Shopify Store Design: Developer Advice from Stephen’s World

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Portrait of Stephen positioned next to an image of planet Earth, with the Stephen's World logo displayed above.Portrait of Stephen positioned next to an image of planet Earth, with the Stephen's World logo displayed above.

Meet Stephen: A Journey into the World of Store Design

We're delighted to have an interview with Stephen (@StephensWorld) in our latest blog, a seasoned developer in website and store design. 


His journey began at a young age, building websites and later working with Shopify. This experience led him to establish his own freelance web design company, Stephen's World, where he specializes in creating new stores and managing migrations.


Stephen thrives on transforming ‘rough ideas’ into fully operational stores and websites, particularly enjoying larger projects that build a tangible portfolio of his work. In this interview, we'll explore the nuances of store design, drawing from Stephen's extensive experience. 


1. What are some common challenges merchants face when designing their Shopify store, and how do you help them overcome these?



The store's look and feel depend on the chosen theme, so it's important to pick one that aligns with the client's vision, reducing the need for custom coding. Stephen often asks clients for websites they like and suggests themes that match their preferences.


A big part of Stephen's role is working with any chosen theme and creating a professional website. He often creates an initial mockup with the selected theme to give clients a preview. If a theme switch is needed, it's best decided early.


Stephen also stressed the importance of identifying the client's required features and functionalities upfront. 


“An important aspect of the store setup is dialing-in exactly which features/functionalities that the client needs, at the start of the project.” - Stephen


2. Could you share some key elements to consider when designing an online storefront that enhances user experience and boosts sales?


A well-structured navigation menu significantly enhances the shopping experience for customers by enabling them to find the products they're seeking without flipping through numerous pages. This can be achieved by utilizing multi-level dropdown menus and filtering options directly on collection pages.


While there are apps to assist with filtering, in most cases, a well-organized navigation menu and correctly tagged products can ensure smooth operation without the need for additional apps.


The distinguishing factor between 'decent' and 'great' stores often lies in the quality of graphics used. Even with the best products and reasonable prices, poor imagery can deter customers and undermine their initial trust.


“It’s important to identify assets/content that could use improvement, with the hopes of making the store look more professional, and thus lead to higher levels of trust and conversions with customers.” - Stephen


As a store owner, it's essential to make a strong first impression. If the owner doesn't invest in a professional logo, high-quality banner images, and clean product photos, it raises the question: why should a customer choose their store over another?


3. Can you share an example of a successful store design you've managed? What made it successful?

Image courtesy of Make-A-Wish Canada: WishGifts.caImage courtesy of Make-A-Wish Canada:


Spotlighting one store is tough, but they'd like to highlight, part of Make-A-Wish Canada. This charity’s mission is to support children with critical illnesses. With the website, it allows donors to purchase digital eCards, with proceeds going towards fulfilling children's wishes.


Since its launch, the store has seen remarkable success. This can be attributed to:


  • Easy navigation
  • Customizable digital eCards (shoutout to Tim at eCard Widget app)
  • French translation capability 
  • The Make-A-Wish team's promotional efforts


"95% of wish children said their wish improved their well-being and helped them overcome feelings of sadness."- Make-A-Wish team


My measure of success might differ from others. While metrics like load speed and sales are important, I place more emphasis on the client's satisfaction. I focus on questions like: Does the client have all the functionality they need? Are they happy with the design? Do they consider the website a success?


While the client markets the site and generates sales, my role is to ensure they have everything they need to succeed. I aim for clients to feel their investment was worthwhile. In my line of work, the client's experience is as important as the final product. My advice to anyone entering this industry is to be professional, patient, and avoid rushing.


4. How do you keep up with the latest trends in eCommerce design, and how do you incorporate them into your work?

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Staying updated with theme and app versions is the key. What was best a year ago may not stay current today, so it's important to keep an open mind to try new themes and apps. 


Conducting fresh research for each project and seeking the best solutions can go a long way in making clients happy.


“The forums can also help with knowing what to avoid; being able to navigate potential pitfalls is very important, as you don't want to lead your clients into potential issues down the road.” - Stephen


Participating in Shopify Community has been beneficial for me. It keeps me informed about the latest issues, optimal solutions, and overall trends. Answering forum posts allows me to explore unfamiliar Shopify-related topics, enhancing my learning without the pressure of needing a solution for a paying client. 


5. How do you see the future of eCommerce design evolving, and how should merchants prepare for these changes?

At the risk of stating the obvious, "the internet is here to stay." It's almost mandatory at this point for businesses to have websites (it's as important as having a phone number or email address).


  • Online presence for businesses

Every year, more businesses appreciate the benefits of online selling. There's still a significant scope for expanding brick-and-mortar business to online or turning 'content-only' sites into full ecommerce platforms. By selling products, offering online bookings, or providing online payable services, businesses can expand their reach and accessibility, primarily through their websites.


  • One-page checkout on mobile devices

As most online traffic now originates from mobile devices, I foresee a trend towards simpler, 'one-page' websites. Shopify has already streamlined their 'checkout' process to a single page. The faster a user can find and purchase a product, particularly on mobile devices, the better their experience.


  • AI in Task Efficiency

AI is a significant trend that's set to simplify the process of building and managing websites or stores. From setting up the website to sourcing products and generating content, AI will make these tasks more efficient in the next 3-5 years. It will also greatly impact advertising and marketing, from content creation to ad placement. Early adopters of AI will be better positioned to leverage its benefits. 


  • Drop-shipping improvements

We can expect a major shift in drop-shipping in the next 3-5 years. With ongoing advancements in shipping and fulfillment, especially post-Covid-19, we can expect better product variety, cost efficiency, and quicker delivery times from drop-shipping companies. 


  • New Social Media Adoption

Lastly, it's anticipated that new social media platforms will emerge over the next few years. Early adoption of these platforms could be hugely beneficial, particularly for smaller, growth-oriented businesses. Gaining a foothold in a new social media platform early on could pay huge dividends later down the road.



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Navigating the dynamic world of ecommerce requires staying informed, being adaptable, and putting customer experience first. We trust this conversation with @StephensWorld  has provided insights to both business owners and aspiring Shopify partners. 


Feeling inspired by this interview and keen to chat with Stephen? Don't hold back! Click here and start a conversation to discover how you can take your online presence to the next level.  Want to know more about what’s on offer? Just head over to the Stephen's World


If any part of the conversation resonate with your own experiences or thoughts, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment down below!


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