The role of the Shopify developer has been evolving for some time now. As the Shopify ecosystem continues to grow, and customer demands grow more complex, developers need a range of skills to stand out from the crowd. You might even find yourself offering a wider range of services to your clients, so you can improve your chances of a long-term income.
For instance, while you can make a decent amount of money creating and selling Shopify themes and apps, one-off sales don’t give you a lot of the peace of mind you need as a freelancer. Many developers are therefore beginning to offer “Management” packages, to their clients.
With management services, you can be responsible for testing new additions to Shopify stores, ensuring they continue to run smoothly when updates roll out, and even regularly updating content and other elements.
If you’re planning on adding management services to your portfolio, the following tips should help.
- Learn How to Create Development Stores
As a Shopify developer there’s a good chance, you’re also a “Shopify Partner”. The Shopify partner program gives you access to a huge range of beneficial features, like the ability to monetize referrals, and access sandbox platforms for theme and app creation.
Shopify Partners can also create an unlimited number of “development” stores in the Shopify ecosystem. These are basically free Shopify accounts with a handful of limitations. You can use these stores to test themes or apps you create, and set up unique Shopify stores for your clients.
Learning how to use development stores is a great way to improve your management services in a number of ways. You can test whether certain applications work the way they should before implementing them into your client’s stores, and process unlimited test orders.
You’ll also be able to create “developer previews”, where you can gain early access to new and upcoming features on Shopify – before they’re released to merchants. This gives you a great way to examine any potential features which might be helpful to your clients before you suggest adding those components to a website.
- Experiment with Shopify Sandboxes
Another way to test functionality for your clients and ensure you’re implementing the right features into their stores, is with a “sandbox” platform. Shopify Plus partners are the only people who can access these features at this time, so you may need to consider upgrading your account.
Sandbox stores allow you to create demos for prospective merchants, so you can effectively guide them through the process of setting up aspects of their store themselves. You can also test important features in your store, like processing orders, and accessing wholesale channels.
The sandbox environment for Shopify is also useful if you’re going to be embedding APIs into a Shopify store, as you can test how API call rates and app installations work, without having to expose your client to a lot of website downtime.
All you need to do to access the sandbox stores in Shopify is log into your Partner Dashboard and click on “add store”. From there, you can select “Shopify Plus Sandbox store” and start creating.
- Leverage the Benefits of Shopify Flow
Shopify Flow is an application available to most Shopify users today. The solution helps users to automate various processes and tasks across apps, which can make your life a lot easier. If you’re a developer offering a management service to their clients, you can use Shopify Flow to simplify a lot of the day-to-day work you might need to do.
Shopify Flow is excellent for creating various simple workflows within an ecommerce store. You can implement sales and discounts for specific periods of time, or make sure you’re collecting the right information from end-users when they move through a store.
Depending on the nature of the services you’re going to offer your clients, you can also use Shopify Flow as a teaching medium. If you want to give your clients more control over managing their stores without your help, you can teach them how to use simple automations themselves.
Overall, this feature is great for saving you some time, and delivering more value to your Shopify clients. It also takes very little time to learn how to use the tools.
- Learn How to Track Store Performance
One of the most important things you’ll need to be able to do if you’re offering management services to your customers, is prove your value. Most clients will expect you to create at least some basic reports showcasing the performance of their store over time.
Fortunately, you’ll be able to view a lot of valuable performance information for your stores within the “Partner Dashboard”. Visit your partner dashboard and click on “View store performance”. Here, you’ll see the performance data for all the stores you have access to in an “overview” table. The table should show your store’s speed, and its ranking.
Click on the store to learn more about it’s functionality. Here, you should be able to pinpoint whether there have been any errors with the store’s bounce rate, performance or speed recently. You can use your dashboard to keep track of issues which you might need to fix as part of your management service. It’s also a great way to create the reports your customers might ask for.
- Know the Basics of SEO
Another excellent way to add value to your services as a Shopify developer, is to help your customers get the best possible search engine rankings. While you might not create the content used to boost your client’s appearance on the search engines, you can learn the basics of what it takes to create a high-performing website.
For instance, it’s important for any store to offer an exceptional user experience, so customers want to keep coming back and purchasing products. You can also optimize your site’s structure by creating an easy-to-navigate environment with the right number of categories and sub-categories.
Learning the basics of SEO will help you to keep track of any issues with your client’s store which might be damaging their ranking, such as speed problems, or navigation issues. There are even tools you can implement from the Shopify app store which will help you to optimize your client’s store on their behalf, by adding meta descriptions to images, and enhancing product pages.
Even just knowing the basics of SEO could mean you can charge more for your subscription services when working with a client long-term.
- Stay Up to Date
Finally, as a Shopify developer, it’s always important to ensure you’re aware of the latest features and functionalities rolling out for the platform. We’d recommend keeping a close eye on the Shopify news page, and paying attention to any new capabilities which might be introduced for your clients.
It’s also worth looking into the latest development trends as they emerge, such as sustainable development or XR initiatives. The more up-to-date you are with these concepts, the more you’ll be able to introduce them to your clients easily, and potentially open the door for more revenue.
Staying up-to-date with the latest updates to Shopify should also make it easier for you to implement valuable changes to a store’s structure and performance over time, so your clients can continue to generate the best possible results.
Good Luck Managing Shopify Stores
The good news for Shopify developers looking to expand their service offering, is that managing a Shopify store is generally a pretty straightforward experience. However, it’s still worth making sure you follow the steps above to ensure you can deliver the best value to your clients.
Enhancing your management skills is an excellent way to set yourself apart from a growing number of Shopify experts, and boost your chances of earning recurring revenue.