by Fatema Mulla
After bringing our Shopify Meetup to Manchester for the first time in July, we returned to both Leeds and Manchester this October for two more nights of Shopify insight, networking and some pretty fantastic burgers.
This time, we were joined in Leeds by SEO expert Tom Armenante and fresh frozen food startup Thyme, and in Manchester by integration provider Patchworks, and personalisation app Nosto (who also kindly sponsored the event).
There was plenty to learn from both events, with a focus on getting your store ready for Christmas trading.
For those who couldn’t attend, while you may have missed the food and drink, we’ve included some of the best insight below to bring you up to speed.
An Introduction from Statement
Our Director Dan opened both events with an overview of the latest news from Shopify, with the platform recently reaching the 500,000 store milestone!
Dan also set the scene with some insight on Christmas eCommerce trading, looking at when customers start their holiday shopping.
Dan pointed out that Christmas activity really starts to build up in October, and that retailers should already have their preparations well under way.
Nosto: Personalisation for Peak
After Dan’s introduction, our Manchester meetup kicked off with the event sponsors - personalisation solution, Nosto.
Cristina from Nosto had some great insight into how personalising your user experience can make a big difference, especially at this time of year.
They also shared some great tips for making the most of your personalised store experience at Christmas, encouraging meetup attendees to use their existing customer data to drive holiday traffic, as well as to make finding the right products as easy as possible when customers do arrive.
You can find more about Nosto here.
Tom Armenante: Shopify SEO Best Practices
The first speaker at our Leeds meetup was SEO expert Tom Armenante.
Having worked with the likes of Matalan and Nicole Farhi, Tom had some fantastic insight to share on how Shopify retailers can make the most of SEO this Christmas, as well as through the rest of the year.
Tom walked through everything from tackling technical SEO issues and how this works with Shopify, to simple things like adding meta data.
Something that stood out was how important it is for your site to stay on top of the little things. Small tasks like adding redirects and cleaning up your site structure may seem insignificant, but when added together they can make a big difference to your search ranking.
Statement: Top Tips for Christmas Marketing
After our opening speakers, Dan headed back to the stage at both events to give the attendees some insight into top tips for marketing ahead of Christmas, including the best Shopify apps to use.
Dan talked about how having the right mix of apps can make a big difference, and shared some really useful tools that Shopify store owners should be using as part of their Christmas marketing strategy.
Dan’s list of Christmas marketing apps included:
Thyme: The Thyme Story & Our Plans for Christmas
After Dan, our Leeds meetup was closed out with a great story from fresh frozen food startup Thyme.
Craig from Thyme walked through his journey from accountant to food entrepreneur, and shared some key tips on how Thyme are getting ready for Christmas.
Craig emphasised the importance of having a plan for Christmas trading, as well as making sure that you start your campaign early enough. He also shared some insight on just how important it is to have all of your procedures and infrastructure in place so as not to disappoint any customers.
Patchworks: How Brands Make Rapid Growth Look Easy
Finally, closing out our Manchester meetup was integration provider, Patchworks.
Luke from Patchworks talked through their experience of working with some of Shopify’s biggest UK stores - including GymShark.
He shared just how important it is to keep your site’s back-end technologies simple and make sure that everything works together harmoniously.
Using their network of successful brands, Patchworks identified some common traits in how these retailers approach their stores and how retailers of all sizes can learn from them and become one of these rapid growth brands themselves.
The Next Meetup…
After two more successful events, our Shopify Meetups will be returning in the new year. If you’re interested in attending, look out for more information closer to the time, and don’t forget to subscribe to our eCommerce newsletter to be updated when dates are announced.