Hello Shopify peeps!
Before we get started with our weekly missive diving into the depths of Shopify-ness, I think we should take a moment of pause.
You will receive this newsletter on Tuesday morning, as usual. But I am writing it on Monday – as I am prone to do. And that means that I am writing it on Martin Luther King Day. And 2023 will mark the 60th anniversary of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the Capital Mall.
I would not be right to reduce all of Reverend King’s accomplishments down to a single speech … but it was a darned good speech. In fact, it was one of the most important speeches of the century. So, if you would like to hear it for yourself, you can invest seventeen and a half minutes to hear greatness and history for yourself here.
Great. Now let’s get to work.
If you are in … um, a “relationship” then allow me to remind you that we are in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. It’s just 4 weeks away. Speaking as an experienced boyfriend, this is one holiday that you can’t afford to mess up. So, I figured let’s hit 2 birds with one stone. I’ll find a romantically-inclined Shopify store and give them a little expert Shopify love.
Let’s do this.
This Week’s Shopify Audit: TheValentineClub.com
Every business starts small. The Valentines Club is a small merchant based in Australia. It is the creation of Bianca Deaves who launched her little slice of eCommerce dreams about 2 years ago after the birth of her daughter – Ava Valentine. See what she did there? The Valentine Club is named after her daughter. But it is also a cool, marketable name.
The Valentine Club sells women’s fashion with a romantic flare. They have a nice little catch phrase right up front on the hero image of their Home page: “Redefining romance, on thread at a time …” Not bad.
You will notice that this Shopify site currently has only 8 products with a total of 40 variants … Bianca has definitely started small. Site traffic appears stalled, and the theme itself appears relatively unchanged from its initial configuration. Let’s see if we can help.
The Shopify Theme That They Use
Speaking of the theme, They are using the Chantilly version of the Symmetry theme from our friends at Clean Canvas. This is a solid theme with pro features that lends itself well to fashion brands. It’s a solid choice for The Valentine Club.
This theme is for sale on the Shopify theme store for $320 … a good value. You can see the theme for yourself here.
What They Do Well
Bianca is in the same position as a lot of small Shopify merchants. She has done a lot of work … perhaps even enlisted family and friends to help. But traffic low and sales are crawling.
But let’s start with the good stuff.
When you look around the site you can see that the photography is decent. It appears to be a combination of some professional pics from the manufacturer and images that Bianca has taken herself. But this is not a problem. You need to take the time to take good photos, but you can do them yourself … sometimes it is even better because the photos feel more real.
Each page has a social sharing button that will allow visitors to post products on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. There is also a feed from their own Instagram page on the Home page, which works. This is especially important with fashion brands.
The site looks great on mobile — both tablet and phone. This is a testament to the quality and responsiveness of the theme and the site owner not messing it up … owners breaking the mobile experience is rather common.
What Needs to Be Improved
All of the dresses are currently on sale and size availability is limited on most of them. This is obviously a problem. It feels like an inventory draw-down.
The main navigation is boring and lifeless. I know, I know … it’s difficult to have a good main navigation when you only have a handful of products.
I want to be kind here. We need to discuss the main thing wrong with the site and we will do so in the Marketing section below.
The Shopify Apps They Use
If you see an app or widget on their site that you like, you might be able to identify the specific tool they are using here in this section. We used our top-secret Shopify scanning tools to determine that this site is using the following apps and plugins:
- Omnisend — Marketing automation.
- Bugsnag — The snagger of bugs of the coding kind.
- Afterpay — Installment payment option.
- Shopify Pay/Apple Pay/PayPal — a solid trio of Express payment options.
- TikTok Embed — The TikTok app is installed, but I could not find where it exists on the site.
- Geolocation — Detects buyer location.
- Instagram Feed — The app name says it all.
- Smart SEO — an SEO tool.
This is actually a decent starter list for anyone starting a fashion business. Not too much, no duplications of functions, and all the basics covered without slowing down the site.
Marketing Stuff They Do
Here is their Instagram page. That’s pretty much it. I could find no actual social or search ads. There is no referral marketing, no PR campaign, no influencers … no nothing.
So … I looked deep into the activity on the site and this is what I think happened. Bianca — like so many other Shopify merchants — attacked this new venture with great enthusiasm and effort. It was launched in or about June 2021 and there was a fair amount of activity through January of last year.
Then updates dropped off, marketing disappeared, and the site seems to be running largely on autopilot.
Hey … we do NOT judge here! eComm is hard. It takes constant effort and attention and can be maddeningly frustrating. Every business has its own “secret sauce” … the little things, the learnings, the details, the personality that make it a success. It is years of effort that creates those learnings and reveals those secrets. And even then, success can be elusive.
But … product and marketing are required. And this site is lacking both.
Is Your Shopify Site Out of Style?
Let us help stay hot. If you need help making Shopify website tweaks or fixing those little nagging things on your Shopify store, let’s get stuff done. Tell us what you want to do, get a quote, and get it done.