With over 1.5 million websites, Shopify is now the world’s most popular eCommerce platform.
For good reason, too.
This nifty platform’s quick to set up and easy to use. Perfect in a time when eCommerce is fast becoming the “go-to” for consumers. According to figures from Statista, internet retail sales grew by 46.1% in 2020 - the fastest it’s grown in a decade!
When it comes to using Shopify as an eCommerce platform you’d be forgiven to think it was set up for small and startup businesses. But Shopify has in fact been the preferred choice of many, many big brands for years. The likes of KKW Beauty, Kylie Cosmetics, Whole Foods Market, Red Bull, Penguin and Gymshark all opted for the eCommerce platform in a cluttered market of competitors.
And while Shopify promotes itself as an easy to use platform - we guarantee you’ll reap even more benefits from hiring a Shopify developer. A developer will ensure your business launches with an out-of-this-world website, not an “it’ll do” one. After all, you only get one 10 seconds to convince a customer to stay. And if they leave, it’s highly likely they won’t come back. So it’s important to engage them and get them into your sales funnel while you can.
Before we get into details about what kind of Shopify developer you need, let’s start by looking at the benefits of using the Shopify platform itself
One of the biggest benefits of using Shopify is speed. Shopify’s an “out of the box” solution which means the turnaround to get you up and selling is 5-6 times quicker than other bespoke website builders. In theory, you could have a Shopify store live within a month.
Our custom Shopify sites are cheaper to build than more bespoke platforms like Craft Commerce. That’s because we start with an existing Shopify template and customise as much as possible after that. This is a real plus in a time when brands are being forced to make cuts in other places to stay afloat.
With Shopify, web hosting is included. So beyond additional plugins and payment gateways, there are no extra costs to keep you online. Your bandwidth is also uncapped, meaning you won’t have to sweat those high traffic periods.
But how much can it handle?
According to discussions in Shopify’s Community, the platform’s request per minute (RPM) count has reached above 2,500,000 at its peak for a single shop. To put that figure into context, the highest single-day cart total is currently over 7,400,000 unique customer carts. So whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday or another high traffic day, Shopify will make sure your checkout is never closed
These days, security can’t be an afterthought for brands - it’s a must. Shopify’s reliably secure because outside parties can’t see - let alone manipulate - the code that runs it. Instead, developers can simply extend the functionality through APIs, building custom apps for the admin area. But on the off chance that a security vulnerability is found, Shopify’s team are monitoring 24/7 and will jump on the issue immediately.
But it’s not the features your customers are worried about. Research from PWC showed a whopping 92% of consumers say companies must be proactive about data protection.
The good thing is, all Shopify stores come equipped with a free 256-bit SSL certificate. That means you can rest assured knowing that every bit of information and data, e.g. transactional and credit card details, are being protected by bank levels of security.
Shopify allows you to translate content into 20 different languages and sell in over 100 currencies. From bitcoin to PayPal, Shopify’s integrated with the world’s leading payment gateways. So when you’re brand’s ready to go global, the functionality is already there to do so.
According to Statista’smobile commerce statistics, 72.9% of all online sales came through mobile in 2021 (increasing from 70.4% the year before). That’s why it’s handy that Shopify includes a mobile eCommerce shopping cart in both free and premium mobile themes. This improves the customer experience, allowing shoppers to easily purchase products via any device. It ensures every aspect of your store - from product images to blog posts - is mobile-friendly and responsive.
Staggeringly, Shopify has almost 300 hundred themes to choose from. So although it doesn’t have Craft’s bespoke, blank canvas functionality to design upon, there are plenty of options.
Our Shopify developers can help you customise a theme to give it your brand’s unique look and feel before installing and going live.
This leads us to our next point…
At the time of writing, there are over 7,000 free and premium apps available in the Shopify Store. If that seems a bit overwhelming, don’t worry. At Shape, we can help by recommending the right apps to expand the functionality of your online store.
But if you still can’t find what you need, that’s not a problem either.
External Shopify developers like us can build custom apps that will elevate your Shopify store beyond its core functionality, e.g. adding extra features on the admin side or extending your store onto other platforms. It does come at a cost, but it’s all possible. Custom functionality can help give your customers an amazing experience, stimulate future growth and can keep you lightspeed ahead of your competitors.
According to a site speed study by Ahead Works, Shopify was the fastest eCommerce platform compared to similar sites. On average, it was 0.7 seconds quicker than Magento, Prestashop and WooCommerce.
To help keep things nippy, Shopify caches pages server-side. That means that although the first load time may be a little slower, it’ll speed up each consequent time a customer visits the site. This is because they’re receiving a cached copy of the page.
If you do want to keep an eye on your site’s speed though, Shopify recently added an ‘online store speed’ report into merchants’ Shopify dashboards. Handy for comparing how fast your store is compared to others - especially considering speed’s a ranking factor.
But that’s not the only way Shopify considers search engine optimisation…
The good thing about Shopify is that it already has a few features baked into the platform to help optimise your content. For example, some key SEO tasks are taken care of automatically:
Auto-generated canonical tags - these will be added to your site’s pages to prevent duplicate content from appearing in search results
Sitemap.xml and robots.txt files - again, these are automatically generated for your website to save you a fiddly job
Title tags - your chosen theme will include an SEO-friendly title that includes your store name.
Shopify also allows you to optimise content yourself. In the CMS, you’ll be able to add alt text to images, whilst editing title tags, meta descriptions, blog URLs, webpages, products and collections. This ensures your site will be just as satisfactory for search engines as it is for users.
In terms of content marketing, Shopify has an in-built blog that comes as standard. It’s user-friendly and has everything you’d expect in terms of features, e.g. the ability to insert images and videos, schedule and tag posts - not to mention optimise everything with ease. What’s more, you can customise and send automated emails through the system and there’s a plugin for Mailchimp too.
Shopify also lets you create Facebook ads and Facebook Page posts through its marketing section. And as soon as your items have been approved by Facebook, you can create dynamic retargeting ads with these products too.
Additionally, Shopify’s google smart shopping campaign integration lets marketing newbies launch Google Ad campaigns without needing any prior advertising knowledge. All you need to do is set your daily budget on Shopify and Google will take care of the rest. It’ll use info from your store’s product page, automatically create ads and then display them across the likes of Gmail, YouTube, Google Search and Google Display Network. Not only that, it will evaluate the results as you go and optimise your campaigns accordingly.
Speaking of which…
Once you’re up and selling, you can use Shopify’s inbuilt analytics to see how your shop’s performing. Some of the metrics that Shopify Analytics will display in its overview dashboard are:
Total Sales - this is the total revenue your store’s generated over a specific date range (minus shipping costs and taxes).
Online Store Sessions - the total number of customers who visited your site in a given date range (including repeat visitors).
Returning Customer Rate - this is the percentage of customers who have purchased from your store more than once. This is a handy statistic to note as loyal customers have a higher lifetime value.
Online Store Conversion Rate - the number of visits that led to a purchase.
Average Order Value (AOV) - this figure is calculated by taking your total order revenue and dividing it by the number of orders.
Looking for a little more insight? No problem. Our Shopify developers at Shape can help you integrate Google Analytics (GA) into your store. This can be a good option as the two tools complement each other well. For example, use Shopify Analytics for a quick snapshot of the store’s performance and then dig deeper by analysing sales and marketing campaigns through GA.
These are just some of the perks of using Shopify - and it’s a great start. But getting the best out of Shopify to ensure your store stands out takes a little more time, attention and development.
That’s where we step in.
Our Shopify developers have the technical skills to take your online store to another level. Here’s how:
What do retailer giants like Amazon and underdogs Depop have in common? They both have distinct identities.
Working with a Shopify developer to build upon your custom theme can give you an edge amongst thousands of eCommerce sites that look and feel the same. Of course, there’s a big difference between standing out and sticking out. That's another reason to work with the experts.
Getting your shop designed by experts ensures it’ll always follow industry best practices in user experience, web design and development. What’s more, professional designers will have their fingers on the pulse in terms of trends. Whether it’s flat, illustrative or minimal design right down to your iconography and font families, they can create a contemporary style that works for your brand and your customer's user experience
With so many apps at your disposal, adding custom functionality to your site can feel pretty intimidating. To make matters worse, not all of these apps will be high quality or even compatible with your store.
A good Shopify developer can guide you on what apps in the theme store are likely to broaden your offering or just bloat out the site. Not only that, they can actually customise Shopify’s basic features by coding HTML, CSS, or JS into Liquid. This could be deeper third party integrations with Facebook and Mailchimp to help market your products. They could even create a custom app that's specific to your needs. This is definitely a job for the experts, though.
At Shape, we don’t try and squeeze your brand into a solution that suits us. We take the time to find out what you’re about, working within your brand guidelines - or helping to shape new ones. Because not only have we got vast experience developing Shopify sites, Riley Studio, The ODolls Collection, Foolish, Idyll Home and Killer Impression, to name just a few, our team’s also got the expertise to build your brand from the ground up. At Shape, we can provide a full-service offering - from brand ideation to website launch.
But our Shopify developers won’t just set things up and leave you hanging - they go the extra mile to help. What's more, we offer flexible support contracts that mean you’ll always be prioritised in terms of bug fixes, feature requests and maintenance. Our team can help with user experience and SEO improvements too, taking care of tricky tasks like creating a streamlined checkout process, submitting sitemaps and setting up Google's search console.
We also frequently share tutorial videos to ensure you’re never stuck on how to perform important admin tasks. These cover everything from how to log in and set up products to understanding Shopify's reports and Google Analytics.