E-commerce is low-cost and easy with great platforms like Shopify that offer many built-in features. However, templates limit your layouts and content. This means you either sacrifice branding and great design, or you implement custom programming and rely on a developer every time you want to make an update. But there’s an alternative. With the help of a good designer and developer in your site build process, you can get custom content, maintain your brand integrity, and still update and manage that content via Shopify without a developer after launch.
How do we do it? Shopify Sections. The Section component within Shopify’s templating engine is a powerful, configurable tool for creating reusable content across the site. While many apps provide similar functionality, Shopify’s native Sections allow us to create and enforce a strict visual standard that complements and supports our clients’ brands.
Our process starts with the account team working with clients to identify communication goals for page templates like the product page, supporting pages and front page. For example, a brand introduces a new product into a market specific to a community in which there are many well-known experts. We identify value in expert reviews and elicit content from these experts. We then categorize reviews by product type, uses, etc. and associate them with the page types they most support.
The design team then creates a basic, responsive visual format for the now-minted “Expert Review” section. A few variations are developed. For example, the section might have a left/right content orientation so reviews can be stacked and remain visually engaging. This section is placed on mock-ups of the page templates in a variety of configurations and variants. The account team then works with the client to evaluate the effectiveness of the content and design, eventually producing a specification for the development team.
When the Expert Review section is ready for development, the developer creates a special template type called a Section. This template resides in a specific directory within a Shopify theme. This template can be configured to use fields and might include an image or a text field. First, the developer adds fields for the required content. Next, the html structure is developed to best communicate the content to search engines and accessibility devices. Finally, styles are created to match the design specification.
When a Section template is uploaded to a theme within the store, Shopify goes into action. It reads this template and gives the ability to add this special content type to page templates within the site. A user can then create this content by visiting the theme’s editor.
Now the content team - either at Gray Loon or the client - can add Expert Reviews! Generic reviews can be stacked on the homepage since the left/right orientation provides an appealing visual presentation. Reviews specific to a product family can be added to the product-family template and will appear for every product using that template.
This means content producers don’t have to also be web designers, and marketing directors don’t have to worry about ugly, inconsistent content. It maintains brand integrity without compromising the budget!
If you’re struggling to maintain brand standards on your ecommerce site, contact us.