Kelly Vaughn: Excel with Shopify

How do you make your Shopify store stand out? Kelly says the main thing you should do is make sure your images are uniform and clean--don't worry too much about a custom theme.

It’s hard to talk about eCommerce and not mention the elephant in the room. 🐘 

That elephant most certainly has become Shopify in recent years. It’s truly made getting your store online so simple that our grandmas are doing it!

Last week’s guest, Kelly Vaughn, is a Shopify Plus partner, developer, and founder of her own Shopify agency, The Taproom. She’s incredibly knowledgeable in the space of eCommerce and gave us some amazing insights in episode 5 of Optily Radio. From the Optily team last week, we had Kevin Stagg, our Marketing Director, join in on the conversation and add his experience from working with a variety of companies both big and small.

Some of the topics we covered off include:

  • Ensuring images and videos are standardized across your site
  • Owning the fact that you’re a small business
  • Getting up and running in under 2 hours

Check out a short preview of our conversation in the video below or just listen to the full podcast:



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Who are Kelly and Kevin?

Kelly Vaughn is an entrepreneur and also a fellow podcaster. As I mentioned before, she founded The Taproom, a Shopify Plus development agency in 2017. They specialize in custom Shopify theme design and development, digital marketing, SEO strategy, and growth consultation.

Kelly co-hosts two podcasts: Commerce Tea and Ladybug Podcast, which you should definitely check out. Commerce Tea is all about Shopify and eCommerce in general (going well beyond marketing into inventory management, logistics, tools, and beyond). Ladybug Podcast is a female-led show that discusses the world of development.

Kelly has written a book as well called, “Start Freelancing Today” to help you on your self-employment journey.

Optily’s Marketing Director, Kevin Stagg is a leader in the space with nearly 20 years of experience in both B2C and B2B marketing. He’s got a ton of experience with SMBs and Enterprise-level businesses with international reach, including Microsoft and Ding.

Here are some of the key points that we discussed in last week’s episode.

Have Good Visuals

When I asked Kelly what’s a good way to immediately stand out as a Shopify store in a sea of others, her answer was very clear: take good pictures. Having clean images, that are all uniform, and the same aspect ratio goes a long way in adding a level of professionalism to a site.

Before you say, “Oh, but I’m just a solopreneur without fancy equipment”–you don’t need any of that!  Kelly is a huge fan of iPhone photography. Our phones have come a long way in terms of what they’re capable of, so you’ve got all you need in your pocket. An image in huge resolution and size from a professional DSLR camera is never going to go on your site anyway–full resolution images like that would be terrible for your site speed!

Just have decent lighting, a standardized background (when in doubt, go with plain white), and a simple photo editor that can crop and make basic edits (Canva can work in a pinch). So no more excuses!

Be Genuine

From hosting her own eCommerce podcast over the past year, Kelly’s noticed one major trend emerging across businesses: authenticity and transparency.

While it was definitely a growing theme for years now, it’s really something that’s come out strong during the pandemic. People simply want to know who they’re buying from.

Kelly’s noticed that a lot of smaller companies try to appear bigger in order to seem more legitimate. She advises the complete opposite approach. You should own the fact that you’re small and craft your brand around it.

Personalize your company across your site. Tell your story on social media. Simply, humanize your brand and show your customers who you are and what you stand for.

Get on Shopify over your lunch break

While it’s not something Kelly advertises to her clients, Shopify is such a simple platform that it’s possible to be live in under 2 hours. Of course, this assumes you’ve already got all your images, products and descriptions, and brand identity ready to go. But in terms of setup, this platform makes it super simple.

The templates are plenty and there are numerous options to suit your particular offering. Whether you’re selling a single product or have hundreds of items in your catalog, there’s a template that will fit your needs. It’s super easy to then customize the look and feel by adding your brand colors and fonts in the setting.

While there are plenty of tutorials and it is a simple platform to hack together yourself if you do find you need some expert advice or any customization, Kelly and her team at the Taproom would be a great agency to go to.

These are just a few of the points we touched on with Kelly, so for the whole conversation make sure to have a listen to the full episode.

Give us your thoughts

We’re 5 episodes in and going strong with Optily Radio! We’d love to hear from our listeners, so do make sure to leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts and leave your comments on our social media posts by following us with @OptilyGlobal.

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