協助開店/尋找有意合作伙伴

若果你經已以 Facebook 專頁經營網上商店業務,有商品圖片、簡單商品說明/SKU,但未有正式網站來管理下單、發貨;對 Shopify 有興趣,想了解應用此平台作為你的落單管理/POS系統的話,歡迎來信查詢,小弟正尋找有意合作之平台/網店,我提供技術建議,協助你透過 Shopify 來優化你的網店業務。

若有意了解更多,不彷留言或 PM 接洽。

Talk about hybid mobile app

For a mobile app development, it has 2 approaches: Native VS Hybid. In general the cost for building a native app is higher than a hybid app, especially for some e-commerce store they already have the site running, they want it also run in app to enable some feature like barcode scanning or wallet integration.

I am not a big fan of hybid app, but things not always go alone with your idea and sometimes showing respect to business decision is the way you need to go for. So I would share some of my lesson learn for such hybid app development:

The web and app development coupled

Once you decided to have the app run in hybid, you not only have to guarantee your app running, but also have to have the site the app ride on always up. If there is down-time, by accident or scheduled maintenance, you need ensure the app has proper handling or your app user will find the app fail to work.

Session sharing

As you may develop some part of the app as native, for some operation which require session sharing, you will have to deal with the sync of the session so it wont result in invalid session or fail to sync the session in native and that in webview

Provide information for the webview

For some case, even not ideal, your web may need to show some mobile app specific content, the way to tell the webview is by mean of user-agent. Modifying the web-view user agent with providing the hint of the web is being rendered in app’s webview, version information is also important. This allows you to run any targeted content by means of detecting the user agent string.

Performance about hybid app

This is not something new, rendering website in webview does not perform well comparing with using native approach. With descent API as the data source for the app, the payload for a request is likely smaller than loading a web page, this helps provide a better performance as you take shorter time to download the content. Sometime Webview needs to download all content in order to show the page.

Challenge on App vs webview tracking statistic (if deep link enabled)

If the web the app ride on is a e-commerce store, it oftens have many affiliate tracking. And if you have deep linking enabled. The traffic to your site will bring to the corresponding section of the app. This is actually breaking your affiliate tracking, having a reducion of traffic that execute your tracking as the web not even rendered. And even the tracking code can execute in webview, the data stored in the URL in form of param can lost, result in failure of getting the information that you need. Implementing tracking in app is far more complicate compare with the installation in web, the high cost and heavy effort demond to get the data right is far more complicate than you can think of.

It will never be complete native, and result in hybid forever

If you think of having the app run in hybid first, and turns it to native. I look forward your success, or you just planting a technical debt which never likely resolve, and this is a Tech Debt.

Therefore, if you take part in tech planning for app development, try not define your app to run as hybid unless you have really good plan to evolute it afterward.

 

 

Being listed in a TOP 20 Technology Blog 2017


Top 20 Technology Blogs

 

Honestly I am shocked more than a surprise when a website call MrDiscountCode.hk sent me a email saying my blog is being listed in their Top 20 Technology blog 2017. As I only use my blog share the website that I made, or share the technique that I think good to see how it could work for others. Of course I subsequently receive follow up email to ask if I can add their badge above, which I know it is a way to not only help me from having my blog being listed in their site, but also to have their site url mentioned in my blog so as to improve SEO.

Even knowing very limited about MrDiscountCode.hk , as long as it is not spam site, and it is a Hong Kong Startup, I am fine to receive this appreciation and recognition. And this may also be a chance to really allow me examine how this can affect a site SEO if both side mentioned each other website.

I know my blog is still very in-adequate in knowledge sharing, and it is still a long journey for me to learn more how to run a e-commerce better. Such recognition would be a small encouragement for me to share more and more often.

Hope you find my site really helpful.

New Hong Kong Sweet Shop – The Bonbonist

When you search “Hong Kong Sweet Shop” in Google, it is so impressed that the majority of the search result are  Mr Simms Olde. Not only because of her very good taste, but also her long history in Hong Kong so it deserves to be that high ranked.

The Bonbonist Store in Pacific Place Admiralty
The Bonbonist Store in Pacific Place Admiralty

The Bonbonist (https://thebonbonist.com), cans be a new meaning for “Hong Kong Sweet Shop”, is a referral of my existing client. They sell the founder looks for having an online store for her candies business. I was invited to their presentation and amused by the variety of the sweets that sourced around the world; the explanation of their brand identity; the vision that they wish to achieve. I was actually so puzzled by the bonbon at first. I was not clear about why they are so important until the founder keep remind me, they are the spirit of her products, the stories that they wanna tell, the idea is so strong that last through the whole development process of their Shopify site, impacting the website design (disclaimer: not done by me).

What I offer them is the setup of their Shopify store, help them structure the products, making use of Shopify platform to make a website that not only list out products, but also to allow customer design candies box which let customer decide what to include, how it styled and stamped. Such a luxury candies store is so new to me, but this is definitely not a new idea after a bit research, online stores below also have similar services:

The Bonbonist does not aim to stand out too much, instead, the founder wanna bring the taste of sweet to another level, making candies be a kind of affordable luxury, with pretty outlook and packaging that they deserved. It deserves to be gift that make people not only feel happy but also elegant. It can be gift that replace traditional hamper, it cans be gift for farewell to make the sad feeling turn warm and memorable. It also encourage people to be green by re-living the box for various purpose:

So what I contributed for The Bonbonist? Apart from bringing their design to executable outcome, I am actually a online store planner, includes sharing what they need to plan for, the cost that could incur, the way that we can work out for an online business. I helped building the site with a purchased theme from Themeforest, and then modify the theme to suit their need, including converting the theme to be Shopify Theme-Section based, so as to allow utilising the benefits that bring by Theme Section ( e.g. Customisation / Content Reposition). I also use metafield to hold additional information, utilising Navigation for some advance data organisation. Help them setup the store with using Shopify POS for their economic POS solution. And upcoming I am going to make the store to support Store Collect without the need for purchasing a Shopify app.

The Bonbonist Website
The Bonbonist Website

 

 

 

 

Video playlist which help you understand more how to run a E-Commerce business

I often amazed by Shopify as it often offers various kind of documentation and support material to empower store owners / eCommerce merchants to know their business better and how to run their online store more effectively. Recently I receive a note from Shopify that there is a video series which is developed by Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer, he shares his success business use-case and I find it does bring out some points that I lack of language power to illustrate, here you go:

 


Gain your domain control from Shopify / OpenSRS

You need a domain name for your website / online store. Like my site, gordon-chan.net is the domain. You have your domain share to people so they know how to reach your site.

For people who new from website / online store setup. When they register Shopify for their store, they could also purchase a domain through Shopify so as to get rid of having the store domain as xxxxx.myshopify.com .

Shopify sell a .com domain with USD $13/year, and they help you integrate the domain with the store seamlessly. It seems handy, and yet, you can actually have other choice.

Buying a domain from GoDaddy or some other domain service provider is very easy, and often offer you much more discount if you register for few-year package. Let say GoDaddy sell a .com domain $8 + $120 = $128 for 2 year ($8 for the first year). Of course, GoDaddy is famous with its poor / non-user-friendly interface. Yet it is the cheapest domain seller I ever see. Some other clients use Domain Discount 24 , again, the feature is detail but the interface is quite traditional.

So, having shared alternative option for domain purchase from cost perspective, any other reasons for not using Shopify domain? Answer this, you need to aware Shopify is actually working with OpenSRS, which is the real domain service provider. When you signup a domain through Shopify, you don’t receive any information about the domain management. Like any login information for domain panel. It is indeed when you need to get your domain integrate with GSuite / verify your domain ownership using domain CNAME records etc. You can get your domain panel information with a very simple and feature-less interface only if you call / live-chat with Shopify Support, which sounds weird to me.

Apart from that, domain renew fee is bundled with Shopify invoice, You cannot purchase the domain for X years, or add any additional protection to the domain.

So, I often recommend my clients, either buy domain from GoDaddy and seek for Shopify Expert help on the configuration (link up the domain with the Shopify store) or contact Shopify support to obtain the domain login information as soon as they can, in order to gain back the control of the domain.

References:

Shopify: Buy a domain: https://help.shopify.com/manual/domains/buying-domains/buying-a-domain

Shopify: Managing domains: https://help.shopify.com/manual/domains/managing-domains

GoDaddy: https://hk.godaddy.com/

 

Tips for Shopify Store setup

Here are some tips I would share with people who wanna setup a Shopify Store for their online business.

Seek for a Shopify Expert for help

Not attempt to but fine if you do treat me as sale-person for my own freelance business, just, there are quite fundamental benefit for finding help from Shopify Expert. Apart from the potential cost for consultation, you will definite save costs that you may not necessary need to pay for.

Some clients come to me for Shopify store setup, but they often already start paying Shopify for some time and they fail to get the store work in the way they like so seek for Shopify Expert. In fact, Shopify Experts are authorised to setup “Development store” which is Shopify Store that with majority features but no trial period limitation.

In general, Shopify Experts know how to assist you to technically achieve something you want, and what is technical infeasible before it comes to solid request. People who start paying Shopify while not knowing Shopify limitation will result in a waste of time and money. At worst, they are not satisfied with what Shopify provides and cannot utilise this platform for their business.

Cost for hiring a Shopify Expert can be minimal. Free of charge is not the way we go for, but Shopify Expert like me treat meeting potential clients as friend-making.

Cost for a Shopify Store Setup

There are few area you need to spend money for store setup or running a store in long run.

  1. Consultant fee for hiring Shopify Expert
    • Some Shopify Expert are fine to share with you the detail about Shopify, some other may impose a consultation fee. No matter what, look for multiple Shopify Experts and compare their service pricing models.
  2. Shopify Store Monthly / Yearly subscription fee
    • No doubt you need to pay Shopify for the service, but this cost cans be deferred. Apart from Paid Store, with feature depends on the subscription fee, there is another type of Store: “Development Store” which can be setup by Shopify Experts, having no 14-days trial limitation, but with few restrictions:
      • Cannot install Shopify App which incur fee
      • Cannot perform real payment transaction
      • Cannot link up with your domain (which mean need to stick with *.myshopify.com
  3. Shopify App subscription fee
    • Shopify App provides you features that not supported by Shopify out-of-the-box. Example: Some store wanna customer upload their logo / image as tailor-made T-Shirt. Shopify does not support this, but some app like Product Customizer can provide this capability; Shopify cannot do multilingal, it support translation but only single language can be shown. You can use Langify to achieve this feature.
    • Shopify App can be:
      • Free
      • One-time subscription
      • Monthly subscription
      • On-demand subscription (charge per usage, like some image optimisation)
    • Transaction fee
      • Whenever you receive an order and perform the transaction (captures the amount that customer pay), Shopify will have transaction fee. Additionally, the payment gateway service, like Paypal / BrainTree / Stripe / PayDollar, they will also have transaction fee.
  4. Shopify Expert development fee
    • This is different from the consultant fee. This cost is for the Shopify Expert help you develop the E-Store in the way you wish to. From theme styling to functional integration. The cost and the included services can be quite different among different type of Shopify Experts.

Start from simple, plan for longterm maintenance, evolute gradually as progressive enhancement

Shopify provides you the fundamental function for you to run a E-Commerce business. You need not worry about most technical concern. But it does have several factor that lack of flexibility or feasibility. Say:

  • It allows:
    • You can manage Product / Collection / Page / Blog setup with its decent admin panel
    • You can manage theme / possible to customise / switch from one to another them
    • You can integrate with well known online payment gateway
    • no effort on having your site’s media asset like images / files be delivered with the well-known Content Delivery Network (a.k.a CDN) to fasten the site loading
    • Fundamental reporting allow you know how many sale / discounted amount / return amount reports
  • It is weak or no support on some factors:
    • You cannot change url pattern (if you very keen on SEO), you cannot imagine to have multilingual site with different context path like {domain}/en/… for English, {domain}/tc for Traditional Chinese
    • You may have low grade on some online SEO report saying there are many inline CSS/JS for which are Shopify needed scripting that you cannot remove
    • You cannot change your checkout flow (unless joining the Shopify Plus! plan)
    • You cannot expect your site can run very well in China region as Shopify is a foreign country where their servers located beyond China boundary.

(To be continue)

Mamedio Swimwear

This should be the most sexy project I get involved. A Brazil brand swimwear Shopify store is just launched:

Mamedio International

It has various style for both Bikini and One Piece. And the site owner pays much effort on showing you how good fit their products are with modal wearing their products and having attractive shot from different perspectives:

Mamedio International Lookbook

The story of Mamedio is just begins, apart from assisting the store for initial launch (both Internation and Brasil site), I am going to strength the site by further enhancing the SEO aspect, and facilitate the site owner to manage their stores easier.

Heroku + Laravel + bower/gulp(nodeJS) require multiple buildpack

Heroku has official document to teach how to get Laravel work on Heroku platform. But if you has Bower / Gulp for your Laravel project, you need to set the app to run with php buildpack, you also need to run this to get your app run as NodeJs app:

$ heroku buildpacks:add –index 1 heroku/nodejs

Once you have this setting effect for your app, you can utilize package.json to have this to run the bower and gulp:

“scripts”: {
“postinstall”: “bower install && gulp”
}

 

Shopify plans pricing change and comparsion

Shopify changes their pricing on 1 Jun 2016. The plans’ name are changed accordingly: Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify. It still has 14 days trial, and of course, the most economic and clever way is to contact a Shopify Expert to work with you for a longer trial period for the store development.

From previous experience, most of my client would just need the Basic Shopify plan, as they only put items in store without need for detail report or gift card support. If clients need specific feature that only available in particular Shopify plan, before suggesting them to select the plan with that specific feature, I would show them the different of the potential cost among different plans.

I have the sheet below which I wrote for a client who original  have the Unlimited Shopify Plan (Advanced Plan) and consider how would it be different for his store if he downgrade his plan.

In the sheet, I have 3 tables:

  1. $299 Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost
  2. $29 Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost
  3. $179Plan and $79 Plan the change in total running cost

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 上午7.50.52

In each table, I show the plan cost, the gross transaction, the corresponding transaction fee (using third party payment like PayPal / PayDollar) and the total store running cost. You can see if your store has around HKD$350000 or USD $44872 gross transaction. Use $299 plan would be more economic.

So if you are running very simple Shopify store with $29/mo, if your monthly transaction is more then HKD$30000 or USD$3846, using $79 would be more economic.

For my client, he is currently using the old Unlimited $179 Plan, Shopify does not change this monthly price unless he changes the plan; When I help review, his plan will only be economic to him if his business cans produce $157000 gross sale per month. Yet, his business is still require some time to reach this sale level, and he needs not the advanced report feature, I recommend him to downgrade the plan so as to save the cost.

For my client, he is delighted to see this information and suggested arrangement for him; For me, my monthly commission is actually reduced by almost half. However, I believe this is definitely good for my client so as to help them running their business in lower cost. The lower the cost for their business, the higher the chance of success of their Shopify business.