When you’re developing a new product, several pieces need to fall into place before you can make it available to the world. One of these pieces might be a coming soon page on your ecommerce website.
Regardless of your business niche, a coming soon page is a valuable asset to have as you roll out a product or store. Properly used, these pre-launch landing pages can help you gain traction, gather feedback, and start marketing while you prepare for your big launch.
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What is a coming soon page, and do you need one?
A coming soon page, also known as a pre-launch page, is a landing page where you can direct people to learn more about your new website, business, or product. A professional coming soon page captures visitors’ interest (and even their contact details), and encourages them to help amplify your reach—all while your business is still under construction.
- 🏃♀️Get a head start on marketing. Since it’s a single page and not a full website, a coming soon landing page can be brought “to market” with just a few clicks. If you use the right keywords, a coming soon page can even jump-start your SEO, positioning you for more searchability and visibility at launch.
- 🥰Build an email list to launch to. Even without a product ready to sell, an attention-grabbing coming soon page can create buzz that convinces people to follow you on social media or even join a waiting list, helping you build up an email list of prospective customers prior to launch.
- 👂Get early feedback. A coming soon page puts your concept in front of would-be customers, allowing you to gauge their interest and use their feedback to create a more successful launch.
A coming soon page isn’t necessary for every business, nor should it be an excuse to put off launching. If you’re building a t-shirt store or dropshipping business, for example, you can usually “soft launch” your store in a relatively short time and make improvements as you go.
For other types of businesses, however, product development, raising money, or building your brand can push your intended launch date up to several months out. Instead of delaying marketing until you can officially open your digital doors, a coming soon landing page lets you build and promote in parallel, ensuring that you have an audience to launch to.
How to use your coming soon page for marketing
Your coming soon page can be short and to the point, or it can serve as a detailed sales page that helps you achieve multiple goals. What form your coming soon page takes depends on whether you need a short-term placeholder, or a strategic destination for a longer-term pre-launch marketing campaign.
All marketing needs a destination. Your coming soon page is that destination—at least until you’re ready to launch.
While there are many ways to go about it, the most effective coming soon pages incorporate the following objectives.
1. Explain what is “coming soon” and when
A coming soon page not only generates hype around your new site or product: it also helps you gauge demand for your concept by seeing how people react to it, even before it’s available to buy. This is invaluable feedback that can inform how you develop your idea, determine your positioning, and design your website.
Even better, your coming soon landing page can give your audience a concrete timeline, either by displaying your product or website launch date or with a countdown timer in the page header (like Countdown Timer Bar) to show that your launch date is drawing closer every second.
2. Build your pre-launch email list
If you’re driving people to a page without anything available to purchase, you need to make sure you have a plan to keep them from slipping away.
This is where your coming soon page can generate leads, capturing an audience of potential customers. In most cases, this will involve building an email list. But it also can mean building a retargeting audience or accepting pre-orders.
To build excitement and improve your chances of winning email subscribers, consider offering them incentives, including:
- Early bird pricing
- Exclusive discounts or freebies for early adopters
- Valuable content
- Entry into a contest
- Behind-the-scenes access (or even a say in what you build!)
You may consider an exit-intent pop-up like Privy to offer visitors a reason to opt in as they’re about to leave the page.
You can then communicate with this audience leading up to your launch to solicit feedback or ensure they remember you when launch day rolls around.
3. Give prospective customers a way to get in touch
Feedback is a gift, but you don’t need to wait until you’ve launched to unwrap it.
By opening a line of communication through email or social media—or better yet, live chat—you can field customer questions early, convince people to join your pre-launch audience with one-on-one, meaningful conversation, and get honest input about your concept.
4. Encourage visitors to spread the word
If people like your idea, they might share it with their friends or networks—especially if you make it easy for them by including social sharing buttons.
However, you can make it even easier for them by adding an incentive to share your page with their friends or to engage with your brand on social media. You can use a contest app like Gleam, for example, to offer an additional entry for every social action a visitor takes.
Some of the best coming soon pages create what’s called a “viral loop,” where everyone you reach is given an incentive (such as a discount or entry into a contest), not just for joining your email list, but for sharing your page with others.
An effective pre-launch loop will give each new visitor a reason to both opt into your audience and share your page with others.
One popular way to create a viral loop is by adding a referral marketing widget, such as Viral Loops, to your page to offer different tiers of rewards depending on how many referrals a person generates for you.
How to create a coming soon page on Shopify
Many website platforms offer tools to help site owners build coming soon pages. If you have a WordPress website, for instance, you’ll have access to a range of landing page templates, as well as WordPress plug-in options to extend your coming soon page functionality.
Nevertheless, as a platform specifically for ecommerce, Shopify offers distinct advantages for ecommerce businesses looking to give people early access ahead of a product or website launch. If you want to build a great coming soon landing page for your business, Shopify is truly your best bet.
There essentially are two common ways you can go about building a coming soon page with Shopify:
- Launch a password-protected coming soon page.
- Publish a “coming soon” version of your theme.
Both of these methods let you easily build your store in the background at your own pace and go live in a couple of clicks when you’re ready.
To illustrate the differences between each coming soon page approach, I mocked up some examples using a hypothetical business that plans to sell camping kits for newbie campers.
1. Use your Shopify password page as your coming soon page
The fastest way to launch your coming soon page on Shopify is to use your password page. By default, most password pages have the basic necessities of a coming soon page (an email signup form, social sharing buttons, etc.). This is recommended if you just want a simple placeholder page to explain your business and build your email list as you build your store.
Since your page is password protected, you can also allow select people to view your work-in-progress simply by giving them the password while you’re in “coming-soon mode.”
You can activate password protection by going to your Preferences and choosing “Enable password.” While you’re there, you can also customize your main message to visitors and explain what you plan to launch. It’s much easier than building a maintenance mode page using WordPress or HTML.
To finish setting up your password page as a coming soon landing page, you’ll need to head over to your theme editor and customize it directly using the drag and drop website builder. You’ll be able to turn on the newsletter sign-up field and add additional copy to frame your form.
In a short amount of time, you’ll have a coming soon page to collect emails as you build your actual store. For many new store owners without a large window until their launch or a pre-launch plan to drive a lot of traffic, something like this will get the job done.
2. Publish a “coming soon” version of your theme
Another way to build your coming soon page on Shopify is to simply create two different versions of your store: a “coming soon” version that you publish in the interim as the center of your pre-launch marketing efforts, and a “working” version that you’ll continue to build for your official launch.
This can be a single page where you add product photos, a background image, an explainer video, CTA buttons, social proof and testimonials, social profiles, and more.
You can make use of the added length and the full set of features available in your theme to further persuade visitors and incorporate other pre-launch goals you might have, such as driving people to become social followers or support your Kickstarter campaign.
Shopify apps offer a range of tools for creating a stunning coming soon page design. For instance, many landing page builder apps include coming soon page template options that are easily customizable via Shopify’s drag-and-drop interface. Shopify also offers apps to add useful coming soon page functionality, including a countdown clock, reminders for interested visitors, a sign-up form, or even a custom logo.
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How to remove a coming soon page
You’ll want to delete your coming soon page once you launch your product. This is simple to do in Shopify.
- From your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Pages.
- Click the box of the coming soon page that you want to delete.
- Click the “More actions” tab.
- Click “Delete pages.”
Coming soon page examples
With a coming soon page in hand and a product launch date in mind, you can open yourself up to start your pre-launch marketing.
If you’re wondering how to architect your pre-launch period, it’s worth looking at the following coming soon page examples for inspiration. Each one takes a vastly different approach, but there are key lessons that are worth pulling out.
Harry’s: Capture leads and amplify reach with rewards
Perhaps one of the most celebrated examples of an effective coming soon page is Harry’s pre-launch marketing campaign, which generated more than 100,000 emails through referrals.
Referral marketing is typically used to invite your paying customers to help you acquire more paying customers by offering both parties a reward. In the case of Harry’s, however, subscribers would receive increasingly better rewards the more subscribers they referred. The price of admission for the referrer and the referee was only an email, making it an easy offer to take.
Consider how you can use a thank you page or thank you email to create an opt-in flow that encourages new subscribers to take further action in exchange for a greater reward.
Molekule: Doing the math to create a pre-launch marketing goal
Generating sales directly translates into revenue. Collecting emails as part of a pre-launch campaign may not. That’s why it’s important to work backward to determine what the value of an email is to you, what your goal should be, and how much to spend on pre-launch marketing, especially if you’re interested in accelerating your audience-building efforts through paid marketing.
For example, Molekule, an innovative air purifier brand, spent $50,000 to build an email list of 25,000 subscribers, understanding that even if 0.5% purchased its high-ticket product, the list would more than pay for itself.
For more on planning for a profitable worst-case scenario for your pre-launch campaign, listen to their full story on Shopify Masters:
Popov Leather: Accepting pre-orders for a product that’s coming soon
Coming soon pages aren’t just assets to build brand awareness for a new company: established brands can also use them to market products that aren’t fully ready to ship yet.
Some brands may collect emails on a coming soon page for a new product to gauge demand. In the case of Popov Leather, it listed a new wallet on its Shopify store using the Crowdfunder app and quickly exceeded its funding goal.
GNARBOX: Choosing the right prize for your giveaways
A giveaway or contest can quickly build your email list, but when your products aren’t ready to sell or haven’t been given a chance to prove their worth, it’s hard to offer them as a prize. Instead, you can do what GNARBOX did and offer a product that you don’t sell, but that your target customer would also buy.
GNARBOX sells a rugged backup device for professional photo and video editors. The prize it put up, however, was a DJI drone camera, a product the brand knew was highly coveted by its target customer.
Along with some of the other list-building techniques we’ve mentioned above, GNARBOX was able to use its coming soon landing page to grow an email list of 20,000 qualified subscribers to launch its product to.
Hear more from the founders themselves on Shopify Masters:
Freelance Bold: Offering a fun challenge
Freelance Bold is a library of resources for freelance writers who want to grow a profitable business. While it was still in development, founder Marijana Kostelac wanted to start building an audience for it before launch.
The landing page is clean and branded. Yet what makes it stand out is the five-day free email challenge offer. By signing up, people will learn to audit and refresh key areas of their business and plan goals for the upcoming months. In return, Freelance Bold gets an email address and warm audience to market to once the site launches.
Fashion Nova: Coming soon collection page
Retailer Fashion Nova puts a spin on the traditional coming soon page. Rather than promote a standalone page with a contact form, Fashion Nova has an entire collection page of products coming soon. Shoppers can browse the page, click on an item they want, then use the Notify Me call to action on the following product page to get on the waitlist.
JB Hi-Fi: Collecting pre-orders
Home entertainment Retailer JB Hi-Fi sells a variety of new blockbusters, re-releases, and special editions of movies on its site. It offers shoppers exclusive pre-order deals on the above coming soon page. Shoppers can browse, place orders, or add movies to a wish list. JB also gives shoppers a phone number to call if they’ve seen a movie cheaper elsewhere online.
Gymshark: Giving sneak previews
Gymshark’s December AW20 Apparel Preview is a great example of how ecommerce brands can launch coming soon pages. It features upcoming products through an in-depth page of descriptions and images. This gives shoppers everything they want to know about specific items, such as product improvements and materials, plus launch dates, so shoppers know when to expect the collection to drop.
Coming soon pages: The centerpiece of pre-launch marketing
Coming soon pages are entirely optional, and not every business owner will create one.
But for those who want to run a pre-launch campaign while their product or business is under construction, a coming soon page can let you start marketing and create urgency during your downtime, filling seats in your target audience so you can launch to a full house.
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Coming soon page FAQ
Why do you need a coming soon page?
A coming soon page can help you get a head start on marketing by building an email list before launch. You can encourage people to share your brand and get early feedback on your ideas. If you’re brand new, a coming soon landing page also gives you time to build a store.
How long should a coming soon page be?
Like most landing pages, a coming soon page should be relatively short and offer visitors only the most relevant and exciting information.
What do you write on a coming soon page?
- Explain what’s coming soon.
- Include a CTA for your email marketing list.
- Give people a way to get in touch with your brand.
- Encourage people to share on social media.
How do I make a free coming soon page?
You can make a coming soon landing page when you sign up for Shopify’s free trial, which offers full access to Shopify’s drag-and-drop page builder, marketing tools, and tutorials to create your page.