It's taken six months of development but we're delighted to be launching our brand new website on Shopify. It's a big change for us, moving from a custom built and independently hosted site to a dedicated e-commerce platform and hosted solution like Shopify. But we couldn't be happier with how it's turned out and believe our new site offers a multitude of advances for both our customers and ourselves. So why Shopify? Well, that bit was pretty easy - having researched various hosted platforms like Big Commerce, Magento Go and even Squarespace, we knew Shopify offered the perfect mix of cutting edge functionality, excellent support, a rich eco system of add-on apps and a large network of experts we could plug into. We just needed to make sure Shopify could play nicely with the other third party apps we wanted to deploy on the site. But for us, Shopify's ease of use and up to the minute responsive themes made them a clear winner ahead of their competition like Big Commerce and other others. We had some initial concerns that Shopify was a bit too North American centred but in fact, we need not have worried - there are many thousand of happy Shopify users in Europe and I think the platform will to from strength to strength over here in the coming years.
As far as we can see now, if you're starting out in e-commerce today, you'd need a very good reason indeed NOT to go with a hosted solution like Shopify. To build this kind of functionality yourself would take an enormous budget. You get built in discount and promo codes, a slick gift card feature, advanced SEO and blogging management and tons of great reporting. We had none of this on our old platform! And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Shopify's hosting technology and content delivery system means the site is stable and fast and should hopefully mean Google and the other search engines will find it and index it quickly - hopefully maintaining the rank we've worked so hard to build.
As for the site itself, our key objective was to make it as simple and quick to navigate through the site and place an order - on any kind of device, from ipad to laptop to mobile phone. So our responsive design ensures a pleasurable experience on any sized screen. We also knew we had to make it easy to upload a photo - from wherever it is stored. So whether it's facebook, dropbox, picassa, google drive or your local device, selecting and uploading your photo is a breeze. Once you've chosen your photo, you can use our photo editor to crop, filter and fine tune it until you're ready to go. Powered by Aviary - this is the world's most advanced photo editing software - the same one used by Twitter so you should be familiar with the interface. For most of the products, (except the custom collages) you'll see how your image will look right before you confirm your order and this should speed up production considerably.
That's just a quick overview of what's new. And behind it all, we're still making our photo on canvas prints, our framed prints, our photo prints and wood mounts with an incredible care, pride and attention to detail that we believe truly sets us apart. We've always had some of the best products on the market - now we think we have one of the best websites on the market to go with it.
What do you think? Let us know! Are you thinking about going with Shopify or have you already made the jump? Tell us what you think and what your experience to date has been - we'd love to hear from you.