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Building for Large Merchants (Shopify Unite Track Session 2019)

Building for Large Merchants (Shopify Unite Track Session 2019)

In a recent Shopify Unite Track Session, Gavin Ballard and Piers Thorogood discussed the process of building for large merchants on the Shopify platform. They highlighted the challenges faced in the sales process, the importance of discovery, and the technical considerations when working with big brands. From positioning your agency to effectively selling to large merchants, to designing and developing solutions that meet their unique requirements, they shared valuable insights and lessons learned from their experience.

Sales Process for Large Merchants

To attract and sell to large merchants, it is crucial to position your agency appropriately. This involves reevaluating your website, marketing materials, and brand identity to suit the needs and preferences of bigger companies. Additionally, considering smaller factors such as proposal structure, client meetings, staff communication, and pricing can greatly impact your image and appeal to larger clients.

Partnerships are a key acquisition channel when it comes to reaching big merchants. Collaborating with tech companies and service providers that have the same audience as yours can lead to shared leads, joint projects, and increased sales. Events, both hosted by your agency and speaking engagements at industry events, can also be effective in generating leads and establishing credibility among large merchants. Furthermore, content marketing, such as publishing informative and valuable articles on your blog, can help build trust and position your agency as an expert in the field.

Discovery and Selling to Large Merchants

When selling to large merchants, convincing their internal IT teams can be a challenge. These teams are often resistant to change and prefer to stick with the technology they are familiar with. Building trust, finding a champion within the company, and understanding their concerns are crucial steps in overcoming this challenge. Leveraging your partnerships and network can also help in gaining an introduction to the right person within the organization.

Pitching to large merchants requires a well-prepared and comprehensive approach. Showing up with a team, demonstrating your expertise, and being consultative in your approach can build trust and make the sales process smoother. Offering a separate discovery service can also be an effective selling tool, allowing the client to get comfortable with your team and reducing their financial risk.

Design Considerations for Large Merchants

When designing technical solutions for large merchants, it is important to consider their specific needs and why they have chosen Shopify as their platform. Large merchants are attracted to Shopify for its reduced hosting and maintenance costs, as well as the opportunity to take advantage of Shopify's innovations in the e-commerce space. Designing solutions that work closely with Shopify, prioritizing simplicity, and breaking down complex requirements into manageable components can lead to more robust and scalable solutions.

Technical Challenges for Large Merchants

Building and developing solutions for large merchants requires consideration of their preferred tech stack and working within the constraints of their in-house development teams. Adapting your processes, tools, and workflows to fit in with their requirements is essential for smooth project execution. Testing becomes more comprehensive and time-consuming, infrastructure considerations become more complex, and compliance and logistics-related factors come into play.

Overall, working with large merchants requires a careful balance of understanding their unique needs, adapting your approach to meet their requirements, and ensuring your solutions align with Shopify's capabilities.

Keywords: sales process, partnerships, discovery, design considerations, technical challenges, large merchants


Q: How can I position my agency to appeal to large merchants? A: Positioning your agency involves evaluating your website, marketing materials, and brand identity to suit the needs of larger companies. It also requires paying attention to smaller details such as proposal structure, client meetings, staff behavior, and pricing strategy.

Q: How can I overcome resistance from internal IT teams when selling to large merchants? A: Finding a champion within the organization who can help sell your agency's services to other stakeholders is essential. Building trust, understanding concerns, and highlighting the benefits of your solution can help overcome resistance from internal IT teams.

Q: What should I consider when designing technical solutions for large merchants? A: It is important to prioritize simplicity, break down complex requirements into manageable components, and ensure your solutions work closely with Shopify. Consider the specific needs of the large merchant and design solutions that align with their goals and Shopify's capabilities.

Q: What are some of the technical challenges when working with large merchants? A: Technical challenges include working within the merchant's preferred tech stack, adapting to their processes and tools, comprehensive testing requirements, and addressing compliance and logistics-related concerns. Infrastructure considerations and scalability also come into play.

Q: How can I handle the administrative overhead associated with working with large clients? A: It is important to factor in the administrative overhead when pricing your services and managing your timelines. Efficient documentation, comprehensive contracts, and clear communication can help minimize the impact of the administrative workload.

Q: How can I ensure smooth project execution when working with large merchants? A: Establishing clear processes, effective collaboration, and regular communication with the merchant and their internal teams are key to ensuring smooth project execution. Active participation and involvement in the discovery process, proactive problem-solving, and project management expertise also contribute to successful delivery.

These FAQs provide a quick summary of the key points covered in this article. For more in-depth information, please refer to the corresponding sections above.