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It has never been easier to set up an ecommerce store. First, you need a strong idea. Perhaps you’ve spotted a glaring gap in the market that no one else is addressing.
Or you might have developed an innovative product or service. Or you may simply believe that you can do a much better job in an established market than any of the current participants. Without an idea and a passionate belief in it, you’re not going to get far.
Even if you’re convinced that your business idea is viable, it’s still important to do a lot of research. This will give you a better idea of what’s available in the current market and, just as importantly, what isn’t. With this added certainty, you can draw up a fully informed business plan.
So far, so conventional. Once you’ve made these essential preparations, it’s time to tackle the very particular challenges of setting up your ecommerce website.
The phenomenal growth of ecommerce in the past three years means that there is now a huge choice of platforms and providers. One option is to build your own site from the ground up.
This has the advantage of being entirely bespoke to your requirements but, to be honest is expensive, time-consuming, and comes with no guarantee of success.
In any case, the best ecommerce platforms now offer so many opportunities for customization alongside proven built-in solutions and easy integration of third-party apps that going it alone makes much less sense than it once did.
Inevitably, that brings us to the market leaders such as Wix, Squarespace, BigCommerce and WooCommerce, all of which have a great deal to offer.
However, just as Google wears the crown of search engines, WordPress is the platform of choice for bloggers and Amazon is virtually synonymous with online retail, one ecommerce provider stands out from the pack: Shopify. It is generally recognized as the finest ecommerce platform for start-ups and small businesses, offering easy scalability to help new enterprises grow. As a plug-and-play all-in-one package, it is unrivaled.
By all means, check out the competition, but we believe you’ll find the Shopify offer to be the most flexible, attractive and affordable on the market. It also makes it easy to set up your store and start trading almost immediately.
Like many great innovations, Shopify was born from necessity. Founded in 2006, it certainly wasn’t the first product of its kind but it was created by ecommerce entrepreneurs whose efforts to establish their own online store were frustrated by the inflexibility and limitations of the available options.
Fortunately, they had the computer programming skills to create their own. Having successfully tested it as a live platform for their own business, they decided to offer it to other aspiring online retailers. They quickly leapfrogged the competition and claimed the top spot.
Shopify has not only the most sophisticated tools for small ecommerce businesses with ambition, but in its theme store, it offers around 100 templates which you can simply take off the shelf and use to display and sell your products and services.
In addition, they give you access to thousands of themes that have been designed by third-party developers, tested and verified as compatible with the platform.
Once you’ve settled on Shopify, it’s then up to you to choose and customize the one that best suits your operation and your objectives. So why do you need a great Shopify website or store design?
Very few online retailers use themes without some level of adaptation. Shopify makes this simple. Your website is not merely the place where you sell, it is at the heart of your entire digital marketing strategy.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of creating a design which provides the best user experience, encourages customer retention and raises your visibility to the highest possible level in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The last of these three considerations must not be neglected because unless you can attract sufficient traffic, your business model will fail.
There is a misconception that the best websites and online stores should concentrate solely on aesthetics.
It’s undoubtedly true that the look, feel and navigational ease of an ecommerce site counts for a great deal, but it’s vital to choose the right theme because this will determine the features, loading speeds and SEO performance of your site.
Shopify has a very clear and simple interface, which makes it ideal even for beginners and those with no knowledge of coding to set up a store. Its backend editor is powerful and user-friendly, with an impressive inventory system that makes store management and scaling easy. It enables you to sell your products and services across multiple channels like Amazon, eBay, Facebook and Instagram.
With a library of over 3,000 apps and third-party extensions as well as more than a hundred payment options, including its own gateway, Shopify offers extraordinary functionality.
Shopify Design Tips
With so many options, choosing the right theme can be a long process. Before we simplify it for you by telling you all about our award-winning RankHigherTheme, we’re going to suggest some of the most important actions you can take to optimise your store design.
Settling on a Shopify Theme
According to the digital marketing company WebFX, 94% of first impressions are related to the design of a webstore.
The biggest influence on a visitor’s sense of a site’s credibility is its overall design, 89% of consumers switch to a competitor as a result of poor customer experience and 74% of users expect an ecommerce site to be fully optimized for mobile devices. Clearly, your choice of theme is a big decision.
Instead of letting yourself be swayed by fabulously creative design features, you should ask yourself some practical questions.
How many products are you going to sell and how do you want to display them? What extra features do you need?
What kind of browsing and shopping experience do you want to provide? How can you maximize repeat custom? What built-in SEO tools are you looking for? And, of course, how big is your budget?
In Shopify’s store, you can find apps to do virtually anything. Some of its most valuable categories include marketing, sales and conversion, orders and shipping, inventory management, customer support, product search facilities and reporting. Simply add them to your theme and they’re ready to use.
If your site is slow to load, visitors won’t stick around. And when we say slow, we mean seconds. It’s estimated that the cost of poor loading times to businesses is as high as $2.6 billion a year.
Even a beautifully designed theme may fall down when it comes to loading unless some essential elements are optimized. Adding too many apps and widgets is one common cause.
Another is the use of images of which the file sizes are unnecessarily large.
Compression to a size that still provides high resolution but uses much less memory is one solution.
Alternatively, you can use Shopify’s content delivery network which caches your minimized images on thousands of servers around the world, reducing the number of HTML requests your site needs to send when users are browsing.
Links to and from other sites are very useful in presenting your site to the search engines as authoritative, credible and trustworthy, so you should take every opportunity to connect with relevant partner sites.
The inclusion of social media icons also allows you to tie all your social media activity back to your site, providing two-way routes for consumers to check out your products and services while increasing your online visibility.
You can also add easy email sign-ups and calls to action.
Keep it as Simple as Possible
This might sound counter-intuitive after we’ve extolled the virtues of the additional features available, but what we mean is don’t add more than you need.
Some functions might look and sound great, but if they’re largely cosmetic and don’t contribute much to your essential functionality, then they may not be worth complicating your site. And don’t overcrowd your pages with content.
Unlike printed catalogs, which are crowded with text and images, your ecommerce site needs to be enjoyable to browse. Don’t be afraid of white space: it’s gentle on the eye and helps concentrate the focus on what’s important.
We promised we’d talk you through our award-winning Shopify Online Store 2.0 theme. In creating it, we’ve taken account of all the issues discussed above as well as the crucial demands of organic SEO performance. RankHigherTheme features optimized, algorithm-aligned code for all devices, from desktops to smartphones.
We have prioritized mobile-first and friendly design. Our average loading speeds are among the fastest in the world, measured in mere seconds.
According to Google, 53% of conversions are lost if your pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. To increase your profile, we have built in more than 90 SEO and conversion-boosting features. It is also unique in being upgradable with fully-optimizable product pages which can increase your site’s search engine visibility by 1900% in just a matter of weeks.
RankHigherTheme has customizable top header and navigational layout settings which enable you to create virtually limitless variations for your headers and menus.
You can combine stylish mega menus with standard drop-downs, use customizable banner grid blocks to create your preferred homepage layouts and select your own fonts and typography. There are configurable service icons which allow you to foreground the unique selling points of your store, and featured product grids so you can promote particular items or special offers anywhere on your homepage.
We offer a fully integrated newsletter function, customizable product filters and tabs, automatic stock availability updates, related product features and social sharing icons. We’ve included the Shopify free product reviews app so you can get maximum promotional benefits from customer feedback.
One of the best ways to boost your SEO performance is by publishing blogs. The search engine crawlers are always on the lookout for strong, fresh content and with RankHigherTheme, you’ll enjoy a modern, crisp blog design perfectly configured for site visitors to enjoy. You can even customize the blog sidebar to prioritize posts, menus and links.
The ecommerce market is growing at a phenomenal rate. Valued at $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2021, it’s predicted to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025 .
To describe competition as fierce is an almighty understatement and with over one and a half million merchants using Shopify alone, never mind the other providers, finding the right theme is essential if you are to present a professional image to consumers, establish trust, convert sales and build a loyal customer base.
With nine pre-sets, regular theme version upgrades and comprehensive functionality, RankHigherTheme is the fastest Shopify theme in the world. Instead of testing dozens of alternatives, why not make your life easy by picking the one you can trust above all others?
Don’t just take our word for it – the success of our subscribers speaks for itself.