5 Big Mistakes You Must Avoid To Achieve A 7-figure Store [A Guru’s Insights]

If you’ve been selling online for years and are still struggling to earn a profit, perhaps you may think the reason behind this is that you messed up something big. Sometimes, it’s not! What has been holding you down is actually all the small but important optimizations that you overlooked.

So unfortunately you won’t find any out-of-the-box recipe to make a million sales overnight in this blog post.

However, as you scroll down, you will certainly find yourself somewhere because, as an eCommerce guru with 6 years of building a 7-figure store from scratch, I reckon that there are the 5 most common mistakes store owners like we are making. Luckily, I found my own solutions and I’m happy to talk about them in more detail below.

After 6 years of building a 7-figure store from scratch, here’s what I’ve witnessed

Did you know that business research by Forbes, Huffington Post, and Marketing Signals pointed out that 90% of all eCommerce businesses fail within the first 120 days?

The number comes as no surprise as I’ve talked to many other Shopify sellers in my network, and very few make more than 1 million dollars per year. In fact, an average Shopify store is reported to generate only $67,000 in annual revenue.

To tell you the truth, before I saw clear progress and made a breakthrough with my 7-figure pet accessories store, I didn’t do much well with the first 2 stores (which I’ll discuss in length below).

And from what I’ve witnessed from 6 years of opening 25 online stores in total, I learned the hard way that in this fiercely competitive eCommerce industry, sometimes, a minor detail can bring a major impact. And that’s why most of us couldn’t succeed.

In other words, with timely and proper adjustments to those small details, you can earn more profit with the same amount of money you spend.

But what are those crucial optimizations you might neglect that result in you leaving money on the table?

As I’ve observed from my past failures, there are 5 mistakes you must avoid if you want to be successful in your selling journey, especially for the upcoming BFCM. If you’re making the same mistakes, don’t worry as I got you covered with 5 solutions as well.

5 mistakes that hold down your eCommerce’s success & Solutions!

I still recall my first steps to achieving my first 7-figure store. It was April 2017 when I opened my third store selling pet accessories after not doing so well with the 2 first ones. Long story short, this time, I sold a pet necklace at $29 per item.

Though this necklace was a hot seller, after a week, I realized its profit margin was so small (only 5% for each) that I could hardly scale up my store. So I decided to increase the selling price to $39/item. And guess what? It still sold like hotcakes and soon became my best-seller for over a year onward.

All it took was a tweak to the product price and I’ve earned an extra $10 per item sold. That added up to an extra $50,000 in a month and over an extra $500,000 profit after tax in a year. This laid a solid financial foundation for me to soon scale it up to a 7-figure store.

That’s just one of the uncountable times I unconsciously left money on the table by neglecting small optimizations that can bring a big impact.

As a store owner who has gone from failure to failure before finally making it to success, I figure out that there are 5 biggest mistakes we commonly make when doing online business.

#1. Unoptimized web design 

As I was saying, I went through a lot of failures before achieving my first 7-figure store. After closing the first 2 stores, I decided to invest in an eCommerce course at $3,000 with four 1-on-1 Google Meet sessions.

Throughout the 4 sessions, all I could remember was 7 words: “Your stores look like a dropshipping store” and those words completely changed my life. 

Since then, I started investing much more in optimizing my storefront, to make it an artwork like A&A Jewels Co. or Skin Discovery.

Things started to get into gear, my conversion rate tripled from 1.3% to 4%. Here are 5 tips I’ve learned:

  1. Product descriptions that sell: don’t just go on and on with what characteristics your products have. Instead, briefly describe the benefits of using your products
  2. Stunning product images that grab attention: help customers visualize what they are going to spend their money on by providing high-quality images from different angles 
  3. Mobile Responsiveness: ~41% of online shoppers buy a product via mobile, so having a mobile-optimized eCommerce website is crucial to get your revenue significantly up.
  4. User-friendly navigation: A tangled-up menu would just confuse website visitors and push them away. Whereas, a clean and navigable menu lets visitors skim through your website quickly and land on the page they want to immediately.
  5. A simplified checkout process: Customers don’t like filling out tedious forms and a 10-step checkout process; try keeping the process short (3 steps max) and give customers multiple options on how to pay. If you live in the regions where Shop Pay is supported, enable it for your customers to simplify their checkout experience

As a merchant with little technical skills, I knew I needed a no-code page builder to optimize my web design. And I’m glad I found PageFly.

Overall, the app interface is user-friendly. I could use its drag-and-drop editor to build and customize my pages

What I’m happy about the most about PageFly is that it helps me build mobile-optimized pages for any page with more than 100 pre-built templates.

After 5 months of using PageFly, I saw a 30% increase in my monthly revenue. And until now it’s still my top choice any time I need to build a stunning page quickly.

#2. Failing to decide which products deserve more spotlight

If you think product labels are just small tags added at a corner of your product images just for decorative purposes, you’re making the same mistake as I used to.

In BFCM 2020, I ran a flash sale campaign with lots of exclusive deals, but I only displayed the discount information on my product pages.

So, via ads and marketing channels that direct users to product pages, my conversion rate was pretty high. However, when I tracked my customer behavior on Google Analytics, I saw that during this time, most traffic that visited my homepage first left without taking any action.

After investigating my website for a few hours, I realized that when visitors landed on my homepage or collection page, they saw my featured products but didn’t know these products were on sale. 

So I thought the best way to inform them about my promotions would be via product labels. But adding a label on Shopify required coding so I asked around and a friend recommended using Product Labels & Badges.

With small sale tags, I could let more potential customers know about my sale campaign

The app works perfectly fine, I could easily add sales tags to let potential customers know about my “Buy 2, Get 1 Off” campaign. What I love about it is that I can easily add catchy and mobile-friendly labels on my product displays without coding.

Thanks to the app, my flash sale campaigns exceeded my expectations since I can let much more customers know about my campaigns without spending more on paid channels.

It seems hard to believe but it was those small product labels that helped boost my store engagement rates by 150% and conversion rates by 15% on the overall flash sale campaign

Here are two tips I used back then, which I believe also contributed to my impressive results:

  • Make sure you customize your product labels (color, size, shape, etc.) to match your store design. This will make your labels more authentic and aesthetic, improving your conversions
  • You can use product labels to inform your customers which products are in-stock, which are out-of-stock, which ones are the best-selling, etc. as well
Make sure you customize the label designs to match your brand theme

#3. Not putting enough effort into Search Engine Optimization 

I knew SEO was important, but what I didn’t know was that I needed to work a lot harder on it.

Back then, I optimized my website SEO solely by stuffing relevant keywords. I thought, in that way, when users searched for those keywords, my website would appear first on the search results.

I waited for 3 months but none of my pages made their way to the first Google page. At that point, I realized Google’s ranking algorithm was much more sophisticated than just keyword stuffing. 

So I spent a couple of days doing research and here’s what I found:

  • Your e-shop should be mobile-friendly. Google’s mobile-first indexing policy states that all websites should be optimized for mobile visitors first
  • Overstuffing keywords does more harm than good because Google’s algorithm could combat this tactic
  • Don’t go over 10% for the main keyword density on a page and instead of stuffing only 1 main keyword, use LSI keywords as well
  • Your page speed does have a big impact on your SEO ranking. So optimizing keywords on your pages is not enough, you need to work on improving your site speed too

On the keyword part, I did it by myself, but to make my site load faster and more optimized for mobile, I used Image Optimizer Page Speed.

This app helps merchants improve their online store’s loading speed by image lossless compression; auto-optimizing meta tags; auto-filling and submitting structured data to Google search engines.

With this SEO plugin, my website loads much faster and is ranking for more than 100 target keywords within three months.

This helped me earn a 30% rise in organic traffic and a 60% increase in the number of phone calls from organic searches.

#4. Leave customers confused about how to find the products they want

When I first launched my jewelry store, my store had around 7 – 10 products. My store was converting pretty fine.

However, after I successfully scaled up my store as mentioned, from only 10 necklaces at the beginning, my store soon had over 100 products ranging from necklaces, pet food packages, pet bathing kits, etc. With this expansion, I aimed to grow by at least 20% in sales.

But it didn’t live up to my expectation, my sales just stabilized and even saw some downward trends at some points. The odd thing is that my traffic kept increasing.

So I quickly tracked my Google Analytics reports, and a lot of visitors bounced back when they were on the search page and collection page.

These visitors searched for a product and made their way to the collection page, so this means they have high buying intent but only a handful made it to the checkout page. I immediately got it – they couldn’t find the product they were looking for.

So I knew I had 2 urgent tasks: enhancing my search bar and adding a filter on my collection page. After some tried and true testing, I found my life-saver: Product Filter & Search by Boost Commerce.

This tool is all that I was looking for. It helped me easily add a product filter to my collection page with all filter options like price range, color, materials, etc. The filter significantly improved my customer buying experience.

For instance, they only have to tick “lowest price”, “silver”, and “necklace” to find exactly an affordable silver necklace to their liking.

The tool even helped enhance my search bar so that relevant items are displayed even when my customers type incorrectly spelled keywords or synonyms. 

After 3 weeks of enhancing my search bar and collection page, my sales increased by 30%, even exceeding my original goal.

#5. No profit & loss tracking for constant optimization

With the first 2 stores, I didn’t think twice about tracking how much I was actually making. With lots of sales, I jumped to the conclusion that I must be making a lot of profit.

But it didn’t work that way. After a while, I took a step back to list down all my store’s expenses. Though each individual cost wasn’t that big of a deal, when I combined them all, it turned out my costs were surprisingly much higher than I thought: taxes, shipping fees, transaction fees, ad expenses, budget for KOLs, and countless other unexpected costs.

So when running my third store, I knew that I must keep a record of all my profits & losses. However, Shopify’s basic revenues and cost metrics weren’t enough. So, to accurately track  all my store’s important metrics, I stood between 3 choices:

  1. Hire someone to do it
  2. Install a profit-tracking app
  3. Use Google Sheets

Since the first costs lots of money and the third costs lots of time and effort (collecting data, and manually editing files anytime there is a change), I started looking for an app and stopped at TrueProfit.

The tool worked like a dream, I could keep track of all my costs accurately on TrueProfit and see whether I was actually making or losing money.

Now, as you can see, I can track all my profits and losses in a central dashboard

Let’s bring back the pet necklace pricing story. Thanks to TrueProfit, after 3 days of selling the item for $29, I realized I couldn’t scale up the store with only a 5% profit margin so I decided to increase the price to $39 and successfully scaled up my business to a 7-figure store.

Up to the present, TrueProfit is still the one and only profit-tracking app I stick to and I highly recommend you guys try it for the upcoming BFCM too!

PRO TIP: Because all your store’s analytics are calculated and automatically updated with TrueProfit, I advise you to track your store’s profits and losses every day, not just once a week/month. This will help you timely spot abnormal ups and downs to make necessary adjustments.

As you’re reading to this point, I believe that you feel related to my story and may be interested in trying the solutions I’ve used. So here’s an exclusive deal from me: 25% off all the 5 apps above! (you’re welcome!)

Simply install your favorite apps, then insert code VETERAN22, and you’re all set! 😉

Final thoughts

I hope this blog post can help you realize how important it is to optimize your e-store, even the small details, because, as I said, sometimes changing a small detail can lead you to big magic.

Besides the 5 aforementioned ways, are there any other ways a merchant like us may leave our money on the table without even knowing? 

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with me right in the comment section below!

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