Pratikkumar P. Gaikwad | 05 min read | Nov 28, 2019
Moving beyond goods — how to sell services using Shopify themes
Shopify is an excellent way to sell products, but the platform can also be used to sell an exciting additional business category-services.
Services are usually non-tangible goods in which you market energy or skills as opposed to a physical product.
There are many growing service-based businesses that can operate with Shopify and many themes in Shopify
- Professional services like copywriting, design, accounting and photography
- Training, consulting, workshops and seminars
- Art, dance, music or other creative classes
- Appointment based businesses can also use Shopify, though there are some limitations to these discussed below
If you are already selling products, you may want to explore some ways by expanding into the service arena you can open new sources of revenue
- Personal shopping services, either for free or a fee
- Product setups, onboarding sessions
- Hands-on, personalized support sessions
- Service appointments
- “White glove” delivery or assembly services
Because Shopify is designed to sell products at its core, then offering services (either on its own or in addition to your existing product lineup) may require some workarounds, but getting up and running is generally easy.
1. Service as a product
You will need to use the existing product management tools of Shopify in designing a service offering — although the service is not a commodity in the traditional sense.
Like any other physical product you offer, make sure to include eye-catching images and compelling product details as you build your service as a commodity in your store so that customers know precisely what they get in return for purchasing your services.
In the case of a non-tangible product, this description is particularly important as it is the main thing that the shopper will have to focus their purchase decision on, in addition to ratings and testimonials, which testify to your experience and ability to perform a particular service.
You can still use the Shopify shop to process sign-ups if your products or services are free
2. Getting your services set up
Variants and alternatives can be dynamically used when selling services, by allowing users to choose from specific dates or service hours or choose from different price ranges
- Because each model can have a different price and inventory control, this is crucial to creating increasingly sophisticated service-based deals.
- When you offer courses or other session-based services with registration limits, you can use the inventory control in Shopify to limit the number of people who can sign up — before the class is complete (or “sold out” in product-speaking).
- Variants can also be used to allow customers to pick up and pay for a certain event, period or date. For instance, you might be able to use one variant for a pottery class on Wednesday night, while another is the one on Thursday morning. In fact, each version can have a specific stock limit, meaning one class can have a larger number of students in this case.
- Using variants, you can also encourage users to select from different options within a particular service — and charge different amounts for each.For example, $50 could be for a 1-hour training session, whereas $65 could be for a 90-minute one. This also gives you the ability to provide tiered pricing to consumers who wish for longer sessions, as each option can have a different price.
- Although this can be a bit clunky, variants can also be used as a rudimentary way to allow customers to pick from a variety of appointment times. To do this, you would need to create a variant manually for each day and time slot that you have open — typically with an inventory value of 1 as long as they are private appointments.
- This approach requires all variants to be created manually and is also subject to the 100 variant limit of Shopify. Nonetheless, making the versions manually can be a nice “do it yourself” solution to more costly scheduling software if you’re only getting started or don’t schedule appointments too far out. It can also be a perfect way for users to arrange meetings over a certain period of time, such as a trade show, art show, holiday shopping season, or other limited run-time.
- Shopify can also be used to collect registrations or “sell” free services. Shopify’s checkout process is smart enough to know that if a cart has a value of $0, the order can be processed without information on payment. Shopify can also take care of that if a customer purchases a combination of paid products or services and a free service.
- Keep in mind that most service goods do not need delivery, so you should disable them at the consumer level using the steps here (although the guide applies to digital products, the same steps are used for services).
- To collect unique field values for service purchases you can use line item properties. Keep in mind, however, that if a user adds more than one quantity of the same item, the default properties of each line item will be the same.
Selling products also requires a unique set of additional tasks, such as gathering release forms, obtaining relevant customer information and other details
- Consider adding to your order confirmation page links to commonly used forms or other materials using personalized HTML.
- If your store just offers services, in your order confirmation email, add links to additional resources or materials. You can also consider adding these links even if you are also selling physical items — users can simply ignore them if they do not apply to their purchase type.
- Build an automated email flow to get an email asking for additional information when user purchases certain SKUs.
- Connect users to a form service such as Google Forms either from the confirmation page or from a follow-up email to complement registrations which need more advanced information than what Shopify will collect. While this would entail manual data entry or custom code to be merged explicitly into Shopify’s customer database, maintaining independent records can be quite feasible for smaller companies.
Since Shopify has been designed as a product trading platform, certain important limitations need to be recognized
- Registration information collection is usually limited to the basic information of the purchaser’s account. It’s generally not possible to add extra fields such as age or to allow someone to buy services for a friend or family member.
- Without customization, it’s not possible to let users cancel or change service options. When the user contacts you to cancel, however, you can cancel your order manually and “return” the product to the inventory – which opens that spot for another person to buy – if applicable and configured in your store.
- As already stated, scheduling can be more difficult to build in Shopify itself, particularly if you need long-term registrations. You can also use Shopify to sell and collect your service payment, and contact the customer directly for the exact time.This method eliminates dynamic planning and gives you the opportunity to interact with quality customer service to your clients.