Proof of Concept: What It is and How to Do It Right
Before developing an idea into a product, there’s a crucial step that every business must take: executing a successful proof of concept. Learn more.
More than one million brands use Shopify to run their business. It’s no wonder, considering the platform offers one of the easiest off-the-shelf solutions — paving the way to democratize e-commerce.
In fact, there’s a famous quote from CEO, Tobi Lutke, in which he distinguishes Shopify from one of its biggest competitors: “Amazon is trying to build an empire. Shopify is trying to arm the rebels.”
These so-called rebel brands also benefit from apps — Shopify even has its own app store — which sellers can simply integrate into their sites for a range of sales-boosting functions from business forecasts and bookkeeping to checkout and returns.
These apps enhance the Shopify experience with robust APIs, so businesses don’t need a developer. That being said, there’s a delicate balance. Brands that download too many apps reduce their site speed, increase operational costs, and can be plagued by bugs that cause their search engine rankings to drop. This makes it harder for customers to find your store.
Case in point: It’s essential to download the right apps to optimize site functionality. Don’t know where to start? Check out our ten favorites.
There is no line to check out in e-commerce, which means brands that sell online can’t merely leave potential impulse purchases by the cash register to drive up basket sizes. That’s where Bold Upsell comes in. This Shopify app makes it easy for users to suggest higher-ticket items and/or upsell shoppers with product bundles and other products complementary to existing purchases. Brands can create offers — and even schedule them in advance. Then, Bold Upsell makes it easy to track performance to optimize these offers in the future. You can get product recommendations for goods likely to sell based on existing customer behavior, too.
When your customers have a problem, you want them to find a resolution as quickly as possible. Enter Gorgias. This help desk app is among the best Shopify options because it allows brands to manage their customer support efforts from a single interface to increase efficiency and decrease response times. It offers functionality no matter how consumers want to interact with your brand — email, chat, phone, or social. But perhaps the best part is Gorgias pulls up order details for each customer, so your brand reps always have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips.
Hotjar’s behavioral analytics tool helps Shopify sellers understand how consumers interact with their sites and improve usability to boost sales. A few of the benefits of using Hotjar include heat maps, surveys, and session recordings, so you can see for yourself what actual shoppers do — and where they may still encounter points of friction. It’s incredibly valuable intelligence that helps brands understand more about the consumer perspective to serve customers better.
For the Shopify sellers just starting — or looking to shake up their inventory — the dropshipping app Oberlo can be a godsend. This app connects sellers with thousands of suppliers around the world, who can produce your next best-seller. Not quite sure what that will be? Oberlo also has data on products with high potential and what it calls “hidden gems” to help nudge you in the right direction. Stock levels and prices update in real-time, so there are never any surprises. You can even automate bulk orders and then choose just the right product photos and descriptions to help your site stand out even further.
Your best brand ambassadors are happy customers — and those satisfied shoppers have the power to influence future sales. With the Shopify app ReferralCandy, brands can tap into existing fan love to fuel additional sales for new customers with virtually no extra work. The referral program rewards your existing customers for making recommendations. Brands choose the rewards they want to give — cash, coupons, or gifts — and ReferralCandy handles tracking and delivery. There’s also plenty of data on how consumers engage with the offers to further optimize performance.
No matter how great your customer experience may be, one pain point inevitably remains — returns. But you don’t have to be a platform the size of Amazon or Walmart to make returns as painless as possible. With Return Magic, users can create a seamless return experience, including a branded returns portal through which users easily refund the purchase price, process exchanges, or issue gift cards, depending on the customer preference.
When you run an e-commerce store, there are a number of things that can go wrong. You may inadvertently delete an entire category of products instead of just one. A hacker or a disgruntled employee could wipe out your store with just a click.
With Rewind, you can maintain a continuous backup of your entire store that allows you to restore any individual item (including images, description, blogs, etc.) or an entire category or store in seconds.
Ranking as high as possible for relevant search terms is vital to generating traffic and, therefore, sales and loyal customers. To do so, you need to optimize for search. With an app like SEO Manager, you don’t have to find room in your budget for an additional hire to get you started.
SEO Manager makes it easy to zero in on what search engines care about most, including keywords, page speed, and mobile-friendliness. It also makes it easy to redirect users when a product is out of stock and to track 404 errors. Perhaps best of all, SEO Manager provides real-time feedback on their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, allowing you to focus on what works and eliminate what doesn’t.
Skubana offers a centralized platform for data and operations, including orders, inventory, and business intelligence. It imports orders and synchronizes inventory from all sales channels, so you’ll always know exactly what you have on hand and what you need to reorder. Speaking of which: Skubana can also automatically create purchase orders based on factors like sales velocity, lead times, and seasonality. It will even make recommendations about your most and least profitable products.
If you’re not sure what to do with customer reviews scattered around the Internet, Yotpo can help. This Shopify app makes it easy to pull in reviews from sites like Bazaarvoice, PowerReviews, Trustpilot, Judge.me, Stamped, Loox, and Rivyo and showcase them on your own site. That helps customers make better-informed decisions with honest feedback from like-minded shoppers. It also helps boost brand trust and conversions.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention AdRoll’s Shopify app, which offers a full range of cross-channel functionality to help brands deliver personalized experiences to build and foster customer relationships. Functionality includes cross-channel attribution to help brands better understand how their campaigns are working together, as well as advanced audience targeting, and in-depth performance insights. Plus, you can use AdRoll to power retargeting, dynamic ads, email marketing, and product recommendations.
Even though Shopify makes it easy to set up an online storefront, it takes a lot of work to develop a niche with your customers. They have to find and manage inventory, as well as customer interactions and site performance. And then there’s that little thing called marketing, which encompasses retargeting, email, and social.
The right combination of the best Shopify apps can do most of the heavy lifting. (Although it’s worth noting the exact mix will vary by individual brand needs.) Many of these apps offer free trials, so you have nothing to lose by testing them out to see if they’re a fit. And for more individualized guidance, AdRoll is always here to help.
Last updated on August 16th, 2022.