Browse Category: Guides & Tutorials

How To Customize Shopify Theme

So you want learn how to make changes to your Shopify store? Shopify is an eCommerce platform created by smart developers in Toronto, and it helps you to create an eCommerce site that is streamlined, customized, and ready for shoppers to buy your online products.

With Shopify, what you can do if you want to change your theme is you can go to the App Store, you can go to the Theme Store, and you’ll be able to find an assortment of themes available for you ranging from little to no cost, to their more premium themes.

For what we’re doing today, we’re focusing on theme development and making changes to the theme that you already have on your current existing Shopify store. What you want to do is you want to head to your theme panel, and there you will see your currently published there. In there what you want to do is you want to click on Edit Theme.

Now, when you do that, you will see that there’s several parts to the theme that you may not have noticed,this is the backend of your store, and allows you to make changes to how the site looks. So its best to make a backup copy before changing anything.

If you have some coding experience you should generally be okay, but if you are new to all of this, we suggest following along with a specific shopify tutorial.

Now, where most of the changes that you’ve seen, the theme customizer are made in a file called settings_schema.json

What this file does is it allows you to add new setting to the theme customizer. As you scroll through that, the way you can find it is it’s in the Assets section of your little file directory. In the sidebar it will have a folder called “Assets,” and in it will have, “settings_schema.json” and “settings_data.json”

Settings_data.json is where your theme customizer settings are saved temporarily, but settings.schema is where developers create the options to for you to help customize your store. If you want more information on how you can add new options in, I’m going to include the link in this post.

With Shopify what you can do is add in new options such as a checkbox, a radio box, a slideshow. You can add in options for image uploads. You can add in options for blocks and sections, and a whole slew of other assorted options.

If you need more customized help with this. For instance, let’s say you wanted to make a add in some options for custom engraving, or adding in an option for a gift option for your site for customers, what you can do is you can add that in as a customizable option. Then the gist of this is, is that the settings-dot-schema only saves the users options or their input. For instance, a text box input.

 What you do is you take the name of that and you will go to the actual template page, say cart.liquid, and liquid is the framework that Shopify is based around. You would go to cart.liquid and you would add in the customer note or the gift cart note or the order note, for instance. Then you would use the brackets and say,

{% if settings.gift_card == true %}

// Add in customer text information here

{% endif %}

It can be something as simple as that, or something more advanced like blocks and sections where you can create a product customizer, which we will discuss later on.

If you need custom help with your Shopify store or you want some more advanced changes, feel free to contact us. We supply on-demand help with your themes, and we also can help you from any place from making changes to your store like this, to more complex changes. Just check out our shopify task list for more help.

Shopify Dropshipping Guide – Branding & Advertising Tips To Create a Successful Store

This guide will show you how to make a good Shopify store within a week’s time. Most Shopify stores fail, but this guide should give you the tools you need to succeed.

Since drop shipping products aren’t custom made, having a distinct Store Brand and a good marketing strategy are the things that will help your business make a profit.
Things this guide will not cover and should be researched based on your own region

  • Setting up your business license
  • Handling sales tax

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Setting Your Business Plan & Shopify Store Brand

If you are planning to drop ship on Shopify using aliexpress there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider before committing to selling certain products.

Do not pick whatever looks, cool, hot, profitable because you will more than likely lose money without doing your research first. Most People when they start selling for the first time, think to stock these items in their stores, so you’ll need to specialize.
The best niches require a passionate follower to invest both time and money into it (like hiking), and gives their life a notable edge/perspective.

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Traditional Dropshipping versus 3rd party sourcing

In traditional drop shipping, you go directly to the manufacturer to work out deals with them to sell their products at a reduced rate. In some cases, this is legally necessary when it comes to licensed merchandise.
In other cases, you can source non-trademarked merchandise from marketplaces such as:

  • aliexpress
  • alibaba (similar to Aliexpress but for larger orders)
  • madeinchina.com
  • tmart.com
  • dealsextreme
  • dhgate
  • sammydress
  • banggood
  • blinq
  • taobao
  • gearbest

Dropshipping Delivery Options

When you are drop shipping from far away destinations, such as warehouses and manufacturing companies in Asia while using alibaba/aliexpress, you will find that the shipping times for the products can average from 2 weeks or more.

E-packet is the most affordable delivery option that most overseas distributors use to ship products and one that ranges from about $1-$3 per package but can take 2-3 weeks to arrive. On aliexpress, there are some vendors who have stock in the USA or have a faster shipping option for higher pricing. This is something that you will need to consider based on the price point that you sell your products for.

You should mention on your site the estimated time for shipping products to their destination to avoid issues. Creating a Delivery/Shipping Info page, terms of service, privacy policy, returns, and about and contact us page will also lend you credibility and make it easier for users to do transactions with you.

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The Difference Between A General Store & Niche Shopify Store?

General stores have a lot of non-related products in them. usually, people judge us by the company we keep and the products are no exception.
You’re less likely to buy a beer shirt if it’s next to a baby rattle on the same page.

General stores are as good as poison to an inexperienced Shopify seller.

If you don’t know your way around online advertising, or social media outreach, you need to stay far away from these stores. They will only make you pay a lot of money (to Facebook and other platforms) for a hard lesson and dwindling profits.
General stores also require more trust from the buyer for them to click sale, leaving you to have to overinvest in your theme, lower prices and so forth.
There’s only one method of using a general store that I’ve seen work:

Why general stores can be good: If you already have several successful niche stores (Pro), and you use a general store purely as a test bed for products/ad testing.

How the pros use a general store (from Kingpinning):

  • Step 1: Create a Facebook fan page, get the pixel setup and add sync between your Shopify and the facebook so that people can buy directly on Facebook from that page.
  • Step 2: Create niche fan pages to test out different categories of products. Ex: “StrictlyDucks” fan page for duck related products to test.
  • Step 3: While the page is growing in followers, create a category for your general store: yourstore.com/collections/ducks and use that as the link that “Strictly Ducks fans use to see only duck products.
  • Step 4: Keep creating pages as needed, and if a collection really takes off in sales, export the products/collection to a niche store and change out the link on the fan page.

If you are new, I would STRONGLY advise selling a specific type of related products to one niche. (your wallet/purse will thank you)

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Finding your Shopify Store Product Niche

Your chosen niche must have sellable items that can’t be commonly bought.

Question: Why would you buy toilet paper from a Shopify store, when you can get it from Amazon, or your local grocery store/pharmacy/gas station?

Usually, you wouldn’t… but what if I sold you toilet paper that had $100 Bills printed on them? some of you would still pass, but a small majority of you who are into quirky products and gifts like that would be interested.
That is exactly the kind of niche audience you are trying to create a store for. The people who are in your niche and their behaviors are more important than the potential profit/markup a product could bring.

Questions to Test Your Product Niche

  • Are    _________ broke?
  • Is       _________ an expensive/time consuming hobby?
  • Are    _________ price conscious/cheap? (check Amazon for reviews on similar products to see if price is brought up a lot)
  • Do      _________ have supporters? Family, etc who would be proud to let others know what they do?
  • Have _________ people bought this sort of merchandise in the past? (more on how to test this in the advertising section)

The Community Building Test

  • Is being a _________ something to be proud of / people would want to share with the world? ( ex: Firefighter Squad instead of being in addicts anonymous)
  • Is/Are ____________ Content hard to find on the web?
  • Are the ____________ community chatty enough? (1:2 Like to share ratio)
  • Are there enough related niches to gather content from? (example equestrian riding = horses, saddles, leather goods, Derby, etc)

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How To Tell If Your Dropshipping Product Is Worth Selling

  • Is this product too risky? (Ex: electronics that break, things that can cause bodily harm that you don’t want to deal with or things that get a lot of refunds like shoes and clothing for sizing issues).
  • On Oberlo it has had a solid amount of sales this month > 50
  • On Aliexpress the Reviews for the item are nearly all positive 4.8 Stars+ and there are thousands of buyers and hundreds of reviews. Also, read the reviews and check the customer photos to double check the quality.
  • Does the product deliver via Epacket, and in how many days? (12-20 is the standard).
  • Does the seller have excellent ratings? (diamond sellers and up/ 97% or more ratings).
  • Checking Watchcount.com to see how many times it has sold on eBay from Asia. If you are seeing 400+ sales on the exact product you are onto something.

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Facebook Ad Competitor Check

This determines how well your competitors have sold your product and gives you insights on the type of likes it can bring.
Just type in 2-3 words that best describe your item in the Facebook search. Then click on the photos/view all section for the like counts. If you are seeing likes that are hitting 100+, that’s an indicator, but what you really want to see are Shares and comments.
Check out one of the comments for the photos. If the comments look like people are happy with the product and want to buy, then you may have a good product to test.

  • Bonus #1: Use this method to spy on your competitor’s pages, and find their other successful drop shipping products that match your niche.
  • Bonus #2: When on the fan page of a competitor, just go to the “Photos” tab, you can find most of their ads/popular products if they aren’t using unpublished/dark posts.
  • Bonus #3: We will use the actual people in the comments to create a targeting profile via Benmalol’s method / The Sherlock Method.

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Building Your Ecommerce Store Brand

Get a good theme. If you have money to invest go to either the Shopify paid theme section or better yet go to Envato themes for a Shopify theme that millions of others do not have.

The Key to success with Shopify apart from getting visitors to your store, and having great product descriptions is having a site that looks like it was made for the audience that you are bringing in with advertising and word of mouth.

The more custom tailored a site looks, the chances are the more successful it has become. It’s just easier to sell when the user hasn’t seen this template 100 thousand times before.

Storemods is a service that helps you make custom changes to your Shopify store to make it unique and useful.
A good looking paid theme will take care of the mailing list/newsletter setup, take care of the pop-in modules and have bonus features like a wishlist or a promotional banner.

If you decide to go the free theme route, you will need to get these added via free Shopify apps:

Plugins change all the time, but basically, you need to plugins that can do the following:

  • Privy (Popup App)
  • Mailchimp addon to add buyers to your mailing list
  • Zotabox – Promotional Announcements Banner
  • Aftership (So customers can track their shipments)
  • Oberlo (for dropshipping from aliexpress)
  • Free Persistent cart app (so that if a user leaves the site and comes back their cart is still full)
  • A product review app like Shopify’s app.

These are the basics and should all be included in your store that are free to use. Once you start getting more sales, you will be able to afford plugins that give you more functionality:

An upsell auto-mailer service like soundest, takes care of everything ($10)

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Advertising Your Shopify Store & Product Catalog

Influencer Marketing for social media

If you have a bike accessories store, you would sponsor a post on popular Biking Instagram accounts with a link to the promotional product.

You can go about finding influencers naturally through just messaging them through their social media platform, but there are also popular marketplace sites, that let you buy sponsored posts while brokering the transaction for you.

The upside to Influencer marketing is that you don’t have to build a large following to get great sales on a product. The downside is that the marketing only works in short bursts, and to make it a successful strategy, it has to be used often and paired with other marketing methods.

The best system is to use this while building up your own channel so that you can eventually not need to buy attention to your products and brand.

The fan page model (from kingpinning)

Essentially you will want to create a fan page around an existing passionate niche. Your goal is to make a page that you would want to spend 20-30 minutes reading and viewing if you were a fan/passionate follower of your niche.

There’s no exact science to it, but there is a simple method to grow the community

  • Source really viral content from popular related websites and other social media accounts (that are not original – i.e memes, and good feeling posts that have been widely spread)
  • Ask the audience engaging questions such as “which Corgi Halloween suit did you prefer (1|2|3|4)?” or double tap to see the corgi do a backflip.
  • Encouraging/cute posts
  • Community User submitted photos / contests
  • Every 8-14+ posts, post a product to the page that they are sure to like and ask them to share with a friend.
  • Customer photos of products that you’ve sold and they loved.
  • In the about section have something like “Like us if you think _______ are awesome/amazing” + 1 sentence about what you sell.

Social Media Tools:

  • IFTTT – To Cross-post Instagram posts to Facebook
  • LATER – To Schedule pre-made Instagram posts
  • REGRANN – To Repost Instagram photos + shoutout
  • JARVIS – To schedule Facebook fan page posts.People to watch on youtube for education
  • Bing Ads PPC Tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae8IvLxVbWY
  • Ben Malol – Teaches you about targeting ads for custom audiences
  • Kingpinning – Teaches you how to build real Facebook fan pages/communities and flex that into profitable Shopify stores

Take Time to Learn the Facebook Ad Terminology DPA, WC, ATC, Purchase and basic paid advertising terminology.

When users are finally responding your ads, make sure to invite them to your page by clicking on the invite button for all of them. If you search in certain Facebook ad groups, you can find of way of doing this in bulk easier.

We made a Spreadsheet, to help you determine what your target CPC should be when buying digital advertising from any platform:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1T2JdL5MEWGDrYOOf62fJtABAkJQ0UT0VYNdF-NMlk40/edit?usp=sharing

You can download this as an Excel/CSV file and If you have a Google account you can create a copy for your own google docs account.

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With that, you should be well on your way to running a successful Shopify store. Do you have any tips for a new Shopify store owner that we didn’t mention? We would love to hear them! Leave them in the comments section below.

Creating a Viable Business Plan for Shopify

Writing The Ultimate Ecommerce Business Plan

Ready to start your own ecommerce business? If so, you should definitely consider creating a business plan beforehand; it’ll help you out in the long run, no doubt!

If you happen not to have your brand name picked out yet, test our Ecommerce Business Name Generator Tool. The Generator can help you generate new brand names, check domain name and social media account availability.

Writing a business plan is an important factor for any business’s success. It’ll not only help you with your business in the long run, but it forces you to consider all aspects of your business. Creating a business plan is seen as a chore to many; that’s why we’re going to provide you with the necessary tips and advice to help you build an effective plan!

The Background to your Business!

What truly influenced you into joining the ecommerce industry? How long have you been thinking about this business? How many people are or will be involved in it? Have you carried out any work for it thus far? Also consider thinking about the potential constraints that may arise and perhaps a possible solution to them.

Creating Your Business Plan

You need to sum up your business at a glance in a clear and concise manner. This will help you to solidify your goals.

In your summary, you should describe the product you will be selling; explain how it is different and what the advantages are. Is your product something that is not yet available? If so, explain what makes it stand out from your competitors and how it’ll prove to be useful.

Include your financial projections and how you plan on building a profit — be realistic with your projections! Try to also include the estimated amount of funding you will need; make sure that it’s in sync with your financial projections.

Marketing and Sales!

Marketing and sales are the key to revenue and profit. There are many aspects that come in consideration when dealing with marketing and sales.

You need to figure out the proper pricing for your product — both wholesale and retail. Take into consideration what category your product falls in; what is the quality of it? How will your product meet the needs of the consumer and how is it superior to its competitors?

It is necessary to know how you’re going to advertise your product. There are plenty of advertising channels to choose from such as Google AdWords. Establish a presence on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps you rank higher on search engines; thus attracting more customers. Other tactics include affiliate marketing and advertising on the sites of others.

A final consideration is, what contribution is each part of your business making to your overall profit? For example, if you’re selling fashion accessories and most of your revenue is coming from watches; include that in your plan.

Operations and Assets!

Explain the operations that will exist in your company and provide detail of the assets of the company. Figure out what is necessary and what isn’t.

Do you need your own website to sell your products? Online marketplaces such as Shopify, [p2p type=”slug” value=”shopify-versus-squarespace”]Squarespace[/p2p], and Bigcommerce are a good place to start before building your own ecommerce site. Figure out the facilities that may be needed such as fulfillment centre to process your orders. How many people do you plan on hiring and what will their cost be? Are there limits to your production ability? Will there be a problem with over stocking?

These are the type of questions you must ask yourself beforehand as it’ll greatly benefit you once your business starts to expand!

Management Team!

It is crucial to build a team with a compatible and complete skill-set. Explain the qualifications of your management team. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What is the background of each individual and how is that relevant to their current position? What experience do they have and how will certain skills be distributed among the team?

It is essential to describe your team when creating a business plan; your team will be responsible for a significant part of your success so keep that in mind!

Be Realistic with your revenue expectations

These forecasts are the proof behind your previous statements about your intent for the business. You should be realistic with both your sales and financial forecasts! It can be difficult but we’ll provide you with some useful factors to keep in mind.

For sales forecasts, you should consider how long it will take for you to start selling. What’s the potential for loyal customers? How will you be able to capture potential customers? How often will leads turn into sales? Figure out the average price of your stock within certain categories.

For financial forecasts, you should estimate what your monthly income will be. How much profit are you gaining? Does your business have enough money for it to thrive in today’s tough environment? Will operations, wages, etc. be a problem to your business’s profit? Include your profit and loss forecast as this gives investors a clear view of what you plan to achieve.

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Potential Risks

It is necessary to consider where your business could go wrong. Could you expand too quickly and lose customers as a result? Is there a possibility of losing a large amount of staff some day? Are you making loss more than profit? What do you plan on doing when these potential risks arise?

Always consider the worst case scenario and how you will adjust accordingly in any circumstance. Risk has always been a part of business, but by being observant, you should be able to keep your business running smoothly.

To better understand what the roadblocks may be in your business, there is a concept created by MJ Demarco called the CENTS principle for his book The Millionaire Fastlane.

CENTS EXPLAINED:

  • Control: You must be in full control of the income stream. This means that there cannot be anything someone else (who isn’t the government) can do that can interrupt or take away your income stream. For this reason, the stock market and affiliate marketing are NOT fastlane.
  • Entry: There must be a high barrier of entry, or a low chance that a newcomer can just come in and compete with you. Essentially, if all it takes is a WordPress account, $40 and a registration then it’s not Fastlane. If it’s easy to do, it’s probably not worth doing.
  • Need: There must be a market need. This is probably the easiest to fulfill because we all need things and services.
  • Time: There must be a low (or no) correlation between your income stream and your time spent. If your marginal income is directly dependent on your time, it cannot be Fastlane. This is why not all businesses are Fastlane.
  • Scale: There must be an ability to reach out to a large audience. Large is subjective: if your entire town can use the product and WILL use the product, and your town has 40,000 people in it, it could very well be Fastlane. Of course, this is where Internet companies shine. If your idea(s) can meet the needs of CENTS, then you have a worthwhile fastlane business that you can fully scale. IF not, then no matter how much work you put in, you will find yourself in a few months or a few years packing it up because of missing something here.

This can help you determine what type of idea you have (full time business, part time hobby/side hustle)

From this you can find the flaws in your business and work to improve them.

Presenting The Plan!

You must present your plan in a way that will impress the person reading your report. Avoid writing a lengthy business plan and be concise! Make it clean, organized and professional as possible. Adding a title, headers, etc. will give your business plan a more legitimate feel.

Make your key points more prominent to the reader so that they are able to understand your intent. Proofread the document for any spelling or grammatical errors. Feel free to show the plan to friends or experts and ask how you can improve!

Ultimately, you now have a guidance tool that provides a clear vision of where your business is headed!

How To Take Brand Product Images For Shopify

Consistency in your product images is an integral and essential part of your brand image. Presentation of your product is key to whether a customer purchases from your store or not. We’re going to provide you with advice on how to achieve consistency in your product images!

Why consistency is essential to customer loyalty

Consistency means ensuring that the products that you place on your website are the same size and angle. The lighting and colours should also be the same throughout. This makes the shopping experience significantly more satisfactory for the consumer; they can then compare the different products in a logical way and will be more likely to end up purchasing a product from your website.

Consistency will define your brand; how you represent yourself on your website will be the impression that your consumers get from your overall business. In a sense, your product photos are the most important communication you will have with the customer since it is the first thing they see and the closest they can get to the product without physically touching it.

Comfortable Club     

Miguel Madrid is the creator of the company called ComfortableClub, a luxury undergarment brand. In one of his blog post he shares how consistent branding and investing in better photography helped him to clear $500k in 8 months for his business, as a one man operation.

Branding helped Miguel to solidify his brand, and paired together with a flexible fulfillment network, he was able to delegate most of the shipping and processing work to third parties.

Shooting consistent brand images

There are methods you can follow while you are shooting the photo of your product to ensure that the images come out consistently. The most important factors to note are the type of lens you use, angle of the camera, lighting and the background of where the shooting is taking place. Feel free to take influence from other ecommerce shops in your competing niche to see what your can do in your own photoshoot. We have written a guide to beautiful DIY Photography that should provide more details on having a better photoshoot setup and taking store defining   trendsetter images.

After you’ve taken the photos, you will always want to set a standard for processing. This includes saturation and sharpening. You should keep them the same for each photo. You should also ensure that the size and quality of the images you produce are kept the same for when you upload them to your website.

The type of shots you take is also an important factor. A lot of websites favour on-white shots. These can come in two different types. The first is where the product is left to sit out on a white background. It will contain the shadow and perhaps also the reflection but this is dependent on the area of the surface you are working with. The second option is a complete cutout; this is where the whole product is cut out from the background and placed onto an entirely new white surface.

It is advised to use the highest quality possible as this will make the images look attractive to potential customers. Since you will be taking these images over a lengthy period of a time; it is advised to stick with the same photographer and studio if feasible.

Text Font Typography, Color Scheme, and Copywriting

Images are crucial, but your text style and descriptions can also play an important role in consistency. You must make sure to make the best-matched fonts, text size, and colors. You should pick a few fonts that resonate with your audience and what you are selling. This may require some experimenting with color, font, and size combinations to get the branding that best complements your imagery.

It is advised to stick to one to two fonts throughout your entire website but size can be changed when appropriate as long as it is done consistently. You should also think carefully about how the descriptions and titles of your products fit in with the images of the products you decide to use.

In conclusion, brand consistency is a vital aspect for your product sales,  so uniform website and photography style should not be neglected. The best images of your product can speak a thousand words, and attract more buyers to your store!

Shopify SEO For Beginners

Basic SEO Marketing For Your Shopify Store

Finally set up your own Shopify website? Well, then you’ve probably put tons of effort into creating a site so beautiful and eye-catching that it looks and feels just as good, if not better than most popular ecommerce sites.

Now it’s time for the marketing aspect which will make all that hard work and effort finally pay off! With the proper marketing and strategies, you’ll inevitably achieve success in the long run as an online retailer. But where should you begin?

The best way to achieve organic traffic is via means of search engine optimization (SEO). This makes it so that your site is ranked higher on search engines, thus attracting more customers. We’re going to discuss the “do’s and don’ts” of SEO!

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