Onstate

In these unprecedented times, many businesses are accelerating plans to open up direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales channels.

Shopify Plus offers brands and retailers the fastest and most cost-effective route to market of any enterprise ecommerce platform. That said, there’s still plenty to consider when setting up an online store - especially if you’re going online for the first time. 
 
Over the past 10 years we’ve helped many businesses launch online stores or migrate from one platform to another. Here we list 6 areas to consider when undertaking such a project on Shopify.

 

1. Product data

The area which often requires the most effort - even if you have only a modestly-sized catalogue of products. 
  • Names and descriptions - descriptions should be detailed, and product names should be optimised for both onsite search and SEO.
  • Categorisation - make sure your navigation structure supports different ways of shopping. A good example of this comes from the many homewares and furniture brands we work with: for them a bedside lamp may be found under ‘Lighting’ but may also live under ‘Bedroom’. Shopify enables you to quickly create 'automated collections' to build categories quickly and easily.
  • CSV imports - Shopify gives you a very nice interface to manage product data - making things like bulk edits simpler than in any other platform. That said, it can still be easier to prepare your product data in an Excel or Google sheet and import it. Shopify provides an easy-to-follow CSV format to enable you to do this. Top tip: create a couple of your most complex products in Shopify and then export them as CSV - voila: you have a template upon which to base your other products.
  • Tags tags tags - use tags to add extra data to products to drive categorisation, search and filtering etc. Can also drive complex workflows in Shopify Flow, or advanced discounts and promotions using Shopify Scripts.

2. Operations

Another major area of consideration if you're going online for the first time.
  • Payments - what payment methods will you offer? Shopify Payments offers a range of card and device payments more or less out-of-the-box, and you can also easily add alternative payment methods such as PayPal Express, Amazon and Klarna.  Be sure you’re on top of your fees, and also your payment capture workflow: are you capturing the payment on order placement, or later?
  • Delivery - who’s delivering your orders? What tracking information can you provide to your customers? Configure your delivery rates in Shopify, or consider working with a delivery partner such as Shipstation to give you added functionality.
  • Future Integration - for a quick launch, you may be looking to manage your orders entirely within Shopify - which is simple to do. In future however, you may want to integrate with another system for order management and stock control. Be sure you know your plan before you launch - having a roadmap in place will help avoid nasty surprises down the line.

3. International

Going fully global - offering your store in multiple languages for example - is probably not an option for a quick start project. However it may be worthwhile to allow overseas visitors order from you as a first step. If so, there are a few basics to consider...
  • Currency conversion vs price lists - how do you run pricing in different regions? Shopify Plus enables you to apply automated currency conversion (with nice rounding rules so that you send up with sensible-looking pricing). If you need to run specific price lists, you’ll need to create multiple stores (you get 10 stores with Plus). This may require some synchronisation of product/inventory data - there are multiple options available to do this.
  • Duties and taxes - do you want your customers to pay import duties upfront (and save them the hassle of arranging this themselves when taking delivery)?

4. Have an app strategy

Shopify apps offer a great way to add functionality quickly and easily to your site and can really help a quick launch. If doing so, do consider the following:
  • Do you need an app - the functionality of some apps may be achieved by a small amount of custom work by your agency/SI. This may be preferable and could present a more integrated user experience.
  • Performance considerations - many apps add additional code to your store - too much of this can negatively affect the customer experience. Choose apps carefully and make sure you know what the impact is likely to be. We have a handful of essential, trusted apps that we roll out on most projects. 

5. Data migration

If you’re moving from another platform, be mindful of the following:
  • Import - if you’re moving over from Wordpress or Magento, apps like Excelify can help you jump start your project by enabling you to import your content. Top tip: be careful though, as the content may require a cleanup as part of this process.
  • 301s - if you have an existing website, be sure to configure redirects from your old URLs to their new equivalents to minimise the SEO impact of the move. Review your analytics so that you know what your high ranking pages are.
  • Customers - when importing customers you cannot import passwords. Import your list of customers and then contact them using Shopify’s Bulk Inviter app

6. Prioritisation

In any project ‘feature creep’ is often a major factor behind project delays. Whilst it may be tempting to add as much functionality into the mix as possible, we’d usually advise aiming for as limited a scope as possible. It’s usually better to start trading as soon as possible and work from there - once you’re up and running it may be that features you thought were important are not as essential as you thought.
 
Are you interested in launching on Shopify Plus and getting to market quickly? If so we’d love to talk about helping you do it as effectively as possible. Drop us a line at hello@onstate.co.uk.
 
 
Chris Marshall
Chris Marshall

Retail Director.

Published

06.05.2020

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