Shopify Sites that Actually Sell

CHRISTIE HAMILTON

As a sales & marketing consultancy, building eCommerce websites was never in our remit.  After all, it’s super simple, so why compete with offshore teams on price? Our value was always about offering something that someone offshore couldn’t, the strategy and tactics that went along with eCommerce to allow online retailers to thrive.

Over time, we’ve realised we were wrong. We have seen countless customers spend tens of thousands of dollars on eCommerce websites that simply don’t work to get sales, and other customers spending comparatively smaller amounts of money on websites that never get off the ground.

By the time they get to us, the start-up eCommerce business is dead in the water.  They’re out of money and out of time to get their concepts off the ground.

 

It’s because the people building the website aren’t creating the right set of tools for their customers to succeed. They’re focused on building something beautiful, or trendy, or modern. They never focused on sales conversion.

In fact, most of the time, the client never needed a website in the first place. But that’s a definition thing, and I’ll get to that soon.

By the time they get to us, the start-up eCommerce business is dead in the water.  They’re out of money and out of time to get their concepts off the ground.

And it’s frustrating, because setting up eCommerce is not rocket science. It’s been done over and over again.  There is absolutely no need for it to be a big expensive project with deadline blowouts.

Our Ah-ha moment was realising that business owners are approaching eCommerce the same way they would approach bricks and mortar.  That is, create a beautiful fit out, put things on the shelf and believe that if you build it, they will come. And of course, this comes with a small oversight, in traditional bricks and mortar, usually that shop is in a mall, or on a high-street, and the traffic is a given; so of course, focus on the fit-out.

So, customers set out to build an online-version of that. A website.  They get hung up on branding, images and fonts, and spend thousands of dollars on a web design consultancy to get it ‘just right’.  After all, this is our online fit out.

But here’s the error.  We made the assumption that ‘Just putting it on the internet’ is the same as ‘Just putting it in the local mall’.  It’s a very easy error to make, but the outcome is catastrophic.

Online simply does not work in the same way as bricks and mortar, but it’s a simple mistake to make.

So what does an eCommerce website need to be then? And how is that different to traditional high street shopping?

We’d be better with a lemonade stand on a highway over a palace in the desert, every time.

Want to build an ecommerce store that actually sells?
Get in touch today.

eCommerce needs to be a set of sales channels that drive people towards an online place they can complete their transaction.

Sounds techy right? But it’s deliberate.  It’s not “A Website”, it’s not “A facebook page”, it’s a little kernel of store that holds inventory online, is a payment gateway, is an inventory management system.

That kernel can manifest into different entities, something that looks like a website, something that appears on Amazon, something that looks like a buy-now button on facebook.  We need a kernel of eCommerce management that sits at the crossroads of sales channels, set-up to funnel business our way, and engage our customers in repeat business.

We are building beautiful stores in the middle of a desert, instead of the intersections of commerce, but by the time we realise, we’ve spent all our budget on the fit out on an online store, and have no money left for the other channels.

We’d be better with a lemonade stand on a highway over a palace in the desert, every time.

As someone who has built an agency building only the roads, depending on someone else to create the eCommerce kernel,  it breaks my heart.  For years I directed Benelds, my consultancy, to NOT do web design.  After all, it was easy, building eCommerce stores, there is no strategy to offer I thought, and I didn’t want my Australian team to compete with Indian developers on price.  

We only started stepping in when desperate customers needed something quickly because their eCommerce developers had let them down, and when we did step in, we found we were far cheaper than their initial spec.

Why I’m backing Shopify over WordPress/Squarespace/”Other Websites”

Shopify isn’t just a ‘website builder’ platform. It’s exactly the kernel. It might seem on the surface like an ‘eCommerce website’ tool, but it’s more than that.  It holds inventory, takes payments, integrates with marketing tools, and manifests across loads of different sales channels.  It’s exactly what you need.

Oh, and it does a bricks-and-mortar Point of Sale too!

But what’s fantastic about it, is you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get great results setting it up.  Because it knows its purpose, it’s very straightforward to understand.  

What that means, is our customers can set it up themselves, both behind the scenes, and the website shopfront, if it’s needed.

Or, because it’s so straight forward, it’s very easy for me to train the team on cookie-cutter set ups.  I’m not talking ugly and useless, I’m talking fixed price, good looking builds, that get it done, on a set timeline and allow us to plug and play marketing automation for repeat purchases and lead generation.

Shopify allows us to focus on strategy.

  • It plugs into sales channels seamlessly.
  • It allows us to quickly create great looking websites based on templated designs
  • It allows us to centralise all our payment and inventory management

After all, what do you really need for success?

  • A buy now button on facebook?
  • A listing on Amazon?
  • The email to buy page for the one off purchase for the new product line to existing customers?
  • An iPad to use for physical sales at a pop-up event?
  • The subscription/reorder reminders for consumer products?
  • The place to easily sell old one off parts or old stock?

None of these things are dependent on the font you chose on your website.

All of these things are dependent on the right software and strategy.

Products vs. open ended web-design.

We want to create products that become starting points for eCommerce business. Not the products your selling; the products we’re selling.  Fixed price eCommerce builds.

And we want to create the marketing pathways eCommerce businesses need for success.

In the past the website was just something we connected into.  Now it’s not about a website, it’s about a kernel of eCommerce and sales channels.  So, the icing on the cake, is that before Shopify, it was all about web design and integration. Nw we can start at the point of web design, and branch out along sales channels from there.

Want to build an ecommerce store that actually sells?
Get in touch today.