As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic shutting and shuttering brick & mortar stores, merchants were pressed to become creative if they were to remain profitable. For many, this meant a transition offline to online. To meet the growing demand, (transitioning online without the accompaniment of a Shopify Expert can feel a bit daunting for those newer to the e-commerce world, and understandably so), we too transitioned. While ICEE Social has worked to transition hundreds of stores on to Shopify from other platforms or from outdated POS systems, during COVID-19, Offline → Online migrations to Shopify became our #1 Priority. We are proud to have completed 25+ offline → online migrations since the pandemic hit. One of the greatest joys of founding ICEE social has been helping my fellow entrepreneurs experience the success of their online stores. Finding new ways to sell, market and manage merchandise in light of a global pandemic has only strengthened our merchants. Together, we have reached deeper into the depths of creativity and innovation to ensure continued success.
Through this experience, light was shed on a few areas of the Shopify Migration process that could benefit from enhancement and automation.
Firstly, stores who are offline/brick & mortar only, know very well that the majority of POS systems do not allow for product images. That means that when they choose to transition online, they will need to bring thousands of products photos online all at the same time. What does this result in? The need to manually attach a photo to each and every product page--time consuming and monotonous! For merchants who are in a bind to launch online, and fast, there is no time to waste. For those who are not in a bind to launch, this process is still frustrating, monotonous and time consuming. Often, a data entry specialist or on-staff web developer is tasked with the bulk photo uploading and photo/product matching task, begrudgingly.
Our Solution: Photo Finish! The idea for Photo Finish came about as we became consumed with the data entry component of batch photo uploads during migrations. It was draining our time as merchants waited in line for our help with their pressing offline → online transition. Upon further discussion with our trusted development partner, friend and coding genius, Robbie Sherrard, we knew this was a hole in the Shopify ecosystem that needed to be filled. Around the same time, Shopify launched their COVID-19 App Challenge. It was the kick in the butt we needed to partner up and get this idea coded and off the ground!
Next Steps: Upon developing Photo Finish to meet the aforementioned need, we also recognize that existing brands can harness the power of batch photo uploads. Photo Finish is highly beneficial for merchants who often flip their merchandise for each season, launch new product lines or have swift product turnover/updates. Weekly drops or quarterly updates do not have to be the bane of your existence!
Merchants who have tested Photo Finish have expressed how exasperating and frustrating it is to transition from Fall to Winter, Spring to Summer or launch a new 1000-piece collection. One Photo Finish Customer stated that photo uploading is their "least favorite part of their Shopify experience." A premier tenant of our agency has always been to ensure an entrepreneur faces as few barriers to entry as possible. Our goal is for our clients to be able to manage their store WITHOUT us!
Photo Finish helps take timely data entry out of the equation, something an agency is often onboarded for, making the process of ongoing store management more seamless, independent and enjoyable. Hard working merchants can now focus on other aspects of their online store.
How Does It Work?
Say you want to upload 1,000 products. On average, each product has three corresponding photos. You’re looking at around 25 hours of active work (1.5 minutes x 1,000 products / 60 minutes in an hour). With Photo Finish, you’re done in minutes, with just a few clicks of your mouse.
Using Shopify’s product import tool in conjunction with Dropbox, Photo Finish lets merchants upload thousands of photos in a tiny fraction of the time it would take to do so manually.
As we like to say, A picture may be worth 1,000 words but is it worth a 1,000 hours?