Beardbrand has used this technique to build a community of fashionable bearded men, educating them on beard grooming through blog posts and YouTube videos.

Rewarding customers who stay for the long term is beneficial to your business. The top leading stores run regular promotions and offer loyalty programs, making existing customers feel valued while the store attracts new customers. This also leads to higher sales volumes.

There’s evidence that engaged customers are usually loyal to the brand. They help market the brand through word of mouth, maximizing the business’s marketing spend. This shows that customer engagement sells more products.

One community you can benefit from is the many successful entrepreneurs at eCommerceFuel.

Engaging with these online business owners can take your own business to new heights. There are also resources in this community that will improve your entrepreneurial abilities.

Benjamin Byrne

eCommerce Fuel

Social Proof and Customer Reviews

People like to buy their products and services from a company that’s proven to have satisfied customers. This reason is why many peruse the customer reviews of the product online before making a purchase decision.

Leading stores on Shopify usually show proof of their customer base through customer reviews. It’s a great way for store owners to engage with their customers and strengthen the theme of their business.

Potential buyers can also see if the store’s products will provide a solution to their problem through other people’s experiences. According to a Nielsen customer research study, three out of every four online shoppers base their purchase decisions on customer reviews.

The same study also shows that a third of online customers generally avoid online stores without any reviews.

Encouraging your customers by making it easy to leave reviews, or even rewarding them, is a necessity.

Great Customer Experience

Customer service

Source: Flickr

The saying the customer is king rings true for successful online stores. There’s nothing more important for selling products than this factor. It should be the major theme of any online retail store.

A great website and beautiful products will mean nothing without a positive customer experience. It’s the greatest determinant of a business venture’s future.

Providing a great customer experience is one way your eCommerce store can compete in the marketplace. It’s the most effective and inexpensive marketing tool you can leverage. It’s also the theme of most business improvement schemes.

Based on the website browsing experience, product availability, checkout process, customer support, and order fulfillment, the customer’s overall experience will determine whether they’ll make a repeat purchase from the store or not.

As a result, customer support is essential. Your response to your customer’s challenges and how you resolve them go a long way towards a positive customer experience.

Customers will tell others about their experiences. Depending on whether the experience was positive or negative, these communications can make or break an online business.

Simplified Checkout Process

Person paying online card

Source – Pixabay

The checkout process at a top Shopify store is easy and stress-free. Making the payment process simple is a major theme of every leading online retail store.

Implementing a seamless checkout process is much more than linking a call to action at the bottom of the page to a payment portal. Each checkout element, from the shopping cart to the payment options and payment process, has to be free from challenges.

Difficulties during checkout could turn the shopper off from your site, abandoning the purchase altogether.

To that end, leading stores have low cart abandonment rates due to certain proactive measures:

  • They don’t require registration on the site before shopping.
  • The checkout process is short and simplified, with less than 15 form elements.
  • All of the total fees involved in the purchase are clarified, including shipping and taxes.
  • They offer multiple payment options, such as credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal.

Common Characteristics of Top Shopify Stores

Common Characteristics of Top Shopify Stores

Make the Most of Your Online Store

So there you have it, the secrets of the leading stores on Shopify. Just follow these steps and you will have a high possibility of being counted among the successful stores on Shopify.

And if you’re looking for more support, join our community of business-savvy eCommerce pros at eCommerceFuel. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; tap into their vast expertise and skyrocket your online store’s success.

Photo by Freepik

Katrina McKinnon

Post by Katrina McKinnon

Katrina is a Charter Member of eCommerceFuel and leads an eCommerce content creation agency. Need content? Blog posts, product descriptions, category content, buyers guides, product reviews and more. Get in touch – www.copysmiths.com

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