Shopify Menus, Filters and Redirects

Navigation

Your site’s navigational elements are edited in Online store > Navigation.  Here the site’s menus (e.g. main menu, footer menu) can be configured, and new menus added.

The menus included in a site are defined in the theme. Adding new menus requires changing the theme’s code.

Creating your navigation

Your navigation is a vital part of your site, and you should construct it to enable customers to find your product quickly.  One possible structure would be:

  • Product categories.  Divide your products up into logical categories.  This is done by placing the products into collections
  • Brands.  Categorise your products by brands
  • Info pages.  Have these in a separate menu item

Menus

A menu is a navigational item that contains multiple elements from the site.  These can be

  • Site homepage
  • Search
  • Product collections
  • Individual products
  • Pages
  • Blogs
  • Blog posts
  • Policies

Items are added to the menu and then can be repositioned using a drag and drop system.  Nesting items creates a menu hierarchy.

Filters

Collection and searches can be filtered using several user-defined filters.  These are either:

  • Availability
  • Price
  • Product type
  • Brand (Vendor)
  • Product options

Product options are the variant options defined at the product level (e.g. size, colour etc)

Search Engine Optimisation

When creating titles, remember then they are used by Google and other search engines to categorise the content of the page.  Choose navigation titles that represent the content on the destination page.  Research the most appropriate keywords to use for your titles using keyword research tools such as Google trends.

See our video on Basic SEO for Shopify.

Re-Directs

If you remove a page from your site or a navigation item, it is best practice to create a redirect.  If you do not create redirect:

  • This will negatively impact your search engine performance
  • External links to this page will be broken

Re-directs are managed from a link in the top RHS of the navigation page.

Adding a Page to Shopify

Adding pages to your Shopify store, e.g. About us and contact us, will provide the customer with more information about your company, reassuring them that you are a reputable business. 

Typical pages to add

Most online stores will have as a minimum:

  • Contact us.  Adding contact details will reassure customers and allow them to contact you if with questions
  • About us.  Giving some information about your business will help differentiate you from the competition

Creating Pages

Pages can be added or amended from Online Store > Pages.  Each page will have

  • Title.  Make this a meaningful title that includes relevant keywords
  • Blog content.  Text as well as media
  • Theme.  The layout of each blog page is determined by a theme.  Themes can be added or amended in Online storefront > Themes

When creating a page, you can duplicate and amend an existing page to save time.

Search engine preview

Shopify shows a search engine preview (i.e. how pages will appear on search engines).  This includes

  • Title.  This is the <title> tag for the page
  • Description.  This is the meta description
  • URL

These will be set by default to the page title and an excerpt of the description but can be optimised if desired.

How to create a Blog on Shopify

A blog is a great way to publish news and communicate with customers.  They also allow fresh content to be created that gets picked up by search engines.

Creating a blog

Multiple blogs can be created by visiting Online store >  Blog posts and clicking ‘Manage Blogs’. 

A blog’s layout is based on a template.  By default, the blog will use the default Blog template.  Creating new templates requires editing the site code.

Adding a post

Posts can be added from Online store >  Blog posts.  A post has the following elements

  • Title.  Make this a meaningful title that includes relevant keywords
  • Blog content.  Text as well as media
  • Excerpt.  A summary of the post which is shown on the blog homepage in the ‘Blogroll’
  • Featured image.  This will appear at the top of the blog post
  • Theme.  The layout of each blog post is determined by a theme.  See not above

Answering Comments

Hopefully, your blog will be popular and gets lots of comments.  Comments can be managed by visiting Online store >  Blog posts and clicking ‘Manage Comments’.

Comments can be disabled or allowed at the blog level.

Search engine preview

Shopify shows a search engine preview (i.e. how pages will appear on search engines) at both the blog and the individual posts level.  This includes

  • Title.  This is the <title> tag for the page
  • Description.  This is the meta description
  • URL

These will be set by default to the post title and excerpt but can be optimised if desired.

How to Customise your Shopify Checkout

Configuring the Shopify Checkout

One of the benefits of using Shopify is that the platform has a standard checkout that customers are familiar with from the many other Shopify stores from which they will have purchased.

The Shopify checkout has been optimised using the data from the millions of transactions that have gone through the Shopify checkout.  Consequently, the layout for the checkout cannot be altered in the standard Shopify plans (Basic, Shopify or Advanced). 

Whilst the checkout design cannot be changed, there are a number of options that sellers can configure in Settings > checkout

Design

The look and feel of the checkout (e.g. background, logo) is configured in Online store > themes > Checkout.  The layout cannot be changed, but there are several options for making the checkout fit with your company’s identity.

Customisations include:

  • Background colours or images (recommended image size: 1000 x 400px recommended)
  • Logo (recommended image upload size: 450 x 250px recommended)
  • Logo size and location (left of right)
  • Fonts
  • Form fields
  • Colours for buttons, errors and highlights

Options

When configuring your account, is it best to enable most options so that customer can choose their preferred options.

Customer accounts

Shopify can be configured in three ways:

  • Disable customer accounts, i.e. customers can only check out with guest accounts
  • Enable customer and guest accounts
  • Customer accounts required

The best practice is to enable customers to choose whether they use a create an account or not.  Returning customers may value creating an account, so they do not need to re-enter their details with every order. Other customers may not wish to have their details stored.

Customer contact

Checking out

Shopify has the option to enable customers to checkout using phone or email.  Whilst allowing the customers to check out using a phone number may improve conversion rate, email is a more convenient way to send customer messages for the following reasons:

  • Free.  Contacting a customer by phone can incur charges
  • Less intrusive. 
  • Fewer formatting issues.  Phone numbers can be written in several ways, which can cause issues when searching for orders
  • Searching.  Easier to search for order using emails

We recommend only allowing customers to checkout using an email address.

Shipping updates

By enabling customers to opt into shipping updates, you will potentially cut down on customer service queries.  Note that this does require adding keeping shipping details in order processing up to date.

Form options

When collecting customer information, it is best to collect the maximum information about the customer to ensure better deliverability. 

We recommend enabling the following options:

  • Full name or just last name.    Collecting the full name may help the courier to locate the customer if there are delivery issues.
  • Company name.  This field should be included as some delivery addresses will be to workplaces
  • Address line 2.  This option should be allowed to enable longer addresses to be correctly entered.

Order processing

When choosing order processing options, bear in mind that reducing the number of checkout steps will probably increase checkout completion.

  • Use the shipping address as the billing address by default.  This option reduces the number of fields required to check out. The billing address can still be edited.
  • Require a confirmation step.  This option will increase the number of steps and so reduce the conversion rate.  However, enabling customers to check their order before committing may reduce the number of customers making purchasing mistakes
  • Enable address autocompletion.  Helping customers enter their address will speed the checkout process and so may increase the conversion rate.

Marketing

Enabling customers to subscribe to email and SMS marketing at checkout will allow you to drive repeat purchases through marketing campaigns.

With email, there is the option to preselect the subscribe option.  Whilst this will increase sign up, it may annoy some customers and may be illegal in some countries.

Abandoned checkout emails

Abandoned checkout emails are one of the best ways to win back customers who left your site before making a purchase.  They are also free, so a no brainer!

How to manage Shopify Refunds and Returns

Orders can be partially or fully refunded after they have been paid from the order detail page. Once and an order has been fulfilled it can be returned.  There are three stages to a return:

  • Create a return. During this process, the seller selects the items to be returned and states a reason.  A return label can be uploaded for delivery to the customer
  • Return in progress.  Once a return has been created, it is ‘in progress.’
  • Process return.  Once items have been received back, the return can be processed, and the items will be marked as returned.  A refund can be applied before or after the return is processed

Managing Orders on Shopify

Orders are managed from the Order option in the LHS menu.  This has three sections

  • Orders.  Paid orders which are ready to fulfil
  • Drafts.  Unpaid orders
  • Abandoned carts. Orders where the customer has added items to a cart and added their email address during the checkout process, but has not paid.

Abandoned carts

If a customer has added items to their cart but has not paid, they can send them a cart reminder email.  Cart reminder emails are one of the most successful forms of email marketing and will have a high conversion rate. 

To send a cart reminder email, open the abandoned cart customer and click Send a cart recover email.  The email sent is based on a template set in Settings > notifications.  It will include a snapshot of the abandoned basket, and a custom note can be added.

Order screen

The order screen shows all orders which are paid, archived or open.  At the top of the screen are some stats about the orders in the current selection.

There are many searches available to organise your orders.  These include:

  • Fulfilment status.  Fulfilled or unfufilled
  • Payment status.  Paid or unpaid
  • Risk level.  Calculated Credit card risk for high, medium or low
  • Tags. These can be used to organise orders, e.g. tag an issue order with ‘Investigate’.

Frequently used views can be saved and will appear at the top of the order list. A example useful view to save might be Read to ship orders e.g.:

  • Paid
  • Unfulfilled
  • Low Risk

By saving a view with these attributes, you can easily select orders which can be processed immediately.

Creating orders

Orders from connected sales channels will automatically appear in the open order list.  Alternatively, orders can be created manually by clicking on the create order button.

When creating an order manually,  a credit card payment can be taken over the phone using Shopify payments, or the order can be marked as paid outside Shopify.

Fulfilling orders

Orders can be fulfilled either in bulk or individually.  There are two fulfilment options

  • Mark as fulfilled.  Mark the item as sent and enter details of the courier you are using separately
  • Buy labels.  Print labels from directly within Shopify.  This will record the tracking number automatically

Fraud

Orders paid through Shopify payment will have a Risk score calculated.  This will be Shopify’s analysis of the fraud risk of the order, calculated by looking at a number of factors.  Factors will include:

  • Address number match
  • CV2 match
  • Number of recent orders from the delivery address
  • IP address used

And many others.  From experience, these fraud scores are not perfect and there are fault positive and false negatives.  Investigate medium and high-risk orders carefully.

How to Manage Shopify Customers

Customers in Shopify will be created automatically if they place an order through one of the sales channels managed by your Shopify account, e.g. Shopify website, eBay etc.

Creating Customers Manually

Customers can be created manually from the Customer option on the LHS menu. For each customer, you should enter:

  • Name and address
  • Phone number
  • Tags.  These are used to filters customers and create customer groups.

Customer Groups

Customer groups are created by filtering customers from the list of customers and then save the filter.  Saved filters will appear at the top of the list for quick access.  Once created, customer groups are used when creating discounts, e.g. discount is only available to customer group X.

Shopify Shipping Settings

The rules governing the shipping charged to customers at checkout are configured in Settings > Shipping and Delivery.

Setting Units

If you use weight-based shipping rates, you should select whether you are using metric or imperial measurements in Settings > General.

Shipping Templates

All new products are added to a General Shipping template.  If you want to have different shipping settings for some products, you need to create a custom shipping template and add products.  Products added to a custom template will be removed from the general template

Shipping templates includes one or more zones.  Within the zones, shipping rates are set.

Zones

The zone determines and customer’s location.  This could be a country or an area within a country.  Multiple locations can be added to a single zone.

Rates

For each zone, the postage prices are set by creating rules called Rates. Rates can either be set by the seller or based on an integrated app or carrier.

Set your own rates

Seller created rates have the following options.

  • Shipping time (Standard, Express or seller specified)
  • Weight or price band
  • Price

For example, if you want to have free shipping over £50, the following rates would be set

Rate 1:  £0 to £49.99 – Shipping is £5.99

Rate 2:  Above £50 – Shipping is free

Local shipping

The local shipping option allows you to offer local delivery at a set price.

One or more local delivery zones can be created based on a radius from your location or specific postcodes.  A price is set for each zone.

For example:

  • Zone 1: up to 5km away from your location – £5
  • Zone 2: up to 10km away from your location – £5

Your locations are set in location settings in Settings.

Pick up

Offer customers the opportunity to collect the product from your location.  Setup requires:

  • Setting pick up time e.g. 24 hours after purchase
  • Customer instructions

Shopify Payment Options – Paypal, ShopPay and Amazon

To complete a transaction on a Shopify website will require the setup of one of more customer payment options.  Payment options are configured at Settings > Payments

Shopify payments

Shopify Payments is the default payment provider, though this can be disabled.  To use Shopify Payment for the first time require entering some basic personal or company information.

Once Shopify payment has been configured, then all major cards are accepted.  Other options include:

ShopPay. 

ShopPay is a quick checkout where Shopify gives customers the option for Shopify to save their payment and address information across accounts

Wallets. 

Accept Apple and Google Pay

Countries and Regions. 

Set the countries from which you will accept orders.  A local exchange rate will be applied, and depending on the account level, sellers can adjust prices by a percentage up or down

Rounding. 

Seller can select to round converted prices, e.g. 4.76 will be rounded to 5

Payout details. 

Define the payout bank account and payment frequency

Fraud prevention

Credit cards have two fraud checks

  • Address match.  This check compares the numbers in the address given to that in the statement address on file.  Checks are made for both house number and postcode
  • CVV (a.k.a. CV2) check.  Compare the CV2 on the card which that provided by the customer

Sellers can choose to accept or reject orders which fail this test.  I recommend automatically rejecting CV2 failures as the customer should have the card to make a purchase. However, rejecting address mismatches will lead to many more failed transactions, so I would accept these orders and monitor if necessary.

Billing statement

Choose how your transactions appear on customer card statements

Other payment methods

A number of alternative payment methods can be added to a Shopify store.

  • Paypal.  By default, PayPal payments will be sent to the login email, so ensure this is added to your PayPal account
  • Amazon pay
  • Third-party and alternative payments
  • Manual payment methods.  Configure the messaging given to customers informing them how they can make an offline payment

Creating a Product on Shopify

Product status

A product with product status active will be available for sale.  A draft product will not be visible on the website

Title and Description

A product’s title and description determine the description of the product displayed on the website. 

Title

The title should give the full name and brand of the product without keyword stuffing.  A suitable template might be:

[Brand name] [Product name] [Keywords]

e.g. Tomy Freddie the Firefly Developmental Toy

The title will be included in the page’s title, so it should include major keywords.

Media

In this section, users can add images to the product i.e. images and videos.  Best practice for product images

  • Image should be of a high quality and zoomable (1000+ pixels on the longest side)
  • Main image should show the product only on a white background, close cropped
  • Use multiple images of the product from different angles
  • Include lifestyle shots

Description

The description should give all the salient features of the product and give all the information which will be required to make a purchase.  It should also include all the keywords which user will likely use to find the product online.

Pricing

Shopify products have three prices set:

  • Price. The price at which the item is offered for sale
  • Compare at price. The manufacturer recommended price or the price before discounting
  • Cost price.

If you tick charge tax on this product, the tax will be charged at the relevant country rate. The country rates are defined in Settings.  Tax level on a product is set using a collection.

Shipping

If the product is a physical product, setting the weight will enable weight-based shipping calculation at the checkout. 

HS code and Region of origin are required when shipping products overseas to calculate duty.  If this information is not provided then the product may become stuck at customs or returned to sender.

Inventory

SKU (Stock numbers)

It is best to set a stock number for each product as this allows products to be uniquely identified in Shopify.  The best practice for stock numbers is as follows:

  • Use a combination of letters and numbers.  This will prevent Excel from treating the stock number as a number
  • Do not start the stock number with a zero.  Excel will strip out preceding zeros
  • For variants, use a stem and then add a variant identifier, e.g. TWO100-Blue, TWO100-Black

Barcodes

Record barcode information if you have it, as this is useful for identifying the product and listing it on marketplaces and Google shopping

Track inventory

If you do not tick Track Quantity, the product will never sell out.  If you tick Track Quantity and also Continue selling when out of stock, the stock can go below zero.

Variant products

Some products come in several different sizes, colours etc.  If the option ‘This product has multiple options, like different sizes or colours’  is ticked, then the user can enter the different options.

Once the product has been converted to a variant product, the product details must then be specified for each variant, e.g. each variant has its own stock level, SKU, barcode etc.

Metadata

Product metadata are user-defined attributes that can be added to products to record additional information.  Metadata attributes are defined in Settings  metadata.

Inventory

Inventory can be amended from the Inventory option in the LHS menu.

Product Types

Each product can have one standard product type and one custom product type. 

A standard product type uses a Shopify taxonomy.  It is useful when submitting product data to services like Google shopping which require a standard category.

Collections

A product can be assigned to one or more collections. Collections are groups of products.

Tags

Product tags are used to categorise products automatically into collections.  They are also used to filter for products on the products screen.