Meet Tristan King of Shopify Ninjas
Tristan started out using Shopify just like you: building businesses using ecommerce as the vehicle. After building several Shopify stores for his own ventures, he liked it so much that he began specializing in it, helping friends and clients build killer online stores on Shopify.
How long have you been working with Shopify and how did you get started developing Shopify sites?
I’ve been working with Shopify for about 4 years. At the time I started, I was working in the corporate world and had a couple of side projects. I read a post titled “How to Bribe People To Start Companies.” This was a quirky announcement for Shopify’s ‘Build A Business’ competition, which spurred me on to sell men’s compression gear (those strange-looking tight-pants that football players wear to help with muscle recovery). After I’d built a couple of stores, friends and colleagues starting asking me to build stores for them — a light bulb came on — and since then, I’ve been working with Shopify full time.
Would you describe yourself as a developer, designer or both?
Primarily a developer, but, we like to think of ourselves as ‘development partners,’ rather than just geeky guys programming code in a dark room. We love to bring our experience (over 250 Shopify projects) to the table to give suggestions on things like conversion rates, email newsletters, analytics and so-on — the important ‘peripherals’ that surround the website. Our main focus, of course, is the development of a beautiful, functional website that our clients love. But, we also try to maintain a long-term relationship with our clients, which works out better for everyone.
Care to share your favorite recent Shopify project?
I think it would be Natural FootGear: http://naturalfootgear.com/.
Marty and his team are super professional, and really help a lot of people with their educational content and products. I’ve never seen someone write so many detailed, well-thought-out and helpful posts. They have a great business with amazing support…and the design is one of my favorites.
What is your favorite feature of Shopify? What makes it a platform you like to develop for?
It’s just very easy to use. People are amazed at how quickly they can learn it and take control of it after the initial development. I also like that we can easily add custom settings — this allows us to leave our clients with easy ways to update their store after we’ve finished up. Doing so makes their lives easier. Overall, it’s just very user-friendly and the stores look fantastic. Shopify is very stringent with which themes they accept or reject from the Shopify Theme Store.
What would you say is the most important tip or piece of advice you give your customers launching new Shopify sites?
Firstly, start simple. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, 20 apps and a perfectly-designed logo in the beginning. Create a ‘minimum viable product’ website that looks great, is clean and easy to use, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelmingly full of features. Start small, get customers, then invest to build it up to be better. Secondly, keep popups under control. Lately I’ve seen a big increase in stores with so many things interrupting customers: An email popup, a free shipping popup, a chat popup, a reviews popup, a feedback tab…keep these to a minimum and let your customers do what you want: buy. Lastly, have some fun with it! It can be a really fun process to track your sales, make tweaks and see how you can improve.