New Project: Launching ShopStorm

So for about a month or so, I was slowly working on a new project that we’ve recently launched: ShopStorm.

We wanted to rebrand our Shopify apps under one roof, as customers were confused that both WordPress plugins and Shopify apps were housed under the name “SkyVerge” name. For example, sometimes customers would look through our WooCommerce extensions and think they could be used for Shopify (fortunately many asked this before purchasing).

We decided to put the Shopify apps under their own banner, and I was put in charge of picking a name (though Max did help), theme, setting up the site, setting up social media accounts, support documentation, and everything else that comes along with launching a new brand. While ShopStorm is still owned by SkyVerge, it’s now a standalone brand and trademark.

Even though it was a bit of a big undertaking in addition to the other writing / jobs I do, it was pretty cool to go through the entire process start to finish.

Name

I feel like choosing a good brand name is like a lightening strike. And frankly, I’m not even sure we’ve ever picked a good name anyway.

It’s really tough to get into a space where you think about a name that’s easy to say and spell, has a domain available (which was an issue for us), and maybe even tells people a little bit about you. We came up with the idea while brainstorming on the couch. I joking called it a “couch-storm” session, then quickly followed with, “no, more like a shop-storm session” since we’re talking about eCommerce shops and Shopify.

And that was about the best we got, so it stuck smile .

Unfortunately, the .com domain wasn’t available for a reasonable price, so we figured we’d hold off on buying it to see if it’s eventually worth it to purchase.

Website

Once we’d decided on a name, I then had to figure out what we’d do with the website in terms of colors, layout, theme, etc. We wanted an easy way to display our apps, give some information, and link to the Shopify app store listing. Initially, since the apps are our products, I’d thought about using an eCommerce theme / plugin. However, since we (a) don’t have many apps yet and (b) aren’t actually selling them or managing orders, this seemed like overkill.

We discussed just choosing a theme and creating our own “app” post type, but none of us really had the time to do this job. We ended up settling on a portfolio theme + plugin, then using the portfolio custom post type for each app. This way, we only had to modify the theme a bit to make it more suitable for our “app” post type rather than a portfolio item.

Overall, this solution worked out really well, and we were able to get a great portfolio theme to create the site.

Support

We decided to pull all support for our apps under our new brand (they were previously all supported on separate sites). We already used HelpScout for this, so we pulled everything into one “ShopStorm” mailbox, and decided to start using the HelpScout docs for all of our apps.

Using HelpScout docs is pretty easy to do, and organizing the documents for each app into a “collection” worked out best for us. We were able to host these at a subdomain of our site, so that it makes transitioning between the main site / blog to the support site very easy. Customers can go from shopstorm.co to help.shopstorm.co and back again.

This also allowed us to force support requests through the same site and tag tickets more effectively since customers have to select which app they’re contacting about.

Overall

I’m pretty happy with the way our rebrand turned out, as now Shopify customers can view all of our apps, get help, check up on our blog, and see information about our team all in one place. We’ve created consistent branding between our apps to encourage cross-purchases for the customers that love our support and products. Our goal is to be the most recognizable and trusted app company in the Shopify space.

The new site definitely takes us several steps in the right direction, as our apps now have an identity behind them, and are branded as part of our company rather than a bunch of standalone apps. I’m also happy to learn some new theme hacks and tricks from modifying our child theme to get the site launched, and look forward to seeing how it changes our interactions with customers as we grow.