Ecommerce Update | March 2020
Updated: Thursday March 26th
You don't need me to tell you that these are some crazy times, what you need is some practical chat...
Put your Shopify store on pause
People are being discouraged from shopping online and we are no longer permitted to courier non-essential products during the lockdown period so you should pause your Shopify subscription. It will mean that your store is still open for browsing, customers can still see what is instore (and even add products to their cart), but they can't purchase anything.
It will also mean that instead of paying USD29 a month you'll pay USD14 a month while your store is paused. Go to Settings > Plans and Permissions, scroll to the bottom and under Pause Your Store click on Pause store:
Update your homepage
You should make it clear on your website that you are currently not taking or shipping orders by updating your announcement bar:
Go to Online Store > Themes and click on the Customize button beside your current theme. On the left, under Sections click on Header, scroll down to Announcement Bar and enter your update.
You might also decide to edit or add a Popup (also under Sections) to your store during this time.
Gift cards are now included with the basic plan
Just like the good old days, Shopify have decided to include gift card (or voucher for us kiwis) functionality with all current and new basic plans. So, if you're leaving your checkout open, it's a good time to enable this functionality.
Go to Products > Gift cards and click on Sell gift cards, click on Edit product and you should be taken to the Manage screen where Gift Card is showing as a Product, if not, click on Add gift card product (top right).
Quick note: if you upgraded your plan just so that you could have gift voucher functionality, now is a good time to downgrade your plan again. Go to Settings > Plans and Permissions and update your plan settings (your transaction charge and number of staff accounts will change so please keep this in mind).
The free trial is now 90 days
If you're currently on a free trial it has been extended, and if you sign up for a Shopify account now you will get a free 90 day trial (it has been 14 days until now), so there's never been a better time to test your skills building a Shopify site.
My super straight forward Basic Shopify Course is easy to follow and will step you through exactly how to build a site in only five days. You'll receive an email a day for five days with a link to an instructional video.
Now is the time to register with the Regional Business Partner Network
Regional Partner Network is an initiative by the government, NZTE and Callaghan Innovation. The government has announced additional funding for small businesses needing help with HR, health and wellness, business continuity planning and finance and cashflow management.
If you are;
- Registered for GST in NZ
- Operating in a commercial environment
- And have less than 50 employees
You can register with the Regional Business Partners Network and meet with your local Growth Advisor (non contact of course) to see if you qualify for funding. Here is a handy worksheet that might help.
It's also time to work on your SEO
Yes that SEO work that you've been putting off (same) needs to go on your admin list while we're all working from home. The good news is that on page SEO on Shopify is genuinely straight forward (just time consuming).
The better news is that my Advanced Shopify Course is almost ready (launching on the 30th of March) and it's got some great step by step instructions for improving the on page SEO for your Shopify site.
Don't panic about Instagram
A lot of my clients are worrying about the updates that Shopify keeps putting out about Instagram no longer integrating with Shopify themes after 30th of March. To put your mind at ease, download and install an app like Instafeed:
Go to Apps and click on Visit the Shopify App Store and search for Instafeed. There is a free plan available which pulls your feed through to your home page (you need to follow the instructions to verify and link your account).
There is the option to upgrade your plan so that the feed on your homepage has clickable links to the products shown in the images on your Instagram account. For any quick questions or advice, join the Running In Heels Bidness Tips & Tricks group on Facebook.
To try and get as many of us online store owners through these uncertain (and scary) times, I'm offering special rates on all my services so that I can help as many of you as possible. Please get in touch if you need a hand with anything!