How to Make Your First Sale on Shopify in 2023

28 Nov
How to Make Your First Sale on Shopify in 2023

You did it. Your Shopify store is finally up and running, and you're poppin' open some celebratory drinks! 

But... now what? 

How do you attract those first few potential customers?

In this piece, we'll outline five tried-and-true methods to do just that.   

Here's what we'll cover throughout this article: 

  • What you need to do before pushing people to get to your store. 
  • How to drive traffic to your site: Best practices for utilizing your personal network and paid ads
  • What to expect: How long it commonly takes and how to think long-term

How to Get Your First Sale on Shopify:

1. Have opt-in forms ready to take contact info  

2. Set up email marketing automations

3. Tap Into Your Personal Networks 

4. Dive into Paid Ads 

5. Offer Perks to Encourage the Sale

5 Strategies to Get Your First Sales On Shopify

1. Have opt-in forms ready to take contact info  

From day one, you'll want the ability to stay in touch with anyone who visits your site, which is why an absolute must for your Shopify site is an opt-in form.

And if you're starting to see traffic but no sales, don't fret!  

According to INC, a whopping 92% of consumers visit a brand's website for the first time for other reasons than to make a purchase. But with an opt-in form, you can capture their contact info and reel them back in with manual campaigns and automated ones. 

The key to a high-converting opt-in form is to provide something of actual value, like a first-purchase discount or free shipping. This kills two birds with one stone by giving them a reason to sign up for your newsletter and return to your site to make a purchase. The opt-in below is a great example from Lifeboost Coffee.

opt in form example from ecommerce brand

Try out different offers and different types of forms, such as inline, pop-ups, exit-intent, and floating boxes, until you find the combination that works the best for your online store.

It's also okay to use different forms at the same time. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Opt-in forms are the best way to reel visitors back in to seal the deal on those items they were eyeing.
  • Finding the right type of form and offer that will work for you takes experimentation.
  • Try using multiple forms and form types at once. People are used to clicking out of stuff, but you can dangle an offer with a form with various styles and still nab an opt-in.
  • Don't just ask for an email. Offer a chance for them to tell you about their interests, preferences, and so on. More information allows you to customize offers for contacts.

2. Set up email marketing automations

One of the benefits of eCommerce is how much you can automate, like shipping confirmation or marketing emails. Set them up, sit back, and watch them work their magic. 

Of course, you have to continue tweaking your rules and recommendations for optimal performance, but it's so much less work than the days when every task needs to be completed manually.

Fundamental email automations include:


When you're first getting started, thinking about automations may seem like jumping two steps ahead, but it's really not. And here's why.

Say you've started your brand campaigns and advertisements to encourage shoppers to check out your site. And it's working.

You're paying to play and getting the traffic, and folks are even adding products to their carts. But still no sales.

You'd be in the norm.

One study found that 79% of shoppers will abandon their carts without making a purchase. That's a lot of lost sales.

Having automations like welcome and abandoned cart emails ready before you start advertising means that when you do start promoting your site, you'll see the best return on your investment.

Getting the picture?

As you start to configure your emails, here are two important strategies to keep in mind.

Personalized emails will win out hands down. And we're talking about more than just greeting someone by name. Think bigger, like adding products to an email based on the user's viewing history. Here's what an abandoned cart funnel with product recommendations could look like inside Sendlane.

Small changes in your email's subject lines, imagery, and copy can make a huge difference in its effectiveness. So it's essential to keep testing. (And here's why A/B tests aren't enough).

Key Takeaways

  • Setting up automations before you start advertising will increase your ROI.
  • Personalize emails whenever possible.
  • Keep testing your automations and email copy to improve their performance.

Learn more about how to build credibility with customers using email marketing in this Shopify case study.

3. Tap Into Your Personal Networks 

With your opt-in forms and automations in place, you're ready for traffic!

To get those first few sales, start with the people you know, like friends and family members who want to support your endeavors. 

We recommend starting with a Facebook post and email targeting your network, letting them know what you've been working on, and asking for them to check it out and share the site. 

It's a no-pressure way to let people anonymously show support by purchasing or sharing it with others.

Consider creating a unique friends-and-family discount code as a thank you for supporting your new business.

One of the benefits of starting with your network is that you can work out any bugs in the customer experience with people you know who will be more than happy to provide feedback.

If you recognize your cousin Linda's name on an order, reach out to thank her for her business and ask if there's anything you can do to improve the shopping experience. 

Key Takeaways

  • Friends and family can provide feedback on how to improve the customer experience.
  • They don't have to buy something to be helpful! Ask friends and family to share the website with others and increase your brand awareness.
  • Consider a friends-and-family discount code to encourage sales and reward the support of your loved ones.

4. Dive into Paid Ads 

Leveraging Google Ads can help you reach the most potential shoppers. But it can be super overwhelming.

Google offers multiple ways to create ads to promote your products and drive traffic, from text-only ads to shopping campaigns. Each will have different levels of cost and competition. 

Advertising on Google can help you reach the most potential shoppers. But it can be super overwhelming.

Google offers multiple ways to create ads and promote your products, from text-only ads to shopping campaigns. Each will have different levels of cost and competition. 

The good news is Google is one of the easier companies to get in touch with for help. You can call an Adwords specialist to get started or if you get stuck.

Google ads are one of the fastest ways to get sales, so we recommend starting there. But they're not necessarily the best way to grow a following.

Beyond Google, advertising on social media platforms can simultaneously build up a brand following while getting more people to your shop.

Choose just a couple of platforms to start.

For instance, try building a strong presence on Instagram and Facebook before diving into TikTok and Pinterest. 

It'll serve you better to post regular content and ads in one place and grow an engaged following than to spread out your attention between all platforms at once.

There are unique benefits and strategies to each platform. 

And we recommend you do some digging to figure out which social media platforms are the most popular for your specific market. 

Look for industry reports and check out where other competitors are doing well. 

Once you know where to start, check out these “Getting Started” guides from Shopify for eCommerce-specific advice:

When you're just starting, consider keeping your budget small until you know what works and what doesn't. 

You don't want to wind up spending $300 on an Adword ad that winds up being shown on irrelevant searches and doesn't result in many sales.

Or maybe you find that you're a video genius and have much better results on TikTok than anywhere else! 

Still overwhelmed? You can always look for a consultant or firm with eCommerce digital marketing experience to help you create ads and strategies to promote your Shopify store.

Key Takeaways

  • While pay-per-click advertising is a staple of eCommerce traffic and sales, it will become a smaller piece of your marketing pie over time.
  • Utilize Google's Adwords specialists to get started, but look into digital marketing consultants or firms as you grow.
  • Try a couple of social media platforms at a time and research which platforms are the most popular for your niche.
  • Keep your budget small till you know what you're doing.

5. Offer Perks to Encourage the Sale

Who doesn't like free stuff? Or discounts!

Discounts for first-time shoppers or new email contacts are standard nowadays, as is free shipping over a certain dollar amount.

But when you're first getting started, you might consider going bigger to build an initial customer base. For instance, free shipping on all orders, or a larger discount, or even some bonus gifts with each sale.

The more unique your offer, the more your store will stand out and be memorable. These perks are also a way of saying, “we appreciate your business.”

Perks don't have to be reserved for emails and forms. Promote your store's benefits in your product pages or your navbar, like how Lifeboost Coffee includes an easy way to subscribe to the product and save 30%. 

You want to give shoppers multiple reasons to trust and choose your store.

Key Takeaways

  • Offer unique benefits to set your store apart.
  • Always include a benefit in your opt-in forms and welcome emails.
  • Include messages about perks and other benefits like free shipping and returns across the site.

How long does it take to get sales on Shopify?

There's no simple answer. 

It all depends on how well your marketing fits your target audience, how well your site copy and brands resonate with who you bring to your doorstep, and how much traffic you drive to your site.

Seasoned eCommerce marketers know how to turn on paid ads that generate sales left and right. However, newcomers to the game are still learning and growing. If that is you, just give things time.

Soon you're going to blink and realize the orders are pouring in. 

How to drive more traffic to your Shopify store for the long haul

As promised, the five strategies we covered will last the life of your store. But they're just the start.

So what else should you consider to keep the sales flowing? Here are some final tips to keep in mind as your shop grows:

Track everything!

Every click, every picture, and every email matters in eCommerce, and the more data you track, the more you can optimize your website and conversions. A marketing tool that integrates with Shopify (like Sendlane) can help.


Make email marketing a priority

Email is the top dog in the eCommerce marketing world. While ads can bring new people to your site, an email is the cheapest, easiest way to help you maintain brand awareness and drive sales. So don't wait to set things up correctly and improve. 

Create an SEO and content marketing plan

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a necessary long-term strategy. You won't see the results overnight, but over time, your efforts will add up. 

Consistent content will also help you reduce the money you're spending on ads while creating a unique brand. Tie it into your social media efforts for optimal impact.

Check out our guide to increasing sales on Shopify for a more in-depth look at your next steps, and learn more about How Shopify Stores Boost Their AOV with Post-purchase Upsells in this article.

How to Make Your First Sale on Shopify FAQs

How long does it take to make the first sale on Shopify?
What are the best channels to get sales on Shopify?
Which tools can help make a sale on Shopify?

Share article link

Subscribe to our blog!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The 2021 eCommerce
Email Marketing Playbook Part 2

Maximize revenue & customer loyalty in 2021

Mastering Customer
Acquisition & Retention in 2021

Tuesday, July 20

Better features. Better support. Better customer experience.

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

No More Guessing; Make Data-driven Decisions at a Glance

Ditch the clunky UI; send high-converting messages with unified email & SMS data under one roof.

Find Hidden Growth Opportunities in your Shopify Customers

Build a retention-first strategy with real-time analytics and multi-channel automation.

Turn sales into reviews & reviews into more sales. All for free.

Collect, manage and dynamically display unlimited reviews all within one snazzy dashboard (and at no additional cost).

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Create Winning Campaigns Faster with Personalized Email Marketing

Spend less time building emails & more time creating experiences that drive your store growth.

Unified Email & SMS Marketing for BigCommerce

Send hyper-targeted email & SMS marketing that generates revenue with an easy one-click integration.

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Everything Your Brand Needs to Achieve Greatness with SMS

Build lasting, authentic relationships and tap into multi-channel revenue with all-in-one email & sms marketing.

Drive significant ROI for your
online store

Your eCommerce power couple - Unite your email & SMS marketing under one roof with Sendlane.

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing
CLTV for Digital Retailers

Keep your store cruising onward and upward with these seven strategies to increase CLTV.

The eCommerce
Segmentation Handbook

12 eCommerce Email Marketing Segments to Maximize Your Customer LTV.

The Definitive Guide to Abandoned
Cart Emails for eCommerce

Perfect your abandoned cart email funnel and recover those lost sales on autopilot.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

Your 2021 Guide to eCommerce Holiday Marketing

9 tried and tested omnichannel marketing strategies to crush holiday sales

The Digital Retailer’s Email Copywriting Handbook

A Marketer's Guide to Writing Killer Email Copy That Sells.

The Future of eCommerce
in 2022

Omnichannel strategies to drive revenue plus trends to watch in 2022 and beyond

The Digital Retailer's Guide to Modern SMS/MMS Marketing

10 Best practices to convert more customers where and when they’re active most with text messaging.

Increase Revenue and Retention by Mastering the Digital Customer Experience

A step-by-step guide to mastering the customer experience and building a base of loyal, repeat buyers.

The BigCommerce Experience: Omnichannel Marketing Strategies for a Post-Cookie World

The Shopify Experience:
A Merchant & Marketer's Guide
to Scaling eCommerce Growth

Get started with your free
14-day test drive!

All our PRO level features at your fingertips.

Try for Free