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5 essential ecommerce upsells for web designers

03. List Building

SumoMe's tools will help your site to grow traffic

SumoMe's tools will help your site to grow traffic

You'll often read that 'list building' (another term for collecting email addresses) is one of the best marketing tools for ecommerce sites. Having a list of opted-in subscribers who have given permission to be contacted is a great way of communicating new products and services. Therefore, having a simple way to capture email addresses is another service you'll want to offer. Thankfully, SumoMe offers us a number of ways to integrate these forms into any site.

SumoMe is a suite of 10 free tools that help grow traffic and build email lists. These range from apps to help you analyse the popularity of your content and easy ways to share images (great for ecommerce sites), right through to numerous ways to entice visitors to sign up for a mailing list. I recommend ListBuilder and ScrollBox as starting points.

The SumoMe set of tools will not only help your clients market their stores, it will also give you valuable insights into how their site is used – more valuable data which will allow you to suggest and recommend improvements to their site.

Of course, once you have implemented the sign up forms, you can offer to design their responsive email templates for use in services such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor, which leads me nicely onto the subject of transactional emails.

04. Transactional Emails

Receiptful takes over the email design process for you

Receiptful takes over the email design process for you

Ecommerce emails don't have to be boring. In fact every email your store sends is a great way of interacting with a customer and serves as an extension of the stores brand. Sadly the design of 'transactional emails' are often overlooked in favour of the system's default templates.

The good news is that most platforms allow you to customise all generated outbound emails – both in plain text and HTML. From copywriting to the design and layout of the HTML versions, being able to advise your clients on how best to use notification email is a great opportunity to work longer, and more profitably, with your client.

You can spend time crafting your own responsive email templates, or you could choose to use a service like Receiptful, which aims to make 'supercharging' your receipts a quick and painless endeavour.

Should you wish to hand-craft your templates, I strongly recommend Lee Munroe's suite of open-source email templates as a great starting point.

05. Digital Goods

SendOwl is a simple way to sell and distribute digital items

SendOwl is a simple way to sell and distribute digital items

Whilst it's easy to think that ecommerce stores only deal with physical goods, many new stores are launched with a focus on selling digital assets from music files and fonts right through to software licences. Knowing how a digital delivery system works will stand you in good stead when your new client throws it into the mix.

I've used a number of systems in the past but today, when asked, I recommend SendOwl – a platform that allows you to sell and distribute digital goods easily. It can be used on its own or via integration with other platforms such as Shopify.

SendOwl's features include:

  • Advanced analytics and reports
  • The ability to sell multiple files via 'bundles'
  • Subscriptions
  • Customisable to match branding

SendOwl have also worked hard to make managing the new VAT rules governing the sale of 'e-goods' in the European Union (EU) as simple as possible. You can read more about how they are helping with this on their blog.


This is just the start. There are many other profitable services you can learn and start offering to your ecommerce clients, from understanding how referral platforms work to helping integrate orders with accountancy systems.

You may never have envisaged that your job as a 'web designer' would involve helping set up customer support apps or designing receipts, but the more you become a specialist in your field, the more in-demand – and profitable – you will become.

Words: Keir Whitaker

Keir Whitaker is the UK based Shopify Designer Advocate and co-host of web industry podcast The Back to Front Show. He regularly writes about, and shares links on, ecommerce, the web industry, podcasting and travel.

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