The Complete Guide to Working with Shopify Developers [2021]  5 Steps you must follow

Sep 27
Read 7 Min

If you have been paying the slightest attention to the current market tendencies and shoppers’ needs, you’ve heard of Shopify. Moreover, you’re kind of inclined toward it – especially if your targets include setting up and running a gainful eCommerce business. But where should you start? Firstly, grasp how working with Shopify developers is like and why this particular choice is highly beneficial. 

Let’s start telling this story by mentioning that this platform powers more than 600,000 online stores in more than 170 countries. More importantly, it is the perfect solution for those who own both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Are you ready to dive in a little deeper and understand why developers’ efforts are essential (and how to nail the whole collaboration with them)? You must be, no ifs ands or buts about it. 

What does a Shopify developer do?

If you’ve set your sights on starting an eCommerce business, there’s no doubt that you’ll need some help with it. At the very top of the list of skills that you will undeniably want on board is web development masteries. Moreover, you will want to learn more about working with Shopify developers. But first, let’s see what their daily jobs entail. 

So, in short, a Shopify developer is a tech specialist dedicated to building e-commerce stores by using the Shopify platform. They are mainly skilled in frontend development and have a sharp eye for design and in-depth familiarity with UX principles. Also, they should be knowledgeable of all the Shopify integrations. These integrations are essential for inventory management, payments, and setup required for marketing. 

Are Shopify developers in demand?

The first thing you should ask is – How many eCommerce companies are there in the world? Research conducted in 2020 suggests that there could be anywhere between 12 million and 24 million of these sites worldwide. However, the market isn’t as competitive as these figures lead us to believe. First of all, there are several types of eCommerce – and that’s the fundamental topic to explore thoroughly if you’re uncertain of what your business will actually be like. Some make whopping profits, while others are gaining a couple of hundreds of dollars per month. 

Still, if you’re shooting for the stars, hiring the right people is the most decisive factor of all. And skilled developers are crucial to your success. 

Now, back to the main question. Just how wanted Shopify developers really are? With the number of users overgrowing, business needs are on the rise as well. And so is the necessity to find and bring in development specialists. Right now, more than a million online businesses are using Shopify. So, it’s safe to say that working with Shopify developers is sought-after – with no indications of changes any time soon. 

What skills does a Shopify developer need?

What makes a good Shopify developer? There are specific skill sets you will want on board in order to thrive. Regardless of whether you intend to hire an in-house dev or outsource this job function, you’ll have to focus on them. So, here are the essential Shopify developer skills: 

  • PHP and JavaScript proficiency,
  • Excellent domain knowledge and relevant background,
  • Strong problem-solving skills and a go-getter attitude,
  • Good self-organization and time management,
  • Great communication skills. 

In addition, it is necessary for them to know how to add new features to an existing Shopify store, migrate the eCommerce to this platform, and use version control to develop themes. 

When collaborating with a freelancer or finding a suitable outsourcing company, reviewing the previous projects and reading the testimonials is paramount. That way, you will ensure reliability, quality, competencies and save a lot of time and money.  

Step by step guide to working with Shopify Developers

Running a successful online store and attracting returning customers depends on multiple factors. A well-made website should be at the top of your priority list. Still, developers’ duties won’t end there. Once everything is built, tested, and labeled as good to go & ready to crush the competition, you’ll have to keep in mind the maintenance. So, start with careful planning, and move on to the next steps gradually. Know your scope and the means that will take you toward the big hit. 

Plan your budget and look for a developer

It’s always good to know your budget in advance. However, sometimes it’s inevitable to expand it. By knowing your range, you’ll plan more efficiently. That way, you will be able to sketch your needs properly and adjust the finances if necessary. In this case, you may need to modify it when you gain a clear idea of how much key functionality will cost. It’s also essential for everyone to know upfront what your precise ends are. In this line of work, there’s no such thing as “so bad that it’s good.” You might want to build a mansion and only be able to afford a shack. Still, that doesn’t mean you’ll give up on your aims in the long run. But, for now – keep it real with a few drops of good cheer and encouragement. 

Then, determine whether your aims fit with in-house devs or you’d rather go for outsourcing. Whichever the case is, be sure to conduct the search rightly. Look in various places and ensure to keep a few candidates (or a few BPO companies) in mind before making the final call. Pay close attention to their technical experience, but also make sure that they’re reliable, proactive, and have good communication skills. 

Make a project scope and list the features you need

Once you’ve encountered a developer you want on board, start preparation planning with their directions. Some developers will help you scope a project free of charge. However, if your project has many requirements or some complex features and integrations, they may ask for a small fee for this initial stage. 

What will you do at the beginning? It’s best to start by putting together a full list of the features you’d like your online store to have. Moreover, it’s easier if you add specific things you’ve seen and liked. The developer will lead you through the most common features and alternatives. They can also help you learn about simpler and less pricey ways of implementing what you are looking to accomplish.

And then, prioritize the features based on how decisive they are to your online business. By doing so, you’ll help developers tell apart the nice-to-haves from fundamental functionalities. Also, you might find out that you will have to build a store in phases and plan your budget that way. 

Get a quote and get started

So, another stage is successfully done. Now, here are a few tips on how to get quotes from Shopify developers. Since you’ve already defined the scope of work, they should be able to state their expectations. For uncomplicated online stores, this will likely be a cut and dried amount. However, if your aims surpass simplicity, devs might talk to you about a range of costs and various options at your disposal. If the developer’s financial expectations match your resources, you’re all set! Sometimes business owners ask for features that seem swell, but they don’t actually bring substantial results, while they do burn a lot of cash when being built. A good developer will point out if a (non-tech) founder is seeking quixotic or unnecessary perks. Focus on what’s needed to launch and fix the fine points as you move forward. 

Pay attention to the store design, development & more 

Once again, a small project leads to far fewer technicalities and can jump-start more easily. On the other hand, complex projects require a lot of meetings and meticulous organization. So who can you count on? Here are the tech specialists to rely on and what their duties entail:

  • You should consider finding a Front End Developer to build the noticeable (and striking) storefront. They will make sure that everything looks high-grade across all browsers and devices,
  • Hiring a Back End Developer (who codes and operates under-your-hat) depends on the technical requirements and features you want to obtain,
  • If you’re fortunate, you’ll find a full-stack developer who knows both the Front End and Back End equally well. 

Aside from devs, you will need a designer and a QA – and a whole ‘nother range of roles that will boost your site and skyrocket your gains. You would pair up with marketing specialists, copywriters, SEO experts, photographers, and more. These people will keep your content engaging, optimized, visually pleasing, and distributed correctly. 

As for the design, you will get to choose whether you want it all done from scratch or you’d instead use a template. The specialist that will work for you (and their skills, fees, and tasks) depend mainly on this premise. 

Launch + don’t forget about the steps that follow 

When building an online business, the precise order should start with the design, step into development, and move on to the QA. Then, you’re getting ready to launch! Once again, developers will make your business known and visible to a wide auditorium. Here’s a tip: when it’s all up & running, buy something from your very own store and ensure that it’s operating the way it’s supposed to. Then, during the first few days, be extra careful regarding the sales. Monitor everything with eyes peeled and prepare to spot and resolve all issues as soon as they pop up. 

Now, picture this: it’s been a while since you’ve launched successfully. Now what? Yes, now’s the time to gain competitive advantage in all possible ways. But it’s also when you must maintain your eCommerce. You can’t afford any pauses and suspensions, right? Here is some good news: as a hosted solution, the Shopify platform needs less maintenance than open sources solutions. Nonetheless, there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free business. Upgrade and refine the store from time to time to stay fresh and at odds. 

Why is working with Shopify developers beneficial? 

Hiring in-house or outsourcing development both have their perks. And working with Shopify developers, internally or externally, has so many pros.

First, suppose you’re running an offline brick-and-mortar store. Selling on Shopify will still help you! How so? You will broaden and mix your channels in less than two weeks. That way, you would also diversify your sources of revenue while offering the same products to a wider customer base.

Now, check out the other benefits you’ll get to enjoy:

  • User experience will improve, which will also lead to more returning customers + it will boost your acquisition efforts,
  • Every touchpoint will feel more customized due to new features, which will also impact your revenue and targets positively,
  • Payment gateways and other important functionalities will be implemented properly,
  • All applications will be integrated easily,
  • There will be no downtime if you have an in-house or outsourced dev team looking after your store. 

Lastly, working with Shopify developers brings a specific advantage over hiring other tech specialists since these experts already have hands-on experience in eCommerce. 

Know your targets and make the right moves

If you follow these simple tips, there’s no room for doubts. You’ll hire superbly skilled devs that will match your precise requirements. Whether you choose to have them working on-site, remotely, or to go through an outsourcing company, the results will be just as you have planned. Start by assessing your needs, then search, review, and negotiate your way into the world of e-businesses. 

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Tatjana Zotovic