So you finally decided to take the plunge and launch your own online business with Shopify. Congratulations! But… what now? If you’re in it to win it, you’ll need to grow to stay in business for the long haul. But before you start frantically Googling, “How to grow a Shopify business,” take a deep breath: We’ve already compiled the best Shopify resources for you.
Here’s everything you should be reading, listening to, and following to make the most of your ecommerce business on Shopify.
For more information on Shopify resources to optimize your online store:
Brad Stone’s 2013 tome has been called “the definitive account of how a tech icon came to life.” It’s also a must-read for anyone who wants to compete in ecommerce today. That’s because Stone pulls back the curtain with help from current and former employees — and even members of the Bezos family — to reveal what it’s really like inside of the notoriously secretive company that has forever changed the way we shop.
The visionary CEO of online retailer Zappos had some pretty out-of-the-box ideas about how to build corporate culture — from making customer service the responsibility of the whole company to helping employees grow personally and professionally. But Tony Hsieh quickly proved his tactics work. In his 2013 book, he shared the lessons he learned not only while growing Zappos to over $1 billion in annual sales but also in his prior ventures. It’s proof that focusing on employee happiness doesn’t mean businesses have to sacrifice profit.
The ecommerce industry is woefully outdated. That’s according to author Tanner Larsson, founder of online community Build Grow Scale. In Ecommerce Evolved, Larsson writes about how online sellers need to think far beyond buying products and driving traffic. Larsson introduces what he calls a proven formula to help grow a profitable ecommerce business. The four-part book tackles how successful ecommerce businesses really operate, how they use data, and how they build marketing campaigns to boost ROI.
“Warning: Do not read this book if you hate money.”
That’s on the back cover of entrepreneur Allan Dib’s 2018 book — and it really says it all. Successful businesses need a plan for growth. But, according to Dib, it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it doesn’t have to be longer than a single page — broken into nine squares. This book focuses on what to put in those squares to drive business growth and includes insights into acquiring customers, increasing conversions, and making the most of limited budgets.
Donald Miller, CEO of online platform Business Made Simple, knows consumers are human beings — and human beings respond to stories. So for consumers to connect with businesses, brands must communicate the value they bring with one of seven story points. He also provides insight into how to simplify brand marketing and create the most effective messaging for all consumer touchpoints.
Love him or hate him, digital media personality Gary Vaynerchuk knows a thing or two about marketing and social media. In this 2018 book Crushing It!, which follows his other best-selling book, Crush It, Vaynerchuk shares lessons from his work with entrepreneurs who risked it all to build successful businesses — and personal brands. And, he explains, it’s the latter component that is perhaps more important than ever. What’s more, the secret lies in using social media to its utmost potential — and Crushing It! tells you how to do just that.
Today’s social media landscape can yield widespread exposure for burgeoning brands — but only if they can break through the noise. There is good news, however: Digital strategist Brendan Kane, who has worked with the likes of MTV, Skechers, and Ikea, says he knows the secret — and he’s willing to teach you how to boost your own brand in just a month. Kane also interviews industry influencers for their insights, resulting in a complete guide to social media brand-building.
For a beginner’s guide to launching your Shopify store:
Shopify users should look to the ecommerce platform itself for the inside scoop on Shopify resources. In this official podcast, Shopify Masters, host Felix Thea interviews successful entrepreneurs about their experiences and asks for advice on how to grow ecommerce businesses on Shopify. Topics include social media advertising, outsourcing, pop-up shops, content marketing, and more.
The other official podcast, Vanguard, is another one of the Shopify resources that brings stories to life from entrepreneurs from “unexplored communities and unexpected subcultures.”
And, of course, there’s also an unofficial Shopify podcast, hosted by ecommerce consultant — and Shopify Plus partner — Kurt Elster. In the podcast, he talks to some of the most successful Shopify business owners right now, who share their advice for how to grow an ecommerce business. That being said, the unofficial podcast is not affiliated with or sponsored by Shopify, so it promises “a no holds barred discussion of ecommerce growth strategy and tactics.”
This weekly ecommerce industry podcast is hosted by the so-called “Retailgeek,” Jason Goldberg, and Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ecommerce company ChannelAdvisor. In it, the two longtime colleagues talk to ecommerce industry leaders about both evergreen topics and timely news.
Much like podcasts, Shopify’s own online resources are a great place to start for any seller using the platform. Its main Shopify Blog is an immense resource for ecommerce marketing and platform updates, which is why we highly recommend both subscribing to regular updates as well as searching the site for specific topics as needs arise.
Another powerful site for Shopify users is its business encyclopedia. This comprehensive resource covers topics from anchor stores to working capital and everything in between. It’s especially valuable for business owners who are just starting out and are still learning the ropes. But even seasoned executives can rely on this encyclopedia to fill in any blanks while building a successful brand.
Finally, Shopify Compass is a video-based Shopify resource with fast, easy-to-use guides from business leaders, including Fubu founder and ABC’s Shark Tank star Daymond John. It offers a step-by-step guide to starting a business for new entrepreneurs. Thereafter, free video courses provide on-demand access to ongoing education. John, for example, focuses on the importance of setting goals in his session.
The CEO of ecommerce marketing firm Brand Growth Experts is also the host of the Ecommerce Influence podcast.
The founder of ecommerce advisory firm Edgacent is also the author of the Ecommerce Illustrated project, which includes guidance on 52 e-commerce topics.
We’ve already recommended the Unofficial Shopify podcast, but e-commerce consultant — and Shopify Plus partner — Elster is worth a follow, too. Look out for his DTC growth tactics in particular.
Retailgeek Goldberg, who is also the chief commerce strategy officer at advertising agency Publicis, is another ecommerce expert worth a follow for insights into digital commerce and small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Host of the Ecommerce Fastlane podcast, Hutt is also a senior merchant success manager for Shopify’s enterprise platform, Shopify Plus.
Tobi Lutke — Shopify’s founder and CEO is an excellent Shopify resource worth a follow for his sometimes candid feedback alone.
The founder of online community Ecommerce Fuel is yet another insightful Shopify resource.
For a complete Shopify success checklist:
More Shopify Resources
There are many Shopify resources out there to help grow your ecommerce business. While this list may not reflect the entirety of what the internet offers, it’s a great place to start. And, as you learn and interact with the thought leaders and leadership above, you may discover your own favorite Shopify resources. If we missed anything, let us know. In the meantime, we’re here for any remaining ecommerce queries.
Nick is a Lifecycle Marketing Associate at AdRoll. He’s a high-energy individual who’s passionate about e-commerce. He is currently working on launching his own Shopify store.