How we build Shopify stores

To best explain what we do, I thought it might be a good idea to explain how we do it. Not down to the fine details of course, we're not that trusting. You might be a competitor of ours and decide to start copying how we do things. Paranoia aside, and without further ado, here's the what and how we do what we do.

Discovery

Client Discovery ShopCreatify
Screenshot of the ShopCreatify initial inquiry form 

Without a doubt this is the most important phase of any project. If we're not a suitable match for your needs (nor Shopify perhaps) we'll be brutally honest in this phase. Shopify covers most ecommerce needs but sometimes what someone wants just doesn't suit the pre-built nature of the system. There is always the option of writing custom apps, but if your core requirement is too starkly different to what Shopify offers we'll likely advise a different route. If you want to, you can always give Shopify a whirl with a 14 day free trial. That said, a vast majority of ecommerce requirements are catered for perfectly and elegantly with the Shopify platform. Whether you're able to roll out your store with a bare bones "vanilla" flavored version of the system or you want to spice things up with feature rich store including all the bells and whistles, you're well covered. In the discovery phase the most important factor for both you and ShopCreatify is establishing mutual suitability. Mutual respect, professional ethics and a passion for your business are very important to us. Together with you, in the discovery phase we'll also define the overall scope of the project. Some of the key points involved in most projects are:

  1. How many and what type of products you want to sell
  2. What payment methods you want to offer your customers
  3. How you'll be shipping your products
  4. How will the necessary information (product data, images, legal literature etc.) be delivered to us and in what format(s)
  5. Overall readiness of the brand (logos, visual identity etc.)
Once we have established the above factors (and likely others) we can both make an informed decision with regards to costs, timing and resource requirements. This is usually the make or break point where we both decide whether to proceed with the project.

Planning

ShopCreatify Trello board example
An example of a ShopCreatify project Trello board.

If we're in the planning phase it is a given that we've both decided to proceed with the project.  By now we should already be quite familiar with each other and have a good understanding of the project's requirements. We strongly believe that failing to plan is planning to fail. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the process of setting out the tasks required as well as the relevant milestones and deadlines.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. - Alan Lakein
All ShopCreatify projects have a dedicated "customer happiness manager" assigned who will be in charge of setting up a private Trello board for your project. A high level set of tasks will be created in the form of cards which are prioritized in the correct order as logic dictates.

Execution

Editing a theme in Shopify

With all the tasks set out, we start executing them with ruthless abandon. We'll assign you tasks to do too. Things like composing your page content, compiling your product data, getting your legal page content together etc. On a weekly basis we'll send a status update with an executive overview breakdown of the project's health and momentum. This allows you to apply pressure on anyone / anything that is causing a bottleneck or to simply ease your concerns or alert you to any stagnation in the project. The main aspects involved in the execution of most projects include:

  1. Domain registration & pointing
  2. Email setup
  3. Store setup & configuration
  4. Theme implementation & styling
  5. Content loading and formatting
  6. Product loading
  7. Payment facility setup
  8. Shipping provider integration
  9. App integration, configuration & styling
  10. Testing & bug fixing
It is important to note that we are strong advocates of Kanban and agile development. So although things may appear quite "waterfall" in this blog post, that is not the case. We have daily scrums, planning meetings, review meetings and retrospectives. We find this the most productive way of execution and allows all parties to collaboratively create the best end result (your shop).

Deployment

OStrap.com live shop
OStrap paracord products ecommerce store (note, this is a live store)

Now that your site is ready to be switched live, we will -at your bidding- do so with confidence that it will be ready to start receiving your first orders. Depending on the nature of the project and agreement in place, we'll be available to fix any unforeseen teething issues for a set period of time. To believe there won't be any teething issues is naive at best and irresponsible at worst. Being ready to quickly fix snags that get exposed in the wild is an important aspect in any web deployment, ecommerce or not. And that, ladies and gents is how we do it. If you're interested in finding out more, please get in touch.




Ross Allchorn
Ross Allchorn

Author

Hi, I'm Ross, an entrepreneur and a specialist in e-commerce. I'm always keen on hearing about new and interesting startups and projects, so feel free to contact me using our contact page.