Over the last few years everyone from freelance web designers to large agencies have been growing their businesses thanks to Shopify, the hosted ecommerce platform founded in Canada in 2006.
Helped by the free to join Shopify Experts programme wed designers and front-end developers are reaping the rewards of the immense growth happening in the ecommerce marketplace. With over Shopify 70,000 active shops online, and over 3,000 new stores launching every month, the need for great designers with an understanding of designing for ecommerce and building Shopify themes is growing rapidly.
If you aren’t familiar with Liquid it’s a templating engine first developed by the founder of Shopify and now widely used. Templating languages make it really easy to pull in the data from your online store into your templates.
Liquid has a very readable syntax and is easy to learn. There are many free resources to help you including the recently launched YouTube screencast series Shopify for Designers. There are currently 25 short videos that will get you up and running quickly.
Shopify Experts is a free to join programme with one specific aim, that is to pair great web design talent with Shopify merchants in need of great design. With over 2,000 enquiries passing through Experts each month there’s plenty of opportunities. Over the last 18 months $18m USD worth of contracts have been generated from the programme, a number that is expected to rise rapidly over the next few months.
Typically Experts offer three types of services:
- Setup – helping merchants open up a Shopify store, adding products and recommending third party applications ($500)
- Customisation – typically applying new colour treatments, uploading logos and adding contact forms (circa $1,000 upwards)
- Theme design and build – Full scale design and theme build projects (circa $6,000 upwards).
These are indicative services and prices and you are of course free to set your own prices – it’s entirely up to you.
The Working Party
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia and founded in 2010 around half of their work relates to Shopify, 50% of which comes via the Experts programme – which they joined 12 months ago. Roughly speaking their work breaks down as follows:
- 50% setup
- 30% design and theme build
- 20% customisation
I recently chatted with Cal Wilson, Director at The Working Party about his experiences of Shopify Experts.
What first attracted you to using Shopify?
The effort to result ratio and Liquid. When we discovered Shopify a number of years ago, we found that it was much easier to achieve an amazing result for our clients with it than with the archaic open source options we’d been using until then.
The administration interface is lovely and so much nicer to present to a client with than some of the other options. The other major factor for me, being a front-end developer, was Liquid. It’s a modern flexible templating language and is a pleasure to work with.
With Shopify we can be much more creative in how we design than with other systems we’ve used. These would often have template code baked in to the the application making theme development painful.
With Shopify, we have everything in one place, we have the Liquid templating language to get the HTML on the page in whatever configuration we want, and the rest is up to us and our imagination. We know we’re not going to be burdened by many different files in some cryptic directory structure.
Why do your clients love Shopify?
Shopify gets out of the way, and enables our clients to focus on what they do best – selling stuff. Training with a new client is always quick and easy, as the interface just “makes sense”.
As a hosted application, they also love not having to worry about servers, security updates, expired SSL certificates and all of the other annoyances that are normally associated with running an online store.
In what ways has being part of the Experts programme changed your business?
The leads that we receive through the programme are mostly “hot”. That is people that either have an existing store that they would like help with, or people that have seen our work on the Shopify website and want something of that calibre. As soon as we were listed as Experts, we noticed a dramatic increase in Shopify related enquiries.
Could you share some of the stores you have been working on lately?
We built this recently for Agnes Homestore, a boutique homewares company here in Sydney. We really liked working with the bright images and strong branding.
For this project we worked with Have You Met Miss Jones, who are a well known homewares and decor brand in Australia. We’re proud of this one because we know the client loves it, and we were able to improve her business by moving her away from Magento!
TLuxe is a great, stripped back clean theme we created for an organic basics fashion label. Great product, clean photography, and an interesting look book.
Molly M Designs started off as a maintenance project, but we ended up working on a new design based on her existing Shopify theme. We’re proud of this one because the end result is quite striking.
Become an Expert
If you fancy becoming a Shopify Expert then head on over to the Shopify Partner page to register and learn more.