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.

Creating a Shopify Product Collection

Collections are accessed from the LH main menu

Collections in Shopify are used to group together products.  These collections can then be used to populate the navigation or in featured sections of the website.

Types of collections

There are two types of collection: automated and manual.

  • Manual.  Products are added manually to a collection.
  • Automatic.  Products are added to a collection based on product attributes, e.g. title contains words or price threshold

Automated collections are convenient but less flexible as products cannot be excluded if they meet the criteria.

Collection attributes

Title and description

Users should take care to create compelling keyword-rich title and description as this information is used on the navigation elements and also picked up by search engines.

The page <title>, URL and meta description are populated automatically by this information, though the content can be manually edited.

Image

Images should be square and a maximum of 4472 x 4472 px.  Take time to select a compelling image for your collection as this will be dispatch on your storefront. 

SEO

In this section how the collection page will appear in the search results is shown and the user can edit the information for the <title>, meta description and URL.

Previewing your collection

To see how the collection will look on your website, click view in the top RHS.

Choosing a theme for your Shopify Store

A theme determines the look and feel of a Shopify storefront.  Shopify provides a range of free themes, or if you require something different, there is also a paid-for theme option.

Themes are selected in online storefront > themes.

Customising themes

All themes can be edited in a theme editor.  We will discuss editing the theme in another video.

Duplicating themes

If you wish to edit your live theme, it is best to duplicate the theme and then edit it before putting the new edited theme live.  This allows you to get the theme right before doing live.

Uploading a theme

A custom then can be uploaded via the upload a theme link

Theme actions

  • Preview.  Preview a theme before it goes live
  • Rename.  Change the name of a theme
  • Download theme file.  Download the theme for external editing
  • Edit code.  Play with the codes of the theme (advanced users only)
  • Edit languages.  Edit the text used in standard theme buttons e.g. 404 page
  • Remove.

eCommerce Business Blueprint

Ecommerce platform

To run an eCommerce business of any scale will require an eCommerce platform. This will organise product data, publish to channels and manage sales. Platforms come in all shapes and sizes and there is a monthly or yearly cost involved. If you are running a business then it will be worth it.

For a company starting off I would recommend 2 options:

  • Stand-alone eCommerce platform. Good examples are Linnworks and Veeqo. These products are strong on back-end processes and listing but will required a separate website.
  • Shopify. Shopify can be extended from a website to an ecommerce platform using plugins.

Product Content

Take care when creating content. When creating product descriptions, the more details the better. Include:

  • Multiple high-resolution images (2000 x 2000px is a decent size)
  • Detailed description
  • Attributes and dimensions
  • Product identifiers e.g., EAN barcode

If you are launching across multiple channels, plan the content you will need for all the channels before creating your inventory. This will cut down on rework in future.

When creating a product, it is always easier to upload using a spreadsheet.

Marketplaces

Marketplaces are a fantastic way to get started selling online as they require less technical knowledge than launching a website. The larger marketplaces (i.e., eBay and Amazon) have a huge international userbase allowing merchants to reach customers all over the world.  Recommended marketplaces for retail start-ups are:

Amazon

Amazon is the world’s largest marketplace with hundreds of millions of customers. Amazon is a catalogue-based system where sellers simply add their offer to a listing that already exists.  This makes it super easy to get started as no content creation is required.

eBay

eBay is not the eCommerce force it once was but is still a major eCommerce player and well worth selling on.  The listing process is straightforward and sellers have much more opportunities to brand their listings than on Amazon.

Fruugo

Fruugo is a growing UK based marketplace that focuses on international sales.  It is easy to produce via a product feed and Fruugo take care of all transaction and currency conversion.

Etsy

Etsy is the leading marketplace for handmade and vintage products.

Website

Shopify is the market-leading website solution and an easy platform from which to launch your business. It also supports an ecosystem of apps that can extend its functionality. Other options include Wix, Big Commerce and Magento.

Categories

Research your categories carefully to ensure that their names match high volume searches. Ensure that each category has quality descriptions and complete metadata. Keep the number of top-level categories low – 6 to 8 maximum.  Take time to build a user-friendly structure that will make navigating your site easy.

Accepting Payments

Two popular methods for accepting payment online are:

  • PayPal.  A popular alternative checkout solution previously owned by eBay.
  • Stripe.  A payment gateway which is easy to setup and use with reasonable fees.

Implementing these two options for your customers will give your customer the option of paying via an alternative checkout or by card.

Blog

A blog is a wonderful way to communicate with your customers about new product launches and other company news. It is also an invaluable tool for search engine optimisation as Google love fresh content.

Information pages

Comprehensive information pages for your site which give your customers the information they need to make a purchase.  This will increase conversion rate and decrease customer service queries and returns.  Information to include:

  • Content details
  • Terms and conditions
  • About the seller
  • Delivery and returns.

Search Engine Optimisation

When creating content for your website, make sure to write compelling content for each page that includes your keywords.

Keyword Research

Research the keywords you wish to target for your site.  Keyword research and content creation is covered in chapter 4.

Google Search console

By registering your website will Google search console and submitting a sitemap, you can quickly get your site indexed and potentially included in Google natural search. The search console will also give information on the natural search performance of a site over time.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing webmaster tools is a similar tool to Google Search Console except for the much smaller Bing search engine.

Google My Business

Google my business is Google local business solution.  By adding your business to Google My business your business will attract more local search traffic and

Link building

Links are an important part of building search engine authority.  The following are easy sources of links for startups:

  • Supplier websites
  • Local directories
  • Press release websites (free and paid)

Social Media

Social media is the best way to connect with your customers and reassure them that you are a reputable business.  It is also a source of free traffic and promotion. 

Facebook

Setting up a Facebook page is obligatory for all businesses.  Many customers will contact businesses through their pages so ensure it is checked regularly.  Integrate a product feed from your website into the Facebook business centre and use this to create a Facebook shop.

Twitter

Twitter is a popular platform, but not as retailer friendly as Facebook and Instagram.  Due to it high profile it is worth creating an account and regularly updating it.

Instagram

Instagram is an especially important platform for fashion and homeware brands. As it is owned by Facebook it can be managed from the same interface as your Facebook account. Set up an Instagram business account and launch an Instagram shop to highlight your products.

Pinterest

Pinterest shops are a reliable source of website traffic and can be created automatically via a product feed from your website platform.

Cross-posting

Social media platforms should be set up to cross-post where possible.  For example, you can post links to blog posts on your social media platforms and Tweet your Instagram posts.

Paid search

Google Paid search generates traffic quickly and smart bidding programmes like Google smart shopping take all the pain out of the setup.

Google Merchant Centre

To appear in Google shopping, a seller must submit a feed to the Google Merchant centre.  Once a feed has been accepted, the seller can create Shopping Ads.  They will also be eligible for free traffic from Google Shopping.

Google Shopping Ads

Google shopping ‘Smart’ ads are easy to set up and manage. They only require a feed from the merchant centre and the seller to set their ROAS goal.

Email Marketing

Email marketing helps sellers retain customers, so it is never too soon to start building a list.  Tools such as Klaviyo and Mailchimp are easy to use email platforms. 

The most successful email campaign is abandoned cart, which encourages customers to return to the website and complete their purchase.

The benefits of web analytics

Web analytics can give business owners essential metrics about the performance of their website. These metrics can tell merchants:

  • Who their customers are?
  • How they find your business
  • What they do when they get to your website

From within these metrics, businesses can choose Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which to measure their website’s performance. These are the metrics that have the most impact on your business’s bottom line.

Website Analytics can help an eCommerce website improve in three principal areas:

Online Promotion

As covered in this book, there are many different methods of promotion available for promoting a website. Web analytics can help identify which ones work best for your business by allowing the measurement and comparison of different sales channels. The data collected can help answer several questions about your marketing:

  • Which marketing channels refer visitors to your site?
  • How much traffic do they drive?
  • What products do customer buy?
  • What do customers spend?
  • Where do your site visitors live?
  • What are the demographics of your audience?
  • What is the conversion by channel?

The answers to these questions will enable you to focus your marketing efforts, showing you the channels to invest in and which to abandon. They can also help you define and understand your target audience.

Website Design and Performance

Online promotion gets people to a site, but it is what they do when they get there which matters. The navigation and usability of a website can have a massive effect on its performance. Installing tracking software such as Google Analytics allows the analysis of users’ navigation path through the website, outlining usability issues. Insights include:

  • Exit points. Are users leaving the site at particular points before completing a conversion?  For example, when shipping is quoted.
  • Shopping cart abandonment. What percentage of your items are added to a cart but never bought?
  • Bounce rates. The percentage of website visitors who leave the site after viewing only one page. This indicates that the site does not meet user expectations.
  • Page traffic. Which pages on my site get the most traffic?
  • Site speed. How quickly do my site’s pages load?

These insights give you concrete ways of improving your site performance. For example, you could learn that certain products are getting lots of traffic but few conversions. By enhancing page element (e.g., description, images and prices), you can run comparative tests to learn which features improve performance.

Search Engine Optimisation

Analytics insights also provide valuable insights for improving your search engine optimisation. The Web analytics can help answer questions about how users find and interact with your site including:

  • How much traffic is from natural search?
  • Which landing pages get the most traffic?
  • Popular search queries driving traffic to your site.

Using this information, you can see what content on your site attracts search engine traffic and the keywords driving traffic.  You can use this information to discover where you are performing poorly and create higher quality content.