How waiting on a Shopify theme redesign can protect your profits

I’ve been wanting to update the design of Repeat Customer Insights for awhile now.

Since it’s been functional and good enough, I put it off in favor of more useful features that customers would care about (e.g. Cohorts, Automatic Segmenting, etc).

While planning 2020 I realized that the current design is finally going to limit what I could improve in the app.

So a redesign was finally a valuable option, after years of wanting it for selfish reasons (e.g. "nicer" looking). Now I had hard reasons and objectives to why a redesign was needed, so specific features could be added.

This Tuesday the new design was launched.

Repeat Customer Insights new design

It’s not vastly different in appearance with two exceptions:

  1. It’s no longer embedded in Shopify’s admin area. It still automatically integrates with Shopify, it just isn’t loaded along with Shopify’s backend and design.

While the embedding was useful at first, it’s become very limiting and has caused problems due to how Shopify does the embedding. This resulted in more support (higher costs) and prevented certain features from being added (less revenue).

(Developer-speak: the iframe style Shopify uses was slowing down the app and with browser changes like ITP and SameSite, there were frequently Shopify-level issues that caused problems and complications)

  1. There’s a new fancy side menu with links to all of the reports.

This simple thing will let me replace that long list of them on the homepage which means finding the right report is easier (more value for customers).

There are other things too but I don’t like to reveal future plans without something to show for them.

All that’s about me and my app though which doesn’t matter to you unless you’re a customer.

You can use what I did with your own store’s redesigns.

Are you giving into the urge to redesign just because you don’t like the look of it?

Or are you keeping a functional design until your measurements show that it’s converting worse and should be replaced?

Too-often stores will throw out a working design and their redesign fails to meet their previous results.

It’s shiny.

It’s new.

It’s what the owner wanted.

But it’s objectively worse in any metric that matters.

SEO, conversions, sales, customer satisfaction, they all can suffer with a redesign.

The designer and conversion rate consultants I talk with regularly know this, but they are the minority. Most agencies and the theme store will happily sell you a new Shopify theme but you’re left with whatever results you get.

Better to wait on a redesign until you’ve exhausted your current theme’s potential.

And it’s even better to iterate on your theme so you can carefully make improvements and roll them back if they fail to bring in the results. That’s something backend developers have been doing for decades and it’s starting to make in-roads into Shopify themes. But that’s for another day.

Eric Davis

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