Does your online store need Shopify Programming?
Updated: Jan 17
In what situation does your online store require a Shopify Developer to get involved? There are a few areas where you might need a Shopify Expert to spend some time doing some development. Most of the Web Design is driven by the Shopify Theme that was selected, features from it as well as what was installed from the Shopify App Store as well. Store owners know all too well to evaluate by trial, and see if it is the functionality they need. Yet, at times, this may not be enough and your business needs more capability and automation.
Front End example of a Shopify Custom App
Where the Shopify UI/UX is driven by the Shopify Theme, which involved HTML, CSS, and Liquid when you need to make changes to your theme for a Sale event, promotional landing pages, new product introductions, and many more instances. Most times it is just clicking on "new landing page" and starting filling it out with your content and photography/graphics. But now you got the idea of adding more "flash" to the page by adding 3D animation, or decided that some augmented reality will highlight the product to a new level. It may be in these instances where a Shopify Developer might get involved - Shopify Liquid files are easy to access and evaluate the integration of such features.
Front End example of a Shopify Custom App
Say your products offer consumers a standard price but you would like to encourage other businesses to resell them by having access to a discounted price. This would require the audience to be split and filtered to see their discount without the average consumer seeing the discount. There is messaging, and login credentials to be applied for and then approvals for those that qualify to be a business client. With this approval process reached, the Shopify Custom App then presents all the products with its new pricing and applies that discount at the checkout. The Shopify Custom App has to tag the approved user, and show them the tagged discounted products and take those prices/products to the basket. Website design is affected only by messaging on the two types of clientele and the programming languages are all front end.
Social Media integrations - while there are plenty of Shopify Instagram Apps to choose from, if your desire is to have your very own layout and presentation of the social media content, a Shopify programmer can set up an App that can deliver that experience. There is a wide range of features you can work with to achieve the look and feel for the experience you want to deliver to your audience.
For the less "flashy" side of the online store, this falls more into administration, store connectivity, data reporting, and custom processes outside of the Shopify standard. The Shopify Store is a structured eCommerce platform and allows flexibility through its REST API. It is written in Ruby on rails and can allow you to start selling products very quickly with its modular way of putting your store together, using its website builder to add all the pieces, and connecting a payment gateway. The capabilities of its API give you that access to creativity and customization that can affect every aspect of the store's operation.
Shopify Programming situations
Connecting your orders to a 3PL - not all 3rd Party Logistics companies have a Shopify integration. In those particular cases paid and ready-to-fulfill orders need to be sent over to the 3PL. This process takes on a queuing approach (Rabbit MQ being popular) which constantly polls and checks if there are new orders ready to be extracted. The Shopify Expert would develop this application accessing your store from the API and this code will be running on its own server as the intermediary to the 3PL. Logs and the ability to audit and track orders being extracted are important to keep a record of for diagnostics and auditing purposes.
Multi department fulfillment - some orders aren't fulfilled by one location, one department, or by one process. Some orders are broken down to be fulfilled by multiple handlers and the pending state of an order and its tracking to its completion adds a new process. Much like the 3PL example, the extraction takes the same approach, but a new interface allows all the relevant departments to input their distinct execution towards an order gets them to complete an order - to which then communicates back to the Shopify API the shipping details and updates the order being fulfilled and complete. Many more features of escalations which would alert if one item is missing, or low in inventory would complement this interface. All of which would update the store's inventory so as not to oversell.
Accounting - if you use an accounting system that's not the standard XERO, QuickBooks, or Sage, your eCommerce website will require to export customer data, order data, shipping/tax, and various other bits of your online store to the accounting system. Not everything is created by Shopify when it comes to integrations or its partners. A Shopify Expert would be best for the adaptation of the store, choosing the appropriate framework and coding language to set the integration successfully.
If you are not looking for a big differentiated experience for your audience, there is a good chance you won't have to engage a Shopify Expert for any Shopify development. It does not take much to step outside of the standard Shopify Themes, Shopify Apps and end up needing something out of the ordinary. Our recommendation is to have a Shopify Expert to assist you with the research first since a lot of Shopify Apps might claim a capability by name but won't quite deliver the experience you are looking for. Most times you can get close, and if that satisfies your requirement you can leverage best practices from the Shopify App Store. If you are uncompromising in regards to the experience you want to deliver, most likely the Shopify Expert will have to roll up their sleeves to specify your requirements for development. If you ever need assistance in scoping a requirement, being Shopify Experts we have helped many store owners achieve their goals - just reach out to us at email@example.com
Integrations with Shopify Plus for your eCommerce business: https://www.thegenielab.com/post/integrations-with-shopify-plus-for-your-ecommerce-business
Shopify Development for Shopify Plus: https://www.thegenielab.com/post/shopify-development-for-shopify-plus
Approaching Shopify Development in 2021: https://www.thegenielab.com/post/approaching-shopify-development-in-2021