How to successfully launch a new product on Shopify

Launching a new store doesn't mean you'll be an instant online success. It takes careful planning and know-how to successfully launch new products online. In the following guide, we take a look at how you do just that.

Shopify’s massive success hinges on its ease of use. To launch a store, you don’t have to hire a team of coders. Anyone with a laptop (or a smartphone, for that matter) has the tools for ecommerce success right in their hands.

It’s not surprising that it nabbed about 20% of the market share for ecommerce platforms, supporting more than 1 million businesses and pulling in more than $200 billion USD in sales. Overall, Shopify is an excellent platform for B2B businesses and B2C retailers alike.

Read our guide to find out if Shopify is the right ecommerce system for your business.

Despite the platform’s ease and popularity, launching your first product on Shopify does take some careful planning. There’s a lot to keep in mind, from sales channels to marketing. A successful product launch relies as much on the quality of the product as it does on a company’s efforts to raise awareness. This comprehensive tutorial can help.

Note: This guide assumes your business has already set up a Shopify store but hasn’t yet launched a product, or you want to launch a new product to market.

If you haven’t created an online store with Shopify yet, learn more here.


Adding your products to Shopify

Now that you have Shopify setup, it’s time to add products. Let’s start with one product, and then read the rest of this guide.

The process for adding a product is really quite simple, from your Shopify admin, simply:

  • Navigate to Products > All Products
  • Click “Add New Product”
  • Enter your product title and details (which we’ll get into more below)
  • Save your product
Add a new product in Shopify

Add a new product in Shopify

If your product comes in different sizes or shapes, add a variant. This is done through the “Variants” section of the “Add New Product” page (view Shopify’s full tutorial if you’re lost). At this stage, you’ll also want to set the amount in your inventory.

Set competitive pricing

Pricing has a huge impact on sales. If you price something too high, people won’t buy it. Instead, they’ll opt for a competitor’s product.

If you price it too low, you won’t make a profit — and at worst, people could assume there’s something wrong with your product which is why it’s deeply discounted.

To get an idea for the price, do a competitive analysis. See what like-minded brands are charging for similar products and factor in the cost of labour and materials.

You can add this price in the “Products” section of your Shopify admin by clicking on the name of the product.

SEO optimise

SEO optimise

SEO optimise your product pages

Since Shopify is digital, people aren’t going to a store where they can demo your product in real life. This is why product images are one of the most important parts of your product page, but they’re also the key to a fruitful SEO strategy.

Speed is seriously important, and slow-loading pages are knocked down in search results. Plus, slow load times make customers bounce, even if it’s just a second. In order to optimise your product pages you should:

  • Take clean, crisp photos: Your photos should capture not only your product, but your company’s culture. They should be professional and high-res. If you don’t have your own images, or the resources to take them, speak with your suppliers, they should have product images you can use.
  • Reduce your image sizes: This is a killer for page speed. A thumbnail on Shopify is 50 x 50 pixels, so you don’t need your images to be thousands and thousands of pixels. Images should be prominent on the page, but shrink the file size to the minimum required for the largest image you’re using.
  • Opt for a descriptive, snappy product name: This is a great place to put a target keyword, which you can gather by thinking about what people searching for your product will Google and doing some careful research. SEO-friendly file names for your images are also important since that’s read by search engines. For example, if your target keyword is B2B marketing software, make your product filename b2b_marketing_software.jpg.
  • SEO optimise your product description and alt attributes: If you’re not sure where to start with SEO, you can hire a specialist who knows the nuances.
  • SEO optimise your search engine listing preview: You can do this in the “Search engine listing preview” section by clicking “Edit website SEO.” Make sure the description and title include keywords and are snappy enough to draw a customer in. Also, use keywords in your URL.
  • Add product tags: You can add up to 250 for each product, we suggest between 2-5 for SEO purposes.

You may also want to A/B test your images. This helps you pick the most effective images, but if you don’t have the resources to A/B test, Shopify has a list of some image best practices.

Place a test order

Note this is for new stores only.

If you’ve already launched other products on your store in the past, you can skip this step, but you’ll always want to place at least one test order before launching a brand new Shopify store (and before making any changes to your payment settings). This ensures that the checkout process, order process, inventory, shipping, and taxes are all working correctly.

The simplest way to do this is through Shopify Payments (through Shopify also has a guide on using their bogus gateway to simulate a transaction or using a real payment provider and cancelling the order). First, put your store into test mode, which can be done in your Shopify admin by going to Settings > Payments. Click “use test mode” (as pictured below) and save.

Shopify test mode

Shopify test mode

Next, shop as you normally would. Go to your online store, pick your product, and follow the checkout process. For credit card information, you can enter any name, any future expiry date, and any three-digit CVV. For the credit card number, use the following:

  • Visa: 4242424242424242
  • Mastercard: 5555555555554444
  • American Express: 378282246310005
  • Discover: 6011111111111117
  • Diners Club: 30569309025904
  • JCB: 3530111333300000

If you want to specifically simulate a failed transaction to see the error message that’s displayed to a customer, use the following for your payment information:

  • For a declined card: credit card number 4000000000000002
  • For an incorrect number: credit card number 4242424242424241
  • For a disputed transaction: credit card number 4000000000000259
  • For an invalid expiry month: use an invalid expiry month like 14 or 15
  • For an invalid expiry year: use a year in the past
  • For an invalid CVV: use a two-digit CVV number instead of a three-digit

If you need to make edits, make edits. If everything is good, you’re ready to open your store.

Simply go to your Shopify admin to remove the password to open it up to the public (it’s under Online Store > Preferences). Uncheck the “Enable password page” and save. Now, it’s time to start promoting your launch.

Use video to promote your product

It’s not just images that are important for sales. Video is astoundingly effective at making conversions and building consumer trust. According to a survey, 74% of marketers found that video has a better ROI than static imagery. A further 53% revealed it helped them raise brand awareness and another 52% said it helped them build trust.

While many businesses find success by posting videos to YouTube, Facebook, and other social channels, it’s specifically important to embed video on your product pages because it leads to direct conversions. Research has shown that 74% of users who watch an explainer video about a product eventually buy it. Overall, ecommerce pages with video have 80% more conversions than those without.

Shopify makes this easy. After you make a video or 3D model (yes, Spotify also allows for 3D models) go to your product page, click on the product, then either click:

  • Add media to directly upload the file
  • Add media from URL to embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo

You can add more than one video, but make sure that whatever media item (photo, video, or 3D model) that you want to show as the page’s first image is selected as the “main media.” See the example below of how the Aromatherapy startup Pilgrim used video to give a product demo on one of their product pages.

Add video to Shopify

Add video to Shopify

Integrate omnichannel shopping

Before you add a product, you should consider using a number of different sales channels. Customers who shop on multiple channels generally have a 30% higher lifetime value (in other words, they’re high-quality leads).

Sales channels in Shopify

Sales channels in Shopify

2018 survey found that nearly half of digital shoppers started their product searches on Amazon, which is even more than the number of shoppers who started their search on Google.

Luckily, Shopify does have an Amazon integration, if you want to take that route.

Since Amazon is really just for retail, something like a SaaS company will find more value focusing on paid and organic search engine marketing strategies, but that doesn’t mean they should abandon omnichannel altogether.

Shopify also allows you to integrate with Google shopping, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger, which are definitely valuable across all markets. Remember: once you’ve got the integration, you’ll have to check an option to make your product available on each channel.

If you have a physical store, make sure to integrate your POS and Shopify to help with the sales process, accounting and most importantly inventory management across online and offline.

Once you launch your product, it’s time to market

Having a product in your Shopify store doesn’t mean anyone is going to buy it. You’ll need to craft a comprehensive marketing plan to get the word out about your product launch.

At this phase, many companies opt to hire a digital publicist. They’ll help your product get featured on prominent websites. This doesn’t just put your product in front of more eyes, it helps you rack up backlinks which are crucial for SEO. They’ll also understand how to best target your specific audience, whether it’s through guest appearances on podcasts and speaking engagements or guest blogging.

Whatever your marketing strategy, it should be comprehensive — from social media to SEO and PPC. The right marketing plan is well worth the upfront investment because it will drive real conversions and raise overall brand awareness.

Do you have a retail store and want to launch your own ecommerce store with Shopify? Check out how AirPOS Pro can help you integrate your point of sale and ecommerce systems in one.

About The Writer

Ryan Gould is Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing

From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.

Ryan is known for taking complex marketing and business challenges and developing solutions that simplify processes while driving customer outcomes and business value. He also thrives on guiding Elevation teams toward the execution of strategies that help companies succeed in new verticals while staying true to core values and brand integrity.

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