How to Create an Online Contest for Your Shopify Store


Are you ready to explode your email list, grow your social media profiles, and increase your store’s sales?


…I thought so, read on!


Online contests are massively popular and this article is going to share with you the strategies and tactics I’ve successfully used for my clients and myself.


But first, what are the benefits of hosting an online contest?


  • Increase the number of subscribers for your email newsletters
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Engage with new site visitors and customers
  • Gather useful data about your target demographic
  • Reduce excess inventory by offering them as prizes
  • Increase the number of followers in social media


Here are the steps to help you use online contests in growing your Shopify store.


STEP 1 – Identify the goal and the freebies


You have to identify a specific target goal. Your goal should be clear. It could be increasing the traffic to your site, growing your sales and profit, or raising brand awareness.


Set clear goals from the start, so you’ll have an easier time keeping track.


Your campaign’s success should also be measurable – meaning, it should be easy to track. Analyze data and figure out the specific metrics that you can use in successfully launching your campaign and monitoring your progress. Gather all the tools you need for measuring analytics.


Once you’ve done all that, you should determine the specific prize that you wish to give away. This is a vital part of the contest, so you have to carefully think it through. Look for a prize, which is guaranteed to increase shares and engagement. The prize should also be related to what you’re offering.


STEP 2 – Determine when you should hold it


Timing is key in attracting people online to take part of your online contest and in engaging them. That said, you need to look for the perfect time to launch the contest. A wise tip is to launch or hold it at a relevant time of the year, or during special occasions. Some examples that have worked well for me include…


Holidays – Use the yearly holidays to craft online contests that will surely engage your audience. For instance, take part in the habit of giving each Christmas by holding a contest involving great prizes related to your products.


Industry Events – If the people in your niche takes part in a huge conference on a yearly basis, then you can also use this chance to hold a contest. This is a great way to associate your products to the event and building exposure and buzz.


Collaborations – You can also choose to collaborate with a brand in the industry you’re in that you’ve been longing to work with. Talk to their representative and discuss holding an online contest together. This allows you to provide numerous complementary giveaways.


Make sure that you design your contest in such a way that it has greater chances of meeting your target goal.


Here are some popular contests to consider for your brand.


Social Media Sweepstakes – This usually requires the participants to like a post or page then share the link, as well as the details of the contest to a specific number of people. Winners will be determined by drawing them randomly.


User-Generated Content Contest – In this contest, you will require the participants to send content that they created on their own. It could be a picture or a video showing their interaction with your brand. Winners will be determined based on who has the best output depending on your own set of criteria.


STEP 3 – Create the Campaign


This is when you start setting up the campaign. This involves coding, analytics, data categorization, marketing, and drawing the winner. Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms available to help make easy for you.  Here’s a list of some of the most popular applications to create your first campaign.


ViralSweep: The all-in-one solution to grow your email list, increase social engagement, and collect user-generated content. This is great video, watch it 🙂


Gleam: Helps businesses run competitions on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and on your retail site.


Woobox: Offers different types of campaigns: sweepstakes, coupons, instant winners, and pick a winner based on Facebook likes and comments.


STEP 4 – Start Running the Contest


Once everything is set up, the next step is marketing your freebies and exposing your campaign. Make sure that your present customers are aware of the contest you’re holding by informing them through social media, newsletter, and other sources. You have to inform them, so you can increase the number of people who’ll get engaged in the event.


Step 5 – Make Sure to Announce the Winner


Make the announcement public. You can post it on social media and send it through email, both the winners and others on your email list. It should be something that will excite them, so they will be motivated to take part in the next contest you’ll be holding.


Step 6 – Measure the Effects


Once your contest is done, spend some time analyzing and reflecting on its effectiveness. Did you have an increase in engagement?   Did you have a lift in conversions?  These are important questions to consider which will help you structure your next contest.


There’s no denying that online contests can significant boost in your Shopify business.  Have you ever launched one in the past?  What worked for you?  Share your feedback in the comments 🙂


Special thanks to Lauren Ufford for the inspiration to this post.


About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.

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