While some business models are straightforward, the experience that you are looking to deliver to your audience has to be considerate of how they navigate your products and services. A business model is comprised of, how your operation delivers to your customers and to your organization. Everything from product definition, production, sales, shipping, and warranty/support, every process is requiring careful thought - so how does this translate to your Shopify Expert team?
Business Maturity and business process
If you are a startup looking for a new Shopify Store, looking to pick up a Shopify theme or do some additional theme development - Your business model might be pretty straightforward, unless you have defined the exact experience you are looking to deliver. A Shopify Developer starts to get involved more in custom interactions beyond Shopify Apps from the Shopify App Store. The more mature the business is, the more specific the business requirements get since legacy systems, employee training, and organizational structure are already in place where the online store must serve the business processes.
Prototyping an online store
At times, using a sandbox to map out, and debate how the store should operate and present itself can be helpful. Some might have started with WordPress sites where WordPress themes were customized. Further WordPress theme development in a new store to prototype the improved store might yield a good way of prototyping, getting feedback from the various stakeholders in various departments. You can do the same in a Shopify Free trial, albeit it is a 14-day trial that might be too short to acquire all the feedback you need. While the store design may not be pretty, web developers will be able to identify the key features, processes, databases, administrative permissions/security, and user experience that would be required for your "live project".
Designers vs. Developers
Designers can do mock-ups of the various interfaces that would deliver a set of requirements, which is commonplace when it comes to defining a custom design where a Shopify Expert would extract and put into the requirements. Designers and developers can then take the requirements to execute from the document into code. The eCommerce store takes shape where the Shopify Web Designer will focus on the front-end experience, while the Shopify Web Developer will support the project from the API, Shopify Private App, Shopify Custom App, Php code, or any other back-end requirement.
There are hundreds of Themes, some of which are free or give you a free trial for limited capabilities and have to pay for the full-featured theme. When looking for a high-quality theme, it requires research on how close it comes to your requirements, how good was the Shopify development team who created it, and will be changing the template files to your purpose be an issue for maintenance. Your Shopify partner that is advising and planning the project with you would most likely get involved step by step in the planning of your project. Starter Themes can be worth your time to experience their features, and if they are going to deliver what you might be looking for.
Your Shopify Expert and Project Planning
If there is a crucial link that must have the right dynamic, is the communication with your Shopify Expert. Given there are various categories of Shopify Experts, identifying the skillsets that you might be looking at needing for your project is important to have them at your disposal. Web development is quite generic when it comes to putting together a Shopify store. Therefore when it comes to planning, specifying the various areas of Shopify Development within a Shopify Experts team will get you measurable results on schedules, feature delivery, testing, and deployment.
Shopify Experts Categories: https://www.thegenielab.com/post/10-shopify-expert-categories-for-your-online-store
If a starter theme is not in the cards when it comes to your brand, your user experience, and user interface - a custom Shopify theme will have to be specified. This does require an in-depth analysis of the audience, research materials on usability and user experience, how the business is looking to interconnect features/systems/databases for the right delivery. While most eCommerce stores are based on inventory, quantity, shipping, price, and configuration of color/size/type - there are complex products that have many more variants, configurations, and dependent products/parts. In those particular cases, theme development takes shape where diving into the business and its business model is a must for a Shopify Expert to ensure that the presentation, selection, and purchase experience is done accurately and with customer satisfaction.
While a Shopify developer is skilled technically, it will in most cases not extend to Business Process Engineering. Give them a process flowchart, and they can execute that, with the conditional situations well highlighted. The project manager or business development manager might be more suitable to work with your business in the review and execution of a custom Shopify theme, interconnected systems such as ERP's (Enterprise Resource Planning), 3PL's (3rd Party Logistics) or do dropshipping companies. A Shopify App might be required to handle API interactions to legacy systems, where the Shopify developer will need to know what information will flow between these systems.
Your Business Model definition
The processes, systems, organizational needs, and customer interactions are all part of the business model. They have dependencies, time requirements in responses, and various interfaces that have to deliver a good experience. It does take time to define how you will communicate your business, brand, user experience and how you will operate through prototyping, documentation, and process maps - it is worth the investment, it is your business plan after all. For planning changes to your business, it also makes it crucial in the planning phases to know the cause and effect. Having your Shopify Experts providing input on these plans on effort, timing, and the cost is a lot more calculated and predictable in delivering high-quality code.
With your business model defined or illustrated a Shopify Expert can process the requirements easily and when it comes to implementation, designers and developers can therefore execute in a clear fashion your vision. While theme development does have branding and all UI/UX to encompass, Shopify Developers are making progress in parallel with Shopify Apps or coming up with a Custom Shopify App. If you would like to discuss your project, need a template of how you can define your project, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org