Your Shopify Plus site is live, now what?

The amount of effort you put into launching your new site was likely as exciting as it was stressful. The pressure to remember all key functionality plus all exceptions across your brands’ workflow is a daunting task for anyone.

Now that your site is live you are maybe noticing some things that were missed or tabled for post-launch review. You are hopefully using the Agile approach allowing you to gain valuable feedback from what your customers are asking for/struggling with to help you prioritize what is next.

One key thing to keep an eye post launch on is your analytics. Ensure you have benchmarks set up so you can monitor your KPI’s and adjust as needed. Maybe your Google Analytics is telling you a story that you can’t ignore that indicates adjustments to your UX/UI or that additional context for products and services you are providing is needed. Closely monitoring 404 and 301 errors will also help offset any SEO hit and ensure pages and links are working as expected.

The good news is that Shopify makes it easy to be nimble and adjust your approach based on what is happening in the economy. For example, COVID-19 turned what we thought we knew about how our customers shopped on its head. Prior strategies were tabled, and new ones were added to address the unexpected struggles so many of us encountered during this unprecedented time. Brands were needing to add additional messaging regarding shipping delays or inventory struggles. Maybe Live Chat was something you were considering down the road but with customers unable to go into stores your customer service was becoming overwhelmed and a new method of communicating was warranted. The Shopify app store has an app for just about anything you can imagine, and you can get that feature with just a click of a button. If you need design tweaks to align with your brand, no worries, SD can handle it!

What if you are considering a new feature but aren’t sure if it’s worth the investment? One of the prime opportunities I see our clients utilizing to gauge their customers wants/needs is A/B testing. There are plenty of apps available, both simple and complex, to determine if a new feature will likely provide the ROI you are needing. For example – it’s amazing to me how the color of a button can have such an impact on conversion rates. Setting up a quick A/B test to validate the winner for your target audience is a simple test and can have significant impact on your conversion. Simply stated – investing in conversion rate optimization (CRO) and A/B testing pays off. A few vendors we have worked with are Google Optimize, AB Tasty, and VWO.

Another highly valuable exercise is investing the time to do a digital marketing audit. This will translate the data you are seeing into actionable tasks to course correct as needed. The audit itself is a small effort but the impact to bringing awareness to your customers’ struggles sooner than later is priceless. Being actively aware of how customers are using your site can also help provide some insight and of course, there is an app for that! Watching videos of customers navigating your site and seeing where they are struggling can also provide guidance on what you need to tweak to allow for a better user experience as well. A tool we have found helpful for doing this is Inspectlet. It’s user friendly and inexpensive but extremely valuable when trying to troubleshoot issues or learn about customer site usage.

Now that you have all the core features to run your business, you need to consistently assess site performance. The ability to add apps is so easy on Shopify that we can sometimes go a bit crazy adding new functionality therefore it’s important to identify a baseline when adding a new app so you can quickly determine if it causes any significant performance slowdowns. Being aware of the page speed load times and best practices is key as it has a significant impact on your conversion, bounce rate, user experience and Google rankings. A free tool we use for our clients when reviewing performance is WebPageTest. This tool will analyze and rate your site on security, caching, first byte time etc. It’s a great starting point to help identify areas you need to focus on and does so by scanning your full site within minutes.

There are always ways of improving upon what we are doing and how we are doing it. Reviewing back-office tasks that are executed manually that may be possible via Shopify automation or an app is another area to consider. Less administrative work allows for more time to grow your business.

Ultimately, post-launch you want to take advantage of the feedback your customers provide and actively track and measure your KPI’s along the way. Not every action will produce the desired result. Not every action will work. As Lily Tomlin stated, “The road to success is always under construction”.

Gratitude in Quarantine

This pandemic has given me what I have been pleading for these last 20 years – time. Time to reflect on the basics we have grown accustomed to. The things we take for granted because they have been at our fingertips for so long that we barely realize their existence.  My focus for as long as I can remember has been on what I WANT.  You know the story, if I just had that new outfit, that boat, that vacation home, then I would feel complete.

What I NEED used to come easily.  Food for example, I could get inspired by a Food Network show and hop in my reliable vehicle, run up to the grocery store for those ingredients and whip me up a new meal.  I now find myself having to plan my meals weeks in advance because that is how long it takes for groceries to arrive. I have been getting creative with meals because ultimately “I get what I get” when it comes to my requests – a lot of the core ingredients in my standard meals are no longer an option for me due to limited supplies at grocery stores.  This, however, has opened the door to getting creative.  I have tasked my kids to find recipes with only ingredients in the house and we have ended up with some pretty good creations.  That creativity wouldn’t have been tested had we not been in this situation.

Social distancing has been a challenge especially from my sibling and parents over the holidays, but I have used technology to bridge that gap and have learned quite a few fun social apps to play games and see each other’s smiling faces despite the inability to be  physically together.  Speaking of distance, that is also something that I have been gifted.  Distance from the constant “go-go-go” mentality.  Distance from what is unimportant in the grand scheme of things in life.  As a working mom you tend to follow the crowd, working 9-5pm and spending the rest of the evening on the run. Taking the kids from one activity to the next, grabbing what you need on the go, a lot of times this includes meals which means we are not engaging in much meaningful conversation that you tend to get with sitting down at the family dinner table.

I don’t miss those things.  I have honestly become so grateful for things that I have taken for granted for so very long.  I realized I was guilty of taking things for granted years ago and was inspired by a coworker to step outside of my comfort zone and explore mission trips. I spent a week in Haiti and 5 days in Juarez experiencing life with the bare minimum.  What I expected to get from these experiences is exposure to new cultures and people but what was most impactful to me was the realization of how very little we truly need materially to be happy.  For me to see all that I have been blessed with, I had to leave my home, my family, my comforts.  For some that is extreme, for me, I now feel it’s a must.

Right now, I am sitting in my home office, looking out the window at a beautiful cherry tree in full bloom in my front yard.  I am seeing more kids and parents outside doing things as a family – biking, walking, roller blading, yardwork.  My heart is grateful daily.  I have been feeling this emotion with much more passion and on more of a regular basis than ever before and I didn’t have to leave the country let alone my own home to experience this.  I appreciate so much, but most importantly relationships.  Not just with my immediate friends and family but I have a newfound perspective on my peers and clients.  We have expanded our relationships beyond work, become more empathetic to each other and have banded together to support each other in ways we previously wouldn’t have made time for.  I have seen clients use this crisis as an opportunity to help others using the resources they have; I have truly been inspired by the inherent desire to help others in need.  I have also formed loyalties to brands that have strategically changed their focus to support the underdogs.

I have been “gifted” this time to reflect on all the good that has been in front of me this whole time, but I have been too busy to absorb/appreciate it.  My house is the cleanest and most organized it’s been in years.  We are experiencing new foods, we are growing our own food from scraps (hydroponic gardening – it’s amazing), we are playing board games and gaining new skills right here at home.

Of course, through all of this, technology has been a constant.  No matter where I am, I still have access to the ole www.  So many ecommerce sites are thriving now that brick and mortar stores have become restricted which also makes me grateful for the fact I work in the market I do and am able to support my customers in their drive to maintain their business and help others in the process.

All in all, this pandemic for me has given me way more than it’s taken away. More empathy, more appreciation of life’s simple things, more gratefulness, more family time.  I have figuratively and literally stopped to smell the roses and they are GORGEOUS.

I am reminded that people in life matter more than the activity and I am reminded that pausing may be the most important activity I do.  I am honestly not sure if anything short of a pandemic had the power to slow down our society’s pace and we have been running at breakneck speeds for way too long.  I am grateful, I am blessed and although I am looking forward to a social gathering soon, I hope to keep the clarity I have gained and the realization of what is good in this world as there is so much of it to continue to embrace.

For some reason a poem from one of my older favorite movies comes to mind and I wanted to end with that – take from it what you will but to me, it’s about perspective.  I am choosing to focus on the good.

“These things are good: ice cream and cake, a ride on a Harley, seeing monkeys in the trees, the rain on my tongue, and the sun shining on my face. These things are a drag: dust in my hair, holes in my shoes, no money in my pocket, and the sun shining on my face.”