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When I start an eCommerce project, I immediately start thinking about how to customize the site to make the experience unique. I prefer to go on site with the client whenever possible. I sit with the client and learn about their operational practices and business rules. I love retail, in fact, I'd like to own a shop one day, so I'm genuinely listening for what makes them unique - how they find success. I want to capture that and bring it to their website. This is the story and it sells. It helps the customer make a connection with the store, owner and products, which is the difference between a visitor and shopper.

I like Shopify - it's that simple. I love thinking about how to build the fun and creative pages the team dreams up in Shopify. At the end of the day, it's all code, so anything is possible for the right price. The real talent is making it easily repeatable by the client, empowering the client to be as independent as they want to be. I know I will never be limited by the capabilities of Shopify - I'll only be limited by my creativity - and the sometimes reasonable, sometimes necessary approval by the client.

For this project, I was lucky enough to work with a local sneaker boutique - Sneaker - which is personal passion of mine and also has a really great owner, JP Hudson! I went on site and listened to the client needs. I asked questions about his daily operations. I studied his current site. And I performed a lot of market research - browsing the worlds best sneaker boutiques was a tough job, but someone had to do it.

After all this research, I noticed several common routines, but one I specifically wanted to focus on - prereleases. In the boutique sneaker world, some shoes are highly anticipated and will sell out fast. In effort to build hype, a store owner will create and publish the product before the release date. Of course to prevent early sales, the store owner sets available on hand to zero and simply writes in plain text the details of the release. There are a number of benefits to this - it saves time at the moment of release, builds hype for the release and builds SEO value as soon as it's published. But there's something wrong here, by setting the on hand to zero and making it unavailable for purchase, the product appears as SOLD OUT - which is not true and will confuse the customer. Call it an unfortunate side effect of a pretty good workaround? Nope. This client has a developer - let's do better.

Using the product tags section, I created a system to mark products as prerelease. The client can still create the product early, building SEO value and market hype AND creates a unique and attractive way to display the release information. When tagged as a prerelease, the Add To Cart button changes to a non functioning button titled "Release Info Below" followed by a small infographic of release details.

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