Do you have an online store on Shopify? Do you want to optimize its performance? Then you probably already suspect that getting a Shopify developer might be a good idea.
The success of an online business depends on many aspects and actions. So, how precisely can a Shopify specialist help you develop and promote your eCommerce site?
This time, we will take a look at this topic and try to answer all these questions:
- Who are Shopify Developers and what do they do?
- Why is a Shopify Developer beneficial for you?
- How to recognize a good Shopify Developer?
- What should you consider when engaging a Shopify Developer for a project?
- How much does the project cost when employing a Shopify Developer?
Why Do You Need a Shopify Developer?
To put it quite simply, with the services of a Shopify developer, you make sure you are taking maximum advantage of the world’s leading eCommerce platform.
Current predictions by eMarketer state that eCommerce will take up 22.3% of the world’s sales in 2023, with an astounding total of $6.17 trillion.
According to the W3Techs report, in 2022 5.5% of all the world’s shops are already using Shopify. If you think this number isn’t impressive – it’s almost 1.5 million shops!
The trend continues to look promising in the sales department, too. According to the Shopify report, the number of buyers who purchase from Shopify stores has risen by 52% from 2019 to 2020.
Now, that goes with some obvious advantages, like the fact that it proves Shopify’s effectiveness. But there’s just one issue – big competition. And how can you make sure that using the Shopify platform is in your best interest? Obviously, by doing it better than the other eCommerce businesses!
That’s where a Shopify Developer comes in. Their job is to leverage the tools and integrations so that your online business gets maximum visibility, resulting in more conversions and higher sales. Moreover, Shopify allows you to optimize your online content on search engines in terms of web marketing. When analyzed by a Shopify developer, this can boost your brand’s organic visibility.
What Does Shopify Developer Do?
Now, let’s move on to the essence of the article – the skills and tasks required from a Shopify developer.
First, it’s good to know that you can get in touch with a Shopify developer as a freelancer or as part of a whole agency, but this will be more touched on in the latter part of the article.
A Shopify developer is a web marketing expert who offers guidance to those who want to set up an online business project. Their main job is to develop online stores by making conversions easier. Furthermore, the guidance of a Shopify expert allows you to avoid mistakes that can jeopardize the success of your eCommerce.
Now, let’s move on to the soft and hard skills that every good Shopify developer should present.
Shopify Store Integration
Before you even start to use Shopify, you first need to transfer your shop there. That’s the first and most important step in this process. Shopify developers help you to do it, but not only that. They do it in a way that delivers the best results.
Shopify integration starts with creating your store’s account, which is fairly simple. All the developer has to do is put your store’s data and name. What’s more, they can choose a 14-day free trial, so your company can check out Shopify in action.
Next, the developer selects the theme for your Shopify store and personalizes it to look and serve your business best. Of course, there’s and additional possibility of creating a custom Shopify theme. Further, they take care of more technological issues, such as creating your main page with all its functionalities. Next, they also make sure everything is automated, so you can access your store’s statistics easily.
Those steps are crucial and quite difficult to do on your own if you lack experience in the matter.
Thanks to the developer’s well-conducted integration:
- Your Shopify store looks professional and has all the features and functionalities that customers are looking for.
- You have a global overview of your Shopify store in one place and can automatically track your products, inventory, and orders.
Shopify Ads Integration
An experienced Shopify developer knows a thing or two about marketing. One of their jobs is to integrate your Shopify shop with ads, so you can make the most out of your social media and SEM campaigns. They can also advise you on how to do it in the future if some changes are made within your company.
It’s not that common but, sometimes, Shopify Developers know how to read integrated Google Analytics and, in this way, can further advise you on how to change certain features or designs in your Shopify store.
Help With Any Additional Technical Requests and Issues
A Shopify developer’s’ upper hand is their experience. You might know what you want for your business, but it’s all for nothing if you don’t know how to implement those changes via Shopify.
Do you want a certain change of style? Have your UX and UI specialists thought of a better Shopify theme? Are you up-to-date with new eCommerce trends and looking to try something new?
Whatever is on your mind, Shopify developers are here to help you. They personalize the theme of the store, change the main page design, add and remove features, and make sure to support you with any issues.
More importantly, they have the know-how to help you avoid any mistakes that their former clients had made. By benefiting from their experience, you make sure that you enter the world of eCommerce well-armed.
How to Recognize Good Shopify Developers
If you’ve hired people before, then you know that a CV isn’t always the best reflection of how a staff member will fit in with your company. This might be especially challenging if you don’t have prior experience with Shopify projects.
Luckily, there are some general techniques and questions to ask in the interview to make sure you hire great Shopify developers who will execute your vision and get you closer to your goals.
First, make sure you go through all the reviews you can find on the internet by checking as many platforms as possible; go ahead and do a full-speed Google search of the company or specialist you want to hire. See what people are saying about them:
- Do they have an account on any consumer review service, e.g. Trust Pilot or Clutch?
- Do the reviews seem “authentic”?
- Does their website reflect their supposed achievements?
- And, are they really walking the walk, or do they seem like great conversationalists with no real commitment?
Taking the time to filter and choose well on this part can save tons of time and money down the road.
Shopify Developer Portfolio
Any Shopify designer worth their name should have a good number of designed websites in their portfolio. Taking the time to thoroughly review each website in the portfolio and read the information that the Shopify expert has presented will give you a better understanding of whether this agency or freelancer can successfully deliver your project. Remember: you don’t need a full stack developer here.
The best way to check if they actually did a good job is to look at those stores and consider the following:
- Are they UI/UX friendly and visually attractive?
- Is it intuitive to use certain features?
- Can you easily perform all the required actions in the Shopify store, such as browsing categories, filtering, and adding or removing items from the cart?
- Can you change the language and region with no turmoil?
- Is the Customer Care section highlighted enough for potential complaints?
Note down everything that catches your eye, including both the strong and weak assets of the stores in the portfolio. Why? Well, sometimes clients like their ideas enough to make developers implement things wrong. Just ask your candidate why they did something in a certain way and what purpose has it served. If their skills are undeniable, they can prove it during the conversation.
Be sure to check with them about the experience with each implementation and integration process. Let them guide you through the challenges and opportunities they had. It’s also a good time to ask some simple questions about the approach they’d take for your business.
Check Communication Skills
Communication skills make it easier to build positive and balanced interpersonal relationships and make sure that no information goes misunderstood. And you do want to get your messaging straight in the world of eCommerce, where every decision and action taken has a great influence!
How can you check this in the beginning? Well, simply observe how your communication goes:
- Do they respond to your calls and emails quickly?
- Do they come back with pricing right away?
- Do they answer your questions clearly?
- How do they perform in an (optional) job interview?
- Or maybe quite the opposite – are they all over the place, asking too many questions and causing some misunderstandings?
Just as we mentioned before, your Shopify developer should be able to integrate ads. A good idea might be to ask them on the interview job if they’d advise using social media advertising to reach people interested in your Shopify store.
If the developer has integrated Shopify with ads before, they can explain how exactly they did it and speak of some obvious advantages coming from it. This way, you can see if they can really be good support for your marketing team.
Cooperation with a Shopify Developer
We already know which candidates we should reach out to and which to avoid. But how do you check if they are a good fit after all? And more importantly, how do you rate if they’re doing a good job after some time?
Before delegating your project to a development agency, consult internally with all the people concerned to define your desires, needs and objectives.
1. What does your business require?
Formulate your ideas concretely so that all stakeholders can catch a glimpse of your vision. Of course, in everyone’s mind, the idea may seem interesting, but it is necessary to see if it corresponds with the existing need. The objective is to have a basic idea that you can share with the agency or developer that will develop your eCommerce site. Nevertheless, you also know a good agency for the way they understand your needs and make your ideas happen.
2. How to set the objectives for your eCommerce site?
You have just defined your needs and your wishes, and now you have to determine your goals. For your Shopify agency or developer to achieve the goals you set and optimize your new eCommerce site, give them measurable and achievable goals in a defined time, such as as :
- Increase online revenue by 15% over a certain period of time
- Increasing conversion rates by 20-25% over such and such a period.
Now, who do you want to reach out to? There are several options for your business.
Typically, they are very efficient when it comes finalizing small projects quickly. They can work solo or cooperate with your team. Unfortunately, as opposed to agencies, freelancers most probably will not have access to all the technologies, services, and Shopify tools that might be useful in implementing a powerful online shop.
Being constantly in touch with your internal team in order to get complimentary assets might also be problematic. This means that, even if their rates are attractive, you might still risk being charged later by the companies that will need to improve the project. Of course, you might just hit the jackpot and find a freelancer who gets the job done perfectly. Still, this might be a risky choice if you are in need of a more complex approach.
Shopify Corporate Agencies
Compared to freelance Shopify developers, general agencies have stronger skills that are leveraged with good resources. However, an agency’s services tend to be more expensive than the services of a freelancer. They also prefer working with big projects, so medium-sized companies or startups typically don’t have the resources to work with them.
Shopify Expert Agencies
These are agencies selected by Shopify that certify their quality of work. They have extensive technical experience and excellent reputations. For the creation of your custom Shopify store, they are able to create custom themes to reproduce what you need. They can therefore create an eCommerce site that will set you apart from the rest.
For the creation of sites requiring high technical capabilities, you will need to require the services of expert agencies. While this is more expensive than hiring a freelancer, it does provide a return on investment because you are working with a team of professionals who specialize in Shopify.
As an example, at Naturaily we accompany Shopify Plus customers and are able to perform complex integrations. We ensure success via the Shopify ecosystem and guarantee a high level of technical support for merchants. As a team of Shopify experts with a proven track record, we are capable of delivering both simple and complex projects and services to companies of any size, and at an affordable price.
We know we’re good, but of course it’s up to you who you want to cooperate with, and you can browse Shopify agencies on the Shopify Experts website.
A Project with a Shopify Developer: Costs
Now that we know where to look for a developer, let’s talk costs. The global economy has opened up the possibility for business owners to outsource this part of their operations to qualified and experienced Shopify web developers from anywhere in the world. However, before you take the first step to hire one, you need to understand the total expenses that you will have to invest to create a successful online store.
There are several factors you need to consider when thinking about the cost of hiring a Shopify developer.
- First, you need to understand that these experts have different rates depending on the type, difficulty and volume of work they will take.
- Secondly, their rates also vary depending on the experience, which means that the more experienced a developer is, the higher their rate will be.
- However, you can still get an experienced Shopify web developer to create complex features and functionality at a fraction of the price. How is this possible? The answer is, of course, outsourcing.
- Web developer rates can also depend on their location. Freelancers who live abroad, for example, usually follow rates based on standard salaries for professionals in their country.
Let’s look at all these factors to give you an estimate of your total cost for setting up your Shopify store.
The US vs. Non-US Web Developer
The statistics presented in this section of this article are based solely on a survey conducted by Codementor 2021, which estimated the cost of freelance web developers worldwide.
The average hourly rate for web developers is $61 to $80. This includes countries in the Latin American, Western European, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern regions. In Canada and the United States, the rate is higher, at an average of $81 to $100. Developers in Australia and New Zealand are tied with the U.S. at an average of $70 per hour.
Knowing that good professionals can be found all over the world, in the age of very efficient remote working, it is definitely worth considering someone even from a remote location.
Based on the Scale of Work and Business
From our experience, Shopify development pricing can cover a broad range, in both Time & Material and Fixed Price models.
To make the best fit for our clients, at Naturaily, there are two different methods of integrating Shopify:
- Liquid Development: “classic” development in Shopify, just as was explained in this article
- Headless Storefront + Shopify: creating a Storefront in the Headless approach and integrating it with Shopify. If you wish to know more, be sure to check this article about headless cms. But to put it simply for the sake of this article, headless technology allows for managing content without interfering with the front-end. Unlike traditional CMS, headless tools focus just on the backend, using RESTful APIs to make the display on any device easier.
We divide Shopify Development into two big areas as they offer different approaches and, furthermore, their Shopify costs vary significantly.
Shopify Development Cost
Classic development comes with lower Shopify pricing. To give you some outline, take a look at this estimation:
- Case: We’re migrating an online store with 300+ products. We’re taking care of the whole development process, additional custom solutions and marketing tools integration (as well as those related to shipping, ERP, search etc.) plus recommendations. Shopify cost: $13k+ with using a Shopify template. $16k+ with a custom Shopify theme.
It’s safe to say that one project for implementing a headless Shopify platform can cost more, but it certainly comes with additional advantages.
- The price of a headless project starts around $45k. This price depends mostly on the amount of tools you want to integrate with your Shopify store and complexity of the features you wish to include on your page. Also, the price covers custom Shopify theme development from scratch.
- Other services, like Shopify app development or extra Shopify design, are priced additionally.
So, why choose headless development? For the sake of this article, let’s mention the most important reasons:
- It offers a huge SEO boost
- Works as smoothly as a static site
- Headless CMS allows for site updates without requiring development skills
Investing in headless technology, you make sure that you can manage your Shopify store in the future, with no need to know coding.
If you are interested to learn more about our personalized rates, feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to do a professional consultation and valuation in regard to your specific project.
In most cases, the research involves sifting through numerous applications and betting on individuals without knowing whether they will be able to complete the project to your specifications.
However, we hope that this article has cleared up to you how to choose the best candidate. With the perfect aid, you can advertise your Shopify store like never before and be on your way to reaching more potential customers and getting more sales for your business.
Here at Naturaily, we support your eCommerce business at each stage. As Shopify experts and specialists, we make sure to implement the platform in the most efficient way with tangible effects soon after. Feel free to contact us, so we can make a personalized consultation best suited for your needs and expectations, as well our wider web development services.