Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce websites building tools in the world for a number of reasons. The technology is flexible, scalable, and easy to use, even if you don’t have a great deal of developer knowledge or experience.
However, designing and implementing the perfect Shopify website from scratch still takes a significant amount of time, expertise, and knowledge. The average business owner doesn’t have the time to master a brand-new coding language and keep up-to-date with the latest Shopify site trends. That’s why they turn to Shopify developers instead.
A good Shopify developer can take over the process of creating the ultimate website for a business owner, so they can focus on what they do best: growing their company.
The question is, how do you prove you’re the right Shopify developer for your client?
How Clients Look for Shopify Developers
Just like searching for an expert accountant to file taxes, or a graphic designer to create a company logo, business leaders and other clients have specific things they look for when searching for the ideal developer. While each client you encounter will have their own unique needs and expectations, many will still look for the following things when narrowing their search.
- An Excellent Portfolio
Anyone can tell a customer that they’re an expert in using all of the latest Shopify store features and coding techniques. However, the only way to really prove yourself to someone considering spending money on a Shopify developer, is with a portfolio.
A good portfolio is a chance to prove your skills in the Shopify landscape, and draw attention to the things you do best. It can offer your customers a behind-the-scenes look at previous projects, as well as showing them how you overcame certain challenges to deliver the right results for your customers.
Most clients will be looking for evidence of experience working on websites for companies in the same industry as them. If you’re trying to appeal to a specific kind of company, like a tech brand or beauty brand, it makes sense to showcase your work in these areas at the front of your portfolio.
Your portfolio should also be as up-to-date as possible, as most clients are aware of how quickly the Shopify landscape can change. If you haven’t worked on a new project in the last 5 years, your client may question whether you can make the most of the latest features.
- The Right Professional Brand
You don’t have to be working as part of an agency to have a brand. Freelancers in the Shopify development world can also benefit significantly from creating a professional brand image online, as most of their clients will usually “Google” their name before they agree to start a project.
Consider looking for your own name on Google now and seeing what comes up. Are you connected with forums and companies that have a strong presence in the Shopify industry? Are you listed as a Shopify Expert on leading websites like Storetasker? How often do you share content online through your blog posts or LinkedIn accounts to demonstrate thought leadership?
While your portfolio will help you to start making the right impression on your audience, it’s important to continue building on your professional brand too, by considering other areas where your customers might find you online. Remember, this also means you should have a professional appearance on social media, as the wrong posts on Facebook could easily prevent a client from wanting to work with you.
- An Extensive Shopify Knowledge
It almost goes without saying, but every client you work with is going to want to see evidence that you have a strong knowledge of the Shopify landscape. This is why it’s so important to make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest changes on the platform, so you can demonstrate your expertise at the drop of a hat during an interview or phone call.
Aside from showcasing your knowledge on your portfolio, and through the thought-leadership blogs or LinkedIn posts you share online, you can also demonstrate your knowledge with certifications. There are tons of courses specifically designed for Shopify developers which can simultaneously expand your skillset, and add something extra to your resume.
Outside of your in-depth knowledge of Shopify, you should also be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of the accompanying practices that might be necessary as part of your job. For instance, you may need to know the basics of how SEO works, so you can ensure the site you build is friendly for the search engines.
- Excellent Communication Skills
Most companies work with Shopify developers on a remote basis. This often means paying for a small portion of the job up-front, and then waiting for it to be completed. Obviously, this process requires a decent amount of trust, which is why companies spend so much time searching for the right developer. However, it also means your client is going to want regular feedback from you.
As a Shopify developer, you should be able to talk with your customer extensively about their needs, and give them feedback on exactly how long each part of the development process should take. You should also be able to comfortably reach out and keep your customers up-to-date with how the project is going as frequently as possible.
Good communication skills will not only put your customers’ mind at rest, it also ensures you can build a good relationship with your clients, so they’re more likely to want to use you for future projects, and refer their colleagues and friends to you in future.
- Fantastic Value
Finally, all clients in search of an excellent Shopify developer will want to make sure they’re getting value for their money. Notably, this doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out on job opportunities if you charge higher prices for your work. Instead, it means you need to ensure the prices you charge match the quality of service you’re providing.
Customers will be a lot more comfortable paying your fees if they know exactly what they’re getting from day one. With that in mind, make sure you have clear policies and service packages outlined for your customers ahead of schedule. Let them know:
- How you’ll deal with edits and fixes: How many times will you make a change to the Shopify site free of charge after you’ve already delivered the project?
- How long your service lasts: Will you be available to manage bugs and implement fixes if something goes wrong with the project in future?
- If you have any specialist skills: Do you have any specific skills which might be helpful to your customer, such as a deep knowledge of APIs?
- Whether any training is included: Are you going to provide your customer with advice on how to manage and use their store once you’re done developing it?
Are You What Your Clients are Looking for?
Some of the characteristics and skills clients will be looking for when searching for a Shopify developer are obvious. For instance, you know you’re going to need to demonstrate a good knowledge of the Shopify Admin system, and the “Liquid” programming language, and the Ruby on Rails framework for building Shopify apps.
However, it’s also important to demonstrate you have the right soft skills, like communication capabilities, and a knowledge of surrounding technology, like Google Analytics, CSS, and HTML.
Make sure you consider all the factors above when you’re trying to convince your client you’re the right developer for their needs.