Collaborating is one of the best ways to build and improve your Shopify store. However, how do you keep all the ideas and feedback organized so you can effectively act upon them?
Even if your “team” is just you, there’s likely some other folks you can get involved in collaborating on your store. You might be able to get friends or family members involved. Also consider other small business owners you know as well. Even some select customers can be a good way to gather great feedback.
On the other hand, however, if you do have a staff or team that works on various areas of your Shopify store, be sure to include everyone — no matter their position in the organization. It’s likely that almost everyone who works for you has ideas on how to make things better. You never know where the next big idea will come from!
Don’t forget to invite your outside service providers such as developers, designers or photographers as well. These folks are part of your extended team and by including them in your collaborative discussions, you can not only get great ideas but get fair warning of red flags that might come up down the road.
Although it’s great to get feedback from everyone and include as many ideas as possible, keep in mind that, ultimately, someone should be responsible for making the final decision and then getting it implemented. If you’re a sole proprietor or very small team, that person will likely be you.
However, if you have a larger team, you may want to consider making different team members responsible for areas of your online store that they are best equipped to deal with. Not only will this cut down on things you need to personally work on, it will also give your staff a sense of responsibility and help them both hone their expertise and grow as a value asset for your business.
When gathering feedback, it’s vital to encourage everyone to submit comments with as much context and detail as possible. Vague comments are difficult to understand and can even lead to miscommunication and confusion that wastes valuable time.
One simple way to do this is to use a screenshot tool that lets you annotate the image with arrows, circles and text that explains your ideas and comments. Good choices for this include Awesome Screenshot and TechSmith SnagIt. Using these tools is a great way to give context to what’s being discussed and point out what’s what.
Another great way to gather more specific feedback is through a tool such as the Shopkeeper Notes App. This new Shopify app lets everyone who’s a staff member in your shop leave notes on your store.
To do this, staff members simply click on any element on any Shopify page and leave a virtual “sticky note.” Other users can view the notes and even respond to them, creating a contextual, in-depth conversation and exchange of ideas. And, once the issue is resolved or completed, the note can be archived to avoid clutter but still make it available for future reference.
Finally, one of the most important ways to create a culture of collaboration is to make sure everyone understands that ideas are welcome and will be considered. Of course, not every idea will be implemented due to practical, time or financial limitations, but that doesn’t mean the idea can’t be considered and given a fair chance and constructive feedback, even if it’s negative. Handling this tactfully will make it clear that you value all feedback and shows your team that there’s a clear path to how suggestions are handled.
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This year, four members of the Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme team had the privilege of attending the Shopify Unite conference in San Francisco. We’ve since returned with new insights, ideas and lots of enthusiasm for the growth we see coming —both on the Shopify platform and for ecommerce in general.