With Chris Pointer
Written by Franco Varriano.
We’re really happy to have Chris Pointer, founder and Creative Director of Pointer Creative, one of Shopify’s first and top ranked Shopify Plus Experts on this week’s Marketing Chat. For those of you who watched the Denver Broncos win the Superbowl earlier this year, you might have seen the Death Wish Coffee Co ad during the break, and Pointer Creative created their website. This week’s topic is store design for optimization.
2. The Interview
Ned: Thank you Chris for joining our 💡marketing chat series. Many people know Pointer Creative and how amazing you guys are, but not everybody knows about Chris Pointer and how you got started. Can you share your story?
Chris: I was working as an independent designer with a solid freelance business, and a friend of mine had started working at Shopify. He suggested I get involved with a new program they were developing called Shopify Experts, and when I met with Dan (Eveleigh), he instantly sold me on the program. At first, it was a lot of custom graphics for pre-existing themes, but that quickly grew into custom sites and, over time, into the services we provide today at Pointer.
Ned: You guys are on the high end bracket of shopify experts. How did Pointer Creative manage to set themselves apart from the rest of the Shopify expert agencies?
Chris: It was a combination of things. The first, and most important, is building great relationships with our clients so they trust us and know we’re in this together. The other is having a killer design and development team who create amazing, robust sites that follow best practices in UX and eCommerce. We also rely on the amazing support from the Partner Team at Shopify to move forward and continue to grow for their merchants needs.
Ned: On the topic of design as an investment vs a nice thing to have, why should first time ecommerce entrepreneurs invest in design before launching their store (even if they are not sure if things are going to work)?
Chris: A proof of concept is fine before launching the full project, however merchants know (should know that sometimes) they only get one chance to make that first impression. If it looks like “dogshit” and doesn’t impress the user, you risk losing them forever. So even if you are just building a beta, design and UX should still be given significant opportunity and budget.
Ned: The tagline on the landing page of the website is “Let us design a beautiful ecommerce website that will make you more money”. How does the design impact the conversion rate?
Chris: For us, a beautiful site includes design and UX, and these two things almost always improve conversion rates. Our goal is to get the customer to the product they want and complete their purchase in as few clicks as possible.
Ned: You’ve built plenty of websites. Is there a design pattern that online stores should follow in order to be successful?
Chris: Large SKU sites should focus on filtering. Period. Customers need to be able to find products easily. Smaller SKU shops should focus on getting the products in front of the customer as quickly as possible. The homepage is a great place to sell products.
Ned: What are the top 3 design tips you would give to someone launching their online store and looking to make money?
Chris: 1) Review sites like Beautifulstores.com and be able to articulate the functionality you want to your agency. 2) Trust your agency…just because you don’t like something personally doesn’t mean it isn’t an effective layout and design for customers and conversions. 3) Don’t delay launching if something isn’t exactly the way you want. Websites should always be evolving.
Ned: Can you pick one of your favorite projects and tell us why you’re extremely proud of it?
Chris: Recently we launched MotionRC on Shopify Plus. This massive data migration required incredible product organization. The design team put a lot of thought into the UX and the end result is impressive. Conversions are up. The client is happy. That makes me proud.
Ned: How does the online store design change as the company grows from 100 customers to let’s say 100,000 customers a month?
Chris: When you get into that range you need to consider customer segmentation and other tools. You should also consider A/B testing different UX using tools like Optimizely.
Ned: What should customers and partners expect from Pointer Creative in the coming months?
Chris: We’re refreshing the brand and moving into the exclusive Shopify Plus Experts program. Plus Experts is a new program where Shopify can feature top partners, including app companies like Rare.io
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