Chosing between a hosted ecommerce platform and a deployed ecommerce platform is a never ending battle.  High cost of operations vs. potential future growth.  Commerce Acceleration Group like’s both options.  The reality is the largest ecommerce retailers use deployed solutions. Many of them are custom sites built inhouse.  The other reality is there are thousands of retailers that make a nice living with over a million in online sales annually and many of these use Hosted solutions like Shopify.  We love Shopify and have built some really cool sites with Shopify.  We always try to push the limits of any platform as well, so here are some tips to get the most out of Shopify if you go the hosted solution route.

Tip 1: Use API to Automatically Tag:

Shopify has a great tagging feature that can be used to filter products or segment customers.  The API allows you to leverage web hooks and API calls to automatically tag data within the store to automate your marketing efforts.  For example, if you want to sort in the admin all orders over $300 so you can market to a list of customers that have high average order values, you can use the API to crawl each order and automatically apply a tag to a customer ot order based on this criteria.  You can then use the filtered search view and save search in Shopify to customize your dashboard (orders) to view this at any time

Tip 2: Use Tagging For Product Merchandising

Many people moving to Shopify from an open source solution may run into issues understanding how to best organize their product data.  What atributes should be used, how are we creating product options, shoud I use configurable products vs. simple products? The challenge or question we’re really trying to answer here is, how do I get my products to be easy to find and easy to buy on the front end?  How do I create easy product filtering? How do I make search more effective? How can I easily change how customers interact with my products over time?  There are 2 ways to handle this as a retailer.

1) You can change your SKU data structure continuously to allow for front end functionality like color swatches, size selection or other product options, or you can keep your base SKUs as is and…

2) Use product tagging to filter and merchandise your products.  Leveraging tagging and then uses tags to create filters and front end functionality is easier in the long run that continually revamping your SKU collection

Tip 3: Focus on What You Can Control

The bad news is, with Shopify you can’t control the checkout.  The good news is, you can’t control the checkout.  This means you can focus all of your efforts on oher areas of your funnel.  You can focus on your cost per acquisition for new leads which is related to your cost per click, CPM, CTR and initial conversion rate.  You can also focus on landing page and content pages for conversion as well.  You have the opportunity to focus on improving your email acquisition rate on your site as well.  Many retailers get caught up in the checkout process.  What we’ve found is that the checkout is only as good as the amount and quality of traffic that you are able to drive through it.

Tip 4: Iterate Quickly- Move Fast

You’re now on a hosted platform.  You’re advantage is simple, you now have NO excuses not to be nimble.  You should be producing the most content and be in the most creative mode in your market.  You may not be able to do every custom ecommerce thing you’d like to do, but you absolutely should be mastering the basics and shame on you if you’re still making excuses.  You should be blogging like crazy, creating new site page content, mastering your site analytics, growing and executing a great email program and mastering social media.  These are ALL full time jobs and it’s your job to start driving sales through these channels quickly

Tip 5: Try New Apps Often

You now have an entire app marketplace at your fingertips.  You don’t have to, nor should you wait for a painpoint to search for a solution.  Spend at least 15 minutes a week reviewing the app store for ideas to improve your store and your business.  There are new apps that come out all the time and the app store should be inspiration for you to develop new marketing and operations ideas for your store.

Tip 6: Focus on Building a Brand

Having less to technically worry about on your site should allow you to focus on developing your brand further.  The success of your ecommerce business is going to depend more on your ability to develop meaningful relationships with the 98% that don’t buy than selling to the 2% that does. We recommend that you continuously develop customer personas, get regular client feedback through reviews and surveys, have regular (quarlerly) focus groups as well.  Whatever you can do to focus less on selling and more about the story of how your product meets the need within the market is key.

There are hundreds more tips we can come up with on Shopify for ecommerce.  We consistently see retailers doing 10 million plus annually online using hosted solutions.  If you have any questions regarding Shopify or ecommerce in General, feel free to reach out to us on our contact form.

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