David Simoes
May 10 · 6 min read
Photo by Sajjad Hussain M from Burst

One of our clients asked me to explain them in written form with as many details as possible how we approach full custom Shopify projects.

I wanted to send him a shorter email, but it turned out to become a detailed explanation on how we approach our customers and what efforts we employ to achieve our common goals.

I’ve written initially this on our team’s internal Notion files. You can check it here.


🕵️‍♂️ Discovery phase

In this initial phase, we aim to fully understand your needs and the business in question. These are some of the points which we must cooperatively investigate:

  1. Target Markets
    - To which countries are you going to sell?
    - What’s the audience you’re trying to reach?
  2. Business Competitors
    - Who’s the best on the business nowadays?
    - How are they structuring their offer and online presence?
    - What kind of visuals and style they use and how can we stand out and still be recognisable as part of our specific industry?
  3. Branding & Content
    - Analysis of competitor’s brands
    - Client’s input on how they want to be perceived by their audience
    - Do you have the human resources to produce a high-quality copy for the website and marketing campaigns?
  4. Logistics & Operations
    - How does a complete customer journey look like and what interactions should we handle along the way?
    - Is there a need for any specific third-party integration or app development to achieve a particular flow?
    - What are the potential time consuming manual tasks we can automate from the beginning
  5. Store Goals & Projections
    - How many visitors are we expecting to have per month and from where will they come?
    - How much revenue do you project for the first year?
    - Analyse estimations to set a conversion rate goal.

Based on the analysis we make for each point, the following steps may evolve in different ways and directions.

🎨 Design

In this segment, we incorporate all the knowledge accumulated so far in the discovery process into the creation of the right visuals for the online store.

The design work must cover the most critical aspects of your online business. Some of the pages that we consider obligatory to focus on are:

  • Homepage
  • Collection (Category) page
  • Product page
  • About us
  • Blog
  • Cart

Taking into account the current online behaviour trends, we’ll assume a mobile-first approach to make sure the design focuses primarily on the most significant segment of your future users.

The design process may be split into 3 phases:

✍️ Brand

To create the perfect brand for your business, we’ll firstly focus on the logo and based on your input we’ll give you 2 or 3 options from which you can choose. After getting your feedback on those, we’ll be able to present a final solution for review and approval. The brand manual we’ll provide you will include the primary assets and info need to showcase your brand both in physical spaces and online.

Some basic elements included:

  • Logo & Favicon
  • Typography
  • Colour Palette
  • Examples of physical representations (e.g. on a business card or a product)
  • Guidelines on how to use the assets

🖼 Wireframes | UX

During this process, we’ll create the wireframes for the most important pages for your business. These wireframes will be used internally so we can strategise for good user flow and experience before adopting a specific style.

👨‍🎨 Final Design | UI

Once the UX is figured out and based on the brand assets we’ll develop, our designers will convert your ideas into tangible visuals. For every single page, we’ll present you a complete design for you to comment and review. We’ll do a couple of this feedback cycles for each element until we’re sure you’re 100% happy with the final results. At the end of this phase, you’ll have a final design for all the relevant pages your customers will interface with in the future. You’ll have full rights and access to the design files, both for mobile devices as for desktop.

💻 Development

If during the discovery phase, we spotted any requirements for a specific integration or functionality, we may add to this phase a Backend step, on which we’ll develop the solution for the particular problem you are trying to solve or process you’re looking to improve. Since this is highly variable and unpredictable, its process and estimation must be planned only during or after the discovery phase.

When the final design is approved, our developers will start creating your own Shopify theme. We develop it from scratch following the best practices Shopify recommends in terms of functionality, performance and flexibility. Even if this theme isn’t be sold on Shopify’s marketplace (because it belongs to you), we’ll follow the same principles those themes use, to allow you to easily edit the theme’s content in the future without needing to code for basic tasks.

After completing the theme development, which will be reviewed by our designers to make sure we don’t miss any relevant details, we’ll still make a battery of tests to control:

  • Website responsiveness
  • Speed and Performance
  • Cross Browser compatibility

💪 Setup

Besides the processes described above, there’s still plenty of work needed to be done on your Shopify store to make sure everything’s ready to start processing sales. We can handle all of those tasks, or we can cooperate with your in house team to achieve the same results.

If you are migrating from a different solution, these are some of the things we can’t miss:

  • Data migration
  • 301 redirects
  • Domain transfer

In any case, some things apply to every project:

  • Product import
  • Navigation setup
  • Analytics
  • Payment and Shipping methods
  • Homepage Title and Meta description
  • Shopify Apps setup

Before you store gets launched, we make a full review of your store settings to make sure you haven’t missed any vital configuration.

Depending on the discovery phase conclusions, there are other services we can offer that may be relevant for you such as Copywriting & Content marketing or SEO work.

📈 Ongoing Support

After launching your store, we still provide a period of free support to make sure you can ask us anything you need or eventually have us fix something which doesn’t work precisely as you envisioned. However, depending on your team structure, it may be possible you’ll need some more assistance in the medium to long term. We’re also delighted to help you with that.

Find more info about it here: Ongoing Support Solution

🤝 Before Starting

Before officially kicking off our cooperation, we’ll create a project agreement with you outlining the project scope, the estimated delivery date and the final cost. This signed document is the best system we’ve found so far, to make sure all parties have a crystal clear expectation of what they’ll get and the resources involved overall. We calculate our project estimations on a case by case basis through a value-based approach. Some other factors which may influence the final price are our availability or your time constraints.

In an ideal scenario, this type of projects take between 3 to 6 months to completion, and its cost sits somewhere between 10 to 15K GBP. Of course, depending on the specific project and circumstances, the timeframe can be highly reduced or increased, and the same applies to the price.

For even more details…
I’ll need to know more about you and your business 😀

🤙 Email me at david(at)soundsgood.agency or book a free call.


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Sounds Good Agency

Stories, tutorials and thoughts on Design, Web Development, E-commerce (Shopify) and Remote Work — based on our experience as Shopify Experts

David Simoes

Written by

I help people sell amazing stuff online. Shopify Expert & Co-Founder of https://soundsgood.agency | Book me: calendly.com/davidjs 👈

Sounds Good Agency

Stories, tutorials and thoughts on Design, Web Development, E-commerce (Shopify) and Remote Work — based on our experience as Shopify Experts

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