Whether they’re purchasing their weekly groceries or topping up on their favourite vitamins, these days consumers demand a shopping experience that is convenient and easy. This is where subscriptions come in.
They take the hassle out of purchasing products on a regular basis. And more and more ecommerce businesses are taking note. In fact, the subscription ecommerce market is projected to reach $473 billion by 2025, making it an exciting opportunity for business owners looking to scale. Need more proof? Take a look at these 15 subscription-based brands on Shopify.
Here we deep dive into the benefits of recurring payments, the variety of subscription business models out there and how to get started with subscriptions on your Shopify store.
Why start a subscription business on Shopify?
An ecommerce subscription model offers customers a cost effective way of buying the products they want on a recurring basis. This can be the replenishment of the same items, such as razors, or the curation of new and surprise items.
So, how does a subscription business model benefit your Shopify store?
1. Increases Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Due to the recurring nature of subscriptions, they help to create a loyal fanbase of repeat customers easily. But keep in mind, with loyalty and retention, it all depends on customer experience and satisfaction. If a customer has a bad experience with your business, chances are they won’t be subscribing for long.
2. Predictive revenue
Subscriptions on Shopify make it easier to predict future revenue and forecast cash flow for other business expenses. This peace of mind is particularly handy if you’re a new startup with ambitions to grow quickly.
3. Streamlines shipping
The regularity of shipments streamlines your Shopify business’s fulfillment process and keeps costs consistent.
4. Lowers Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)
On a pay-per-product pricing model, you have to invest a lot of time and money into marketing and sales in order to attract new customers. However, with subscriptions, customers make payments on a recurring basis so you don’t have to invest as much in acquiring new customers to keep your business going.
5. Up-selling and cross-selling are so much easier
When you choose a subscription-based business model, you’re better positioned to make more revenue from existing customers than those that aren’t. This is because you have continuous contact with your customers, building trust and loyalty, making it easier to market additional products to them.
As you can see, launching a subscription business has many advantages. The next step is choosing the right subscription model for your Shopify store.
Most common types of subscription models
The three most common types of subscriptions are curation, replenishment and access. Each subscription model comes with its own distinct set of benefits and drawbacks, so choosing which is the best fit for your business will come down to the type of products you’re selling and your business goals and objectives.
1. Curation business model (subscription boxes)
This is one of the most popular subscription business models, implemented by brands like Birchbox. This subscription model seeks to surprise customers with new, highly personalised items.
More often than not, businesses that adopt the curation model tend to sell fashion apparel, beauty or food, but it can work well across other verticals too.
2. Replenishment business model
This model is all about convenience. Replenishment subscriptions allow customers to automate the purchasing process of essential products, such as diapers, vitamins and pet food. If your product doesn’t need to be replenished regularly, chances are the replenishment model isn’t right for your business.
3. Access business model
The access business model is all about exclusivity. Access subscribers pay a monthly fee to get member-only perks, such as lower-priced products.
Bonus: Add-on subscription business model
Technically, this isn’t a business model, however, it’s an approach some merchants take to add subscription services to their existing business. It’s a flexible way of adopting subscriptions without committing to one revenue model or changing your business entirely. So if you’re unsure about subscriptions, adopt the add-on business model and explore the subscription ecosystem further.
How to set up subscriptions on Shopify
Establish which subscription model is right for you and consider the following:
Product contents: Will you be replenishing the same product, new products, or giving customers the freedom to select a mix of products?
Frequency: How often will you be delivering your products on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly basis, or will you let customers set their own custom frequency?
Subscription payment: Will you be charging customers upfront or will you use recurring billing? Also, will you be giving customers a free trial period before committing? And what is the minimum commitment period?
Whether you’re adding recurring payments to your existing business or creating a subscription-based business from scratch, launching subscriptions is simple on Shopify. Generally, there are two approaches to selling subscriptions: integrate a Shopify app or build your own custom solution.
1. Integrate a Shopify subscription app
Shopify’s app store offers lots of different subscription apps to choose from. To save you time, we’ve rounded up a couple, starting with our go-to, ReCharge subscriptions.
ReCharge: Out-of-the-box, you can manage your bespoke subscription business easily within ReCharge’s powerful merchant portal, whilst enabling your customers to manage their subscriptions directly from your store. On top of that, ReCharge provides you with data-driven customer insights, so you can continually optimise your subscription strategy. Price plans vary from $0 to $300 per month, depending on the number of transactions, level of customisation, and level of analytics required.
Bold: Built with enterprise businesses in mind, Bold lets you manage and scale your subscription business. Prices start at $49.99 per month and increase depending on the number of advanced features required, including pre-built modules, prioritised support and user permissions.
PayWhirl: Making it easy to create, manage, and sell subscriptions through Shopify’s native checkout, PayWhirl is reviewed highly on Shopify’s app store. Payment plans vary from $0 to $249 per month on the ‘Ultimate’ package, and transaction fees decrease the higher the plan you’re on.
Ordergroove: Built only for ecommerce businesses selling on Shopify Plus, Ordergroove helps facilitate recurring relationships with customers. Free to install, pricing varies from business to business.
Native Subscriptions: A relatively new subscription app, Native is well-reviewed on the Shopify app store. Native offers 0% transaction fees, a 60-day free trial and payment plans start from $9 to $49 per month.
2. Build your own custom subscription solution
We can help you build your own custom subscription solution. Shopify recently introduced Subscription APIs and tooling, enabling developers to build public or private bespoke subscription experiences within the Shopify Checkout.
It’s worth noting that the new Shopify Subscription API, allows apps like Recharge and Bold to connect to Shopify to create and process subscriptions directly through the Shopify checkout. So it’s not a matter of choosing between Shopify’s subscription API or a subscription app, you can have both.
Before the announcement, there were two separate checkouts, the subscription app and Shopify. Customers would go through different checkouts depending on the contents of their cart. Now, merchants can use subscription apps like ReCharge and Bold for customer and subscription management, while order processing will take place through Shopify and its native checkout. One unified checkout for subscription and one-time products.
Your Shopify subscriptions experts
Subscription models are incredibly lucrative – when done right. They not only increase CLV, but they also make shopping with your brand easy and convenient. What’s more, you don’t need a huge budget or advanced technical knowledge to get started.
At Velstar, our ecommerce experts have helped hundreds of brands sell subscriptions on their Shopify stores, and we can do the same for your business. Whether you’re new to recurring payments and require assistance with the implementation, or need support optimising your current subscription program, get in touch with us today!
Every day, 7.5 million blog posts are published online. That’s a lot of content, and this figure is continuing to rise.
In a post-pandemic world, ecommerce businesses are trying to find new ways to stand out from the crowd, drive more traffic and ultimately convert more sales. Blogging is a strategic part of this. So, if you don’t have a Shopify blog yet, then you’ll want to start now to avoid missing out.
In this article, we look at the benefits of having a blog for your online business, how to upload a blog onto your Shopify store and examples of some of the best Shopify blogs out there.
Benefits of using your Shopify blog
Using a Shopify blog on your online store makes it easier to:
Nowadays, consumers are cynical about buying from brands they don’t know. This is where blogs can help. When your Shopify blog content is relevant and up-to-date, customers are more likely to engage with your content and stay on your site for longer. A comments section on a blog post is also a brilliant trust signal for customers, it’s proof that other people are engaging with your content and this helps to cultivate a community of loyal fans.
2. Improve your Shopify SEO rankings
Multiple Shopify blog posts can help increase your store’s rankings in search engines like Google. So be sure to optimise your content with relevant keywords and backlinks. Also, if you’re looking to take your store globally, then check out this handy article Shopify SEO: Best Practices for International Expansion.
3. Convince a customer that your products are right for them
Product descriptions are great, but you don’t have enough characters or space to write detailed information about your brand or the products themselves. This is where blog posts come in handy. Blogs give you a chance to talk to your customers and explain everything you want them to know in a way that resonates with their daily lives. When thinking about blog content ideas, always focus on topics around how your products benefit a customer and solve a problem they might have. And don’t forget to always backlink your products to your blogs with clear CTA’s throughout. This will make it easier for customers to make that all-important purchase if they decide to buy from you.
4. Communicate your brand’s personality and values
Regular blog content is an effective way to communicate your brand’s unique personality and values. You can write blogs in your business’s unique tone of voice and cover niche topics that your audience will find interesting and relatable. So, get creative, and give your customers a reason to keep reading and purchasing!
Tips for creating high-value blog posts
To make the most of your Shopify blog, you should be prepared to invest time in maintaining it. This means publishing original content, writing with your customers in mind, and injecting as much value as possible.
When drafting your blog content consider the following:
Have a clear goal in mind: Ask yourself why you’re writing the blog in the first place.
Avoid the hard sell: Your blog should promote your products, but it shouldn’t be sales-focused. Instead, educate, entertain and delight customers with relevant, high-quality content.
Quality over quantity: Whether you’re writing an in-depth how-to article or a brief roundup of monthly news, always have your customer in mind. Keep your blog concise and establish your expertise.
Write simple sentences: Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’, as this can make your blog difficult to read. Keep it simple and speak in the language your customers understand.
Consistency: If you only post one blog a month, that’s okay. Just make sure you’re consistent.
How to add a Shopify blog to your store
Activating your Shopify blog is easy. Simply go to your Shopify admin area and click “Online Store” on the left side of the menu. On the sub-menu, click “Blog Posts”. At the top, click “Manage Blogs”, and then on the top right, click “Add Blog”. Give your blog a name and then add it to your site’s navigation menu.
Shopify’s blog management capabilities
With blogging, it’s all about content: what topics you discuss, what your customers are interested in, and how far and wide your content is shared. Luckily for you, by default Shopify makes it easier for your customers to find, explore and share your content.
On Shopify you can:
Manage comments section
Shopify gives you control over how your comments are displayed on your blog posts. For example, you can:
Disable comments: We wouldn’t recommend this because it can make it difficult to build a brand community and get feedback from customers, but on the plus side, it keeps your time investment to a minimum.
Comments with moderation: You have a lot of control over what types of comments are visible on your site, but this can be a time-consuming process, depending on how many readers leave comments.
Comments are automatically published: This helps cultivate an active community and requires minimal time management, but this can leave your brand at risk if inappropriate comments are displayed. So be sure to monitor your comments frequently.
Schedule a publish date
On Shopify, you can set a specific publish date for your blog in advance to align with your content calendar and promotional offers. This also allows you to streamline your content: scheduling multiple posts at once and setting them to publish once a week, for example. You can also backdate a Shopify blog post.
Display an excerpt from a blog post
On your Shopify blog main page, you can feature an excerpt of a post (including images, text, and links).
To add an excerpt to your Shopify blog, go into one of your blog posts and under the text box, click “Add Excerpt”.
Organise your blog posts with tags
Shopify gives you the flexibility to assign one or more tags to a blog post so that customers can easily find blog posts relevant to that category. For example, when a customer searches for a particular tag on your store, matching blog posts will appear in the search results.
Optimise social media engagement with icons
Almost all Shopify themes include social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. If your theme doesn’t include these buttons, we can add them using an app or code. (If you require expert help with this, get in touch with our team of Shopify developers today).
Invite customers to subscribe to your blog content
Shopify automatically produces an RSS feed for every blog that you create, so customers can subscribe to it and receive notifications when you publish a new post. The feed URL is the blog page URL with .atom appended. For example, http://store.myshopify.com/blogs/blogname.atom. Customers can also subscribe to your blog feed using FeedBurner.
Promote featured posts
It’s often the case that particular blogs will perform better than others – either it drives more traffic, or it significantly generates more sales. It’s these types of blogs that you want people to find quickly and easily. On Shopify, this isn’t a problem, you can position a featured blog post, so it appears on your store’s homepage.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
Out-of-the-box Shopify makes it easier for search engines to find your store. Its SEO functionality allows you to edit content, such as page titles, meta descriptions, and URLs, for each blog post.
Within a blog post, below the text box is a section titled, “Search Engine Listing Preview” you can manually edit the text. Use keywords, engaging language and a clear CTA to help people find your content and click the link.
The page title and meta description have character limits. If you enter more text beyond the character limit, then your page title and meta description will be shortened in search engine results. Shopify shows you a preview of how this will look in the search engine.
Customise your Shopify blog with apps
Shopify gives you the freedom to customise your blog section with additional functionalities and features. To do this, you just need to head to Shopify’s third-party app library and find the app that’s right for you. Each app seamlessly integrates with Shopify, so you can have your blog section looking the way you want it to, in no time at all.
For example, one app that’s particularly popular with merchants is AddThis, which makes it easier for customers to share blog content across their social media channels. The app allows you to customise the icons to suit your branding and connects to over 200 different social networks, including Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and many more. Also, you can use AddThis Analytics to get valuable insights into customer engagement.
Another app that merchants find useful is the Related Posts app. This allows you to suggest other related blog posts of yours to customers on your Shopify blog. It’s great because not only does it give your customers a reason to stay on your site, it also increases brand engagement and it’s great for SEO.
Shopify has over 4000 apps, so if you want to do something with your blog, there’s probably an app for it. But if not, get in touch with our team of Shopify experts and we’ll build one for you.
Shopify vs WordPress: which is better for blogging?
It’s no secret that WordPress is primarily used as a blogging platform and many marketers enjoy working with WordPress for its content-driven architecture. However, when it comes to selling online, especially for high growth direct-to-consumer brands, we suggest steering clear, and instead use the ultra-scalable and secure Shopify platform.
What about WooCommerce? Well, it just doesn’t compete with what Shopify can offer and we’re finding more and more merchants moving away from WooCommerce to Shopify for a number of reasons. If you want to find out more about the comparison between the two platforms, then check our article on WooCommerce to Shopify: Reasons to Make the Move Now.
Shopify covers all your blogging needs, plus it’s quick and easy to get started. We hope after reading this article you understand the importance of blogging and how to upload a blog to your Shopify store. At Velstar, our digital marketing experts have years of experience working with Shopify brands to help them produce high-quality, SEO driven content that achieves results. If you’d like us to do the same for your business, reach out to today.
You’ve started working with Shopify Plus as part of your retail strategy and now sales are up. Excellent, job done then! Now wait just one moment, you’re not finished yet, especially if you want to scale your sales and let them continue to grow exponentially with your business.
Shopify Plus is just one part of your business’s ecosystem and it’s important to integrate it with your wider operations. This ensures that your sales and business scale with each other and you can continue to grow sustainably, with less manual input from yourself, and with less risk. With that in mind, here leading integration platform, Patchworks discuss seven integrations you can use with Shopify Plus to scale your sales.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Why wouldn’t you want your shopfront and back office talking to each other? By integrating Shopify Plus with your ERP system, you can speed up your sales and fulfilment processes, as well as sync all order, product, and inventory data instantly.
No more spreadsheets or inaccuracies for you to wade through reactively when a problem arises, the whole system is automatically managed, consistent and most importantly, accurate.
Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Integration with a WMS ensures that the basics are covered automatically. That means making sure that all stock levels and locations are collated and accurate with no more packing errors.
There’s no more overselling with Shopify getting dynamically updated stock numbers. Happy customers come from the quick, efficient service you’ll now provide; a scalable fulfilment model from a WMS is essential for growing customer retention and further sales.
Robust cash flow system integration is also essential to forecast losses and prepare for unexpected expenses.
Point of Sale (POS)
If you have multiple shopfronts, they all need to reflect the most accurate, up-to-date sales data. Keep all your transaction information in one manageable and accurate place when you integrate Shopify Plus to your POS system.
Your orders are automatically synced between the systems and located in one simple dashboard. Don’t get caught by overselling because of an order elsewhere, that’s a slippery slope to impacting sales growth.
By integrating Shopify Plus with any other marketplaces you use, you’re bringing your catalogue together centrally and can track sales and growth as one business. By creating shared product categories and other attributes, you can see every point of sale, regardless of where it’s hosted, and strategise accordingly.
Integration also cuts down on manual changes to displayed information by linking product flows between systems. This goes for your new centralised inventory management as well, including up-to-date catalogues and stock levels. Processes are quick, seamless, and give you time back to grow your business.
With automated data syncs, you can learn more about your customers, feeding into individual profiles. This creates a better shopping experience for the consumer to increase conversions and leads to more effective targeted marketing. The more the integrated systems work together, the more your sales can scale!
We know what you’re thinking, “How do returns help me scale my sales?!” Stick with us on this!
Your business is growing, naturally, some people will want to return items. Issues with stock numbers and refunds have the potential for even unhappier customers and bad PR. With an integration between Shopify Plus and your Returns software, you can turn dissatisfied customers into active advocates for your brand.
Integration means you can be agile and assured that your customers are happy with your quick and professional service, and are more likely to return and sing your praises. Thus, good integration with Returns means scaling sales.
Take your next steps
Are you ready to scale your sales with a Shopify Plus integration? We recommend working with our trusted partner, Patchworks, a leading integration platform for fast-growing retail, across the world. If you want to hear more about Patchworks or need help to integrate the app onto your Shopify Plus store, get in touch with our Shopify experts today.
The Patchworks iPaaS is a powerful, easy-to-use platform that connects your core business applications – whether that’s your ecommerce platform, warehouse software, ERP, 3PL, or anything in between. Infinitely scalable, Patchworks is your key to rapid growth. But it’s also more than that. With expert support, a dedicated project manager and extra manpower during peak sales periods, Patchworks acts as an extension of your in-house IT team.
Think about what it takes to run your ecommerce business. How many files, apps, and programs do you have running? If disaster does strike, whether it’s because of human error, or a technical fault, and you delete your products, customer data, web pages, blog posts, orders or inventory, this can cause a lot of stress and in more severe cases downtime. When a customer can’t access your website, or it’s not functioning properly, it will directly affect your revenue and your brand’s reputation.
So, how do you ensure that your business’s data is safely backed up and accessible in the event you need to restore it?
Here, leading backups app, Rewind discusses everything you need to know about backups to ensure your Shopify store is fully protected, no matter what…
What is a data recovery app, and what does it do?
Any online retailer that has experienced data loss knows that feeling of panic and desperation. At that moment, all you can think about is how to recover that data. If you don’t have a data recovery app, the process will be much more complex, and sometimes impossible.
A data recovery app runs continuously in the background to back up the data on your devices. Backups are stored in the cloud and are available on-demand. So if you experience data loss for any reason, you can quickly and easily restore it from a backup and carry on.
Of course, there are other ways to recover your data, but not all are reliable, cost-effective, or user-friendly. If you don’t have a data recovery app, you could restore your data from a hard drive or optical media backup if you have one. But this will depend on how regularly you backup your store, otherwise you’ll likely miss some files.
If you don’t have a backup, you might still be able to retrieve your files, but you’ll need to invest in data recovery software or take your device to a professional, which will, let’s face it, eat into your bottom line.
In either scenario, there’s no guarantee that your files are retrievable, and the likelihood is your file names and hierarchies will not hold—meaning you’ll have the data back, but it’s up to you to sort through it, rename the files, and put them where they need to be. If it sounds incredibly tedious and frustrating, it is. And depending on the volume of data you’re trying to restore, it can end up being expensive too.
All in all, a data recovery app is a more reliable method of protecting your systems and files as it helps you avoid the anxiety, time, and expense of restoring by other methods.
How and where is your data stored?
Your computers are equipped with hard disc drives (HDDs) or solid-state drives (SSDs), where data is stored locally. Because they are inside your computer, they are protected to a certain degree, but drops, impacts, or liquids can destroy them, especially in the case of HDDs.
SSDs use memory chips similar to the ones that store data on your mobile devices. They are generally more durable than HDDs, but after a few years of constant use, the potential for malfunction increases.
Lost data from SSDs and HDDs are recoverable if they have not been erased or overwritten. Usually, this means that if you delete a file accidentally, it’s still there on the system. The operating system continues to store the files in an inaccessible state until new data overwrites them. Suffice to say, the sooner you act, the better the restoration result will be.
What are the most common causes of data loss?
There are multiple reasons why and how data loss happens to ecommerce businesses.
But here’s a list of the most common reasons:
Hard drive failure: Whether it’s from overheating, physical damage or an aging drive, these can all cause a drive to fail.
Viruses or malware: Cybercriminals can and will exploit unpatched software and unprotected systems to gain access to your business and customer data. Others will use tactics like phishing to convince employees to give up their credentials.
Human error: Accidental or intentional deletion of files or systems can leave your business vulnerable. In fact, human error is responsible for 90% of all business data loss.
Disasters: A fire, flood, vandalism, power shortages, and terrorism can all lead to a loss of physical premises or anything that destroys the physical computer.
What is the cost of data loss?
Whatever the root cause of data loss, the results are always the same. The annual costs of data loss to businesses are difficult to measure. IBM and Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Report estimates an average of $8.64 million per incident. Almost half of that amount is directly because of loss of business – in other words, the time it takes for a company to recover from data loss, the work interrupted while systems are being restored, and the loss of trust from customers.
Smaller ecommerce businesses that lack the resources to recover from a devastating loss might be forced to completely shut down altogether.
How to prevent data loss?
When it comes to effectively managing data loss, a provocative prevention approach is best. This allows you and your business to be prepared for any eventuality, so you can avoid downtime and the expense of restoring your systems.
Your backup plan is the foundation of this. It’s best practice to have more than one copy of your backup, just in case your primary source fails. The 3-2-1 backup methodology suggests three copies, two of which are on different storage mediums and one stored offsite in case you lose your physical premises.
Another essential part of this plan is having a data recovery app, as it enables you to restore quickly from the cloud – meaning you won’t waste time trying to search for a backup copy or gain access to local drives to do so.
Of course, it goes without saying, data loss prevention should be built into your ecommerce business’s DNA and written into policies that all employees are trained on and follow.
Here are some strategies that you can start implementing right away if you’re not already doing so…
Having a data recovery app is a vital aspect of this plan, as it enables you to restore quickly from the cloud—meaning you won’t have to waste time searching for a backup copy or gaining access to local drives to do so.
Of course, data loss prevention should be built into your company’s DNA and written into policies that all employees are trained on and follow. Here are a few strategies you can put into play today:
Establish and enforce company policy around data privacy and security
What are the benefits of using a data recovery tool for my Shopify store?
Data recovery apps offer lots of great benefits, including:
Ease of use: Data recovery apps are designed to be user-friendly, meaning that just about anybody can be trained to leverage its features, even if you’re not the most tech savvy.
Time saving: As we discussed above, downtime is costly. But with a data recovery app you don’t have to worry. They give you the security of being able to restore your data quickly and easily.
Cost effective: Data recovery apps deliver incredible value. The low monthly subscription fee pays for itself when you consider the cost of data loss – from low productivity fines and data recovery fees.
Customisable return point: Your return point is critical, especially when you’re attempting to recover from a malicious attack. You’ll need to identify a point in time when your systems were clean so that you can restore from that moment. A data recovery app offers that level of customisation, minimising data loss and all associated costs.
Why should I install Rewind on my Shopify store?
Installing a data recovery app to protect your business systems brings with it a sense of security and peace of mind. Choosing the right solution for your needs is critical, as not all data recovery apps offer the same features.
With Rewind, you can restore information with just a few clicks. You can restore an individual item, a group of items, or your entire store.
Rewind backs up more item types than any other solution. This includes:
Products and product images
Orders and collections
Blogs and blog posts
Themes and theme files
Customer saved searches
(Certain plans may be ineligible to stores with higher product counts).
What’s more, Rewind automatically backs up your store’s data every 24 hours, so you always have an up-to-date backup to fall back on. If something goes wrong, simply restore your data from an earlier backup, and get back to business.
And, Rewind’s team of experts will help your store get back up and running as quickly as possible after a data loss. Available by chat, email, and phone, their support team are always on hand to help.
Need to backup your Shopify store?
If you’re a merchant, data loss is not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
Whether it’s a malicious hacker or simply human error, your store’s data could be compromised at any moment, costing you time, money and customer trust.
You can protect your Shopify store from data loss by performing a backup every day. Rewind makes this simple, all you need is to install it and forget about it.
Reach out to Velstar’s Shopify experts and install Rewind in no time.
Rewind’ssuite of apps offers data security and control for businesses looking to secure their data. With Rewind, you can backup, restore, and copy the critical information stored in your Shopify store.
If you want to go global, then Shopify SEO is essential.
It’s expected that the global ecommerce market will total $4.89 trillion this year. That figure is estimated to grow over the next few years, showing that borderless ecommerce is becoming a more profitable option for online retailers. With this in mind, it’s important that your international SEO strategy is fit for your ecommerce business’s needs.
First, let’s discuss exactly what international SEO is, and then look at the best Shopify SEO techniques to ensure you reach a global audience and expand your business with confidence.
What is international SEO?
International SEO is the process of optimising your Shopify store so that search engines like Google can easily identify which countries and languages you want to target. SEO efforts include but are not limited to targeting preferences, content localisation, and multilingual link building.
Shopify SEO best practices
1. Think like a local
When you’re entering new territories, there’s lots to consider. That’s why you should always start with initial market research. This is where Google Analytics comes in handy. Use this to review your current international organic search visibility and calculate which international regions you should prioritise, making sure you note down the different languages and currencies you’ll need.
Also, you’ll need to do some keyword research and competitor analysis in the relevant languages and locations. This is because key search terms are not universal, so what might be your main target keywords in the UK aren’t necessarily the same in the US or a country that doesn’t speak English.
And, keep in mind that although Google is the go-to search engine in most countries there are exceptions to this rule. For example, in Russia it’s Yandex and in China it’s Baidu.
So, now you’ve done your SEO research it’s time to technically structure your Shopify store.
2. Set up URL structures for international markets
Your URL structure sends a signal to search engines that helps determine the location and relevance of your site. There are three main URL structures:
Country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs)
ccTLDs use two-letter codes to indicate to search engines which country a website is registered. They target specific countries and regions, but not languages.
For example, Adidas automatically targets users in Germany with the following ccTLD: https://www.adidas.de
A subdomain is a domain that is part of a primary domain address. Subdomains include the country code at the beginning of the root domain name. They are created to organise and navigate to different sections of a Shopify store that may be extensive in content or different thematically. Subdomains can be used to create specific pages targeting particular countries and regions, which is useful if you’re operating in international markets and the language of your site needs to be adapted for each country.
For example, Gymshark use this subdomain to target France: https://fr.gymshark.com/
A subdirectory, otherwise known as a subfolder, houses a subset of your content. The subdirectory is located to the right of your root domain. For example, here’s Apple’s UK subdirectory: https://www.apple.com/uk
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for URL structures. The most important factor is that whichever structure you choose, you must stick with throughout your internationalisation efforts. Consistency is key when it comes to Shopify SEO.
3. Implement Hreflang tags
International Shopify stores have a lot of duplicated content. For example, your products may exist on yourshop.com, fr.yourshop.com and es.yourshop.com, which can significantly dilute your search engine rankings. This is where Hreflang tags come in handy. They are a HTML attribute that tell search engines when there are alternate versions of a page intended for different regions and languages.
4. Craft unique content
When it comes to your Shopify store’s content, remember the differences in languages and terminology.
Avoid using Google translate as this often generates incorrect translations and you could end up making some very embarrassing mistakes. Instead, consider employing a native speaker from the country you’re targeting to write highly relevant and unique content.
5. Link building and outreach campaigns
Finally, you need to build links in the countries you want to reach.
From guest blogs and online magazines, to social media collaborations and podcast appearances, it’s time to get your brand’s name out there. Get creative, the possibilities are endless!
Your Shopify SEO agency
If you have global domination in your sights and are looking to scale your Shopify business internationally, you’ll need to make sure you implement these Shopify SEO best practices discussed in this article. Not only will they boost your search performance in the regions you want to target the most, but they will also provide your customers with a better user experience, which will ultimately lead to more conversions.
As a leading Shopify agency, our team of SEO experts have helped hundreds of brands conquer internationalisation, and we can do the same for your business. Get in touch today!
Creating a community of like-minded customers replicates the traditional word-of-mouth marketing method, and the advantages of brand loyalty help you stand out in a crowded market. An active online community provides insights into customer preferences, increases customer retention, improves brand reputation, and decreases support costs – all of which lead to more customers and more revenue.
Building a following of loyal customers is a long-term tactic to create a sustainable brand. Think of brands like Skims that have nurtured a cult-like following of customers that jump on their latest products the moment they’re released.
Building a community is crucial for generating brand trust and loyalty that keeps shoppers coming back for more.
Reviews help add a layer of credibility and social proof, enabling shoppers to feel understood, provide a space to share stories, and build trust, all of which are important in building an online community.
Here, our partners at Okendo discuss everything you need to know about reviews and how you can leverage them to build and shape a loyal community.
Why reviews are integral to brand community
They help you build trust: reviews allow you to show shoppers how authentic you are by showcasing the real life experiences of your customers.
They help you deliver optimised customer experiences: reviews allow you to collect valuable feedback that can be used to create optimised customer experiences, from your customer service and internal processes to the products you offer.
They help you nurture customer relationships: reviews provide a way for merchants to engage with customers and also help identify how they should be engaging with them based on the reviews they leave.
They help you build word-of-mouth marketing: reviews enable customers to discuss a brand or product publicly online which generates buzz and encourages shoppers to share their own experiences.
How to build a community with reviews
Reviews help brands build and nurture a community by providing customer stories that resonate. Seeing their own wants and needs reflected in other shoppers can spark a connection between shoppers. More than that, reviews instil brand loyalty and increase customer retention, which can create a cult-like following of consumers that hang on every word you say.
Here are some actionable ways you can cultivate a community with reviews:
1. Use attributes
Attributes allow shoppers to filter through reviews on your website to find like-minded customers. As well as creating a personalised experience, this also provides you with valuable customer and product data that can be used to improve the products you create for your community.
2. Respond to reviews
When customers interact with negative reviews, brands have seen an 85% increase in conversion rates. Why? Because it helps the brand become more authentic and allows you to show off your customer service. But responding to reviews in general is a savvy tactic you should be doing. Consumers actually find businesses that respond to reviews 1.7x more trustworthy than those who don’t.
Identify customers that have left four or five-star reviews and offer them an incentive to share your brand with a friend. These will be some of your most loyal customers, which makes it more likely that they’ll recommend your products to their inner circle.
4. Reward customers for reviews
Rewarding customers who leave reviews helps you create a collection of UGC that cements your community when building customer loyalty. Customers are more likely to come back and purchase from you again if you offer them an incentive, like a discount code or a voucher for their next purchase.
You can take this one step further and offer a sliding scale of incentives based on the quality of a review. For example, a customer that writes a text review can unlock a 10% discount, while customers that leave a visual review can get 15% off their next order.
5. Make reviews visible
Don’t hide your reviews away! Make sure they’re visible across your site and on other marketing channels to encourage community and help build your word-of-mouth strategy.
Some places you might incorporate reviews include:
Okendo’s powerful features let merchants collect and display reviews across their site and throughout their marketing materials. Filter reviews by attributes to help customers find like-minded shoppers, generate UGC to showcase on your site, and offer rewards to customers who leave a review.
Okendo enables fast-growing consumer brands like Knix, SKIMS, and Zitsticka to leverage their most powerful asset; their customers. Okendo has all the tools brands need to capture and showcase customer-generated content including product ratings & reviews, photos and videos, and Q&A. Brands use this content to build shopper trust, drive conversions and maximise CLTV. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia and with offices in Miami, Florida, and a Shopify Plus Technology Partner, Okendo is trusted by over 3,500 leading direct-to-consumer brands.
Paying additional shipping fees and handling charges are just some of the main reasons why customers abandon their carts. The easiest way to avoid this is by offering shoppers a free shipping option at checkout.
Luckily, if you’re on Shopify, setting up free shipping is easy! There are various ways you can set up free shipping choices in the shipping settings page on your Shopify admin dashboard. You can offer free shipping or discounted shipping choices in the following ways:
Free shipping codes
Often merchants are reluctant to offer free or discounted shipping because they fear this will eat into their bottom line. However, you can still take care of your expenses. In fact, you could even benefit from offering free shipping. For instance, you can avoid additional expenses by increasing the cost of your products. Customers are more likely to leave at checkout if they incur additional shipping fees rather than because of the price of a product.
How to offer free shipping over a fixed amount on Shopify
Here’s how you offer free shipping for orders over a fixed amount:
From your Shopify admin, click on Settings, and after that click on Shipping.
Click on Edit by the zone where you need to offer free shipping.
In the Price based rates segment, click Add rate.
In the Add cost based rate exchange, enter a Name for the shipping rate, and then enter the minimum and maximum value of the order.
Check the free shipping rate.
When you have completed the above steps, click done.
After you include a free shipping choice, eligible customers between the said order values will be able to checkout with free shipping.
How to offer free shipping over a set weight on Shopify
Here’s how to offer free shipping for orders over a set weight:
From your Shopify admin, click on Settings, and after that click on Shipping.
Click on Edit alongside the zone where you need to offer free shipping.
In the weight-based rates segment, click Add date.
On the Add weight-based rate section, enter a Name for the shipping rate, and then enter the minimum and maximum weight of the order.
Check free shipping rate.
When you have completed the above steps, click done
After you include a free shipping choice, eligible customers between the said order weights will be able to checkout with free shipping.
Your Shopify experts
After reading this article we hope you now understand how to set up free shipping on your Shopify store. However, if you still need help or would like to understand more about what Shopify can do for your business, get in touch with our team of ecommerce experts today.
There’s no denying that subscription ecommerce has grown enormously. In fact, according to McKinsey, the subscription economy has grown 100% year on year for the last five years.
As more and more businesses embrace subscriptions, big brands are taking note: Sephora, Walmart, P&G, Unilever, and many more have all launched their own subscription services. Rather than being a fad, subscriptions are here to stay. According to estimates, subscription services will make up 75% of direct-to-consumer brands by 2023.
The rise of subscriptions is hardly surprising when you consider the benefits. Not only does it meet customers’ demand for convenience, but it’s also a consistent source of recurring revenue from repeat custom for merchants.
However, despite the rise in subscription-based businesses and the whole host of benefits that subscriptions bring, there are still some ecommerce brands that aren’t convinced.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of 15 brands that have incorporated subscriptions into their business, and haven’t looked back since.
Santo Remedio (a Velstar client) combines scientific research with the latest nutritional expertise to provide supplements that help people live healthier lives. On each of the brand’s product pages, they give their customers the option of a one-time purchase or ‘subscribe and save’. Those who sign up for the subscription service have their products automatically delivered on a schedule of their choosing. Also, customers can change or cancel their subscription at any time based on their health needs.
What’s more, Santo Remedio has gone one step further by integrating the loyalty and rewards solution, LoyaltyLion, to provide subscribers with everything they need to stay satisfied and keep returning.
Oatly is the top-selling oat milk in the world, and has grown significantly in popularity over the years as consumers get more serious about their impact on the planet. Oatly’s dairy-alternative products aren’t just available online either, you’ll find them in large supermarket chains’ brick-and-mortar stores everywhere. But for those serious about a plant-based diet, the brand’s subscription service is perfect. All customers need to do is set up a subscription service via the website, and include how often they’d like to receive their oat milk.
Huel (human + fuel) is a meal replacement brand that offers its customers nutritionally complete food. Each of its products contains a balance of 26 vitamins, minerals, proteins, essential fats, carbohydrates, fire and phytonutrients. Customers can purchase products across a range of categories on a one-off basis or on subscription, which can be cancelled with no additional fee incurred. Also, customers can personalise their subscription based on their nutritional needs.
Founded in 2014 with a simple idea: women shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to feminine care. From 100% cotton pads and tampons to cramp-care and sexual wellness products, LOLA is reinventing how women talk and feel about their reproductive health. LOLA offers its customers the flexibility of a one-time purchase or sign up to a ‘subscribe and save plan’, where customers can save up to 18% off their orders. Also, LOLA’s subscriptions can be personalised to suit a customer’s menstrual cycle or sent every three or six months.
Personalised Co (another Velstar client) is a direct-to-consumer supplement brand, bridging the gap between technology and fitness. From 30-day personalised vitamins and customised protein powder to your very own nutritionist, they make it easier for people to live healthier and happier lives. Personalised Co’s customers can either browse products for one-time purchases or create personalised vitamin plans by taking a quiz. After the quiz, customers will receive vitamin recommendations unique to their health goals and answers, which are shipped in a box of 30 daily sachets. Customers can cancel their subscription plan any time at no extra cost through their account portal.
Founded over 20 years ago, Pixi has grown into a global beauty brand with a loyal following thanks to its natural, skin-loving products. For its most in-demand products, including toners and oils, it offers ‘auto-replenish’ subscriptions, which not only saves customers money but also ensures they never run out of their most loved products ever again.
Launched in 2015, FFS is a brand only for women that takes the inconvenience out of shaving. Once a customer signs up for the subscription service, they receive a new razor and replacement blades. From then on, the subscriber receives fresh new blades with every shipment at a date of their choosing.
Wild is on a mission to change the way consumers use and throw away bathroom products. It enables shoppers to buy deodorant and soap refills, while just using one case, again and again. When a shopper signs up to a subscription plan they can choose the scents they like, how often they want a delivery and save 20% on their first purchase.
Recognising that the supplement and pregnancy space can be overwhelming and confusing for ‘new-mums to be’, Premama Wellness wanted to simplify the system with their science-backed supplements at every stage of the maternity journey. Customers have the option of making a one-time purchase or signing up to a subscription service, which they can cancel whenever they want.
Nutravita is a leading nutritional brand, offering a range of affordable nutritional products and health and well-being accessories. All Nurtravita’s products are available on subscription, with a ‘subscribe and save’ plan providing everything from a 5% to 15% discount depending on the product the subscriber has chosen compared to the price of a one-off purchase. Also, length of subscription varies from 1 month to 12 months depending on the product, but all selected products are automatically shipped on the subscribers schedule, and they can cancel at any time without the fear of being charged extra fees to do so.
Who Gives A Crap originated from a crowdfunding campaign in response to the fact that 2.4 billion people don’t have access to a toilet. It offers shoppers both the option of a one-off purchase and subscription options with £5 discounts on first orders.
Freshly Picked was founded in 2009 by CEO, Susan Petersen after she discovered there was a lack of cute baby shoes that wouldn’t fall off her little one’s feet. From creating their first pair of leather moccasins to now selling over a million pairs worldwide, Freshly Picked has become the go-to-brand ‘for mums by mums’. This brand offers its customer a VIP subscription membership model called The Fringe. Subscribers have to pay a monthly fee and in return they receive exclusive offers, VIP early access to limited edition products, and monthly store credit. This credit never expires so subscribers can build it up over time, which keeps their brand top of mind for months on end.
The infamous cartoon cat, Pusheen, jumped onto social media in 2010 and has since built a cult following. For all Pusheen cat lovers, a subscription box was created named ‘The Pusheen Box’ containing officially licenced, first-edition and exclusive merchandise. The subscriptions box has proved hugely popular amongst fans, with 36% of subscribers signing up for the annual subscription plan.
Hubble is the first-ever contact lenses brand sold directly via an ecommerce subscription model. It offers subscribers FDA-approved daily contact lenses for $36 per month that are directly delivered to customer’s homes.
Black Rifle Coffee is a veteran-owned and operated roaster based in Utah, offering its customers multiple subscription options to choose from. This includes the ‘Sticker Club’ plan where subscribers get a limited edition set of 4 stickers with every shipment. Also, like many of the brands discussed above, Black Rifle Coffee gives shoppers the choice of a single purchase or ‘subscribe and save’. Subscribers can save up to 25% on orders, access free shipping and receive other exclusive discounts on partner brands.
Your Shopify subscription experts
Are you inspired to join this growing list of successful subscription brands on Shopify? Or are you still unsure whether a subscription-based model is right for your business? We can help. All you need to do is get in touch with our team of subscription experts and we’ll point you in the right direction.
Putting a product live on your Shopify store is easy, right? All you have to do is add your product image, description and price, and just like that, millions of customers around the world can buy your product.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The way you add a product to your Shopify store affects how it ranks in search engines, and ultimately whether your customers can find what you’re selling.
Here are a few simple tips and tricks you can follow to boost your store’s SEO and improve your products’ visibility:
Never underestimate the power of your product titles, particularly for SEO. For the best results, each product title should be as descriptive as possible and should include important information about the product itself, such as colour, size, and manufacturer if possible.
Here’s two examples of a product title for the same product:
As you can see, example 2 is longer and contains more detail about the product (it’s for women, it’s meme clothing, and it’s screen printed). This helps search engines like Google recognise how relevant your product is to a user’s search and ensures you rank for searches related to the keywords you have used in your product title.
Product descriptions are your opportunity to help your customers understand as much as possible about your products. This includes fabric, fit, special features, place of manufacturing, and so on.
When it comes to product descriptions, keywords are vital. But, be careful not to overdo it – no one wants to read content that’s jam-packed full of keywords and adds very little value.
When writing your product descriptions, focus on originality and readability. Customers prefer easily digestible content, that helps them understand the product in as few words as possible. Also, it’s imperative that you consider your target audience and what they want most out of your product.
We recommend using brief descriptions, followed by bullet points about the product’s key features. And why not go one step further and add reviews and user-generated-content to your product pages to make them really stand out?
If you need some inspiration, check out our client, Cosatto’s fantastic product pages – they tick all the right boxes:
It’s surprising how many merchants overlook the importance of high-quality images on their product pages. Images should be professional, offer a 360-degree view of the product and uploaded in an optimised format. Then, the image size needs to be reduced as much as possible so it doesn’t affect your page speed (but, be aware not to sacrifice the image quality in the process). Compression tools like tiny.png are great for this.
Product image alt text
Again, an enormous number of brands ignore the product image alt text. It’s a simple and easy task, so there’s really no excuse for not doing it. All you need to do is click the ALT button where your product image loads, then enter your text, which can just be a brief description of your product. Do this for every product on your Shopify store and watch your rankings rise to the top!
Product variants will differ based on your product offering in terms of size, colour, price, etc, but there are few things to keep in mind. It’s best practice to fill in as much information as you can in these fields. And, make sure each of your sizes has inventory tracked, so you don’t sell more products than you have.
For SKU numbers, these can be made according to your internal system or Shopify can automatically generate these for you. If your product has a barcode (ISBN, UPC, GTIN, etc.) click edit on the variant and enter it into the proper field.
Search engine listing preview
For every product you have, you must edit the search engine listing preview.
The title can either be the same as your product title or you can make it more keyword focused.
For your meta description, this can be the same as your product description, but keep in mind that it must be 160 characters or fewer.
And, your URL and handle should be short, snappy and include unique keywords from the product title.
This section is where you can choose which channels you want to sell your products on. Luckily for you, Shopify comes out-of-the-box with some great integrations such as Facebook, Amazon, eBay, Pinterest, which gives you more opportunities to reach your customers on multiple platforms. However, be aware that some channels like Amazon come with extra fees that will eat into your bottom line.
This is where you keep track of your products internally. For example, if you’d like to keep track of product type (jackets) or vendor (Adidas), you can do it all here. Some Shopify themes will have options to show your vendor entries on the collection or product page, but it’s best practice to enter the vendor and product type if you show it or not. This allows your products to be easily categorised by type or vendor in smart collections.
The organization section also tells you which collection the product is included in and has a tag field so you can add keywords. You can use these tags as a condition on a collection, for example, a product tag ‘footwear’ will automatically add the product to a footwear collection.
The organization tab is essential for seamless site navigation. Get this wrong and it will seriously affect your sales. That’s why it’s imperative to take your time with this tab and put some thought into it for optimal results.
While you might think the product editing page is simple, many merchants fail to take advantage of all its features and rush the process. However, if you standardise the process and approach your product pages strategically it will lead to better search engine results, boosted visibility and more sales.
If you need support implementing the process or want to learn more about how you can boost traffic to your Shopify store, then reach out to our SEO experts, today!
As climate change becomes an ever-growing concern, more and more entrepreneurs are putting sustainability and environmental demands at the top of their agenda.
Every day, new ecommerce businesses are launching with sustainability in mind. These direct-to-consumer brands try to minimise their impact on the environment, particularly when it comes to their manufacturing and distribution processes. From mindfulness about water usage and emissions to using recycled or naturally sourced materials in the creation of their products and packaging, these companies are committed to greener ecommerce practices and bringing about positive change to the environment.
To shine a spotlight on some of these brands, here’s a list of 35 ecommerce businesses on Shopify taking sustainability seriously:
We hope this list of 35 sustainable brands on Shopify has inspired you to get serious about sustainability and provided proof that you can scale responsibly.
More than ever, consumers are conscious of their impact on the planet and expect brands to deliver on sustainability across all aspects of their operations. By embracing eco-friendly practices, you will contribute to the health of the planet and your bottom line.
If you need further support, get in touch with our Shopify experts today!
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