It’s no surprise to hear that eCommerce is a booming industry. However it might be more surprising to learn just how lucrative this flourishing industry is to the world of web design.

As doing business online becomes ever more popular there is a growing demand for bespoke store designs and talented designers to create them.

Ecommerce provider Shopify have witnessed this trend first hand, with the number of people signing up to their service growing quickly. With 65,000 online active stores and 3,000 more coming online each month, merchants are always looking for highly individual designs to make their stores stand out from the crowd.


Shopify – A designer friendly ecommerce platform

With demand for new store designs growing fast, Shopify launched their Experts program eighteen months ago. The aim of the program is to showcase freelancers and agencies who specialise in designing for the Shopify platform and to provide a curated directory for merchants looking for setup, design and theme building services.

Many of the members of the Shopify’s Experts program are finding that they have a constant stream of work flooding in directly from Shopify store owners. To give you an indication of how lucrative the experts program is, in the past eighteen months alone it has generated $18 million USD worth of contracts.

Spicy Design

Spicy Design and Marketing are just one such design agency. In this short “Q and A” Alex ElChehimi, CEO of Spicy Design, reveals how he’s been able to accelerate the growth of his business.

How did it all begin?

When I started out in 2005 I was a one person team. Today I manage a team of eight people. In fact Spicy Design and Marketing has grown very quickly in the past eighteen months, going from four people to eight!

I can contribute a significant part our growth to our activity working with Shopify and being listed in their Experts Directory in particular.

What made you choose Shopify?

Back in 2007 the only ecommerce platform I worked with was Magento, but I wanted to find an easier, more effective solution for building ecommerce sites. I was getting so many requests from clients who wanted a simple solution to sell online without having to worry about server issues and high maintenance costs.

I discovered Shopify and decided to give it a try. Here I am, six years later and more than eighty per cent of our clients are Shopify store owners!

How important has the Experts program been for you?

Since joining 18 months ago we’ve gained a lot of new customers as referrals from other customers. In fact fifty to sixty per cent of our work is generated purely via the Experts program alone. As Shopify continues to grow, we’re continually receiving much more exposure and publicity as a result.

Experts generates a lot of new work for you?

It’s definitely helped us to find new business, but the platform is also very beneficial from a design perspective. I love that it gives me full access to all of the template files available. This is a huge advantage as it doesn’t limit my creativity as a designer.

Many of my clients haven’t been satisfied with the way their shops looked on other platforms such as MagentoGo, BigCommerce and Volusion – they wanted something different, and you can only achieve that when you have access to all the HTML and liquid templates, and aren’t limited to only being able to add CSS code.

Spicy Design's Miss Babs online store - A fully responsive Shopify theme

Spicy Design’s Miss Babs online store – A fully responsive Shopify theme

Customisation is really important?

As a theme builder I love Shopify for giving me the ability to customise everything within the Shopify templates – it’s priceless, simply because we can create unique designs and themes suitable for countless different types of businesses.

From a developer’s point of view I simply love the API and how well documented it is. The remote add-to-cart feature is just awesome too, and being able to benefit from both has made a huge difference that has opened the doors to great ideas, making some unusual builds possible.

In your opinion what’s the biggest benefit of Shopify?

In my experience, the biggest benefit Shopify offers is the ability to customise the front end without any limitations. In addition to how simple it is to administer for shop owners, being able to fully customise the front end to make the shop stand out is a major plus point.

Clients love it too?

We’ve been lucky enough to have had great experiences working with clients on Shopify stores. One of my favourites was NFC Wireless. What I loved about working on this was the flexibility of creating multiple templates within Shopify. This made it very easy to create templates with different styles and colours for each section of the website.

Another of my favourites was for Miss Babs – we recently switched them over to Shopify from a custom solution. The results they’re getting from making the move are simply amazing.

I promised they’d see a better conversion rate in addition to finding the system easier to use if they switched to Shopify. They put their trust in us and and we fulfilled our promises as their conversion rate was higher than anticipated. A great result and I really enjoyed working on it!

Ultimately we love what we do. For us it’s not just a job to pay the bills – positive reviews and happy clients are things we can’t get enough of.

NFC Wireless is powered by Shopify 100%

NFC Wireless is 100% powered by Shopify

Shopify for You

Shopify offers a wealth of opportunity for web design agencies looking to expand their business by way of the Shopify experts program.  As more Shopify stores are launched the demand for talented and knowledgable designers will only increase – it’s a great time to get involved.

You can learn more about the Shopify partner and experts programs by visiting the partner home page.

Posted by Keir Whitaker

Keir Whitaker is a UK based web developer, Shopify Designer Advocate and co-founder of Viewport Industries.

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