I've been involved with Shopify for a couple of years now (see the background on how I got involved in this thing). Since I wrote up the tutorial on how to add custom attributes to Shopify products people have asking if I could help them out with their own stores. I'm happy to say that I am now available to help with Shopify sites on a consulting basis.
I am experienced in customizing the "back end" bits of shopify. Here are some of the things I can help with:
- Integration of other services into a Shopify store; such as maps, calendars, forms etc
- Help improve your Adwords campaign by properly linking ads with relevant URLs, configuring conversion tracking so that you can effectively analyze keyword performance, improve CTR and reduce bounce rate
- Synchronize your orders with an existing accounting system using Webhooks
- Set up your www web address (URL) so it goes to "www" instead of myshopify.com (technically, setting up the CNAME for your shop).
- Not really Shopify, but I can also get you set up with a company email and shared calendar using Google Applications (which is free for small business)
While I can do some design, this is not really what I would consider my forté. Having said that, I am quite comfortable tweaking existing designs.
Please email me for my current rates. I charge in 30 minute intervals, and engagements typically are around 1-2 hours.
Some sites I've worked on
- Hartmann Cases (design: London Gigabyte)
- Poetry in Flowers
- Karora Technologies (design: Pixallent)
- Loretta’s Dance Boutique
- Replay Golf (design: Holm Lynglund)
- American Brass & Crystal
Tips & Tutorials
I posted some tips and tutorials on Shopify on my blog. Here are some shortcuts to the tutorials:
- How to add custom attributes (e.g. colors) to Shopify products
- How to organize Shopify collections in order to create multi-level submenus (categories)
My friends run a a boutique flower shop, and being the "computer geek" in the group they asked me how they could sell their flowers, arrangements and bouquets etc online. I did some research and was pretty appalled at the state of the art in ecommerce. This was December '05 and you basically had four options: A) host your own PHP based open source solution, B) use the ecommerce system your hosting provider supported, C) use a commercial system or D) build your own.
Hosting an Open Source eCommerce System
For option A, osCommerce seemed to be the most popular. I downloaded it, and eventually got it running after setting up the WAMP stack on my machine. This was a PITA for me, as I was (and still pretty much am) an Java developer and hadn't switched over to Linux yet. Anyways, I had a system up and running and could evaluate it. My impressions were that it was very feature rich which was great. The inventory management side looked like it could easily handle thousands of products, and the shipping options were comprehensive. But... This also made it quite complicated. My friends would need something dead simple or else they wouldn't use it. The GUI of the store itself was also not standards compliant, and difficult to modify. And the kicker... The PHP code scared me. Would you like some meatballs with your spaghetti code sir?
The other thing that was nagging at the back of my mind was the IT administration that would be required: make sure the software is up to date, fixing problems like running out of disk space, and making sure the site is safe from hackers. For these reasons I moved on to the next option...
Using a Hosting Provider's eCommerce System
If you are a small business owner and want to get online, you'll probably think to yourself I'd better go and register my domain name first. So you head on over to GoDaddy and buy one for $12. They will also sell you their ecommerce solution for a monthly fee. This option is appealing because you don't have to worry about the IT administration aspects. However: their systems are typically home grown and quite brain dead in terms of functionality. Some of them are using Open Source offerings, but either way they are difficult to customize. Since my friends wanted their site to look great, be simple, and reflect their uniqueness this option was also ruled out.
Commercial eCommerce Systems
A commercial system was out as my friends run a flower shop, and while it is quite a good business thank you very much, they didn't want to drop 10 G on software.
Build your own eCommerce System
Not suprisingly in retrospect, I chose to build my own ecommerce engine - in Java of course. The idea was to build a really, really simple system for small business owners who wanted to get a shop up in minutes. It would have the ability to manage products and send emails when you got orders. The GUI would be themeable so that it was easy to make it match the branding of the physical shop.
I started coding it up in my spare time and after three months I finally had - wait for it - a landing page... Sheesh! I realized what a huge undertaking I had got myself into (to be fair, you could also upload products from an Excel spreadsheet). I felt bad as my friends were waiting patiently for me to finish, encouraged by the mock ups I had sent them.
Then one day I came across a TechCrunch blog entry extolling the virtues of Shopify. I immediately signed up and created a test account. Hmmm... a hosted ecommerce solution that didn't suck. The themes looked great (nice job Pixallent!). It was easy to create products with variants. It supports payment by credit card and PayPal. Sold!
My First Shopify Based Store
My friends sent me their product list and several photos for each product. I then resized the images so they matched the theme, and uploaded them into Shopify. Over the course of a weekend they were online and ready to start taking orders online!
My friends were ecstatic, and I looked like a hero. Thanks Shopify!