Shopify is one of the easiest ways to jumpstart your e-commerce journey, but what happens when you want your store to look and work a little differently to the store that’s given to you out of the box?
Well, you either learn how to wear 15 different hats so you can create custom code, design features, and SEO. Or, you can do what a lot of merchants do when they get to this crossroad: outsource.
However, there are a ton of freelancers out there who claim to be Shopify Experts on freelancing platforms like Fiverr. And then, there are the experts on Shopify’s own Shopify Experts platform who’ve been vetted by the e-commerce site themselves.
So, how do you know who should be hiring, and who you should avoid?
In this piece, we’re going to take a look at the differences of Fiverr and Shopify Expert, and where you should be investing your store’s money to make sure you get the best return (and don’t get scammed).
Fiverr is one of the biggest freelancing databases in the world.
You can find a freelancer for everything on Fiverr: content creation, logo design, and of course, help with a Shopify store.
Shopify Experts is still a community of agencies and freelancers who offer services to help merchants with their stores. It’s available to any merchant through their Shopify dashboard:
However, anyone on the Shopify Experts platform selling their services to help merchants overcome issues around marketing, sales, development, store setup, and content branding, has been strictly vetted by Shopify themselves.
In other words, if a freelancer or agency is going to be branded a Shopify Expert, they’re going to damn well have to prove it.
You might be thinking. Well, a freelancer is a freelancer, does it matter if I find them on Fiverr or Shopify Experts?
The answer is: It doesn’t really matter, as long as you do your homework and verify that the freelancer or agency is legit.
A quick Google of “Shopify Experts,” and anybody will have access to the Shopify Expert badges and images. Any freelancer in any part of the world can copy and paste this into their Fiverr profile, and call themselves a Shopify Expert. But many of them are just imposter.
However, some freelancers and agencies do work across both platforms. That’s why finding those who have explicitly been vetted through Shopify on Shopify Experts is the safest way to make sure your work is going to be done to the highest standards. And you’re not hiring a fraud.
Otherwise, you’ll be paying peanuts… and get monkeys.
The regular Fiverr level has no vetting process. If you’re looking to hire one of these freelancers, you’ll have to rely on reviews from businesses who have hired them and left feedback. However, Fiverr Pro freelancers are (to a certain extent) checked to make sure they can do what they say they can do.
Each freelancer who is labeled a Fiverr Pro has been vetted by what the platform calls a “Pro Vetting Process.”
“Each seller is required to apply to join Fiverr Pro, providing our team with information on their previous work experience, past clientele, certifications, samples of work and more,” Fiverr says.
“We receive thousands of applications, and the results you find on Fiverr Pro are the top 1% of talent. We hold ourselves to the highest standard, and would provide nothing less to you, our amazing buyers.”
To pass the vetting process, freelancers are required to prove their:
A Shopify Expert, however, is a freelancer or an agency that has been vetted by Shopify themselves.
Shopify describes those who can market themselves on Shopify Experts as a “cultivated community of trusted, motivated Shopify ambassadors who actively help merchants grow their businesses by providing them with high-quality services.”
“Shopify Experts have been selected by Shopify that has proven to have a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of Shopify and a hunger to continue learning,” Shopify says.
In the Shopify Experts database, you can browse through lists of experts, and when you click on their profile, you’ll find:
And once they’re verified as a Shopify Expert, Shopify keeps tabs on them. If the experts aren’t performing, they’re stripped of their verification badge.
On the Shopify Expert T&Cs, experts are warned that: “If you aren’t able to meet the requirements, then Shopify may contact you to determine your continued eligibility as an Expert.”
It’s a tad strange that Fiverr has a dedicated URL to Shopify Experts when not all of the freelancers and agencies on the URL are actually Shopify Experts.
The screenshot above is what we were given when we typed in the Fiverr Shopify Experts URL.
A quick scan of these freelancers and agencies will shock you. Sure, there are some verified, legitimate Shopify Experts on there. But there’s also a ton of sellers offering themselves up as experts, when in fact, they’re not even verified (they’ve never completed a single job on the platform.)
Like this Fiverr freelancer.
The seller labeled themselves as an expert, so I asked them to verify their Shopify Expert store before diving into a further discussion.
They replied with this.
Plot twist. Shopify Expert is closed? Weird, considering this freelancer was using it as their hook to get people to hire them in the first place.
I smelled a rat, so I dug a little deeper.
And just like that, I was dumped for asking for a verification of their Shopify Expert status. I think it’s pretty easy to conclude that this seller was neither a Shopify Expert or a good choice for outsourcing any type of work.
This is why it’s super important for merchants to dig a little deeper when they’re outsourcing their work.
The “Shopify Expert” from above?
Yeah, we found them on the Fiverr homepage. It’s the default search on the website, and where most of the sellers on the platform are based.
This is the free-for-all section. Basically, anyone and everyone can slap a picture on their profile and call themselves a Shopify Expert.
The first freelancing “Shopify Expert” experience on this section of Fiverr wasn’t a great start. But what happens when we head over to the “Fiverr Pro” section of the freelancing database and search again?
It was chalk and cheese to the free-for-all over the main Fiverr database in terms of reviews, and price points. I picked the first search result who also claimed to be a “Shopify Expert”:
And I reached out with the exact same message to the owner, Young Einstein.
Except for this time, the freelancer was a verified Shopify Expert, who ran his business on both Shopify Expert, and Fiverr.
It seems you can find a verified Shopify Expert on Fiverr if you do a little digging.
Truthfully? It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, you’re hiring an agency or freelancer for their talent and expertise, not the platform itself.
Where Shopify Experts does come in handy, however, is it basically takes the vetting process over for you. If you’re looking to outsource on Fiverr, chances are it’s going to take a good chunk of time to vet a freelancer or agency to make sure they’re not bluffing with their credentials.
Over at Shopify Expert, the work has been done for you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out a few things first.
Just like any other outsourcing work, you should always check a companies reviews before hiring them.
Shopify Experts has a rating system integrated into the platform, and only legitimate purchasers can leave a review.
A quick scan over on Shopify Experts for “Custom Features/Code” brings up a slew of experts for hire.
Let’s see what Union Works’ previous customers have to say about their work. A quick scan of their profile tells us that they build custom features and code, as well as product builders, delivery date pickers a,d custom templates.
So far, so good. But what do their customers say? All we had to do was scroll a little further down their profile to find that all 53 of them have given 5 stars.
The reviews on the platform are easy to find and transparent enough for merchants to be able to make a quick decision on whether to ask for a quote—or to keep looking.
This is another excellent part of the Shopify Experts database: only completed, legitimate work can be uploaded on an expert’s portfolio.
We hunted on the Shopify Experts database to find a trusted expert to complete a store redesign and found XgenTech.
A quick scroll down their profile gives merchants access to their portfolio so they can see whether or not their style and capabilities match what they need to be done for their own store.
Once again, having all this information on one page saves merchants a ton of time doing their own research, and quickens up the hiring process.
This is one of the handiest features about Shopify Experts.
The experts on the platform name their minimum project price, and if merchants aren’t willing to spend the minimum—the expert won’t take on your project.
It’s visible once you select a service on the site, named under “starting price” :
It’s an easy way to weed out experts who you can’t afford— and find those that do.
With over 830,000 freelancers on Fiverr, and thousands of them claiming to be Shopify Experts, finding the right place to outsource your work can be time-consuming and stressful.
That’s why Shopify Experts is a brilliant way for merchants to find a legitimate match when they’re looking to outsourcing their work. Even if you find a reputable freelancer or agency on Fiverr, if they really are a Shopify Expert—you’ll be able to find them over on the Shopify site.
If you don’t want to hire a Shopify Expert and you’re willing to take a gamble on one of the thousands of un-vetted freelancers on Fiverr, you may find a seller who knows what they’re doing. Or, you could pay peanuts and end up getting monkeys.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how much the success of your Shopify store is worth to you.
Want more insights into getting the most out of your Shopify store? Check out our piece on reducing abandoned shopping carts: no hacks. Just straight up, easy changes you can make to your store.
Kimberlee Meier is a B2B/SaaS Content Writer who helps start-ups fuel their growth through quality, evergreen content.