Chief Marketing Officer of Ideamotive. Travel addict and remote work advocate.
In 2019, global online sales reached nearly US $3.5 trillion, according to Internet Retailer. This figure corresponds to the revenue side of the US budget - the largest in the world. Analysts say it will increase even more in 2020.
E-commerce is no longer seen as an option. It is a necessary tool for the development of a business that sells goods or services.
By developing an online store now, you get a chance to be on the crest of a wave of the rapid development of electronic commerce in the world’s segment of the Internet.
However, for many aspiring entrepreneurs, the topic of creating an online store is already causing a headache. Most people think that they need to study programming at university for many years. Others think that they need to study tons of information on the World Wide Web, check dozens of sites on Google.
But what if there is a fairly quick yet intuitive way to create a decent eCommerce project that targets the entire English-speaking (and not only) world? And the answer was found - Shopify store builder.
Further in this article, we’ll talk in more detail about Shopify: why this platform, what are the pros of this choice, etc., then you’ll see the advantages of hiring a Shopify development company, and finally, you’ll have a clear vision of what should an experienced full-service Shopify service provider have to meet all the clients’ wishes. Let’s proceed!
If you are just taking your first steps in eCommerce or looking to get a small and profitable online store, then the Shopify eCommerce platform is the right solution. It is considered a pleasant looking and convenient CMS (content management system), with the help of which it is easy to both start an online business and improve an already successful offline project.
Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, allowing you to create your own store from scratch without having a lot of development experience. This system, created back in 2006 in Canada, has widely established itself in the Western market, since in fact, it is a ready-made solution for creating your own store of any complexity.
For fans of numbers and statistics: as of 2019, more than 800,000 stores have been created using this builder, and it is no surprise that the total sales of stores created on the basis of Shopify amounted to $1.5 billion only for Black Friday!
If you are just starting your journey as an Internet entrepreneur and have never created your own digital marketplace, then the question of creating an eCommerce project is not the only item on your checklist. Surely, the very first question tormenting you was - how to choose the best Shopify development company among thousands?
So, here is a full choosing guide:
Let’s recall that dealing with a Shopify web development company means you don’t have to spend time setting and programming your website. By doing this, you forget about studying this platform, fixing major, and even minor bugs. All these duties go to web developers, and by paying for it, you can get:
Shopify has its own built-in Shopify App Store, where you can purchase ready-made themes for your shop, so you can see in advance an example of what your future store will look like.
Shopify offers a small number of standard templates in the amount of 10 for free, which is enough to get to know the functionality of the builder (this means you can test this platform before hiring developers).
The Shopify platform has a variety of apps that can personalize your online store. You can independently connect them to your online store or seek help from professional developers. Applications such as product reviews, a discount system, and additional options for sending products to customers are very popular.
In the same Shopify App Store, there are various add-ons and applications, the main purpose of which is to increase the conversions of website visitors into buyers.
For example, increasing the purchase amount (average bill), easily and quickly creating pop-up windows to capture a visitor's email, integrate your store and mail service for email newsletters in a couple of clicks, automatically change the currency for buyers based on it, location, etc. The Shopify App Store already has over 300 apps, including both paid and free add-ons.
By hiring a Shopify expert agency, you get a development of all segments required to launch the eCommerce site, including excellent search engine indexing of your pages.
To create an online store, you do not need the help of hundreds of designers and developers. This platform has many themes to help you create a beautiful online store. It doesn't require a huge team of specialists, which greatly minimizes the costs.
In addition, just like HubSpot, Shopify has tons of custom plugins, extensions, and an intuitive admin panel.
If necessary, you can expand the functions of the online store at any time without outside help. One of the benefits of Shopify is that you can procure the components you need over time.
Also, an online store can grow with your business. There are 5 plans for you to choose from, perfect for any business. The most affordable Shopify plan starts at $29 per month, while the most expensive starts at $179 per month. Therefore, everyone can afford an online store on this platform.
Many online store owners are concerned about how the product will be delivered to the customer. The Shopify platform has a ready-made solution. The platform has several options for sending goods. In addition, it is possible to set a flat rate for shipping or set an individual shipping cost for each item.
This builder is easy to use, even for beginners. If you take only the first steps in online sales, then contacting a Shopify development company is one of the best options. You can create an online store with a beautiful design. The admin panel is simple and intuitive. Moreover, if you need a platform with great customization options, then you should 100% pay attention to this option.
Shopify can offer you tons of additional features:
Picking a team of professionals is another obstacle that a future eCommerce businessman should overcome. The difficulty lies in the fact that there are thousands of web development teams on the market. In most cases, each eCommerce agency specializes in a specific platform or a specific eCommerce solution. They all offer different web development services aimed at different types of businesses.
But how do you choose exactly your team? First, you need to understand what kind of service you need. By doing this, you will narrow your search field and increase your chances of finding the right technology partner.
To make your search easier, you need to know what types of services are offered to you. Next, you should pay attention to the following points:
When choosing your future development team, it is important for you to assess their level of expertise. Thanks to this, you can understand if the team has enough experience to complete your project.
Therefore, the first step is to look at your future team's portfolio. In most cases, you will be able to assess the level of functionality and usability of ready-made sites, as well as their programming and design skills.
An agency's portfolio can include projects that suit you in terms of your requirements and expectations. Moreover, you will learn more about the company's experience in a specific area.
The best way to learn about working with an IT team is to read reviews from previous clients. To do this, visit the Clutch website. This site specializes in collecting reviews about IT companies around the world.
With these reviews, you will find out if the team has done projects similar to yours. Alternatively, you can check if your agency has any awards. Research like this will help you find out how popular the team is and compare it with their colleagues in the field.
If previous clients are happy with your future team, then you are in good hands. Otherwise, it is better to look for other performers. Through a short analysis of previous clients, you will learn more about working with the future development team:
For reference, over 300 new online stores on the Shopify platform are launched every month. As the company develops and grows, it may soon require to create a new design for an online store or add new functions for receiving and processing orders.
Often, online store development agencies offer services such as:
We recommend working with agencies. They will guide you on the budget, offer different solutions, select a CMS, and do everything on a turnkey basis - you will not need to coordinate the work of several people. Besides:
Freelancers are cheaper, but they won't be able to offer quality comparable to that of a studio. It is more expensive to contact the agency, but you conclude an agreement with the company and get at least some guarantees. If you want a site with complex functionality, contact an experienced team.
Our advice is “be cost-effective”. It is always better to look for a development partner in CEE, rather than in the US or UK. The rates are lower, there is an amazing pool of developers there, and it is still in the good-enough time-zone for collaboration.
If you aim for excellence, you will be looking for partners who can work 100% remotely. Make sure that your future partner has experience with remote development projects.
Remote agencies have access to a huge pool of talent. Thus, they provide more developers and technicians with the required level of expertise. Moreover, companies often hire such agencies for specific tasks, such as creating UI / UX designs or developing mobile applications.
If you are planning to create an online store or website for a local audience, then you better hire a local team. They already know the requirements and desires of your future customers and site users.
It is much more convenient to work with a development team that knows your industry culture. Therefore, if something goes wrong with the project, it is much easier to resolve legal issues with a knowledgeable agency.
Make sure you are working with partners who can understand your industry and are fitted to your company culture.
Evaluate its performance: do the buttons and links work correctly, is it convenient to browse. If not, this is a reason to be wary: a company that cannot make a workable normal site for itself is unlikely to do something good for the client.
Not a very important point, but it can be decisive. See in which ratings the performer takes first places, what awards they received. If a company often participates in specialized events, this is a good sign.
Check out blog posts, social media, YouTube, and other communication channels the artist uses. Look at the expertise of the materials, at the manner of communication: if, for example, you and the developer adhere to fundamentally different views on business, it is better not to waste each other's time.
Ask a few questions: ask to tell you how one CMS differs from another, whether it is possible to implement some complex function, how the website loading speed depends on the code, and so on.
If the contractor explains in an accessible way and can answer questions related to the development, then they are competent. You can safely put a plus in the table.
Giving the price list immediately after the first call is a bad sign. This means that you have a conveyor belt: performers who do not delve into the task but earn from the number of orders.
A decent Shopify development company will definitely ask you to fill out a brief or will ask additional questions: for example, how many filters are needed in the catalog, what feedback forms will be provided, how many pages the site will have.
Looking for a Shopify development partner? At Ideamotive, we can provide you with a holistic support (ready-to-deploy development team, with designers and Project Managers) matched with your industry/niche and your company culture.
Our team hopes this article has given you a complete understanding of why it is better to create an eCommerce project on the Shopify platform.
Michał is a digital marketing veteran with a growth hacking mindset and 10+ years of experience. His goal is building high-quality technological content, with particular emphasis on React and Ruby on Rails. Traveler, climber, remote work advocate.View all author posts
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