Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at eCommerce giant, Shopify’s, roadshow event, “A Day With Shopify.” Merchants, developers, and entrepreneurs of all types gathered in Vancouver, BC, for a one-day meet up to learn tips and tricks and share best practices for all things eCommerce. As per usual, Shopify put on an incredible event, bringing me back together with old friends from the industry and introducing me to a new pool of brilliant minds who I was able to collaborate with about how we can change the world through the power of innovation and collaboration.
Topics covered vary from implementation to integrations, helping arm agencies and developers with everything they need to help gain new business and keep up with the trends. Having spent the past two years at Pixlee working on optimizing our partnership with Shopify, there have been so many lessons learned, ranging from navigating the API to really hitting the mark with what merchants want with their experience. When deciding what to speak about at the event, I reflected on what did I do to help my business grow. The answer was simple: I helped merchants grow their business. The rest came naturally. For my talk, I took it back to the basics and discussed exactly what businesses need to do to give merchants and their customers the best product experience. This topic stood out to me as something that developers, agencies and frankly anyone in the room could relate to, because in the fast-moving world of startups, it’s easy to dream big, and all too easy to look beyond the basics. So, after the last refreshment break of the day, I took the stage and shared my tips on “4 ways to give merchants the best product experience (and grow your business along the way). Check out a quick summary of my presentation and key takeaways below.
1) Do your homework
So often, it is easy to skip doing the research or planning and just dive in. I know that I am certainly guilty of that. I did it when I first kicked off Pixlee’s partnership with Shopify. When I first started at Pixlee, there was no existing relationship with the team at Shopify, and seeing the value in the partnership, I was eager to change that. I ended up neglecting this step far too much.. And I would have saved myself a lot of time and silly questions had I not.
Don’t be afraid to take a step back and assess what your goals are and why they matter in the big picture. And don’t just do this at the beginning of kicking off a project, do this every once in a while, to make sure you are still in touch with your users and what they want. Customers want to feel like the people they are working with understand them, and believe it or not, the best way to do that is to actually understand them.
2) Put in the work
Something that makes Shopify so great is that there is something for everyone to choose from. But who are the people that need you and your services? And why do they need you? Now that you have a core understanding of the ecosystem that you are operating in as well as a clear understanding of your ideal customer and their goals, it is time to put in the work to make your technology the platform of choice. Consider factors that make you discoverable execute on those, and the provide the customer with personalized and relevant content to inform them on not just your solution, but why your solution is the answer to their problem.
I remember one of the first pieces of content that I created for partner marketing was a webinar tailored specifically to Shopify merchants. There were less than 20 sign ups, one being my mother and one being my dev advocate at Shopify. When I finished the webinar, honestly, I was disappointed, hardly anyone showed up. Over a year later, that webinar has thousands of views, and that app install CTA is clicked multiple times a day, driving new leads and topline revenue, all from a piece of content created and dropped on the internet over a year ago.
While this may be a slow process, it does pay off to have personalized content. When the merchants feel like you understand them, they stick with you.
3) Leverage Shopify
In my role, I manage a variety of partnerships ranging from technology partners to investor relations. Each relationship and program is different, so you have to assess what resources are available for you to utilize and work with what you have. Shopify is famed for their partner program and devotes hundreds of employees to ensure its success. And fortunately, that means that the resources that you need are there, and there is a support team to assist you in your efforts and set you up for success.
There are blog posts about everything under the sun, webinars, meetups, forums…you name it, I bet Shopify has it. The tools you need are they. The team at Shopify is beyond helpful and always willing to go the extra mile.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – just make sure you do step one and two first.
4) Community, Community, Community.
It is no secret that we are all trying to figure out how to navigate this new and ever-changing space- So let’s help each other! Shopify goes to the effort to put on events like “A Day with Shopify” not just to keep Shopify top of mind, but also to make sure that you are connected with the community and the resources they offer. I have met so many inspiring and helpful colleagues through meetups and forums, and they have not only helped Pixlee grow, but have also helped me grow my professional skill set. We are good at building things- so build relationships within the Shopify community to show off those great things you have built. Be candid with the partners, ask them questions, ask for feedback, and ask how you can help.
Get out there and take advantage of the incredible community that we have!
4b) Lastly, Me!
Okay, one more…. ME!
Over the past year, Pixlee has gone from an app, to a technology partner, to a Shopify Plus preferred technology partner. Many lessons were learned along the way, and this has been one of the most exciting projects that I have worked on in my career. Just as I learned from those around me, I would be happy to chat with anyone about their idea, plan, and goals. Don’t be afraid to reach out!