“I am a Shopify theme designer. I develop Shopify apps. We are an agency that specializes in Shopify web design and eCommerce marketing. Are we considered Shopify Experts?”
“I’ve already been a Shopify Partner, does that make me a Shopify Expert?”
Well, the answer is yes and no. You can call yourself a Shopify Expert, but to be certified by Shopify that you're a top-tier expert, it's not that easy. In fact, there are many criteria and factors required in your profile that this platform will look into closely to approve your expertise.
One of the important things among those standards is providing high-quality services. So, how to become a Shopify Expert? Even when you already are, there are still many challenges that you will be facing to maintain and grow your business as well as broaden your professional network. It's a long journey of improvement and development.
However, if you stay on the right path, and with determination, the venture could be less burdensome. So, in this article we are going to share with you, under our view as Shopify Expert, useful tips on how to be certified as a Shopify Expert to help your business thrive and help expand your network circle.
PageFly is a top page builder app created by Shopify Expert team SellerSmith. Our services include landing page audits, landing page designing, UX consulting, analytics consulting and conversion rate optimization (CRO).
- Who are Shopify Experts?
- How to become a Shopify Expert?
- How can being a Shopify Expert help with growing your business and network?
- Meet Expert Village Media
Who are Shopify Experts?
Shopify Experts are trusted and highly-skilled Shopify community members who actively help Shopify merchants grow their online stores by providing exceptional and top-rate services. There are a variety of specific fields that a Shopify Expert can specialize in such as Marketing and Sales, Branding, Store Setup and Development, Content and many more.
Particularly, they could be:
- Shopify web designers, theme and app developers and business consultants
- Agencies that specialize in eCommerce and Shopify
- Freelance experts
People can find them through their own websites, social media or on freelance marketplaces, especially on the Shopify Experts Marketplace.
Shopify Experts and Shopify Partners: what’s the difference?
Well, you can say Shopify Experts and Shopify Partners are quite alike, but they can also be quite dissimilar. To become a qualified Shopify Expert, you are required to be a Shopify Partner first. Certainly, Shopify Experts will benefit from all of the perks and exclusive content such as online courses in the Shopify Academy, and commissions, the more that they contribute to the Shopify ecosystem.
However, there are certain criteria you must meet to get accepted by Shopify to become a member in its experts community and receive access to the Experts marketplace where you will gain more benefits. In particular, you must show notable records of success with the Shopify platform, including the number of valid Shopify stores you’ve helped successfully. Demonstrate your mastery in your field by presenting case studies or apps you’ve undertaken.
Those will be written in a request form that will be sent to Shopify, and the Experts Operation team will conduct a review on your portfolio and directly contact you if you are accepted. There are only a limited number of Shopify Partners who will get approval to set up shop in the Experts marketplace, so the level of competition is very high.
How to become a Shopify Expert?
It's not easy to become a Shopify Expert, even when you already have the specific field knowledge and some degree of relevant skills. You still need to grow your business profile and evolve your expertise practices non-stop. So, here are some of the activities that you can take up:
Master Your Area
1- Reinforce and strengthen your skills
The word says it all; obviously, to be called an expert, you must be excellent at what you are doing. In this case, you must have firm and fundamental skills and knowledge related to Shopify, eCommerce and your specific field. For example, if you’re a Shopify UX designer, what you must know are the most basic factors an online store needs to have, how to put together navigation bars, collections or products, etc. to create good user experience, and so on.
2 - Gain more knowledge
Learning about new stuff everyday is important. Especially in the eCommerce industry, businesses are changing round-the-clock. You must stay up-to-date and enhance your skills ceaselessly if you don't want to fall behind.
Where to learn? Take the advantage as a Shopify Partner to access Shopify Academy, where you can join tons of courses about Shopify. In the Shopify Compass, there are hundreds of courses, tutorials and webinars about eCommerce, Marketing and Store development, etc. for you to pick up.
Also, you can get certificates by finishing and taking exams of some courses in your Shopify Partner dashboard.
There is another way to develop your skills and knowledge which is to learn from others. You can join the discussion in big Shopify-themed Facebook groups such as Shopify Partners or Shopify Entrepreneurs, in eCommerce groups like eCommerce Elite Mastermind, or by simply joining the Shopify Community.
This is also a great way to build connections with other partners and expand your business network.
3 - Help merchants
After all, an expert’s main job is to help people, right? By sharing your knowledge with others, you can learn faster and sharpen your skills. Besides, it's a good way to gradually build your image as a trusted source of useful information to Shopify merchants.
You can help merchants in the Shopify Community, big eCommerce forums and groups, and even on Reddit and Quora.
Also, creating educational content can help you show your expertise in the field, position yourself in the communities and create opportunities to promote your business. You can start with the most common ways like growing your blog or your YouTube channel, or you can produce courses and hold webinars.
Grow your portfolio
Along with excelling at your expertise, having a strong and compelling profile is a crucial condition to be a certified Shopify Expert. It takes time and effort to build your reputation, but we're sure that your hard work will bear fruit in the end.
1 - Earn more projects
To have a considerable number of valid successful Shopify stores that you’ve worked on, the first thing is to find more clients and win more projects. There are many tactics to find the right customers for your business. Belows are some suggestions:
- Find clients through holding webinars: This is where you can have a chance to “show off" your expertise, promote your brand and also meet potential clients, as well as business partners.
- Find clients on freelance marketplaces like UpWork or Fiverr: Yes, people will think of freelance marketplace first when it comes to hiring web designers or developers, content creators, etc. So, you can find a great amount of demand on such dynamic and popular marketplaces like Upwork or Fiverr, which are even trusted by huge brands like Google or Microsoft.
- Find clients in communities and forums: Shopify merchants are very active on these groups because they always want to find solutions for their businesses. When you leave comments to help them solve a problem, you can create a small pitch to introduce your service.
- Earn clients through partnership programs with other Shopify Partners: It’s a win-win situation when you join in their partnership or affiliate programs. You can get more clients through your partners as they refer merchants to use your service and vice versa.
- Win more businesses through social media like LinkedIn or Facebook: Social media channels are great tools of communication, so you can push your image on these platforms to get more clients’ contacts.
2 - Market your brand
Merchants won't suddenly be aware of your brand and services if you don’t do any branding and marketing activities. That's why growing your brand is essential to having an outstanding profile, which helps get the trust of clients, partners and even Shopify. Here’s what you can do:
- Expand your business by focusing on selected social media: Social media is like a big ocean, with a huge opportunity to reach a bigger audience at a global level. However, remember not to be greedy with all social media channels out there, because it will only waste your time and money. Just selecting and investing in some channels that you believe have potential for your audience’s demographic works better.
- Educate merchants using your content: As mentioned earlier, this helps build your image as a trustworthy brand with useful information.
- Use client testimonials: These reviews from your clients are a great example of social proof. They’re real testaments to your high-quality service and expertise, which is a big plus point in your portfolio.
3 - Expand service offerings
You can grow your business and expertise by showing people that you can do more. Diversifying your products and services can help widen your client personas and also create chances to grow yourself in a new direction with new skills and knowledge.
When you offer more services and products, merchants will have more choices and more reasons to stick with you. Also, you can utilize your business network to support you by providing a variety of services. By doing this, there’s a higher chance of getting accepted by Shopify with your portfolio, because when you can present expertise in more areas, you can cover different demands.
How can being a Shopify Expert help with growing your business and network?
Polish your image
Becoming a Shopify Expert means you are trusted because of your highly professional expertise and service. Having a landing page that shows you are a Shopify Expert will help you get more potential clients and build more relationships in the Shopify partners community.
Have more benefits
Obviously, you will have a huge advantage to access the Shopify Experts marketplace. This is a great chance for you to approach high-profile customers, even Shopify Plus clients with bigger projects. Also, you can position yourself higher in the market along with advancing your service and expertise. Because once you become a certified Shopify Expert, you need to keep improving and evolving to build trust amongst customers and Shopify itself.
Collaborate with Shopify partners
This is something you should definitely be looking into. Why? Because becoming a Shopify Expert means you’re joining a community with a great pool of fellow specialists. Utilise others’ skills.
It's not that you’re just going to sit there and wait for opportunities to come. What you need to do is find potential partners and widen your network circle. As a Shopify Expert, you can meet and greet with hundreds of partners at Shopify events, such as Shopify Meetup, Unite, etc.
When you’re certified as a Shopify Expert, many partners would like to create relationships with your business. Vice versa, too, because collaboration is good for both yours and your collaborators’ company growth.
Meet Expert Village Media
To become a Shopify Expert, you need to learn from real experts. We had a great opportunity to ask Amit Porwal, the founder of Expert Village Media, one of the earliest Shopify Experts, to share his company's journey to becoming a bonafide Shopify Expert. Here’s his advice on how to grow your business and extend your network as a Shopify Expert.
Q: Can you introduce a little bit about Expert Village Media, your business and services?
A: Founded in 2011, Expert Village Media is a full-service Shopify web design and development company. Expert Village Media has clients from the USA, Australia, UK and across the globe. Accredited by Shopify, Expert Village Media is one of the leading Shopify agencies with a portfolio of more than 1,000 Shopify stores to date. Expert Village Media is also the owner of 11 top-rated public Shopify apps, with a user base of 23,000 active merchants.
Credit: Expert Village Media
Q: Since when did you become a Shopify Expert and what factors do you think are important to being accepted as an expert by Shopify?
A: We became a Shopify Expert in 2014. We were an approved partner of the Amazon web store earlier, so we migrated many stores from there when it was closing. At that time, we became a Shopify Partner.
To become a Shopify Expert, it's important to follow the policies of the Shopify Partner program and make high quality custom designed stores for merchants. Shopify has a very strict process for Shopify Partners. You also have to refer brands to Shopify regularly in order to get listed as a Shopify Expert.
Q: What benefits do you think a Shopify Expert has when they join the Shopify Experts community?
A: The key benefit is the collaboration and networking that helps you grow on Shopify. Everyone there has a lot to share, which helps you do better and more work on Shopify.
Q: Do you have any advice, for those who want to become Shopify Experts, about growing their businesses and expanding their professional networks?
A: My only advice is to do top quality work and refer brands to Shopify if you are working on some technology services. The more referrals you do, the bigger the chance that you will become a Shopify Partner.
Also, focus on doing complex customization jobs, rather than simple theme setups and other such tasks.
It’s never been easy to become a master at your desired craft. It’s a process of accumulating knowledge, experience and skills with a strong determination. There'll be failures. There'll be challenges, but if you can show Shopify that your expertise can help people grow their businesses in a healthy and sustainable way, they wouldn't mind growing with yours. Hard work pays off, so just keep it up!