Yalu Xu of Momo Lifestyle On The 5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Highly Successful Shopify Business

Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readApr 15, 2024

DIY before Outsourcing. Elevating Product Presentation Through Ambient Imagery. Amplify Trust With Integrated Customer Reviews. Prioritize Performance for User Experience. Broaden Content Horizons With Strategic Blogging.

Shopify is a fantastic platform to use to quickly set up an eCommerce website. Some companies create highly successful businesses with Shopify, but others are not as lucky. What is the difference? What do you need to know in order to create a highly successful Shopify based business? In this interview series, we are talking to leaders who created a successful Shopify business who can share the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Successful Shopify Business.” As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Yalu Xu.

Yalu Xu is a co-founder of Momo Lifestyle, a fast-growing DTC lifestyle brand. She embarked on her entrepreneurial journey six years ago. A simple yet profound idea: to create an electric water gallon pump, to ease a common daily challenge in Brazil, set the stage for what Momo Lifestyle would become. Today, the business stands as a testament to the power of consistent effort and unwavering commitment to quality, now serving delighted customers across North and South America.

Hailing from China and fluent in four languages, Yalu navigated through diverse roles in business analysis, headhunting, sales and marketing. Each position offered unique insights and lessons, deepening her understanding of different markets and fueling her passion for creating products that significantly enhance lives.

For anyone interested in the nuances of building 2 thriving Shopify businesses, Yalu’s narrative and the evolution of Momo Lifestyle provide both inspiration and practical advice. To discover more about how Momo Lifestyle is dedicated to improving daily life, visit www.momo-lifestyle.com and www.lojamomo.com.br.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you’re super busy. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Life has a way of steering us toward unexpected paths, a truth I lived in 2018 when I suddenly found myself jobless after my employer closed their doors. At the same time, in Brazil, I faced a seemingly small but daily challenge: managing 5-gallon water jugs on my own while my husband was away on frequent business trips. This task was not only inconvenient but also physically demanding.

Seeing my unemployment as an opportunity rather than a setback, I decided to tackle this everyday issue head-on. With my husband contributing his engineering expertise, we embarked on creating a solution — an electric pump for 5-gallon water jugs. Our goal was simple: to ease this common task for everyone.

This endeavor marked the beginning of Momo Lifestyle. What started as a solution to a personal inconvenience evolved into a mission to facilitate life for our customers. This mission has guided us as we’ve grown our product line and expanded into new markets.

Can you share the most exciting story that has happened to you since you began at your company?

Every small win in running your own business feels huge, and stepping into the U.S. market with Momo Lifestyle was like hitting a milestone we hadn’t even dreamed of. One unexpected highlight for Momo Lifestyle came when Amazon chose to feature our journey. They put together a detailed piece on Momo Lifestyle, sharing it on their website and Seller University.

Being invited to an interview by Amazon and seeing our story presented was a moment of reflection for us. It wasn’t about the attention, but the realization of how far we’d come. What also stood out was the response from other entrepreneurs. Hearing from individuals who connected with our experiences reminded us of the broader community we’re part of.

What’s the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson did you learn from that?

In the early days of Momo Lifestyle, when it was just a two-person operation, I found myself wearing many hats, including that of a copywriter. Tasked with writing product descriptions in Portuguese, I faced the challenge head-on, despite my grasp of the language being somewhat basic at the time. Our product, Luzinha, a very useful motion sensor night light, became the center of an amusing misunderstanding due to this language barrier.

I wrote that the Luzinha would “ascender” in response to movement in the dark. However, the word I intended was “acender,” meaning “to light up.” Unbeknownst to me, “ascender” translates to “to levitate” in English.

The error came to light when a customer emailed us. “For God’s sake, please proofread because ‘ascender’ means to levitate!” I promptly made the change, and the incident taught me the importance of double-checking my work, especially when it involves languages I’m less familiar with. It was a funny mistake that underscored the importance of attention to detail.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

We are constantly developing new products. In this year alone, we will launch over 10 new items, all of which are simple and innovative products to make life a little easier. I cannot share much at this stage, but I am sure they will be very successful, stay tuned!

You’re a successful business leader. What are three traits about yourself that you feel helped fuel your success? Can you share a story or example for each?

  1. Unwavering Commitment to Quality — At the core of Momo Lifestyle’s philosophy is an unwavering commitment to product quality. We’ve built our brand on the principle that quality should never be compromised, regardless of the circumstances. This dedication to excellence has not only set us apart but has also been a key driver of our success.
  2. Innovating marketing strategies — Curiosity drives me to constantly innovate Momo Lifestyle’s marketing strategies. This relentless pursuit has propelled us to explore and implement creative campaigns that capture attention in the crowded digital arena. From SEO and blogging to paid ads, email marketing, influencer collaborations, and omnichannel approaches — we’ve experimented with a broad spectrum of tactics. Our commitment to innovation means we’re always on the lookout for the next strategy to test. It’s this never-ending exploration that keeps our marketing fresh and engaging.
  3. Resilience: Facing Expansion Head-On — Expanding Momo Lifestyle into the U.S. market came with its share of challenges, especially unexpected supply chain issues. My resilience turned these challenges into opportunities for improvement, reinforcing the need for adaptability and perseverance in business. This experience underscored the importance of maintaining high standards even when faced with obstacles.

Awesome, thanks so much for sharing that. In my work, I focus on improving shopper engagement, so I’m very passionate about this topic. Online shopping is more competitive than it has ever been. Can you share the strategies you are implementing to create a frictionless and engaging shopping experience?

Absolutely, keeping shoppers engaged in this competitive online space is crucial. Here’s what we’re doing at Momo Lifestyle to ensure a seamless shopping experience:

1. Personalized Recommendations We use customer data to suggest products they’ll actually like, making shopping more relevant and less overwhelming.

2. Easy Navigation Our site is designed for simplicity. Customers can find what they need quickly, without any hassle.

3. Quick Checkout We’ve cut down the steps to check out and broadened payment options to speed up the process.

4. Responsive Design Our website works smoothly on any device, ensuring customers can shop easily whether they’re on a phone, tablet, or laptop.

In short, we’re all about cutting out the fluff and making shopping with Momo Lifestyle straightforward and enjoyable.

As you know, mobile has taken center stage in terms of how people are engaging and transacting with eCommerce stores — leading a lot of stores to lean into mobile-first shopping experiences like mobile apps. Can you help articulate a few reasons why an eCommerce business should consider creating their own mobile app?

In our fast-moving digital world, smartphones are central to how we shop. That’s why for e-commerce, a mobile app could be critical. Momo Lifestyle has not developed an app yet, but I understand the reasons behind who does, here are a few:

1. Undivided Attention In your own app, customers are fully immersed in your shopping experience, free from distractions like competitors’ ads or unrelated promotions. This pure focus enhances customer engagement and conversion.

2. Direct Engagement Use notifications to keep your audience informed and connected, fostering a deeper relationship with your brand.

3. Targeted Insights An app provides valuable data on shopping behaviors, enabling more personalized marketing strategies.

The cost of paid ads is at an all-time high. What are some alternative strategies to reach your target consumers that don’t involve paying a third party like Facebook and Instagram?

Indeed, ads are getting extremely pricey, so we at Momo Lifestyle had to get creative and think outside the ad box. Here’s what we did:

1. Maximize SEO We dove into SEO for our product pages and blogs, turning them into magnets for organic searches.

2. Telling Our Story, be real to your customers Our blog and our social media are our diary. From the nitty-gritty of product how-tos to the heartwarming tales behind our creations, we pour our soul into content that speaks to our audience.

3. Social Media Engagement We swapped ad budgets for genuine conversations on social media. Posting, replying, and sharing user-generated love notes about our products has turned our followers into a family.

4. Teaming Up We found friends in similar spaces for collaborations. Whether it’s influencers who share our vibe or brands that complement ours, these partnerships have opened doors to new audiences, all on a foundation of shared values.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful Shopify business? Please share a story or an example for each.

When we launched Momo Lifestyle, we initially partnered with a platform that seemed to offer a beginner-friendly entry into e-commerce. However, it wasn’t long before its limitations became apparent, prompting our shift to Shopify. This move wasn’t just about changing platforms; it was about embracing a system that could support our vision for growth, especially as we ventured into international markets like the USA.

We are around 4 years on Shopify and run Momo Lifestyle in 2 countries, in the USA (www.momo-lifestyle.com) and in Brazil (www.lojamomo.com.br). Here are some simple and useful tips for those who are about to start or just started a Shopify journey.

1. DIY before Outsourcing

Our journey into Shopify was a collective effort by a team without a tech background. We immersed ourselves in learning everything the platform offered, utilizing free resources like YouTube to demystify its capabilities. This empowered us to set up our store independently, ensuring we made informed choices from template selection to app integrations. Our investment in a premium template was particularly pivotal, enhancing our site’s user experience and visual appeal without immediate reliance on external agencies. Making full use of the customer service of the template you purchased is also a shortcut to your successful rollout.

2. Elevating Product Presentation Through Ambient Imagery

Our flagship product, the Drytomita stone bath mat, exemplifies the transformative power of contextual photography. Initially, we relied on standard product shots with high resolution and white background, but shifting to ambient, in-use imagery significantly enriched our storytelling. This approach didn’t just showcase the Drytomita stone bath mat’s unique fast-drying feature; it invited customers to envision the product in their own bathroom and bathing experience, dramatically improving engagement and sales. Through strategic SEO practices, we focus on keywords related to the bath mat’s innovative qualities and real-life applications, enhancing our visibility and appeal in search results and conversion rate.

3. Amplify Trust With Integrated Customer Reviews

Integrating extensive customer feedback was a key strategy in building trust on our Shopify platform. By consolidating over 2,000 existing reviews from diverse sources into our Shopify sites for the Drytomita bath mat and other products, we showcased real-world satisfaction and utility. This not only bolstered our product’s credibility but also significantly improved our site’s SEO, as these reviews brought in a rich array of keywords and customer-generated content that search engines favor.

You can easily find apps that integrate your reviews from Google, Trustpilot, Amazon, etc. to your Shopify listing, so you do not have to start from zero reviews.

4. Prioritize Performance for User Experience

In refining our Shopify site, we encountered a valuable lesson on the balance between adding functionality and maintaining site performance. We integrated an app anticipated to enhance our store’s value, only to discover it significantly slowed our speed, adversely affecting user experience and conversion rates. This was a stark reminder of how critical website speed is, impacting not only customer satisfaction but also our SEO standing, given search engines’ preference for fast-loading pages.

A piece of advice from our journey: Whenever you consider adding a new app, first evaluate its impact on your site’s speed. The benefits of additional features must be weighed against the potential cost to performance.

5. Broaden Content Horizons With Strategic Blogging

Our approach to blogging extends beyond mere product promotion, embracing a comprehensive strategy that encompasses related topics, like contents about the raw materials, and even discussions about our competitors. For example, by crafting content around the Drytomita bath mat that covers its unique material, diatomaceous earth, its eco-friendly benefits, and comparisons with traditional options, we not only educate our audience but also capture a wide range of search queries. This strategic use of keywords and topics enhances our SEO efforts, drawing in a broader audience interested in sustainable living, home improvement, and innovative bathroom accessories.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

At Momo Lifestyle, we prioritize sustainability, that includes our packaging choices. We strive for recyclable materials that safeguard our products during shipping without harming the environment. It’s our small step towards reducing waste and promoting eco-friendly practices.

I hope this inspires other companies to consider minimizing excessive and plastic packaging, making a collective effort towards a greener planet.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Follow us on our Instagram accounts, where we post about creative uses of Momo products and fun behind the scenes: Momo Lifestyle USA and Momo Lifestyle Brazil.

Follow us on LinkedIn for company updates and career opportunities: Momo Lifestyle

Last but not the least, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: Yalu Xu

I want to thank you so much for your time and for sharing your expertise with us. I wish you continued success!

Thank you for this amazing opportunity! I hope I could have brought some useful insights to your readers. Look forward to reading more articles from you.

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Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine

In-depth interviews with authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech