Every year seems like it is a new watershed year for Shopify. Between unforeseen growth at the start of the decade to the incredible features they’ve been consistently rolling out, now (more than ever before) is the time for brands to double down on ecommerce.
Not only are there nearly 4.5 million Shopify stores worldwide, but 19% of the top million websites in total are Shopify sites. That is a lot of high-powered, high-performing ecommerce stores! And that means that Shopify is not just taking a disproportionate share of the new ecommerce sites coming online. Still, they are taking customers and sites away from other more established players in the game.
It’s simple. Shopify is (still) the hottest ecommerce platform on the internet today. So why am I reminding you of all that?
Shopify customization and development is like a midwest tornado
Currently, I sit securely in TaskHusky’s Content Creation Command Center located in the heart of America’s Midwest. Here we get our share of windstorms, hail, and even the occasional tornado. Every time a storm blows through town, hundreds of shoddy neighborhood repair trucks with dubious qualifications and expired licenses start to swarm. It’s a popular scam: they take work deposits and skip town. The locals call them “storm-chasers.”
The point is that you have to be careful out there. I remember when WordPress first took off. All of a sudden, everyone was a WordPress website expert. But the number of real WordPress experts – the experienced folks who legitimately knew their way around the software – did not quadruple overnight. But if you read the About Us pages on many websites, you sure would think so.
Our team has been in the Shopify ecommerce game since way back in 2009, and with each passing year, we see more glimmers of the same thing happening in the Shopify community. Here come the storm chasers!
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Whether you are talking about a complete Shopify site set-up and configuration or a few small task customizations to improve performance, here are a handful of questions you should ask your Shopify developer before you let them anywhere near your Shopify store.
1. Are revisions included?
While it might sound simple, most developers don’t consider the revision process when they quote a job. Making sure revisions are included helps you out in three ways:
- If something isn’t working or looking right, it gets fixed without blowing up your project budget.
- It tells you that your developer is confident in their work.
- They know what to expect because they have already done the task a hundred times.
- It ensures they are incentivized to do it right the first time. If revisions cost extra, let’s just say more mistakes happen than there should be.
2. Do they have a Satisfaction Guarantee?
A Satisfaction Guarantee is not the same thing as having revisions Included. A Satisfaction Guarantee not only says that they did the job as you expected (revisions), but it means that the project is completed and you are actually pleased with the results. If you aren’t happy, the task is redone until you are happy. It’s that simple.
It takes a special kind of confidence to offer a Satisfaction Guarantee. And while some people will never be happy, in our experience, most Shopify store owners are good business people who expect excellent performance and know it when they see it. So, make sure that your developer guarantees your happiness.
3. Are they official Shopify Experts?
Shopify thoroughly vets its partner and expert programs — not just anyone can get in. And just because someone says – in text form – that they are “experts in Shopify” does not mean that they are genuinely official Shopify Experts.
No disrespect to any talented developers who want to do Shopify work. I don’t blame them: Shopify is awesome, and the community is great. But being an official Shopify Expert and displaying the official icon means something — and it's a difference that matters.
4. How long do you have to approve the project or tasks once completed?
Let’s imagine that you have a developer working on a Shopify theme customization task, and then – over the weekend – you are notified via email that the task is completed. You get to the store on Monday and look around; it looks pretty good. But then you notice that it’s not working right. So, you reply to the email only to be informed that you only have 24 hours to voice your disapproval of the work.
Yes, it happens.
Everyone needs to have a window to review and approve projects; even developers want to wrap up projects so they can move on to the next one. But a day or two is just not enough. You simply need more time, right?
We recommend that you make sure that your Shopify developer allows for at least five days to check the work. A whole week is even better. That way, you have the time to look at and measure the impact on business before giving your final blessing.
5 - Do they have experience with mobile?
Mobile is a BIG deal! Seriously, where have you been if you are selling things on the internet and not worrying about mobile right now?
All the best Shopify Themes are responsive for a reason, right? Nearly two-thirds of internet traffic arrives on a mobile device. And this is only going to get bigger. And since you bought a quality theme (and you did buy a quality theme, right?), your Shopify ecommerce website will be mobile-responsive and look gorgeous on every technology or device platform.
When you add apps and code snippets or tweak a site's appearance, sometimes you have to make unique customizations to ensure that the mobile shopping experience keeps looking great. You would be surprised how often we’ve been called in to fix the mobile side of someone else's work.
An experienced Shopify developer will know what to look for and how to keep mobile UX issues from occurring. And – if something does get out of alignment on mobile – they’ll know how to fix it as a part of the deal.
6 - What is their ecommerce-specific experience?
It might sound like a bit of an odd question. I mean, if it's all Shopify, it’s all ecommerce! Right?
Well, yes. But, also, no.
Ecommerce is different from other kinds of websites and internet assets. If ecommerce is all you do in your agency, you have a further understanding of things like conversions, cart abandonment, and specialized direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing. You get a feel for product descriptions and photography. You have fixed hundreds of inventory issues and installed thousands of shipping and logistics apps.
Being an ecommerce specialist is more than just understanding the code, platform, and technology. Yes, individual agencies can have dedicated ecommerce staff. That’s perfectly fine. Make sure that whoever is working on your site eats, drinks, and sleeps ecommerce because your business deserves a pro.
The six questions to ask your Shopify ecommerce developer
Shopify is going to be the top ecommerce platform, which means that there will be a growing number of developers wanting to do customization projects for it. However, there will be many "storm-chasers", aka those unqualified developers, who take advantage of that popularity and offer services without the proper qualifications.
As certified Shopify Experts with over ten years of experience in the Shopify ecosystem, we know that you need to ask hard questions to ensure you get your money's worth from any development project.
This will ensure that you get the best quality work and that your Shopify store continues to be highly optimized, user-friendly, and incredibly successful.