Shopify’s easy-to-use eCommerce platform has enabled brands across the globe to go online in no time. But there’s more behind this quick turn around time and that is the partners that act as enablers in what it takes for a brand or a business to go online. Yes, we’re talking about you. You, Shopify design and development experts!
For years together, you’ve been focusing on helping businesses set up their online store, get a look and feel that matches their brand, developing sites that can compete with the likes of Amazon. But let’s get real here for a minute.
How many of the stores that you set up online are successful today?
How many of them are getting hundreds or maybe thousands of sales every month?
How many of them are not on the verge or haven’t at least reached the point of shut down?
How many of them are just a part of your portfolio today?
Did you just say ouch? After speaking with 50 agencies from across the world, we had the same reaction.
So what are we trying to say here? Two things.
One, it is time for brands to do more than just setting up an online store and running a few ads to promote them.
Two, it’s time for Shopify agencies to focus on equipping these stores for growth by helping them identify what can give them steady growth in a competitive market.
We’ll tell you why.
Why do Shopify agencies need to focus on the growth model?
1. Increasing competition for their clients
If you’re a Shopify agency that takes pride in setting up brands for success online, it’s important for you to now focus on enabling growth as well. With the increasing competition, no matter what your client sells, they’re always going to be competing for customer attention. Agencies will need to focus on offering services that either helps the merchants with strategic branding and marketing activities or offer them a direction with expert consultation.
2. Increasing competition for themselves
Everyone knows how brands across the globe want to go online as soon as possible. Designers and developers are all moving their focus to enable these brands, irrespective of their sizes. This means that what started out as 10 expert Shopify agencies is now an endless pool of resources that a brand can choose from. Brands will actively seek out Shopify agencies that can offer a holistic package of design, development, launch and growth. This especially holds true for first-time online retailers and established offline brands that just set up their store online.
In fact, we conducted a survey and found that a whopping 58% of merchants state that it’s important to align with an agency that helps them set up a store and launch it in their target market.
3. Need for setting up retainers and additional revenue streams
The market dynamics are changing faster than ever. A trend you might see today will vanish tomorrow. The same holds true when it comes to running a services business online.
Now, most Shopify agencies offer only design and development services. This means that if a brand chooses to use their services, they are engaged with the agency only till the point their store goes live. Post which, communication is usually at a minimum support level, which isn’t as lucrative for you, as an agency, to offer.
When you offer growth marketing to Shopify stores, you add an additional source of revenue to your business model. You’re also able to close more clients on a retainer basis, as compared to a one-time project, keeping your business more stable throughout the year and through the downs of the retail market.
4. Enhancing your portfolios beyond design
You have been relying on design customizations that you’ve worked on so far. But, Shopify and other developers in the eCommerce industry are launching ready-to-use, editable templates. For brands wanting to go online, design now seems to be an easy-to-do job. So, what served as an impressive portfolio, is now going to be considered as a media gallery for inspiration. Especially if a brand you worked with shuts down their online store.
When you offer growth marketing to your clients, you’re establishing a portfolio that isn’t just design-focused. You’re showing how you follow a conversion-driven, success-focused approach to helping brands go online.
And when you have success stories to share, you automatically become an authority figure in the eyes of the merchant.
How can Shopify agencies become growth enablers?
1. Functioning as relationship managers
Most Shopify design and development agencies touch base with their clients rarely after their website is live. It’s mostly when the client requires support or is seeking to add another functionality that wasn’t looked into before, that the two speak. It’s rare to see Shopify design and development agencies keep in touch with the brands they launch online.
With so many things changing in the market right now, these new online retailers will need to continually optimize their stores for a better experience to appeal to consumers. While some might be aware of these trends, others will require experts to continually monitor the changing needs, the gap in the current approach and how it can be filled.
2. Educating the merchants about the changing consumer dynamics
While there are a few seasoned players entering the market, there are those that are first-time online entrepreneurs. They could be following their passion or simply starting a business based on a current trend, not estimating how it would evolve or change in the future. This is where Shopify agencies will need to step in and educate them about the market dynamics and how they impact consumer behaviour.
For instance, post-COVID, EY found a new segment of customers who are willing to explore lesser-known brands so that they can support local businesses and cut them a better deal on the offer. This only indicates how consumer purchase behaviour changes and the new-age retailers need to be equipped to monitor these.
By introducing them to customer analytics and how to understand segments of shoppers that their online store gets, Shopify agencies like you will be able to guide the growth strategy smartly, helping them keep up with trends before they start seeing a dip in their sales.
3. Equipping the merchants with data to plan their inventory better
Changes in consumer purchasing behaviour will lead to changes in what they’re looking to buy online. For example, over the past few months, there has been an upsurge in loungewear as we’re all working from home. There has also been a hike in the sales of online groceries and daily essentials, indicating the consumer pattern change towards wanting to buy only the necessary. Due to this change, beauty and cosmetics brands suddenly saw an increase in personal care product sales, while makeup took a hit. Similarly, clothing brands saw an increase in casual loungewear over workwear.
Now instead of letting them find out about fizzling trends when a product starts to see low sales and warehouse costs start to increase, you should educate these new merchants on product analytics. You can enable them to track the performance of each of their products on a weekly, monthly and even yearly basis to plan their inventory in such a way that it maximises their profits and reduces the holding costs.
For example, if a merchant can see a set of products that have been lying cold, i.e., not selling as much lately, they can lower the inventory levels that they restock, and focus on those that are selling the most.
4. Making data-driven marketing a day-to-day activity
You will find that most stores after going online, would set up a profile on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media channels. They immediately also start running ads to promote their products and deals. In addition, they’ll add search ads and email marketing to the mix in hopes of reaching their target consumers.
What this often results in is losing out on thousands of dollars trying to drive traffic to their store, but not being able to convert as many visitors into successful sales. This is where you can educate the merchants about following a data-driven approach to marketing, instead of the spray and pray strategy.
This includes introducing them to set up goals on Google Analytics, track the performance of every marketing channel they put to use, analysing which ones are driving only traffic and which result in successful conversions. The idea is to enable them to optimize their spends for maximum ROI.
5. Simplifying analytics for them
After speaking to at least a thousand merchants, we found that most were sceptical about using data simply because they found it all too overwhelming. Even though the new-age entrepreneurs understood the importance of data, most shied away from implementing the same, saying it was either too time-consuming or they did not know which metrics to track.
Shopify agencies will need to make analytics a part of the store set up to get these new merchants comfortable with data. To do this, you need to simplify how data appears to the merchant and how they can track all the above without having to maintain endless excel sheets or struggle to find the metrics on Google Analytics.
This would include installing a Shopify analytics app like RevTap on their store and connecting Google Analytics as well as marketing apps to it. The analytics app basically pulls in data from their store, Google Analytics, Facebook and email marketing apps, onto one dashboard to create three actionable reports:
- Customer analytics and segments
- Product analytics and segments
- Marketing performance report
Since the reports are designed by Shopify experts, they focus on highlighting only the most important metrics. This will make it easy for the agencies to get their clients comfortable with using data as well.
On the flip side, it will also enable you to create reports for your clients in case they’re the ones managing the storefront and the marketing efforts. This will save you a lot of time spent on curating data from different sources, making calculations, and then presenting the data to the merchants in a consumable format.
Does your Shopify agency really need to evolve?
From the trends that we’re tracking at RevTap, we’re seeing a drastic increase in the number of freelance design and development professionals offering their services to set up an online store on Shopify. The number of new agencies signing up as partners on Shopify are also increasing.
But, alongside the increase in competition, there is also an increase in merchant expectations. This includes them seeking agencies that will not just help them set up an online store, but also establish a presence that helps them drive traffic to it, and eventually, even sales.
They’re looking for Shopify growth agencies and it’s an opportunity for you to step up.
Ready to take the next step to enable global retailers to run successful online businesses? Contact us to know more about RevTap, the data-driven growth approach we follow and how we can align with your team to offer your clients much more than just a store set-up!
Send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can provide a holistic and positive service to your clients.