Shopping Around – Part 1: UX, Design & Shipping

What We Learned at Shopify’s Shop Class Toronto

Even the experts can still learn a few things, which is exactly why ForeFront Web found itself in Toronto, once again. This time in hopes of learning a few new tricks surrounding, our favorite ecommerce platform, Shopify. Those hopes were fulfilled as each speaker took the stage. Learn what we learned in part one of our Shopping Around series and take these words of advice with you as you continue to build your own ecommerce empire!

Out of the Box – Getting Started with Shopify

Shopify gives you just about every tool you need to begin your journey, however the platform cannot build your brand for you. It’s up to you to tell your story through engaging content, intuitive design and attractive photos. Don’t be afraid to add paragraphs of content to your homepage and collections pages – Google will reward you for this and it keeps you from looking like a generic drop-shipper or catalog.

Other notes:

  • Create “Collections” pages by manually compiling similar products together or automatically by tagging products with comparable characteristics.
  • In the US you can actually use Amazon for your order fulfillment.
  • When you opt for a higher level of Shopify service you can lower the credit card rate you offer.
  • Can’t find a specific functionality on the back-end? There’s likely an app for that! But avoid putting too many apps on your page as it will slow the site, put you at risk for functionality breaks and make you more vulnerable to hackers.

Supplemental Foot Traffic Sales: Taking the Platform to the PeoplePoint of Sale apps Shopify

The Point of Sale (POS) application has been increasing in popularity as it turns your digital storefront into a brick and mortar operation. Available at all levels of service, the app allows you to take your store to trade shows, conferences, fairs, markets and pop-ups – the sort of networking and marketing opportunities niche boutiques live by. Applicable taxes are set by GPS. You can integrate Quickbooks or Xero with ease. With the right set of point-of-sale hardware you can take wholesale orders, make partial payments, print gift receipts and offer every product that is currently available in your digital inventory.

The only downfall? You must have a WiFi connection – for security issues. Seriously. Trust us. It’s better that you have to be connected. Oh, and make sure your volume isn’t muted when swiping a payment card…

CRAP Shopify Website Design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity

So now that we’ve got the basic functionality down it’s time to make things pretty with a proper Shopify website design. The primary philosophy behind creating a solid aesthetic is to look at the site from four different perspectives: someone who found you via Google, someone who saw you in an ad & searched you directly, someone who came to your site from a social media post/ad and someone who came to as a referral from a gift guide. If you can create an optimal experience and conversion path for each of these populations you’ll be cooking with fire.

Additional design notes & tips:Create a buyer journey with your Shopify design

  • 69% of Shopify traffic is from mobile so you best be making sure you design with a mobile-first approach. All themes are responsive, but they may not be optimized.
  • Muted tones are typically a great option for retail design. Let the products be the flash!
  • Use actual product images for your site – don’t use stock imagery if you can help it.
  • Pay attention to how the giants in your industry organize their products.
  • Cultivate a “Buyer Journey” by developing an engaging marketing message for those that need that assurance and a clear path to purchase for your Type A buyers.
  • Don’t put social media icons/links in your main navigation.
  • Use “Aspiration Design” aka create a value-add by cultivating a lifestyle you’re trying to sell (for example – Wal-Mart vs. Black Milk).
  • Implement text into overlay/code, not into the image, as to avoid poor cropping and weird shaping while also getting some more text onto the page for SEO purposes.
  • Keep “scaling” in mind – today you may only have 25 products, but next year you could have 2,500. Will the design hold up?
  • Add a strong contrast between your marketing/products pages and your “influencer” pages aka your blog and About Us.
  • Always have a clear Returns policy – this makes a colossal impact on reputation and user experience.

Pack That Thang Up: Shipping with Shopify

For many ecommerce shop owners shipping is a death by a thousand cuts. Shopify makes it easier and significantly more affordable – you just have to be creative with it. Each year, the growth of ecommerce shipping increases by about 12-26%, which means the era of digital shopping dominance is among us. What does that mean for you? You need to design either a “Free Shipping” policy or pricing threshold to keep up with industry giants. Do not under any circumstance surprise shoppers with unexpected shipping costs, taxes and duty fees at the end of the buyer journey. How to save on Shopify shipping

Shipping prices are determined by weight, dimension, end destination and start point. The final price is always derived by the highest unit of measure. For instance if you’re shipping an item weighing 5 lbs. in a box labeled for 10 lbs. – you’re still paying for the 10 lbs. of shipping. For this purpose you must establish a shipping calculator to be hyper-critical on how much you are spending.

Looking to make an impact upon opening? Spend some extra time “plating” your product. Include a simple hand-written note or review request. If you can afford it add branding to your packaging. When done correctly you could even score some free social media buzz with the recent influx of “unboxing” videos. Get on board with some of that sweet (& free) viral marketing. People like watching other people open stuff – who would have thought?

Other shipping notes:

  • The more “niche” and specialized your product is, the more you can get away with in terms of shipping costs.

  • Establish a packing station in your home or office based on logistical efficiency. (Here’s a sweet one we found on Pinterest.)

  • Your package should be able to sustain a drop test – stand up, put your arms out and drop the package from that height. If it’s fine, you’re good to go.

  • Inflate expedited fees to make up for some shipping margins elsewhere (your last-second buyers need it tomorrow no matter the price).

  • Returns are a reality – clearly state your policy and walk through the experience.

  • Aim for a 24-hour order fulfillment threshold.

Recommended programs & resources:

For more information regarding setting up your Shopify store & creating an excellent user experience – get in touch with us today!

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