I thought about entitling this blog "How To Be A Good Client", but didn't know how that would be received...this post will have some great tips about working with a with a Shopify partner that is building, refreshing or rebuilding an ecommerce site. Although these tips could apply to working with almost any freelancer!
Shopify partners have great knowledge and skills when it comes to building, rebuilding and refreshing Shopify sites. If the Shopify partner is me (or Tamara from Little Palm Creative) they will also know lots about content writing, SEO and user experience (UX) and will have this in mind when working on a (soon to be) amazing online store.
Have an idea of the ecommerce requirements
During the briefing process be up front and tell your Shopify partner everything you expect your new site to have or be able to do. Knowing up front the functionality and look and feel a client is after saves a lot of time (and frustration) for both the client and the Shopify partner.
Why? The freelancer will charge ahead, building the site based on their skills and experience (what they know works!), when they send through the site as a draft for a first round of changes, they're expecting a list of cosmetic tweaks and adjustments - not a complete rebuild.
What to do: Look around. Make a list of sites that have the same look and feel. We're all online customers - take notes of what works well and doesn't work well when shopping online in other stores.
But be realistic about the online store
I'm going to be straight up and say that no one can build an online clothing store the same as The Iconic for $1,999 +GST using a free Shopify theme. While it's great to have an idea of specific requirements (as well as the big picture), it's more important to have the conversation with your Shopify partner so they can manage expectations from the outset.
Do some research about Shopify
If a client approaches a Shopify partner saying, "I need some help getting my Shopify site live" or "I would like a Shopify site for my recently launched business", the freelancer will assume a basic level of knowledge about business and about Shopify.
- Shopify plan pricing can be found here (this is in USD)
- Shopify Payments processing fees can be found here
- Shopify themes can be found here
- Shopify apps can be found here (be prepared to be overwhelmed - there are heaps!)
Why? The freelancer building the online store will have factored in the time to build the site based on the client's requirement, but in most cases will not have considered the extra time required to teach the client all about the platform.
What to do: Client who are looking to use Shopify for their ecommerce store should be upfront with their Shopify partner and say, "I have no idea how to use Shopify, what is the fee for training on using the Shopify platform?"
Stick to the project schedule
When a freelancer or Shopify partner sends a schedule of what, when, how and where they need things, it's important to respect that schedule (provided the client is given plenty of notice).
Why? The person working on the build, rebuild or refresh will have the client scheduled in to their week around other clients as well as work and family commitments. If they ask for something by midday on a Tuesday...if it turns up at 9am on Thursday, chances are another client's work is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
What to do: Stick to the schedule. If the schedule can't be stuck to - talk to the person working on the site, with enough warning they can hopefully reshuffle clients and jobs to keep everyone happy.
Never hesitate to ask questions
Always give a freelancer a chance to answer questions and queries in advance. If assistance is required with setting up the business or social media strategy or graphic design it's always OK to ask. If there are added extras that are needed to get a site live it's extra helpful to know about any issues or concerns in advance.
Why? If the added extras, advice or assistance are within their capability, the Shopify partner can quote for these extra services. Otherwise they can refer the client to another freelancer who will be able to help.
What to do: If the ducks aren't in a row - be honest about it at the start of the project, this way the freelancer isn't stopping and starting (and therefore delaying) the work, and it saves for those awkward, "this is outside the scope" or "this wasn't part of the brief" conversations.
At the end of the day, freelancers are people (and business owners) too. They are trying to juggle clients (and in my case #farmlife, #wifelife and #mumlife) and meet expectations without burning out. It's a balancing act, and the last thing they want is unhappy clients - I promise.
I have (very) limited Shopify site build, rebuild and refresh spots left for the year (calves will start arriving before I know it and #farmwifelife will really kick up a gear!), so please get in touch to chat about your requirements.