How to choose a Shopify development company?

Choosing the right Shopify development company is like hiring a new crew to build your new house. 

Setting up a Shopify store is easy, but making it converts well is a different story. Admit it! You need a Shopify development team to help with technical stuff. 

There’re a lot more just drag & drop features. You need to find out suitable apps (or even how to edit codes) for your store!

After more than 2 years working in the Shopify field, we met lots of clients who had a bad experience with previous development teams. They told us about their troubles: deadline lateness, below-the-standard work quality, slow response, hard to communicate… many things.

Above all, a store without excellent technically operated drastically affects their sales and marketing activities

In this post, we’ve compiled the most common things our clients encountered. Have a look, so you don’t repeat their mistakes.

Below, you will find the patterns and a set of questions to find a Shopify development company for your online store.

Why a Shopify development company?

Some reasons worth your consideration:

  • Cost reduction: For a business, minimizing expenses is a sure way to enhance growth. The fact that you don’t have to buy equipment and other supplies means the overall cost is reduced. Outsourced Shopify developers offer these services to you already.
  • Time-saving: When working within a tight deadline, do you need more hands on the project? One way to speed up is to hire the specialized people who can work within your time frame.
  • Accurate technical tasks: To stay competitive, business owners must keep up-to-date with the latest technical innovations. So why don’t leave this issue to a Shopify development company to enhance productivity without compromising quality?

Focus on your core business process: Your Shopify outsourced team will handle all the hard technical work, while you will have more time to work on tasks like marketing, content management, customer service, and other essential services.

How to choose the right Shopify development company?

Before selecting any Shopify development company, make sure you check the following aspects:

1. Clear development process

A company cannot just say “we are professional”, they need to prove instead.


Working process!

For a team to be effective, the folks within the team should be ready to work along to contribute to team outcomes. But this doesn’t happen automatically. There is a need for a smooth process to make it happen. 

Back to our case on How to choose a Shopify development company, you might want your development team to show you their working process. 

What does the development process look like?

Well, basically, a development process has 3 phases:

  • Input (collect and analyse requirements, propose solutions)
  • Development (how the development team works)
  • Output (guideline, documentation, support)

At HappyPoints, our process is divided into 3 phases as the above: Input, Development, Output. Let’s have a look at our Development phase for example:

HappyPoints’s Development process

To get to know more about the process we came up with at HappyPoints, message us!

2. Skilful developers

Of course, you want to work with a team that has skilful Shopify website developers. But, how skilful is enough? How to recognize a skilful developer?

We can tell you some top signs that a skilful developer has:

  • Work independently and efficiently to complete a project
  • Explain how his code works to someone with zero experience
  • Can review another person’s code and provide constructive feedback
  • When faced with a development task, the first instinct is to think, draw diagrams, and nail down requirements before starting to type any source code
  • … and many more!

Actually, there are no such things as “skilful enough”. The questions people should be asking are:

  • How fast does this person learn new technologies?
  • How enthusiastic are they about applying the technologies that they already know and about trying to apply new ones?
  • Do they have talent (flexible, scalable, understanding of the big picture), or are they workhorses (able to code quickly and efficiently, but only for specific, given tasks)?

And more importantly, make sure your development team is customer-oriented. What we mean here is the development team has to know what works best for clients. They must know what to do, which is mandatory. But they also have to know what fits clients’ needs. They’re not Shopify web developers anymore, they are consultants for your business. 

To make sure if your future Shopify development company is ideal or not, ask the contractor about developers profiles.

Drop us an email to get to know more about our developers, send a message to us!

3. Good communication

As a Shopify development company, we have come to realize that communication is a skill as important as technical knowledge. 

Ironically, outsourcing development puts you into a big pitfall – communication issues. Different time zones, languages, and culture are obvious obstacles. Setting up regular channels of communication with the outsourced team is crucial for ensuring project success. 

The communication gap can’t be solved by using project-management software alone. Trello, Slack, Asana and other platforms are amazing, but we want to talk about the development models, both internal and external. They’re better to use collaboration tools other than email (as we mention right now) and apply SCRUM/Agile for establishing communication channels.

From our experience, the most popular areas in IT have similar followings: 

  • SCRUM/Agile: 80% of IT teams work in SCRUM. So, things like daily standups, sprints, and the definition of done are simply a must. Your Shopify development company should have it. 
  • Tools: What are they using? AsanaTrelloJira? Or even Taiga? Doesn’t matter, as long as you are accessible to it. You should feel like you’re working in the same office, communicating with them daily on Slack during normal working hours. That way, you can update the project regularly.

Drop a message to get to know more about us! Click here.

4. Good support

We won’t talk about things like:

  • The development team has to understand and address your problems
  • The development team needs to quickly respond to your requests, fix the minor changes
  • … and more

Above things are the must. As a Shopify development company, they must be able to deal with it. If they can’t, you know what to do!

Other than that, we’re gonna talk about yes-sayers.

Avoid yes-sayers. You want to work with a downright partner who is able to say “No” if neccessary.

For example:

  • “No, you shouldn’t make this feature first – it’s a waste of your money and time”
  • “No, you should consider different tools…”
  • “No, this app will reduce your site speed. We’ll consider non-app solutions instead”.

5. Long-term vision

People who have long-term vision give their best to complete jobs, while others don’t. They look for win-win solutions. We call it partner chemistry.

We believe in partner chemistry. 

Once there’s a chemistry and we’re on the same boat by having transparent communication, the pitfalls can be avoided, and we can pursue our business’s success.

6. Clear policy

Outsourcing Shopify development services offers you lots of benefits, but it doesn’t mean there are no risks involved. To stay safe, make sure you check their privacy policy as well as how they avoid database leaks. 

Also don’t forget to discuss with the company’s representative about payment terms to make sure both two sides have a common agreement on this.

Most development teams nowadays work in different collaboration models, so don’t hesitate to ask your outsourced Shopify development company about this. 

At HappyPoints, we apply flexible collaboration methods, especially white-label models. To be specific, let’s take a look at our models below:

Collaboration models at HappyPoints

Never heard about the white-label method? Learn more by dropping us a message.

7. It’s not all about price

Reject the cheapest price. If you do, you will ultimately pay more at the end of the project. Why?

Reasons are listed below:

  • Technological debt – Poorly written code, lack of tests, difficult to work on or maintain, lack of documentation
  • Poor communication – lack of experience of the offshoring/nearshoring team, poor English level, lack of transparency in the development process.

You don’t want to buy the cheapest price, but the most cost-effective. If you focus on spending less money at first, you’ll pay 2-3x times more in the future (the worst-case scenario – find another partner to work with – as our clients did).

Questions to ask

To help filtering the ideal Shopify development services, there are some fields you can  ask the potential:

  • Their working process
  • Their communication methods
  • Their way of solving a problem

And for technical stuff, you can ask them:

  • Their measurement and analytic systems
  • Their QA process
  • Their best practices/previous project (or portfolio)
  • Source code agreement

Still can’t figure out what to ask exactly? Here is the full list of question to ask (associated with tips to make it happen)

Taking away

Almost all ecommerce businesses need a well-design and full-functional website to display their services, brand and goods. In fact, it’s better for you to focus on growing your business – then leave the small details that bog you down to the people who have expertise on. 

A Shopify development company could be the right choice. They have high-quality and convenient services, affordable prices, skilful and high-educated staff. They have flexible collaboration options to choose between. Your choice will start from a clear development process, resources, support service, etc.

If you need help developing your store (from the smallest tasks like app install or code related solutions), be sure to reach out to us.

Need help setting up a Shopify store? Check out our tutorial series on “How to set up a Shopify store without tech”. Check out this tutorial!

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