by Tom Shackleton

For a fledgling eCommerce business on Shopify, taking every opportunity to maximise sales and reach new customers is essential. Shopify’s App Store is a fantastic way for merchants to add extra functionality to their stores and give them the best chance of turning their business into a success.

For a fledgling eCommerce business on Shopify, taking every opportunity to maximise sales and reach new customers is essential. Shopify’s App Store is a fantastic way for merchants to add extra functionality to their stores and give them the best chance of turning their business into a success.

Space Squirrel is a Shopify app developer, building fantastic apps for new and growing merchants. After going through a few iterations, including an indie dev company and an icon design studio, Space Squirrel now develop Shopify Apps from their studio in Manchester.

We caught up with the team at Space Squirrel to find out how they are helping new merchants drive sales and grow their businesses with amazing Shopify apps:

Helping to Create Social Proof

A potentially big barrier for new eCommerce stores is the lack of reputation and social proof behind their brand. Being able to build this in the early days is essential, so Space Squirrel developed an app that will do just that.

Social proof

Checkout Share gives stores the ability to encourage social sharing before and after the point of purchase. It enables the offering of discounts and gifts in exchange for sharing your cart or completed order. This can prove a valuable tool for new merchants who need to incentivise their customers to share their experiences and become brand advocates.

According to Space Squirrel:

“We all know that having a presence on social media networks enhances buyer confidence, but not all of us realize that every buyer comes with a network of their own that you can utilize. Giving users small incentives creates a value for value approach that then branches out to more exposure for your brand, with a personal validation from them. Yes, modern buyers google your products and read reviews, but we are nowhere near ruling out “word of mouth”. If your (very cool) trainer shares their shopping list, you bet you will remember the brand next time you need a new gym bag.”

The promise of a discount code can also help increase the average order value - every extra penny helps for new customers; not to mention the fact that creating well rewarded brand advocates should also help to drive repeat custom.

Checkout Share: Free - $14.99 / month

Speeding Up Sites

Making a great first impression is essential. Growing eCommerce brands don’t want potential customers to leave their store, frustrated and unable to navigate it effectively. That’s why having a site that loads quickly and smoothly is also very important. Research suggests that customers are more likely to abandon a site the slower the response time, so a fast-loading site is vital for holding customers’ attention.

Speed up sites

As images account for a large proportion of a page’s load time, Space Squirrel’s Crush Pics app aims to reduce image load times. Compressing images before uploading them to your site is best practice for keeping sizes to a minimum, but it’s a pretty time consuming process.

For a growing business, where time is precious, manually compressing each image is really inefficient. Crush Pics will automatically compress images once you upload them, removing the laborious and time consuming process and freeing up time for more important things.

Having a fast site with compressed images can also have a positive impact on search ranking, with Google favouring sites that load quickly. As mobile browsers continue to grow, this will only become more important.

CrushPics: Free - $39.99 / month

Making Shopping Interactive

A user experience that engages visitors and really sells a strong brand can make all the difference for small and growing eCommerce retailers. So giving customers a way to browse your product range that is visual, interactive and intuitive can be a powerful tool for building a reputation.

To help eCommerce retailers create this interactive and engaging experience for their customers, Space Squirrel developed an app called Covet Pics. With Covet Pics, merchants can build shoppable Instagram galleries into their stores. Visitors are then able to browse galleries for inspiration and shop right from them. Galleries can even be included on product pages, with images curated from those featuring the product in question (such as in this example from Folks Copenhagen).

Interactive shopping

According to Space Squirrel:

“Merchants spend a lot of time and money creating perfectly lit and styled lifestyle images, and then after posting them online, watch them getting buried under new posts. Our starting goal with was to have brands flaunt these photos with beautiful galleries right in their store. From there, we added the huge value of the products being tagged and shoppable. What we haven’t anticipated, and what completely floored us, is how our users are creatively integrating these aspirational galleries. We are now seeing product-centric galleries, ambassador galleries, even official lookbooks inside the app. There are no rules about what goes to social and what is official. The main thing is, you can buy it then and there.”

This can be incredibly useful for new stores to build a story around their products, show them in real life situations and allow visitors to envisage themselves using a product. Such a visual way of shopping can really help stores develop their growing brand. Free - $39.99 / month

Keeping Merchants Ahead of Competitors

For eCommerce retailers looking to grow or move into competitive markets, being able to stay one step ahead of competition can be the difference maker. Merchants have to weight up the need to price match and track competitor pricing with their limited time and everything else that’s needed to develop a successful eCommerce store.

Sometimes, showing price sensitive customers that you are willing to price match competitors could carry them through to the checkout, rather than away to another site. Space Squirrel’s Price Beater app allows customers to request a price match when shopping. This means brands don’t have to spend as much time tirelessly combing competitors’ sites to match every price. Instead, they can give shoppers the reassurance that prices can be matched, wherever else they shop.

Space Squirrel has identified that, for growing brands, price matching can be difficult and time consuming, even if they are financially able to match prices. Price Beater can help newer brands compete with more established eCommerce sites, with access to a larger pool of resources.

Price Beater: £9.99 / month

Offering Stellar Support

Space Squirrel are firm believers that the value Shopify apps can add doesn’t stop once a merchant hits the subscribe button. Support from developers can be key to unlocking a store’s full potential.

According to Space Squirrel:

“Our users’ satisfaction is our top priority. We are building Space Squirrel not only with each new app we provide, but the service that comes with it. The thing is, our existing users are our inspiration, our testers and eventually, judges. It all drives our whole approach to developing: we don’t consider any of our apps a final product, we’re constantly improving on them and perfecting them. With every question or call for assistance we receive, our apps are getting better and better, and our users happier. Shopify is an astoundingly healthy, friendly eco-system to be a part of.”

Developers like Space Squirrel have years of experience to draw on from assisting and working with Shopify merchants. Making the most of this knowledge can help eCommerce brands implement and use apps in the best way possible.

In Summary…

We love to see talented teams and developers build their businesses around the Shopify ecosystem. The Shopify app store is a growing collection of fantastic apps that can really enhance the functionality of a retailer’s store. We’re certainly interested to see what Space Squirrel does next to help new and growing eCommerce businesses make a success of their stores.

Think Space Squirrel’s apps could help boost sales and grow your store? Use the coupon code STATEMENTOFFER for 20% off (ongoing discount) ALL Space Squirrel apps. Simply enter the code before signing up to a plan where it says “have a coupon code?”

As well as offering a free plan, a 14 day free trial is included in 3 of of Space Squirrel’s apps. Let us know your comments, and feel free to ask for any assistance!

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