Can I sell branded products in Shopify

10 tips for your online shop: How to make your first 10 sales

When launching a new ecommerce website, the first few sales are especially important. These sales are what set a positive dynamic in motion that you can use to refine your marketing strategy and overcome business hurdles. Unfortunately, these first sales are also the most difficult to realize.

In this article, we'll show you ten tips on how to get your first customers. You are on the right track and - this is even more important - you will learn what works and what doesn't for your online shop.

Your aim

Your goal is to make ten sales at a time using each of the methods listed below. Proceed chronologically and do not skip a point until you have received an order from the previous tip. Aside from realizing the first sales, this way you can analyze how each of the approaches works for you and your brand and how difficult (or not) it is to implement.

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1. Send a message to your email list

We have already discussed it several times in this blog: "Buzz", i.e. initial attention, as well as creating a (small) email list is an important first step in starting a business. If you have a pre-launch list, email these contacts first. These contacts are likely your most qualified leads to start with, as they have already expressed interest and given you their email address to learn more.

Use a service like Smart or any of these great email apps on the App Store to email the people on your mailing list announcing your business opening.

If you don't have an email distribution list yet, skip this point.

2. Sell directly to friends and family

The most basic strategy for making a first sale: Let friends and family shop with you as normal. This doesn't mean you should persuade your mom to buy a product she doesn't need. Think about which friends or family members would appreciate and use your product. Contact these people directly and ask for a few minutes to present your product.

Reading tip: You can find success stories from Shopify merchants in Germany, Austria and Switzerland who have already made hundreds of sales here.

3. Organize a sweepstakes, competitions or hand out giveaways

Let's be honest: Promotional gifts, so-called giveaways, have always been a popular way to draw attention to a new product. Some might say that freebies mostly attract people looking for a deal. However, if done right, viral competition can generate huge initial traffic and referrals among friends. This will help you expand the presence and knowledge of your store and your products.

There are some really good apps out there that you can use to enhance and expand your giveaways by giving attendees a better chance of winning if they mention your products or store on social media.

Organize your own contest or try ViralSweep and Gleam to get started.

4. Sell strategically to friends on social networks

So you have already been able to convince friends or relatives to buy directly from you. Maybe you did something together, or you targeted the person about sales at a meeting or party. Now is the time to start working on a social media strategy. You're safe on Facebook, aren't you? So how do you sell to friends on Facebook?

Start smartly with a strategic approach before launching your business and product to the general public. Using Facebook's powerful social graph search, you can find people who will most likely be very interested in your product and who will buy using product-related keyword search.

This is exactly how Noah Kagan went when he wanted to review his business idea for a beef jerky subscription.

"I.I've scoured my Facebook graph for people who like Paleo or Health or Jerky. There were a few friends among them and I sent them a message."

So as soon as you've found those on your friends list with a potential product interest, contact them personally.

In addition to this targeted approach, you can try out the watering can principle: Post a few status updates to introduce your new store to your Facebook friends. Since you are talking to friends and family, consider whether a “friends and family discount” makes sense.

5. Sell on eBay and other marketplaces

To be successful as an online entrepreneur, you have to try everything, including other channels like marketplaces. Sites like eBay and Craigslist can be great places for first-time sales. To start with, they're great because these marketplaces already have traffic and product searches. This will give you an initial boost while you build your SEO and organic traffic on Google.

Bonus:For more information on the pros and cons of marketplace sales, see: The pros and cons of selling on Amazon and eBay

6. Become part of the Reddit community

We've mentioned Reddit several times before, and for good reason. Reddit is a huge community of clever people, divided into specific niches or subreddits depending on their interests. With thousands of subreddits, you will definitely find the right niche community that is expected to have a high level of interest in your product.

Please note, however, that you cannot just start selling your products through these subreddits. It would be like showing up at a party that you weren't invited to to flick watches out of your coat pockets. In order for Reddit to work for you, you have to become part of the community and get involved. What you gain is not only potential sales, but also a community of like-minded people with whom you can develop good relationships.

7. Post ads on Facebook

Your number seven sales challenge is to generate sales through Facebook's own advertising platform. Facebook has some of the most precisely tuned ad features of any platform and is a channel that all ecommerce entrepreneurs should try out. But even if Facebook has some really great targeting options, you need to take a little time to think about your target market, its lifestyle, and what people like or dislike. How to find the exact fit for your ads. When you start with Facebook Ads, you initially pay quite a bit to reach your first customers. Keep that in mind as you fine-tune your campaign for a while and watch the results.

Remember: Your first sales shouldn't necessarily be about profit maximization, but about finding the right market and first customers for your product, then advertising, shipping, order fulfillment, as well as your customer service strategy and customer experience optimize.

8. Use Instagram paid shoutouts

Instagram is a visual marketing channel in which you can address potentially interested parties in a very targeted manner. Brands are increasingly using Instagram for sponsored product posts (“Sponsored Posts”) in order to reach a huge number of people. It is crucial to identify large accounts (with 50,000 to 500,000 followers) and pay them so that they post a picture of your choice with a caption.

The prices depend on the account and the number of followers; In terms of price, however, Instagram is well below other advertising channels.

Bonus:Learn more about how to find large accounts for paid shoutouts, plus more Instagram strategies: How to build a large audience on Instagram

9. Set up Google Ads

Google Ads is one of the most popular online advertising networks. This is what is known as “search (intent) based advertising”, that is, advertising on the basis of purchase intent searches; So if you have a new product that no one has ever heard of, Ads may not be a sales channel for you. For everyone else, Google Ads can be a little complicated at first, but there are plenty of online guides out there that can help.

The key to success with Google Ads (blog post in English) is regular monitoring and adjustment of your campaign. Simply running any campaign is unlikely to lead to success. Remember, and this also applies to Facebook Ads, that you will have to invest quite a bit of money in acquiring your first customer, possibly even more than the product costs. So again: your goal at this point should be to learn more about each channel, not to operate profitably.

Bonus:Read our article - How to Spend the First $ 100 on Google Ads

10. Write an "Outreach Blog Post"

A so-called “outreach blog post” is usually a post that introduces, quotes or portrays influential people in your branch. This type of blog post is a popular strategy for building relationships with influential people who are drawing attention in your niche. This will (hopefully) ensure that they share your blog post with their audience.

Make absolutely sure that you formulate your article in a targeted manner so that you actually add value. To do that, your blog post should refer to your product or niche and include links and quotes or profiles of influential people related to your niche.

If you quote or link to influencers, please remember to start humbly, you are new to the business after all. Find influencers with high impact blogs that aren't big enough to drown your post and Twitter messages.

Once you've finished your post, send a personal email to the people you introduce in your post. Let them know that you appreciate their work and that you are referencing them in your current post. It is better not to ask for a favor (e.g. to share something), but let the influencer decide for himself. If your post is good, the chances are good that they will share it.

An added benefit is that your post becomes part of your SEO. Because the more you write, the more Google and other search engines find to list your posts as a possible result of a search.

Bonus: A recommendation

If you've got this far, you've probably made some sales. Your last additional challenge is to realize a sale by referral. How? Well, your previous sales should have sparked some word of mouth for your store thanks to happy customers. It's good.

For the next task, however, you have to do your best once again.

Email or call each of your previous buyers yourself and ask them about their experiences with your store. Ask for feedback on the customer experience and the product. Finally, ask if buyers can recommend you to someone who might be equally interested in your product.

Send each recommendation an email with the subject line:“Recommended by (name of the person who made the contact)”.


Your first few sales are especially important. They start the engine and get your business going. Keep in mind that your first few sales are some of the toughest as you still need to orient yourself and find the marketing recipe that works for your specific business and niche. Don't be afraid to spend some cash and offer a little discount to get more traction. Your online shop will only generate profits over time as you refine your approach, your offer, your product-market fit and your marketing activities.

Frequently asked questions about selling in the online shop

Why are the first sales important?

The first 10 sales are so important because they are a good indicator of how your business is going. Usually, initial sales take some time and effort. You first have to make sure that you are even seen. On the other hand, you can use the first orders to analyze very well which measures work well for you and boost your sales.

How do you sell properly on the Internet?

In order for your online shop to get rolling, you must first draw attention to it. You can do this in many ways, e.g. with your own mailing list, by contest, word of mouth, social media or e.g. with paid search ads. We have explained these and a few other ways that you can generate your first 10 sales in more detail in the article.

Where can I get tips for my first sales?

You can find useful tips for your first 10 sales in our post. We also regularly feature success stories from other founders on the Shopify blog and podcast, from which you can be inspired. You can also find professional help for your sales start at numerous marketing agencies, freelancers and, of course, our Shopify partners.

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Lead photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Posted by Hendrik Breuer:Hendrik is the editor in charge of the German Shopify blog. Do you want to publish a guest post? Then please read this guide first.

This article by Richard Lazazzera originally appeared in English on the blog and has been translated.

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