Once you launch, you learn. The problem is, I see too many entrepreneurs who want to launch their store, but they never do. And why is that? It's fear. You can call it a fancy term like perfectionism. But at the end of the day, it's fear that's holding these entrepreneurs back from sharing their ideas with the world. In this course, you're going to learn how to create a beautiful functional Shopify store. As you know, I'm a strong believer in MVP; the minimal viable product, which means creating and launching your store with the bare bones.
You can make changes once your store is live and ready to be improved. I want to start by sharing a real eye opening story; an example of the importance of launching. There's a great company called Condor Cycles. It's a family business that opened in 1948, and they launched their first e-commerce store nearly 20 years ago, which is a lifetime in the world of online businesses. Here's the fun part.
There's a handy tool called Wayback Machine. It's like going back in time in the internet and the capsule and seeing screenshots of what websites used to look like back then. Here's a snapshot I found from Condor Cycles years ago. And here's what Condor Cycles looks like now. As you can see, it looks so much different from the modern e-commerce website it is today.
I'm sharing this to you as a demonstration that your design will constantly evolve. Condor Design evolved tremendously from when they first started. And rest assured, your business will. So how you keep up with making changes to your store? I use a three-step repeatable framework that you can use for your web design. Number one; empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, and in your case, your customer.
If you can understand who, then you can understand what and why of your design. Number two is to define the problem and the solution. You want to define the problem that your customers have, not the problem that you have. And I'll share more on this in a minute. Number three is to iterate. This means, continue the test, learn, and make changes over time. But first, let's dive deeper into how you can develop empathy in your design.
So the first step to creating empathy for your customer, especially if you're a brand new business, is to put yourself in the shoe of your customer. So how can you do that? Here are some questions to answer that can help you build empathy. Why is your potential customer coming to your website? How are they feeling or how do they feel when they come to your website? Where is this potential customer coming from?
Are they arriving from a social media account that you've started? Maybe you're running an ad? Or maybe they're searching for you organically on Google. The idea here is to have empathy for your customer when designing by putting yourself in their shoes. The second way to build empathy with your customer is to talk to your customer or potential customers. When you talk to them, you want to learn how they articulate the problem that they have.
You don't need to talk to 100 people for this. Maybe start off with five or 10 just to get started. Now, the second step of the framework is to define the problem. Albert Einstein once said, "If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes to find the problem and one minute resolving it." Discovering and being able to articulate a customer's problem is super important.
And you really want to understand how you design your store by defining this problem. It could be more of a challenge or shortcoming that the customer may even have. It may seem really easy to define a problem. However, I want you to remember that you're not trying to define a problem to solve, but the problem of your customer. After doing the work to understand and empathize with your customer, you'll have the data that you can use to create your problem statement.
And here's an example of a problem versus a customer's problem. Your problem would be; how can I sell 100 phone cases? Now, your customer's problem may be; I want a phone case that has a low impact on the environment. Here are a few questions you can answer to get clarity on your problem. First, who is experiencing the problem? Start thinking about creating an ideal target customer who you think could benefit from your product or service.
Second; when and where does the customer experience this actual problem? Start thinking about the scenario or the trigger for when the customer potentially would want to buy a product and why they would want to buy it. And third, why does this matter? This is a big question. But if you can attach a bigger why to the product you're creating, you may be able to get it clear understanding of the problem.
Here are a couple examples of how defining customer problems can lead to a better design solution. The customer's problem; I'm not familiar with the brand and it may introduce risk buying from them. Now, your design solution would perhaps be incorporate trust badges or review to build instant trust. Now, the customer; I might have a hard time reading the product description due to my age and my eyesight.
Your solution would be ensure the website copy is large and bold enough and make sure it contrasts. Your customer may be worried about additional charges that may occur when they get to the checkout portion. So the solution might be applying a clear call to action indicating the cost of shipping and taxes before they get to the Checkout page. Now that you've learned to define your problems, let's talk a little bit more about crafting a solution and iterating on it.
Your first solution will likely not be the last, so don't get attached to your first brilliant idea. There is no specific rule on how often you should be making updates and changes to your website. This is a personal choice for you and your business. Luckily, there are easy ways to make changes, such as updating photography, colors, fonts, and more. Though, here's my method for assessing if it's time to do a full rebrand or iterate on overall design.
If you start to feel like your website isn't up to date or feeling any hesitation with marketing, it might be time to iterate. Another reason to redesign is your site isn't delivering the sales it used to make. Another challenge may be that your website navigation and design is getting way too complex as you're growing. When you first start your business, chances are you'll only have a small handful of products to start to sell.
Over time, you may notice your product catalog will increase and you'll start to have many pages and drop downs to your website. So once you're clear on what you want to iterate on, how do you do it? Here are three ways that I recommend; number one; install an app like Lucky Orange. Lucky Orange is a great tool that will allow you to heat map and actually record your visitors interaction with your website.
It's almost like you're sitting behind them while they interact with your website. Number two; community feedback. There are fantastic groups like Shopify entrepreneurs on Facebook that you can share your website and seek feedback from the community. Shopify Academy also regularly runs webinars that you can get live feedback on your store from an e-commerce expert. Number three; Usertesting.com.
This is an incredible resource even though it could be a little expensive. The site gives you a chance to have someone in your demographic test your store so you can develop a better customer experience. I recommend trying this service once you start actually making sales. Number four; get an audit from an e-commerce agency. Once you start making sales and want to iterate, you can hire an agency that focuses on conversion rate optimization to audit your site.
This could be a bit more of a cost-effective approach because if you want to hire them right after, that's great. Ideally, the agency will give you some opinions and you can also take those back for any self-reflection. This simple, repeatable, framework is how I approach every new site I start to build with empathy. I work to understand my ideal customer, articulate their problems, and then propose my solution.
And lastly , I constantly re-evaluate my assumptions and my solutions. These steps allow me to develop a sound business and a well-designed online store my customers will love. Join me in the next lesson to learn the four fundamental principles of designing a modern e-commerce store.