by Adam Pearce

If you’re reading this, the chance is you’ll have been thinking about starting your Shopify store for a while. In fact, 87% of our clients tell us that they’ve been ‘thinking’ about a Shopify store for over 9 months. N-I-N-E MONTHS.

Well, however far along you are in your Shopify store gestation period, you’ll probably be searching for the answers to one of the five questions below. We’ve decided to answer these for you in our clear and direct tone that you’ve come to expect.

1. What is a theme and which one should I choose?

A Shopify theme is a template on which to build a Shopify store. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, think about the templates there. You can get a template with 2 vertical columns, a template with 3 horizontal columns etc that you can then drop in your text or witty image of a cat looking scared. A Shopify theme is essentially that, it’s a template that you can customize, depending on how you want your store to look.

In terms of choosing a template, this should be based on two key factors:

a) Your budget
b) Your target market

In terms of your budget, Shopify does provide a series of free templates that can be used to customize in order to build your store. Whilst these are functional and of course, free, free templates have less inbuilt functionality than paid themes. This means that going forward, you’ll need to either develop your development skills or pay for a developer to undertake work for you, if you wish to develop a highly customized Shopify store. Paid templates (on average $160-$350) give you many more options from the outset, as well as reducing the potential need to develop skills or pay for development work going forward.

With respect to target market, it’s important to think about:

  • Will most of your target market be shopping on mobile or desktop?
  • Are you mainly selling products or services to your target market?
  • What will the expectation of your site be from your target market, based on their experiences with your competitors?

For many clients that we work with, the answers tend to be:

  • Mobile.
  • Products.
  • Fast, easy to navigate, slick user experience.

If you're answering the same, our recommendation is always the same - Turbo by Out of Sandbox. Yes, it is the most expensive theme around, but also one of the fastest, most mobile friendly (sale converting) and sexiest themes around. If you want to know more - click here.

2. Can I build a Shopify store myself?

Yes. The basic configuration of Shopify store can be done with relative ease on a free theme. But so too could I make a pizza. It’d look quite good, taste ok, and keep my wife reasonably happy. You get my drift. If you're skilled in CSS, HTML, JavaScript and Liquid (to name a few) then you're probably all set to build a converting, trust-boosting Shopify Store. If you’re not, then it's time to get some help. Any good development partner should be able to give you a short space of time to chat through your ideas and objectives for your Shopify store - which is why we offer a free 30-minute consultation to anyone who wants to chat before getting lost in the code.

3. How much will it cost to get someone else to build it?

From our research, a Shopify store setup ranges from free to over $20,000. Jeez. Quite a range hey? To help sift through the many options you’ll be given, use this rationale to filter down:

  • Is the developer listed as a Shopify Expert in store setups?To become a Shopify Expert in store setups, a threshold of stores launched on Shopify has to be reached by the developer to do this. If the developer quoting is not listed, whilst they may have good technical skills, they haven’t launched a significant amount of Shopify stores.
  • What Shopify stores has the developer built? Do your research, check out at least 3 Shopify stores that were built by the developer. These are most likely to be listed on their site. Visit each site and just play around. Take a look at a product, add it to cart, check-out their navigation and just experience what it’s like to be a customer visiting that store. If after your test you feel relaxed and happy, then the developer is most likely a good choice for you.

From keeping a close eye on the price level in our industry, we observe that many Shopify Experts (including us) price their services based on experience and value created for clients. Given that over 85% of our clients work with us again after their Shopify Store Setup, we see this as a way of clients telling us we do create great value. Check out our pricing for Shopify Store Setups here.

4. How much money will I make?

From 0 to over $30,000,000. Ok, this one is impossible to answer, but as you’ll see from the media, some Shopify store owners are generating millions of dollars a year through their sites. But of course, this has been cultivated from testing store tactics and marketing to generate sales. The key thing to remember is that just having a well designed Shopify store does not guarantee any income. Sorry, but it’s true. However, by ensuring that you focus on generating traffic to that Shopify store and then track how visitors react on your store. Shopify store owners can create successful businesses, rather than just having a great looking website. To find out more about how our clients do this with, check out our 90-day launch plan.

5. Can I make my site look like a site that I like?

Yes, but is that what you need? Here’s the thing, when our Shopify Store Roadmap clients work with us, they often give us examples of sites or functionality they’d like on their Shopify store. In most cases, what the client wants can be achieved through the use of apps or custom coding. BUT, the question we ask is ‘Why?’. Why do you think that the look of that site/functionality of that site will help you achieve your business objectives for your target demographic?By asking this question, we’re able to guide our clients to make informed choices, based on business objectives, rather than just down to aesthetics. This doesn’t mean that your developer shouldn’t give you what you want, but they should make suggestions to you that enable you to achieve your goal, which is likely to be generating cold hard cash.

So hopefully the answers to these questions have made you feel a little more comfortable about giving birth to your Shopify baby. If you’d like to talk to one of our Shopify midwives (OK, I’ll stop the pregnancy analogy now, it’s getting weird) book a call with us using the big purple box below.


Adam Pearce
Adam Pearce

Adam is the chief copy writer, marketing consultant and maker of tea at Blend Commerce. Oh, and he helps Shopify store owners Launch, Grow and Automate their businesses.

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