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Looking to launch an ecommerce business but don't know where to start? Learn how four entrepreneurs went from concept to creating profitable online businesses. Inside these free PDF case studies you'll discover:

  • How to find a product to sell
  • How to strategically approach shipping and fulfillment
  • How to get more traffic and sales for your ecommerce website

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How to Build an Email List that Builds Your Ecommerce Business

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Picture your website traffic as a big funnel.

At the top of the funnel is all of the raw traffic that comes to your site. The next level down in the funnel is narrower, and these are only those visitors who've interacted with your brand in some way (e.g., by reading your blog, following you on social media, or giving you their email address). The bottom level of the funnel, and the smallest, includes those people who've taken the plunge from interacting with your brand to making a purchase.

Convincing someone to give you their email address is much easier than convincing them to buy something, since it doesn't cost anything except the ten seconds it takes to sign up. Once you have someone's email though, you have the opportunity to follow up with them over time and eventually move them from the middle of your funnel to the bottom where they become a customer.

But how can you get that traffic into your funnel and convince people to give you their email address? And then how can you effectively build a relationship with them until they remember you, want your product, and pull out their credit cards?

Let’s dive into some strategies to first build up an email list and then effectively market to it.

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What Happens When 3 Friends Work to Make the Perfect Custom Shirt and Bring Manufacturing Back to America

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Upon graduation, Michael Armenta, Barrett Purdum and Michael Maher wanted to start a business. They wanted to be part of the resurgence in American manufacturing and they wanted to create a fitted custom shirt.

After recognizing that custom tailoring was primarily the domain of 60 year old wealthy men walking around with a noticeable belly, they saw a market opportunity for a slimmer, tailored, button up shirt for those who cared about the quality and design of their clothes, and where they were manufactured. 

Fast forward to them striking a partnership with a family business in America that manufactures custom shirts and you get the origin story of Taylor Stitch. A rapidly growing brand that now has multiple product lines and is on a mission to dominate both the online and physical retail arenas.

They opened for business online on Shopify in 2008, then added a retail location a year and half later which now also runs on Shopify POS

I had a chance to catch up with Michael to talk about how they did it and what advice he could offer to others looking to do the same.  

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What to Sell Online: 8 Strategies for Finding Your First Product

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For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is exciting but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. One of the biggest challenges aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs face is figuring out what to sell online - whether it’s a single product or multiple products that occupy a niche in a market.

Coming up with product ideas can be tough and it often feels like everything has already been done. Not to mention there's a lot of competition online these days. Consumers are just a click away from online giants like Amazon, Walmart, Zappos and Best Buy, who also happen to be extremely difficult to outrank in the search engines. 

But, there are still golden opportunities out there and new, successful products are being launched all the time.

So, how can you get in on the action? We’ve put together a list of eight opportunities that you can use to help you start generating product ideas. 

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How To Create Retail Store Interiors That Get People To Purchase Your Products

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Retail has been around for a mighty long time and one thing we know is that there are a lot of different approaches when it comes to designing the interior layout of your store. However, there are also some common design strategies that all retailers can employ that lead to generating more sales for your business. 

Designing your retail store's interior is a topic that we've been looking at recently in an effort to help boutique merchants be more successful and thrive in today's digital era. From telling your brand's story and creating immersive experiences, to putting together head-turning window displays and signage essentials, when it comes to retail, the devil really is in the details, and we want you to get the basics down pat. 

Which is why in this post, I'll be looking at some of the basics when it comes to creating effective retail interiors that attract more customers to your store, get them browsing more products, and get them heading towards the checkout. It's vital to keep in mind that from the moment someone steps into your store to the time they decide to checkout (or not checkout), smart design decisions make a significant difference in regards to whether you make a sale or not.

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How To Build a $120K per Month Ecommerce Brand in Less Than A Year

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Do you follow the r/entrepreneur subreddit? We here at Shopify love that space, and regularly look through it for inspiration.

Last week we picked up a super helpful post by an entrepreneur who has built an amazing store. In less than a year Mr. Eric Bandholz built a business with $120,000 in monthly sales.

The company is Beardbrand. And Eric spells out exactly what he did to generate revenue of this scale.

His secret? Building a brand. It’s a “high priority” especially as a consumer business. And the results?

  • In less than a year Beardbrand went from $0 in sales to $120k/month in sales
  • Beardbrand has a higher repeat customer rate than industry average
  • Beardbrand’s 7k email list gets 46.6% open rate and 13% click rate
  • Beardbrand’s users gladly write reviews of their experiences and share it on social media
  • Customers will tell Beardbrand that they purchase from it because of its videos and its vision

With Eric’s kind permission, we excerpt parts of his post (the original is found in gray) while adding bits and pieces to supplement his advice to help make sure that merchants see the value of building a great brand.

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Everything You Need to Know About Twitter Cards for Ecommerce

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Twitter is once again upping its game for ecommerce brands.

Last year, the social network announced that it's no longer limiting you to 140 characters. You can now use Twitter Cards to add images, videos and product descriptions to your tweets. This can significantly increase the amount of people who retweet your content, click your links and check out products on your website.

In fact, HubSpot A/B testing found that tweets with images received a 36% increase in clicks, a 41% increase in retweets and a 55% increase in leads. Earlier this year they also announced analytics for Twitter cards to help you understand how your cards are performing.

Let’s take a look at how to use Twitter Cards to get more retweets, clicks and sales for your online store.

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The Top 5 Most Engaging Retailers on Instagram (And How You Can Join Their Ranks)

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It's no secret that Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app that now boasts more than 150 million users, is taking the retail and fashion worlds by storm. In fact, research has shown the platform to be 15 times more engaging than Facebook, and it has achieved the highest year-over-year growth (66 percent) when compared to the top 10 mobile apps. 

In this post, I'll be looking at the top five most popular retailers on Instagram based on Nitrogram's top 50 retailers list, which ranks brands based on their audience numbers as well as the number of posts containing their hashtag. In doing so, I'll hope to distill what they're doing right so you, as a smaller retailer, or even pop-up shop entrepreneur, can start to put the same strategies to work in your business. 

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How to Land Your Business in the Press: 6 Tactics and 5 Tools

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Press.

It's something every entrepreneur hopes to get for their business but also something many find difficult and elusive to achieve.

Before moving to my current in-house position as the Public Relations Manager at Shopify, I spent my entire professional career at a handful of PR and IR (investor relations) agencies in both Toronto and New York City. Having worked on numerous B2B and consumer tech accounts in various stages – from startups to Fortune 500's like IBM and Oracle – I’ve learned that for many businesses, PR is a mystery. They see competitors in the press and they can’t figure out the magic formula to make it happen for themselves.

For most small businesses and online entrepreneurs, PR is a work in progress. Unless you’re working on a big launch, which are usually not regular occurrences, it’s about building a relationship with media outlets and the appropriate reporters.

Below are six strategies that you should keep in mind when looking to get your name in the press, as well as five tools to help you make it happen.

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5 Types of Signage No Retailer Can Afford to Ignore

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If you want to operate a successful physical retail business that attracts customers and drives sales, then you need to get noticed – and smart retailers know that starts with signage.

Quality signage is an easy and effective way to drive foot traffic and communicate with your customers when designing your store. However, if done incorrectly it can cause overstimulation and even confusion. Signage in your brick-and-mortar business is just as important as your website design, and retail signage shouldn’t be an afterthought. 

Why do signs play such an important role in physical retail? Just as your site’s sales copy should be attention-grabbing and concise, your in-store signs should be clear and useful. Consider signs your silent but highest-selling salespeople. Signage helps your customers navigate your shop without asking sales staff basic questions.

Much like you set standards for an employee’s appearance and expectations for their conduct, the color, visibility, messaging, and quality of signs also require a certain amount of development and consideration. Also like employees, signs can be given on-the-job tasks, ranging from sales information and wayfinding to general product information and usage. With that in mind, here are some general best practices you'll want to keep in mind when thinking about store layout and signage, followed by five types of signs you won't be able to do without.

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40 High-Impact Books for Entrepreneurs [Giveaway]

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We love to encourage learning here at Shopify. That’s why we started Ecommerce University, and it’s also a big part of what this blog is about. Today we’ve selected 40 books that can help you build, launch and grow your business. And as a bonus, we’ll ship 10 of these titles to one lucky winner.

Each of these books offer tremendous advice and value. We've assembled a mix that include classics, like Ogilvy on Advertising, as well as more recent titles, including Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book and Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things, published just last week.

Keep reading to learn how to enter.

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