How Shopify Can Grow Your E-Commerce Business
When it comes to creating an e-commerce website, it’s important you choose a hosting platform that does everything you want it to — you’ll be paying for it, so you need to ensure you’re getting everything you can out of it. But you also need to understand the importance of growth. If you’re not constantly growing your business, you’ll fail. Stay on top of growing technologies and integrate these features into your design — features like chat boxes, for instance, which 45.8 percent of consumers would rather communicate through anyway.
Shopify offers brands an extensive list of features and functionalities to help give your consumers the user experience they deserve, leading them on a buyer’s journey that ends in a sale. Not only does this include SEO tags, consumer reviews, and cart abandonment emails, but it also includes an entire library of Shopify apps that can help you increase sales, drive traffic and encourage interaction. Think chat boxes, email popups, Instagram store options and more.
These extensive functionalities can help grow your business by fostering a user-friendly and approachable environment that’s vital to business growth and a positive brand identity.
Business growth is a process, and it requires a dedicated team of professionals. You will have this team in-house — deciding what goals to hit and how to achieve them. But when it comes to your web design, you need to be able to create an interface that can promote these goals and initiatives — and that’s where a professional hosting platform comes in — services like Shopify offer dedicated help and insights that your business can use to create the web design that leads to sales.
With Shopify, you have access to design experts, e-commerce experts, and marketing pros who come with years of experience, talent, and expertise. They’ve worked with a variety of brands in a variety of industries and know how to solve both simple and complex business growth problems and questions. And the platform also comes with integrated support and staff that can help pinpoint problem areas and connect you with the resources to solve them — putting your business on the path to success.
Customer Relationship Management
Your brand can’t grow if it doesn’t have a solid and positive relationship with its customers. So before you can grow, and in order to continue that growth, brands need to make an effort to hear the concerns and questions that their consumers have — both verbal and nonverbal. 70 percent of the consumer journey is dependent on how the customer feels they are being treated, and businesses that invest more in delivering a better customer experience see between 4 and 8 percent higher revenues.
With e-commerce hosting platforms like Shopify, the consumer comes first. Shopify offers brands the ability to manage customer groups and target them specifically. But it also gives them the tool to interact with customers and give them the tools and resources like reviews and gallery options that they need to make their final purchase. This encourages more consumers to get involved, leading to solid business growth.
The best e-commerce hosting platforms have an extensive roster of clients that they work with. They have a portfolio of experience that ranges across industries — but one thing they all have in common is their e-commerce nature. That means that these organizations like Shopify have past resources and projects that can lay the groundwork for a successful website of your own.
Based on your business needs, your goals, your successes, and your failures, Shopify can connect you with the data tracking tools, design experts, and functionalities that can help you track consumer behaviors, establish an effective brand identity and create a seamless user experience that leads them to the checkout page with ease.
Integrated SEO & Marketing Campaigns
Marketing campaigns and initiatives are vital for business growth. You can’t expect to grow a successful brand if you don’t have integrated programs for reaching out to old customers and finding new ones. And websites are the perfect place to drive leads and conversions.
Shopify offers email and social media marketing integrations that makes starting your campaigns right at the source a breeze. They also incorporate features like Google AdWord credits and Google Analytics to track traffic and conversions so that your marketing team can get up-to-the-minute data that can help them better target your respective audiences.
Top Shopify Features To Improve E-Commerce Website Design
With Shopify, you have a lot of creative and technical control when it comes to your products and services — with the platform taking the guesswork out of managing your product inventory.
With Shopify, brands can manage inventory, offer product variations and organize their products by category. They can include multiple images, incorporate SEO tags and upload an unlimited number of products. These can be physical or digital and can up uploaded or exported using CSV files or third-party apps.
Before committing to an e-commerce hosting platform, you need to make sure it can support your products. And once you know that they can be supported, it’s vital that you’re able to keep them organized and managed, tracking when products are sold, returned and how to add to the inventory. Shopify makes the process simple with its consumer-focused approach.
Tracking inventories, deliveries, and returns are vital for a growing business. And you need to have easy access to these dashboards in order to ensure you’re staying on top of everything and keeping customers happy.
Shopify offers a variety of top analytics functions to make keeping track of operations a breeze. It’s actionable dashboard tracks order and website traffic, and you can download products reports to see what products are selling and which aren’t. Traffic and referral reports are also easily accessible on the dashboard. And helpful Google Analytics integration makes tracking your website from a marketing perspective easy as well.
An essential aspect of a successful e-commerce business comes from its marketing efforts. SEO, for instance, is imperative to Google rankings and traffic, with 93 percent of online experienced beginning with a search engine. And luckily, Shopify offers marketing and SEO features to give brand assurances that their efforts will be possible through the platform.
Shopify comes with SEO support in the form of customizable H1s and H2s and optimized product tags. There’s also extensive social media and email marketing integration to generate leads and drive conversions. Product reviews are also readily supported, letting past consumers give their feedback and providing new users with authentic customer commentary.
Your shopping cart is a vital page of your design that should be carefully designed and intensely tracked. The average cart abandonment rate is 69.23 percent, so brands need to be intimately aware of how theirs are performing.
They need to be dynamic, fluid, fully-functional and secure — and Shopify ticks all of these boxes.
Shopify comes with a free SSL certificate to ensure transactions are protected and secure, and the platform also allows users to pay with all major credit cards. Multiple languages, flexible shipping rates, and automatic taxes all come naturally to the platform as well. And there’s even a handy cart recovery feature that allows brands to reach out to consumers about items left in their cart.
Web design matters — 38 percent of users will just stop engaging if the website doesn’t look the part. Websites need to be dynamic, they need to capture the brand identity and they need to lead users on a seamless journey from the time they enter until the time they check out. And Shopify lets you get creative, building a web design that’s perfect for your consumer base.
With Shopify, brands can choose from more than 100 professional themes that you can customize by yourself with a Shopify design expert. There’s a full and comprehensive blogging platform with the option to choose your own domain name and edit HTML and CSS. And the designs come mobile-friendly to attract all of those growing and impactful mobile users.
Top Questions To Ask Your Shopify E-Commerce Platform Company
When it comes to choosing an e-commerce hosting platform, you need to know what the capabilities of the platform are. Can it handle your inventory? It’s important to know what products and services will flourish, and which aren’t supported.
- What products or services are you selling?
- Are they digital or physical?
- What size inventories do you deal with?
- Do you have inventory requirements?
- Is there room for expansion?
Design is vital when it comes to website design. 94 percent of first impressions when it comes to websites are design related, after all. So you need to know if your platform can grow and adapt with time.
- Do you design the shop site?
- Does it cost more for you to design it?
- Do you have designers I can hire to design myself?
- Can my design shift with new web design and e-commerce trends?
- Do you have templates or best practices for optimal e-commerce design?
Obviously, shipping your products and getting paid for these products is vital for a successful e-commerce brand. That means that your hosting platform needs to have a clear and comprehensive system for accepting payments and notifying the necessary people so that they can be packaged and shipped.
- How will I be notified of an order?
- What do I do when I get an order?
- Do you have resources or members who can help me handle shipping?
- What payment methods can consumers use?
- Are these sites secure for online payments?
E-commerce websites are full of cool and clever special features that not only excite users but ensure a seamless and comprehensive user experience. You need to make sure that your platform can support the added functionalities and features that can help your brand and website stand out.
- Are users able to leave reviews?
- Can I include plugins?
- What integrations can I include?
- What account features will my consumers be able to have access to?
- Can I integrate a chat box functionality?
Control can be something that’s difficult to give up when you’re a growing brand or business. You don’t want to hand over the reins and possibly be let down. That’s why you need to communicate with your hosting platform to see how blurry the lines get — will you have regular access, or will the provider have all of the control?
- How much control will you have over my site?
- How much control will I have over my site?
- What kind of technical support do you have to offer?
- What’s your flexibility with locations and languages?
- How can I contact you for ongoing maintenance and questions?
Top Value Propositions and Differentiating Factors of the Best Shopify Website Design Companies
For a small business launching an online store for the first time, choosing an ecommerce solution can be daunting. There are plenty of worthy options to choose from but the best solution for your brand’s needs is not always obvious. Ecommerce content management systems like Magento and DrupalCommerce are powerful but development costs may prove prohibitive for small sites. Other solutions offer affordability but limited features and little to no customization.
Enter Shopify: a hosted ecommerce platform that is powerful enough to support online stores of all sizes. For those who aren’t familiar with Shopify, included here is an overview of the benefits of the platform, as well as information on what to look for in a Shopify design company.
What Kinds Of Sites Should Use Shopify?
Shopify is a powerful but easy to use ecommerce solution. Shopify is a hosted ecommerce platform, which means everything a business needs to set up an online store is available out of the box. Hosted ecommerce solutions are distinct from ecommerce content management systems like WordPress’s WooCommerce or Magento which require separate installation and/or development, and hosting.
Think of Shopify as an all-in-one ecommerce solution. As such, it’s an attractive option for small online stores. It doesn’t necessarily require additional design or development (though we’ll talk about custom design later), so costs are lower than with other ecommerce solutions. There is a monthly fee to run a shop on Shopify, but there are a lot of useful features included in the price. For example, web hosting with unlimited bandwidth and 99.99% uptime is included. Shopify is level 1 PCI-compliant, which means merchants can be confident in the security of their stores. Such features are a major benefit to small businesses.
Because Shopify commerce is so easy to set-up, it’s a good solution for businesses that need to get to market quickly. Working with a theme, it’s possible to get a site up and running within a few hours (or less). Quick setup, ease of use, and approachable entry costs are among Shopify’s key benefits.
Shopify Themes vs. Custom Shopify Design
Since Shopify is all about ease-of-use and being a totally out of the box solution, they of course offer many themes for customers to choose from. Shopify boasts over 100 themes available in the Shopify Theme Store. There are free themes as well as premium ones, most of which cost less than $200. Having a store that’s fully functional on mobile is essential in the modern ecommerce environment and many themes meet this demand by offering responsive layouts.
Still, not everyone will be satisfied with a theme-based design. One of the benefits of building a site on Shopify is that the choice whether to use a theme or create a fully custom design is yours. Shopify customers have the option to work with a designer to create a custom layout and visual design for their site -- a preferred option for more experienced retailers with more complex needs. Shopify recommends customers choose from among their Shopify Experts to get help with custom projects.
The choice between using a theme or going with a custom design usually comes down to price versus flexibility. Themes will always be the more cost-effective option, but a custom design is invariably more flexible and allows businesses to build their online stores to their precise specifications.
What Is Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus is Shopify’s enterprise ecommerce solution. It’s Shopify’s answer to competitive ecommerce content management systems like Magento. According to Shopify: “Traditional enterprise ecommerce is broken: costly builds, crashed sites, and infrastructure that burns through development resources. Shopify Plus gives you a multi-channel platform with unmatched scalability so you can grow your business, instead of worrying about your website.”
Shopify Plus is still a hosted ecommerce platform, which means that technical support, hosting, and implementation are handled by Shopify as opposed to managed by an external developer or third-party vendor. It’s a competitive product to Magento’s hosted enterprise solution, Magento Commerce.
Top Shopify Design Companies Are Experienced
Though Shopify is somewhat less complex than other platforms, if you’re opting for a custom design it’s still a wise choice to partner with an experienced Shopify design company. Shopify maintains a list of Shopify Experts on their website, broken down by expertise (Setup, Design, and Development). This is a good place to start if your company wants to partner with someone recommended by Shopify itself, though of course there are plenty of worthwhile development companies not listed there.
When evaluating potential partnerships, always be sure to get a good sense of the work the company has done before. Top Shopify design companies will have strong portfolios of previous Shopify work and will be happy to walk you through their process for tackling such projects.
Leading Shopify eCommerce Partners Are Strategic
If you choose to hire a Shopify company to design and develop your ecommerce site, it’s worthwhile to look for one that can act as a strategic partner (as opposed to a team of pixel pushers). Experienced Shopify designers will have significant ecommerce experience and useful insights into what has been effective for clients in the past. Leveraging this knowledge will result in better outcomes for your own project. Look for a Shopify company that can come to the table with ideas and recommendations instead of one that will execute blindly.
Service Offerings Of Top Shopify eCommerce Design Companies
Though there are plenty of agencies that have Shopify expertise, most of them offer a range of services beyond Shopify design and development. In fact many companies will be able to act as full-service digital partners, covering branding, design, and marketing needs.
Some of the most common service offerings of Shopify ecommerce companies include:
- Ecommerce strategy - Research into target audience and key competition, as well as recommendations for must-have content and messaging direction.
- Shopify template customization - Design tweaks to an existing Shopify theme to meet the needs of a specific store.
- Custom Shopify design - Design work for a fully custom Shopify online store.
- Shopify development - Custom web development for a Shopify theme or fully custom design including Shopify app development if applicable.
- Content migration - Many Shopify companies can assist with content migration from an existing website to a new one, though this service usually comes at an additional cost to the client.
- Digital marketing - Many Shopify design teams operate within larger digital agencies. In these cases the agency may also be able to handle digital marketing needs including SEO, PPC, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Shopify is a robust ecommerce platform that marries ease-of-use with powerful functionality. Though many small businesses choose to launch an online store with a Shopify theme, partnership with a Shopify ecommerce web design company allows for greater customization to meet a businesses specific needs.
Things to consider when deciding whether to build an online store with Shopify include:
- When to use Shopify - Because it’s so easy to set up and manage, and because hosting and support are included, Shopify is an excellent option for small to medium online stores. That said, it’s powerful enough to be a viable option for large ecommerce retailers as well.
- Shopify custom design - Shopify customers have the option to use an out of the box theme, customize an existing theme, or create a totally unique custom design.
- Shopify Plus - For large and enterprise ecommerce stores, Shopify offers Shopify Plus. Technical support, hosting, and implementation are handled by Shopify. As a result, this option is much more expensive than Shopify’s other solutions.
- Shopify experience - The best Shopify ecommerce companies will have deep experience building online stores on the platform. Partnering with an experienced company ensures the best possible result for your project.
- Strategic Shopify implementation - Look for a strategic Shopify partner that can help guide your ecommerce strategy and put their experience to work for your build.
Top Qualities of the Best Shopify Ecommerce Website Design Companies
When hiring a Shopify company to partner on the implementation of your project, you’re going to want to pay the most attention to the experience level of each vendor you meet with. The top Shopify design and development companies are the ones who have handled many Shopify implementations before yours. You want to make sure they’ve built up the level of knowledge and expertise with the platform required to manage your project successfully with as few issues as possible. Don’t forget to check references to get a sense for how satisfied previous clients have been with the execution and management of their projects.
Reviewing a company’s portfolio is an excellent way to get a sense for their aesthetic, their vision, and their capabilities. Top Shopify design companies will proudly share their portfolios with prospective clients and will be happy to discuss the specifics of each project. Depending on your goals, it may be important that the company you partner with has experience working with clients in your industry. If that’s the case be sure to ask to see examples that are most relevant to your business. A careful review of the company’s portfolio will help you decide if their capabilities are a match for your vision of your project.
Shopify offers certifications that designate designers and developers the company deems to be experts in working with the platform. Many top Shopify companies can be identified by their status as either “Shopify Experts” or “Shopify Plus Partners”. Shopify Plus Partners are technology companies, agencies, and solutions partners who are vetted as experts in Shopify’s enterprise ecommerce solution, Shopify Plus. For companies that want some peace of mind that the Shopify partner they choose to work with is well-acquainted with the platform, searching for a credentialed company is a good place to begin.
Website builds are major projects that require collaboration between many different teams with many different areas of expertise. In order to execute your project effectively, the Shopify partner you choose to work with must value open, transparent communication and a healthy relationship with their client. Projects can be stalled or even abandoned altogether if teams can’t get on the same page. Proactive communication is the best way to guarantee the project keeps moving forward as planned. Look for a partner that values honesty and transparency in their dealings with clients. Communication should be regular, predictable, and amicable, even in stressful or difficult situations.
Design and development expertise are key to a company being able to properly execute your vision for your website, but project management is also key. Top Shopify design companies will have a project manager in place on every project making sure deliverables are met and timelines are adhered to. Be sure to ask the companies you meet with about their approach to project management, and don’t be afraid to ask for specifics about who will be managing your account. That person is someone you’ll be working closely with throughout the duration of your project.