How to choose the best Shopify expert?

By Max Ikaheimo

12th January, 2024

If you're running a brand and looking to maximize your online store's potential, hiring a Shopify expert can truly make a difference.

This guide is your straightforward path to selecting the best Shopify expert for your brand. We'll cover how to identify your needs, where to find potential experts, what qualities to look for, how to evaluate their experience, and how to manage your budget. 

We'll also guide you on how to communicate effectively with them and make an informed decision. By the end of this guide, you'll be ready to choose a Shopify expert who can elevate your brand's online presence.

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What is a Shopify expert?

Simply put, a Shopify consultant is a go-to professional agency for anything related to Shopify. They specialize in design, web development, and Shopify store optimization. 

These are the people who know the ins and outs of the platform and can tailor it to fit your brand's unique needs, whether that's through custom design, development or strategy.

The right expert will understand your brand vision and translate it into a Shopify store that not only looks great but also performs well, drives sales, and provides an excellent user experience. 

It's about finding a Shopify agency whose skills align with your business objectives to create a store that stands out in the competitive online market.

How to choose the best Shopify expert?

Before diving into the search for a Shopify specialist, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your brand's specific needs. 

Assessing your business requirements

Start by taking a close look at your business. What are your current strengths and weaknesses? Analyze your product line, target audience, and market position. Consider your long-term vision and how your eCommerce fits into that picture. Are you looking to expand your product range, enter new markets, or simply increase online sales? Understanding these elements is crucial in determining what you need from a Shopify professional.

Identifying areas where you need help

Next, pinpoint the specific areas where you require assistance. This could range from technical aspects like store setup and customization to more strategic areas like design and development. 

Maybe your current Shopify website design doesn't align with your brand identity, or perhaps you're struggling to attract traffic and convert visitors into customers. Identifying these areas will help you seek out a Shopify partner with the right skill set to address your specific challenges.

Setting clear goals and expectations

Finally, establish clear goals and expectations for the Shopify professional. What do you want to achieve through their services? 

This could include tangible objectives like increasing website traffic by a certain percentage, improving conversion rates, launching your eCommerce by a specific date, or undergoing Shopify migration. 

Communicating these goals upfront will ensure that both you and the agency are aligned and can work towards a common objective. It also sets the stage for measuring the success of your collaboration.

By thoroughly understanding your needs, you can hire a Shopify expert with a focused and informed perspective, paving the way for a successful partnership.

Researching potential experts

To effectively hire a Shopify developer, you need to know where to look and how to assess the candidates you find. Here's a straightforward approach to kickstart your search.

Evaluating their online presence and portfolio

  • Website and portfolio: An expert’s website and portfolio are reflections of their skills and style. Look for a portfolio that showcases a variety of projects, especially those that align with your brand's needs.

  • Specialization: Pay attention to their areas of expertise. Some might excel in web design, while others are more focused on Shopify development or marketing. Choose a Shopify professional whose strengths align with your requirements.

  • Professionalism and branding: The way they present themselves online is often indicative of how they'll handle your project. A professional, well-maintained online presence is a good sign.

Reading reviews and testimonials from previous clients

  • Client feedback: Reviews and testimonials offer insights into an expert’s work ethic and effectiveness. Look for comments on their professionalism, communication, and problem-solving skills.

  • Case studies: Some experts provide detailed case studies of their projects. These can give you a clearer picture of their approach and the results they've achieved for other brands.

  • Third-party review sites: Don’t just rely on the testimonials on their website. Check out third-party review sites for a more unbiased perspective.

Understanding technology partnership

  • Ensure the expert has in-depth knowledge of the Shopify platform: They should be familiar with both basic and advanced features of Shopify and Shopify Plus, if applicable.

  • Assess their ability to perform custom development: This includes creating custom Shopify themes, modifying existing ones, and developing unique features tailored to your business needs.

  • Check their experience in integrating third-party applications or systems: With Shopify. Seamless integration with CRMs CMSs, ERPs, and payment gateways are key for efficient operations.

  • See if they can leverage Shopify API: They should be proficient in using Shopify's API for integrating external services or building custom functionalities.

Read more: Ikius case studies

Questions to ask before committing to an agency

  1. Can you share examples of your previous Shopify projects, particularly those similar to my brand's needs? This question helps you gauge their experience and relevance to your project.

  2. What is your typical approach or process when tackling a new Shopify website? Understanding their methodology gives you insight into how they manage projects and handle challenges.

  3. Are you currently available to take on a new project, and what is your estimated timeline for a project like mine? This checks their availability and sets realistic expectations for project timelines.

  4. What is your policy on post-launch support and maintenance? It's crucial to know how they handle issues or updates after your eCommerce store goes live.

  5. How do you structure your fees, and what are your payment terms? Clarifying costs and payment expectations upfront avoids surprises later.

  6. How do you ensure that your design and development align with a brand's vision and goals? This question assesses their ability to tailor their skills to your specific brand identity and objectives.

  7. What unique value or expertise do you bring to a Shopify project that sets you apart from others? This allows them to highlight their unique strengths and why they might be the best fit for your project.

One last stop: Have you considered headless Shopify?

Headless Shopify refers to the separation of the front-end presentation layer of a Shopify Plus store from its back-end e-commerce functionality. This means the user interface (UI) – what customers see and interact with – is developed independently from the core e-commerce 

This approach offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing brands to create unique, highly customized user experiences that stand out in a crowded online marketplace.

Granted, going headless isn’t for everyone, but if you have a mature brand with a solid store and want to take things higher, headless is for you.

Why consider headless Shopify?

  • Enhanced performance: Headless Shopify can lead to faster websites, as the front end is typically built using modern JavaScript frameworks optimized for speed and responsiveness.

  • Omnichannel selling: It facilitates a seamless omnichannel experience, allowing your brand to sell through various channels (like social media, mobile apps, and marketplaces) while managing everything from one Shopify back end.

  • Custom user experiences: You can craft unique customer journeys and personalized experiences that are not constrained by the limitations of traditional Shopify themes.

Read more: What is headless Shopify?

Ikius + Shopify = Brand success

Varcroft and Bianco

In this experience, we worked closely with Varcroft & Bianco's tech team to create a seamless integration between their 3D product configurator and Shopify. We designed the UI with Figma and built it in React.

Users can design their own drawer inserts in the progressive web app and order them directly with Shopify, which has been integrated into the app through the Shopify API.

Hotel Radio

We built a complete system for hosting and delivering massive online live streaming experiences on Hotel Radio

In addition, to live streams, Hotel Radio offers e-commerce through Shopify, fully integrated into the site. Headless Shopify enables seamless shopping experiences on-site and during the streams.

Closing thoughts

In summary, choosing the right Shopify expert is crucial for your e-commerce success. Focus on finding someone with strong platform knowledge, custom development ability, and a knack for responsive design and marketing.

They should be skilled in integrating various systems and understand the importance of security and user experience. The right expert will not only meet your current needs but also help your store grow and adapt to future changes.

With their expertise, your online store will be well-positioned to attract and retain customers, driving the success and growth of your business.

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