In today’s podcast, I sat down with Melissa Rowlston to talk about the ins and outs of the e-commerce platform, Shopify.
What made you gravitate towards Shopify?
Shopify is an e-commerce first platform, which means you have complete control.
Shopify is also self-hosting, which means you never have to worry about it going down due to large amounts of traffic.
What is the mistake people make when it comes to e-commerce?
Sites like Woo-commerce are very simple to build, which is where mistakes begin to happen.
Woo-commerce is a plug-in and not a platform, which means it is ideal for building sites and adding products later.
Ideally, you would have large amounts of content and only a few products, which are plugged-in, making it the best site for service-based businesses.
Woo-commerce is not e-commerce first, and users need to be mindful of elements such as scalability, traffic and security.
What is the difference between self-hosted sites and those that are hosted by other companies?
Shopify is self-hosted, which means it does not make use of an external company such as Afrihost.
Websites are, therefore, hosted on Shopify servers which ensures that servers do not go down and that you do not have to worry about being hacked.
Whereas sites, such as WordPress, that make use of hosting companies have to work a little harder to ensure they have security measures in place.
Especially when making use of plug-ins, because apps are “the cracks where bugs get in”.
How accessible is Shopify to someone just getting started?
Shopify is quite accessible and easy for anyone to set up.
It has an elementary stage which means that anyone can get on and start selling- efficiently.
After that, you can customise all your settings.
What is the psychology behind the checkout process that leads to higher conversions?
There are a lot of elements you want to consider when you think about the customer journey, which is why Shopify has a team on the backend that have dedicated copious amounts of time and research into figuring out what would be the most efficient process leading up to checkout.
The first component was making sure that the process is compatible across all devices.
Shopify also has a unique notification process that is sent to your customer after a purchase.
The customers will receive notifications such as; confirmation, fulfilment, failed fulfilment, shipping, refunds, abandon checkout, etc.
By doing this, you are allowing your customer to take full control, thus, nurturing your relationship with them.
There are default settings on all notifications, but you can customise these as well.
What are the pricing options for Shopify?
There is no free version of Shopify available.
However, you can add a Shopify plug-in button to any website, for $9.00/month.
The first package will cost you $29.00/month, including a 2% transaction fee. This package has all the basic functionality, including 3 staff accounts.
The second package for $79.00/month is the standard package which includes free gift cards, 15 staff accounts and a transaction fee of 1%.
The third package is $299.00/month, and Shopify Plus will cost you R20 000/month, which includes all possible situations you may encounter with a customer and direct customer service.
What Melissa suggests is starting everyone on the $29.00 package, as it has all the elements you need and also helps you keep your costs low.
Only after you make R1million in revenue, would you consider moving to the $79.00 package.
What are plug-ins?
A plug-in is an app that you would link to your site.
In terms of performance and complexity, you do not want to have more than 5 plug-ins at a time, as it could cause conflict somewhere along your sales funnel, due to different payment methods and couriers.
Something people may not realise is that free themes use more apps, where paying for a theme on a site allows you more features, which means fewer plug-ins are necessary.
What kind of plug-ins would you advise?
Examples of the standard apps that may be worth your while are; Order printer apps, review apps, loyalty programmes, email flows, sophisticated and collection filters, page builders, menu apps or an integrated chat app.
The best thing about Shopify is that the default setting allows for all tracking analytics.
Best Practices For Doing It Yourself
- Get on the forums and listen to what people are saying while filtering out the rubbish.
- Play around! Never be afraid to test new methods or make a change.
Keep in mind, when you venture out in doing something yourself, it will take you much longer than it would a professional.
You can expect this process to take up to a year, whereas it may only take an agency 2 weeks.
Psychology Behind Building A Site:
When you are building a site, you need to be very mindful of the customer journey and therefore, want to make sure you take notice of the following;
The site needs to be trustworthy.
Which means people need to know that your site has a good payment gateway and that products will not take months to arrive.
Most people automatically feel more reassured by a site that ends in .co.za than they do a website ending in .com because it tells them that it is local.
Your site has to be attractive.
Typically the amount of people who click on a site and then leave immediately is around 60%.
This is known as the bounce rate.
You want to make sure your bounce rate is approximately 30%, which means making your site look good, grab attention and build trust.
Hit the pain points
Every product exists to solve a problem.
Therefore, you want to make it clear the problem you are solving- ensure you get your message across fast!
Other aspects that make a difference as to how your business performs would be fast and free shipping.
Free shipping makes a massive difference when it comes to customers proceeding to checkout.
The case study mentioned shows that one company went from making R600 000 to R1 million, in just one month, because they implemented free shipping!
In addition to all these points, you want to make sure you eliminate some of the risks for the customer by ensuring you have both return policies and warranties in place.