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7 Shopify plugins and tools you need to know about

Note: This is a guest post by Charlie Carpenter, co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience.

Shopify is fast becoming a household name as it vies for the top position in the race for eCommerce market share. The comprehensive platform currently weighs in at an 8.98%, making it the 3rd largest platform currently in use.

Whilst this is impressive in itself, it’s Shopify’s remarkable growth that truly makes it stand out as a player to be taken seriously. Shopify’s second quarter financial results reveal a year on year revenue growth of 62%. Yes, you heard that right—revenue for the eCommerce platform grew by 62% since the comparable quarter the previous year. This reflects an annual growth of $245 million!

What has made Shopify’s popularity soar?

Firstly, it’s about as easy to use as an eCommerce platform can be. Within a few hours, anyone with a vision can transform themselves into a budding entrepreneur. You do not have to know how to code. You do not have to be a designer. All you need is a product that you believe in.

With adjunct services provided by companies who are seizing the opportunity to get on board the Shopify growth train, it’s becoming easier than ever to design a professional store and drive the right people to you. The huge variety of third-party themes makes Shopify very attractive.

Secondly, it’s important to note that Shopify, more than any other platform out there, embraces and encourages a multi-channel approach. If you are not familiar with how this benefits the eCommerce entrepreneur, don’t worry. Terminology flies at us faster than you’re able to set up a Shopify store (and that means really quickly.)

At its core, multi-channel selling is the ability to complete sales on multiple channels. These channels may include bricks-and-mortar, social media, websites, or catalogues. Multi-channel marketing is to drive awareness and customer-brand interaction across multiple platforms.

So, Shopify deserves more than your fleeting attention! Now for the next step. Here are the best Shopify plugins and tools that you need to know about for your eCommerce business.

8 must-know Shopify plugins

Smile.io

Let’s begin with a smile. Smile.io is a plugin that allows you to set up a rewards system on your Shopify store. It is comprised of three basic components:

  1. A points system where your customers can earn loyalty points for completing high-profit actions
  2. A referral system that allows you to transform your best customers into your greatest marketing assets
  3. A VIP system that gives rewards to customers in return for their loyalty to you.

I love Smile.io because it gives you the opportunity to show appreciation for your customers, whilst at the same time solidifying their loyalty to your brand.

(Hint, hint. If you choose to make use of a referral system on your site, an integral part of your marketing strategy should be attracting the right people to your store.)

PushOwl

While we’re on the topic of magnificent marketing plugins, here’s a wise one for you. Imagine you could send automated push notifications to customers who left your store half way through a purchase. Imagine you could instantly keep your customers informed about new stock and in-store promotions.

PushOwl allows you to do just that with no major effort on your part. It’s fully automated and integrates seamlessly with your store. The stats speak for themselves. Push notifications boost app engagement by 88%. There you have it folks. This wise young owl is a hoot.

Polaris Telescope

If you’re a designer, listen up to this one. Polaris Telescope is the offspring of Shopify’s design system, Polaris. It was designed as a plugin for Sketch, Shopify’s preferred design tool.

Think of it as a telescope that allows you to zoom in on the Sketch night sky. Whether you are looking for a specific piece of code or a particular Polaris guideline, Polaris Telescope acts as a tool to streamline your workflow so that you do not have to spend hours performing seemingly endless tasks.

Kite

Kite is a print-on-demand software platform that handles both customised merchandise and photo print solutions. If you haven’t yet been exposed to the wonder that is print-on-demand, you’re in for a treat. Regardless of what niche you’re in, print-on-demand will help take your business to a new level, or inspire the start of a new venture.

In a nutshell, this is how it works. You have empty shelves. A customer orders from your store. Kite takes care of the rest. Yes, that is really how it works. Your customer receives the order without you ever having to intervene in the production of the product.

Think of the brand merchandise possibilities. Think of how the potential for artists who want to sell their designs without forking out major upfront costs. A high-quality hoodie, complete with your customised design, could be on its way to your customers in no time and with no effort.

Bulk Discounts

I doubt too much guessing is involved in what this tool has to offer. Why I like Bulk Discounts so much is due to its efficiency and ease of use. You can generate 250,000 discount codes in moments.

The uses of this are endless. Perhaps you want to run a social media campaign that drives traffic to your store… what is more alluring than a discount? Or target rewards at particular customers, such as members of your loyalty program or your partners. Basically, you must choose to use it, and choose how to use it.

Kit

Not to be confused with Kite, let me introduce you to Kit. Kit will be your best friend when it comes to the Facebook marketing of your store. It will generate leads by allowing you to easily set up integrated Facebook and Instagram ads, and manage your email marketing.

Guess what? It’s built in to Shopify’s free app, Ping. Yes, that means it’s also free.

Power Tools Suite

Let’s finish on a bang. When it comes to Shopify add-ons, the Power Tools Suite is as comprehensive as it gets. It’s like having a really on-the-ball virtual shop manager who is constantly checking that everything is as it should be in your store.

Some of the features include:

  • Bulk editing
  • Order sorting
  • Managing Sold Out Products
  • Customising shopper experiencing by allowing them to sort the orders of a collection
  • Creating a filter style menu to perfect your site’s navigation

Yes, this is one-stop management for your Shopify store!

In conclusion...

The genius of Shopify lies in its capacity to embrace the flexibility of modern eCommerce. From multi-channel selling to its integration with multiple plugins and tools, they are mastering the art of the diverse nature of the new retail environment.

It’s hard not to get excited about all the toys that are now on offer that will make your foray into eCommerce a profitable and fulfilling one. One last word of advice - no amount of tools will ever mask an inferior product. The eCommerce world is competitive. You are constantly fighting for the attention of your shoppers who are as inundated with distraction as a magpie at a light show.

Make sure your products stand out. Then, embrace the many wonderful ways to create them, market them, and distribute them all around the world.

AUTHOR BIO

Charlie Carpenter is the co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience.

After working for large and small agencies for many years, he co-founded Kite; a software solution for print-on-demand, zero inventory merchandise, and personalised photo print goods. As well as an entrepreneur, Charlie is a seasoned product strategist with experience of various types of digital projects which include: Responsive and Adaptive Websites, Mobile & Tablet Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross Platform App development. You can connect with Charlie on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter.

About Tim

Tim is the founder of Mile High Themes. He has approximately 15 years of experience in the web design industry and has recently focused his business on e-commerce and Shopify specifically. He is the author of all the Shopify themes at Mile High Themes, provides support for customers, and builds custom themes for merchants on request.