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Need an ECommerce Storefront? My Week with Shopify (and Chocolate)

Posted by Suzy De Line on Aug 25, 2015 5:25:27 PM

My dear friend Mary makes the best chocolate.  From truffles to bars to dipped fruit, she has a unique gift.

Fortunately for those that love her gift, she opened a shop and produces and sells it. (Oh, the sea salt caramel truffles...) She has a lovely store called Saratoga Chocolates where those of us who live nearby can stop by to stock up.  And yes, she had a website to sell online.

Saratoga Chocolates hand made cocoa nib truffles

However, in the face of Mobilegeddon she decided to update said site to make it mobile viewable and findable;  and that's where this Mediaholix entered the picture as more than a customer.

As an inbound marketing geek, I knew that her site needed to immediately give visitors what they were looking for... immediate access to chocolate.  (ok, and info about her and her business but mostly, chocolate.)  And in addition to giving the customers the best experience, we wanted to give Mary her best option for  hosting/running a site. 

So who has the best e-commerce option for running an online chocolate shop?  And how could we make sure she was also using best inbound marketing principals and still be found as one of the best chocolate shops in the San Jose Area?

The investigation

We did our research, read reviews, and asked around (thanks Jaril!).   We then did trial sites on 3 platforms.  After this process, we had a clear winner... Shopify!    Here are our reasons in order of discovery...

1. (free) templates

Unless one is a gifted designer, its great to have access to predesigned templates.  Most services offer them, but Shopify's were the nicest - including quite a selectioin of free ones.   It seemed karma that the first free selection "Classic" was already quite close to Saratoga Chocolates existing color pallattes.    

Shopify template and dashboard for Saratoga Chocolate

2. Ease of Use

Shopify's site creation tools really are quite simple to use.  I watched the videos the provided after we started the trial and was easily able to put in images, arrange menus, build extra pages.  (this last area is still not perfect.. the wysiwig isn't quite yet...)  One thing that is really nice is the ease with which you can adjust your template's theme colors.

3. Outstanding Customer Service

As noted above, the tutorials and UX got us most of the way there, but when it didn't, there was readily available phone and email support.  All free and available 24/7.

4. Best Value

The cost to open the storefront was pretty comparable but Shopify threw in all the things we needed (SSL, carrier cost shipping options...) that would have been additional with other services.

5. Inbound Optimized.

I was truly impressed by how well Shopify's sites and process support all the best aspects of inbound marketing.  Now all Mary's marketing efforts will grow together to bring her chocolates to afficianados in our neighborhood and beyond!

  • The site template comes perfectly set up pages.
  • There is onpage keyword suggestions made to optimize SEO
  • And the template promotes blogging and connection to her social media accounts.

Next project.... getting them onto P1 Google.... stay tuned!

 Not sure exactly what Inbound Marketing means?
Take a look at this quick checklist we've created and see if you're doing these things.

Free Checklist: How to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign

Topics: Content and blogging, Intro to Inbound, online storefront, ecommerce