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by Michael P. Hill May 08, 2015

Picture this. You’re about to walk into a television studio with bright lights and an intimidating, sprawling set — all to pitch your life’s work to some of the wealthiest and most powerful business people in the country. Oh, and millions of people at home will watch you if you fail.

But you’ve got one thing down, at least — a killer ecommerce site.

Such is the tale of those who appear on ABC’s hit reality show “ Shark Tank.”

There’s a reason the show’s called “Shark Tank.” The stakes are high, the questions are tough and criticism is harsh (though often constructive). It’s no wonder some of the entrepreneurs who appear on the show look like they’d rather be fending off real life sharks than standing in that studio.

The founders of Pursecase, Beardbrand, Pipsnacks and Lollaland could all rest easy knowing their websites looked great using their Shopify themes from Out of the Sandbox — and they also all ended up getting funded on the show.

Pursecase

Pursecase Shopify Theme

Pursecase sells miniature “purses” designed to hold a smartphone — complete with handles and stylish finishes. Purecase chose Out of the Sandbox’s Responsive Shopify ecommerce theme to power its online store.

The clean, simple look of the Responsive theme allows Pursecase to keep the focus on its unique products. Since its products are geared toward fashionable women, it’s important to make sure shoppers can easily scan the items available to find that perfect match.

Pursecase is also able to take advantage of the integrated Google Fonts feature to use the light and airy Lato font to further enhance the clean lines of its Shopify theme. The “quick shop” modal window, meanwhile, makes it a snap to quickly add that perfect Pursecase to the shopping cart and seal the deal.

Beardbrand

Beardbrand Shopify Theme

Serving what it’s dubbed the “urban beardsman,” Beardbrand sells products to help men care for their beards — including beard oils and styling tools — on the Mobilia Shopify theme. After all, you can’t be shrewd shark without paying attention to the little things — and that includes beard grooming.

Packed with eye-catching photography, Beardbrand’s implementation of the Mobilia theme also allows the product photos to stand out while also using design elements such as webfonts to convey the look and feel a modern, sophisticated man can relate to.

Beardbrand also makes use of Mobilia’s built-in collections hierarchy levels to allow shoppers to drill down to view specific products of interest. And since the Mobilia theme lives up to its name as a fully responsive Shopify theme, it looks great for the guy on the go shopping for grooming gear.

Pipsnacks

Pipsnacks Pipcorn Shopify Theme

While most sharks love to snack on chum, apparently the “Shark Tank” sharks prefer miniature popcorn. That’s the main product that Pipsnacks, another “Shark Tank” funded ecommerce site, carries.

Backed by Out of the Sandbox’s Shopify Retina theme, Pipsnacks makes use of full screen photographs of its product set against rustic weathered wood backgrounds to emphasize the natural nature of its snacks.

These backgrounds, which also feature built in parallax scrolling, normally would take line after line of custom code, were a snap for Pipsnacks to implement with the built-in theme options that allow users to control these backgrounds without knowing code.

You’ll find a trail of stray pipcorn on the site’s category and product pages, also controlled by the theme’s options panel, as well as handy “next product” and “previous product” links that encourage users to browse everything the store has to offer.

Lollaland

Lollaland Shopify Theme

Lollaland’s story was sparked by a mother’s own observations and desire to solve a simple problem — making it easier for her daughter to drink using a straw. Not finding any suitable items on the market, the husband and wife team of Hanna and Mark Lim set out to make their own, a path that ultimately led them to getting funding from a thirsty shark.

Today, their site combines playful and cheery colors (all easily changeable using the theme control panel) that put the emphasis on the bright photos of happy toddlers using Lollaland products.

The use of photography is especially effective on the site’s homepage, which takes advantage of the Parallax Shopify theme’s advanced animations to let viewers see the photo in stunning full screen glory before the navigational elements fade in, a feature that also gives shoppers a great “sign post” on how to get started.

Putting ecommerce to work for your business 

All of these businesses were started by entrepreneurs just like the thousands of customers who use Out of the Sandbox themes and are living proof of how starting your own business can lead to some pretty incredible things.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt having six figure investments thanks to one of the hottest shows on TV, but not every business needs “Shark Tank” to be wildly successful.

For any business that focuses on ecommerce, having a powerful backend such as Shopify is key — but it’s also vital to consider how your potential customers interact with that technology.

Since Out of the Sandbox carefully crafts each and every theme based on proven best practice in design, user experience and a special focus on closing sales, you can be sure that you’re off to a great start with any of its Shopify ecommerce themes.

That focus, coupled with all the latest design techniques make it easy and fast to hop on board the entrepreneurial boat and build a “Shark Tank”-caliber site yourself.

With some shrewd marketing and a little bit of luck orders will flood in … and you just may find yourself needing a bigger boat.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn.


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