7 best places to get free and paid Shopify support to help you grow your store
March 12, 2017
2 years ago
Support. Every Shopify store owner needs it at some point.
Each of us has a unique set of skills as eCommerce store owners and professionals. As we grow into our businesses, we realize that we just can’t and should not, do it all.
Everyday, you have problems to solve in your business. That’s business. Your job as an entrepreneur is to be resilient through these challenges and to be resourceful. A challenge comes up, you acknowledge it, understand it, find the solution, execute on the solution, smile, and repeat.
One of the biggest upsides of using Shopify as an eCommerce platform, is the growing number of support channels that merchants can turn to for help and answers.
Here are a few of the better known and lesser known places to get Shopify support to help you learn, solve and grow.
1. Google — Free
Ok, before firing off an email to a support team, a live chat ping to a company or a forum post in a community, do yourself and everyone a favor, type that question or problem into Google. Often the answer or solution to your problem is less than 30 seconds away with a quick search.
Shopify, theme builders, Shopify app builders, Shopify experts and service providers have spent a lot of time documenting common problems and frequently asked questions, tutorials and general guidelines on their websites or knowledge bases. All this good stuff comes up in Google searches. Find it. Use it.
In most Shopify related Google search results, you’ll find Shopify’s own Help Centre appear over and over. In fact, you can often just start there
You’re a businessperson. When you hit a block, self-reliance should be your first support option.
2. Shopify Support (Shopify Gurus) — Free
The second most obvious Shopify support resource, that we all know and appreciate, is Shopify’s own support channel. Shopify gurus (as they call them) man the chats and emails coming in from 375k merchants from around the world. Can you imagine what that looks like day to day? Me neither.
They are the ultimate resource for store owners — and it may be why they are called gurus. They can answer questions regarding your Shopify plan but they also understand the eco-system, so they are invaluable in pointing you in the right direction, no matter what your issue is.
One important thing to recognize, is that gurus are individual people, with a unique combination of skills, just like you. While you should expect consistent service, don’t expect them to all be technical experts, strong marketers or strong designers. They will all have a combination of this knowledge. My latest guesstimate is that there are around 700 gurus powering Shopify’s internal support channel (not a fact, a guess). Reach out to the them for guidance (after you’ve Googled it), they are trained to support you.
3. Theme Developer Support — Free/Paid
Have you purchased a theme from the Shopify theme marketplace? It’s important to understand that some Shopify themes are built by 3rd party theme developers who have chosen to partner with Shopify to build and distribute top quality themes. Shopify also has an internal theme development team who also build and offer themes via the marketplace.
Whether built by a 3rd party company like (lots, underground, pixel or troop) or built internally at Shopify, there is a support team accessible to you after purchasing and installing a theme. Use them wisely, but be respectful of their support limits. They will help you understand what’s possible and the limitations of your theme. They are wizards. They can handle properly setting up your theme options and small configurations up to 5–10 minutes. If they help you with that much, be thankful.
If they feel your request requires extra man hours, they may ask you for a fee to complete your request.
Don’t forget, all of the best theme developers will have comprehensive support documentation. Default to searching their help sections first, then follow up with a ticket submissions if you don’t find what you’re looking for.
4. App Developer Support — Free/Paid
Ahh.. app support. If you’re a season Shopifi-er, you’ve experienced epic support from app teams and you survived horrible support. The app eco-system is interesting and the range of support you’ll get from app developer/teams will vary widely.
I always suggest to send few pre-sales requests to app teams before you choose to use one app over another. Apps in similar categories are often very similar and what differentiates them is their support quality. Just like theme support teams, they will often help their users with support requests up to a certain limit, and anything above that may require additional fees.
Apps can often be complex tools but it will always pay for you to go through all the content made available to you by app teams. It will not only save you time in the long run to ensure the app is a good fit, but it will empower you when you run into challenges using the app. Know your apps.
5. Private Facebook Groups — Free
Ok, Facebook communities are my favorite and least-favorite support channel for Shopify store owners. There are so many — some are great, most are awful and poorly moderated. The bad ones add noise to your Facebook experience, make a point to leave some of them. It’s like clearing clutter off your desk. My general rule of thumb, if you’re part of 5 Shopify Facebook groups you’re in too many.
Any Facebook group with more than a few thousand active members is a hot spot to get peer-to-peer Shopify support. People in these groups share very common goals which is great, we also feel the same pains, glories and emotions. But remember to be critical of any advice and how/if it applies to your business. Don’t believe everything you read. Question things.
Here are my 5 favorite active, non-sleazy, Facebook support groups for Shopify store owners:
- General, wide ranging support: Shopify Entrepreneurs.
- Branding/Marketing: Shopify Brand Academy
- Marketing/Scaling: Shopify Strategy
- Facebook ads: Kingpinning
- Facebook ads/Product sourcing: Justin Cener Mastermind
6. The Shopify Experts Directory — Paid
The Shopify experts directory is a great place to get support by hiring a Shopify expert for design, development, marketing or strategic consultations. Be ready to invest a fair amount of time and money to screen profiles and find good quality help. There are many experts to choose from, which can easily be overwhelming.
Here are couple simple tips to follow are:
1. Craft your support requests for the expert instead of copy/pasting your request to dozens of them. Experts position themselves to help specific segments of Shopify store owners. For example, our company at HeyCarson.com focuses on store owners looking for small development tasks like theme tweaks/changes. We don’t build customized apps or custom design stores. If you ask us this, it will be obvious to us that you didn’t read our profile.
Experts are building their own businesses and a common desire of expert teams is to work with good people. While your business is ultimately what they are there for, sending out the same template request to 50+ experts will not get you closer to your goal.
2. Engage in support/project conversations with up to 2–3 expert teams at a time. That’s already a lot for you to handle when screening experts to work with you. It’s a time intensive process so take it in stride.
3. Work with experts that are in your region and/or close to you culturally. If you’re off-shoring work to save on costs, but have no experience off-shoring, you’re in for a hefty learning curve. Managing time zones and cross-cultural communication is an art. Keeping things local means keeping things simple.
7. Official Shopify Forums — Free
This is another great place to get free support. The official Shopify forumsare a busy place and there are solid, reputable people there helping store owners with issues. Some have been doing it for years. It’s definitely one of the most valuable Shopify support resources available to you. Get in there.
Wrapping it all up
Maybe you’re just getting started with Shopify, maybe you’re in the middle of your journey or maybe you’re already at the 7-figure sales level. If you’ve received support from your peers or from any of the free support channels at any point in your business, think about how you can pay it or forward. Get involved in answering questions and offering advice in the Shopify communities to help others on their way up. Sharing lessons (especially the painful ones) for free, with other entrepreneurs on their way up is one of the most admirable traits of a successful entrepreneur.