As of 2020, there are roughly 2.05 billion online shoppers in the world. It’s safe to say that as consumers, we have rapidly adapted ourselves to shopping online even for our day to day groceries. While this change in purchase behaviour highlights opportunities for businesses, there’s also relentless competition.
Right now, practically every business is going online.
While there are enough potential customers for every online store in the world, it is equally essential to have a solid marketing strategy that puts you ahead of the curve and keeps your cash register ringing.
More importantly, your marketing strategy must feature a robust conversion optimization plan that ensures you are able to capture your target audiences’ attention and convert them into paying customers.
You don’t want to be spending thousands of dollars driving traffic to your website, without being able to bag any sales.
With millions of ideas and tactics available at the click of a button, it can be overwhelming to figure where to start from. So we dug deep into what works for industry-leading brands to identify a few strategies that are sure to work.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick checklist.
A handy CRO checklist to get you started
✔️Get started with user research and creating your target personas
✔️Ensure your site is optimized for mobile to offer a delightful and convenient shopping experience for on the go shoppers
✔️Offer live chat support to assist shoppers in real-time
✔️Regularly collect and analyze visitor data to figure out what is working and what isn’t
✔️Have an omnipresent cart button so shoppers can navigate to their carts from any section on your site
✔️Add custom filters to make navigating to the desired product easier
✔️Offer wishlist and add to cart options on the category pages too
✔️Optimize your search and product recommendation algorithms for improved conversions
✔️Include product videos to showcase items in use
✔️Include a section for customer reviews to add an element of social proof
✔️Display countdown timers and other labels for discounted/on sale products
✔️Offer guest checkouts
✔️Streamline all stages of the checkout process
✔️Reduce the number of steps it takes to place an order
✔️Offer accelerated checkouts
✔️A/B test all key changes before you deploy them universally to have enough data to back your hypothesis
And if you want to learn more about each of these strategies, read on.
Strategies To Make Your Shopify Store Conversion Rates Skyrocket
1. Get to know your customers better by creating personas
Before commencing your conversion optimization journey, be sure to start from scratch. For an eCommerce business, this means getting to know who you’re building the online store for.
The first step in doing this is creating your ideal customer persona. This is where you dig deep into data to identify the demographics of your target consumers. Right from their age, gender, location, buying power, challenges, the brands they buy from and more, get everything well-documented.
But remember, eCommerce customer personas should be based on data – both qualitative and quantitative.
Quantitative data includes:
- Behavioural & transactional data
And here’s what qualitative data will take into account:
- Discussions with customers
- Customer interviews
- Common customer service inquiries
Look at this example of a user persona,
From her age, education, family to her motivations, every single detail is defined clearly.
Not sure where to begin or how to put all this data together to create a customer persona? Make use of the HubSpot Make My Persona tool.
2. Conduct a usability test on your ecommerce website
If you’ve been running your online store for a while, but not seeing as many conversions, maybe it’s time to analyse your site’s usability.
You could organize focus group interviews and usability tests to understand what your target customer really wants and how you can optimize your Shopify store to make their shopping experience really delightful.
To reach that goal, you need to start by defining the objective of your usability test. Here are some examples:
- Can visitors find all the information they need?
- Can visitors easily find the products they’re looking for?
- Can visitors make an informed purchase decision on their own?
- Are the user interface and navigation throughout the website smooth?
- Is the process of finding and purchasing a product fast and easy?
- Where do visitors tend to drop off the most?
- What are the most common errors that a visitor faces?
Once you have that in place, you need a set of people who can help you conduct this test. Here are some options:
- Request your existing customers to share feedback on your store usability
- Find people who match your ideal customer persona via UserTesting
- Ask your friends, family and co-workers to visit your Shopify store without influencing how they interact with it
- Give Craiglist a shot to find a set of people who can test your website
You can also try these methods to test usability:
- A/B Testing by comparing user experience on two different versions of the same website
- Heatmaps to understand how your users experience your website & the sections that are adding friction
- Customer Surveys to ask specific questions related to their interests in your product & also popular objections.
- 5-second usability test where you show specific prospects/customers the website for only 5 seconds and ask them everything they remember.
Scandiweb has this brilliant article on the 5 types of usability tests that you can run on your Shopify store. Give it a read here.
3. Offer the option to checkout as a guest
14% of customers abandon their checkout because they are required to open an account.
34% of the users in a Baymard Institute study abandoned an order because they were not offered an ecommerce guest checkout option.
Oftentimes, online shoppers come across a product from your Shopify store via a social media or search engine ad campaign.
If it appealed to them visually, they want to know more about it. In the best-case scenario, they even want to buy it.
Most of these consumers are impulse buyers. If they come to your website and you ask them to create an account before making a purchase or to complete it, you’re just adding friction to their shopping experience.
What’s worse? You’re giving them more room to think about making the purchase or not.
Guest checkouts offer your first-time or infrequent customers a chance to quickly complete a purchase without having to go through the process of sharing their details.
According to Barilliance, not offering guest checkout is one of the leading causes of cart abandonment.
But when you’re implementing guest checkout on your Shopify store, here are a few things that factor in to drive conversions from the strategy:
- Offer a one-page checkout for guest checkout shoppers
- Pay attention to the speed at which your checkout process loads
- Allow users to save information for next time
- Optimize your forms to only ask for what’s essential to complete the purchase
- Showcase security icons and guarantee to message
- Use a clear call to action buttons throughout the checkout process
- Offer multiple payment options
- Include the ability to choose a shipping method
4. Add customer ratings, reviews and testimonials as social proof
When customers read all your reviews/testimonials, they are 58% more likely to convert, generate 62% more revenue per site visitor & buy 3% more per order (AOV).
The power of social proof in driving sales cannot possibly be overstated. And when it comes to online shopping, customer reviews can be an absolute game-changer.
In fact, 88% of consumers trust customer reviews just as much as personal recommendations. Not just that, customer reviews have a huge role to play in influencing purchase decisions.
Therefore, make sure you build a dedicated section for social proof under each product or collection on your Shopify store.
Since most shoppers depend on online research to make their purchase decision, offering reviews, ratings and testimonials on your product pages would ensure they don’t have to leave your website to go looking for them.
You can do this in a number of ways.
Add the overall product rating and the number of customers who have rated the product, as Sephora does:
You can also let customers upload their reviews and testimonials along with photos of the product they purchased:
For first-time shoppers who are just exploring the collections and products available on your Shopify store, you could even consider creating a one-pager to display all your social proof.
Showcasing social proof in different ways isn’t even difficult. You just need an app like Vitals Product Reviews on your Shopify store.
The app allows you to collect, import, and display customer reviews along with photos so buyers can easily do their research on the product page itself while shopping from your online store. It’s a fully customizable app that comes with review rating snippets, verified review badges, and a 1-click review import tool so you can easily gather and showcase customer reviews and build trust and credibility.
Another interesting way to display social proof is to display them as on-site notifications as the consumer is dwelling on the product page. This makes the visitor feel how the product is being actively reviewed by others like them.
5. Leverage user recordings to understand how visitors interact with your store
Vocabla (a web-based tool) improved conversions by 218% by analysing the user behaviour with visitor recordings & implementing the required changes.
Today, visitors and customers on your online store are behaving in ways you would not be able to guess even if you tried.
You might think a big banner with discounts displayed might appeal to the visitor. But in reality, it could be that free shipping message you added way lower on the page.
The scary part? Every visitor tends to have a different motivation to interact with your Shopify store or make a purchase.
Unlike brick and mortar stores, you can’t really be the “observant one” who is learning browsing behaviour from the walk-ins you get. So how do you replicate this online?
The first step is to log into your Google Analytics account. Start with the very basics of data to find out:
- Source of traffic to your Shopify store
- Search queries leading to those visits
- Demographics you’re seeing (age, gender, location, etc)
- User flow of visitors (how they move from page to page)
- Number of conversions from the visits
- Devices used to access your website
That’s not all. This data still does not show you how visitors are interacting with your Shopify store.
This is where we go back to “watching” your visitors intently. Just, differently!
You can use Shopify apps like Vitals Visitor Replays to see what visitors are doing in your store. The app lets you follow them live or watch the recorded videos at a later time to see the activity across pages.
With the help of these user recordings, you can see how visitors interact with different elements on the site. This includes the pages they tend to spend the most amount of time, those they bounce off from really quickly or get stuck on, widgets and buttons they hover over the most while browsing the site, and more.
6. Build a mobile-first online store
Around 79% of smartphone owners have made a purchase from their mobile device in the last 6 months.
In fact, online retailers have reported that they’re seeing 50% of their traffic coming from mobile devices. The number is only increasing by the day.
Simply put, gone are the days when you could simply use a responsive website template to cater to your mobile audience. Your mobile site should not be an after-thought. Instead, you should be focusing on it first.
Right from the availability of screen space to the placement of buttons in such a way that they’re easy to click, there’s a lot more that goes into designing a mobile-first website.
To begin with, here are a few best practices you need to consider:
- Reduce the amount of content you display by making it clear and actionable
- Format your content for ease of readability on smaller screens
- Make your product images and media files responses or reduce the size for easy viewability
- Streamline the number of overall pages by combining related product categories
- Keep in mind the fat finger design to make your website all-users friendly
Now, remember that you’re not just designing for mobile phones. You also need to take into devices such as the iPad and tablets.
Studio by UXPin has a detailed guide on how to design a mobile-first website, along with the smallest of the nitty-gritty. You can read it here.
7. Make wishlist products easier from search results and category pages
Wishlisting products can increase sales by 19.3% on average
The traditional approach to wishlist items mostly meant searching for a product, clicking through to the product page and then saving the product for later.
But online shoppers today don’t have the time to move back and forth from one page to another while browsing a website. So when they’re looking for something on your Shopify store, they want to be able to save the products they like into wishlists right away. Be it on mobile or on desktop websites.
You need to offer your store visitors the ability to wishlist items directly from the search results or category pages.
Now imagine browsing through this website, not being able to save the products you like without clicking on them:
On the other hand, imagine browsing through this website that gives you the option to wishlist the product on a simple hover:
As an online shopper who wants to probe all the options available, the latter is obviously more friendly.
8. Ensure your cart is omnipresent
More often than not, your Shopify store visitors will add a few products to their cart but forget about them as they navigate through the website. This is especially true if you sell a higher number of products or are nudging the visitor to explore more collections on the website.
It can also happen because most of us have multiple tabs open on the browser. We could be exploring other brands at the same time.
So what do you do to keep the products in the cart at the top of the visitor’s mind? Make your cart icon along with the number of products in it, omnipresent.
This little attention to detail serves as a constant reminder to your visitors – desktop, mobile and on the mobile app, making it less likely for them to walk away without making a purchase.
For instance, no matter how much we scroll, this website here has a sticky cart right at the top that displays the number of products we’ve added to it so far.
Again, this is easy to implement on your Shopify store using the Sticky Add to Cart app from Vitals. The app lets you customize the sticky cart for your desktop and mobile users, and offers a one-click buy option that increases conversions dramatically.
9. Add custom product filters on the search results page
You have just landed on an online store, not really looking for something specific. But you do have an idea of the category of products you want to browse through.
So you go to the search bar and type in t-shirts, only to see a massive list of products in the search results.
You might browse through the first page of these results. But in all honesty, if the search results were displayed on 10 pages, would you browse through them all?
The answer is NO.
Too many options overwhelm your store visitor. Even if they aren’t sure, you need to make it easier for them to narrow down the search results to find what they really want to purchase.
This is where the product filters come in. Such filters could include price range, product type, material, size, brand, discount range, category, delivery time, colour, ratings, shipping speed etc.
If you are running a seasonal sale, you could also have custom filters such as – Under 299, buy 2 for 1, flat 60% off, flat 40% off, and so on. The filters make it easier for the visitor to find the products they’re more likely to purchase. At the same time, they also guide their journey towards conversion – or what you’d like to call, completing the purchase.
Here’s another example;
10. Streamline the checkout flow for fast purchases
A long, complicated, or distracting checkout process can often lead to frustration among buyers, who might even end up abandoning their cart items and dropping them off. In fact, a long checkout flow makes it to the top 10 reasons that most stores see an average of 69.5% cart abandonment.
Make sure you reduce the number of steps involved to the bare minimum, get rid of all distracting elements, and offer an option to review cart items before placing an order.
Also, try to offer as many popularly preferred payment options as possible to reduce any drop-offs at the payment stage.
Finally, keep the checkout extremely simplified so shoppers can be done with it in no time and have no reason to complain.
11. Offer a humanized live chat support
According to various surveys and studies, live chats can lead to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. This only goes to say how much we value human interaction despite all the readily available information around us.
Now chatbots are a great way to address repetitive questions and save time. But according to Harvard Business Review, your customers want to see the human behind the product.
In times when walking into brick and mortar stores, and asking for help while making a purchase seems like a far-fetched dream, this especially holds true.
Be it a small query around the size guide, the shipping policy or the discounts available on the cart total, sometimes it just takes ‘talking’ to the visitor at the right time to nudge them to complete the purchase.
Instead of contacting you through a long-form or dropping your messages on social media, a live chat widget on your Shopify store makes you easily reachable. This also gets your brand plus points for being available for its customers.
Imagine yourself in the online shopper’s shoes while having to contact the brand this way:
Now imagine yourself getting the option to simply chat with the brand representatives from the website itself:
Or even better, chat about the product you’re interested in from the product page:
Don’t fret. Implementing and managing a live chat is really easy.
You can manage the live chat using the Vitals All-in-One Chat app. It allows your visitors to communicate with you through familiar channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, SMS and more.
12. Create a sense of FOMO on your deals and discounts
69% of millennials experience FOMO (fear of missing out) in one way or another. In fact, 60% of these consumers make a purchase decision within 24 hours because of FOMO.
Think about that seasonal fashion trend you did not want to miss out on and you’ll know exactly what we mean.
But creating FOMO is trickier than you think. Online shoppers know that even if they don’t bag a deal on store A, they can find one on store B.
So now FOMO only works when you combine it with other consumer psychology marketing tactics like creating a sense of urgency and scarcity and displaying demand.
This can be done in a couple of ways.
Add a countdown timer
The simplest one being, adding a countdown timer to your discounts and deals. Let your store visitors know the deal might not be available the next time they visit your store.
You can add a countdown timer in the announcement bar, on product pages, exit-intent popups or even on your cart page to nudge the shopper to make a faster purchase decision.
The Countdown Timer app from Vitals lets you do this easily. You can customize the colour, background, copy, etc of the timer to match your Shopify store theme.
Display on-site sales notifications
Another way to create FOMO is to show how many people are looking at the same product as the visitor. You can display how many people have the product wishlist, added to the cart or have bought it already to show ‘demand’.
These pop-ups show up at the bottom of the screen and are the least bit intrusive. But at the same time, they do the trick.
You can implement this strategy with the Vitals Recent Sales Notifications app. It comes with multiple themes and layouts so that the on-site notifications are on-brand and don’t compromise the visual experience you offer to store visitors.
Make use of product labels
One more strategy that you can use to create FOMO amongst your store visitors is to use product labels.
By simply adding labels like ‘limited stock’, ‘fast-selling, ‘trending’ and similar, you can let visitors know what others are checking out on your store.
Show stock scarcity on product pages
You can also leverage the space available on your product pages to create FOMO. By simply adding an inventory bar under the product title, you can show how much of its stock is available.
As this gets updated on every purchase, new visitors will see how in-demand the product is. The closer gets to completion, the more FOMO a visitor feels around the product.
You can easily implement this strategy without any additional coding in your Shopify theme, using the Vitals Stock Scarcity app. The app also lets you choose the product pages where you want to display the stock bar and comes with full customizations to match your look and feel.
Add a timer on your cart page
Cart abandonment can be a real pain sometimes. That’s exactly why we recommend using the FOMO marketing strategy within your cart page as well. You can do this simply by adding a timer there that shows the demand for the product and how long you’d reserve an item for them. You can set this up with the Vitals Cart Reserved Reminder app.
13. Give more than plenty of trust signals to your visitors
Clean Energy Experts increased conversions by 137% simply by adding the Verisign seal to their information portal.
Adding trust badges on your website has a similar impact on consumer psychology as product labels. These badges typically include call-outs like ‘money-back guarantee, ‘best price guarantee’, ‘secure ordering’, ‘easy returns’, ‘premium quality and more. They address the common queries that come into a consumer’s mind when making a purchase.
You can add these badges using the Trust Seals and Badges app by Vitals. The app offers a library of badges that can be fully customized to match the look and feel of your Shopify theme.
Show your security certificates
Another way to show your store visitors that you’re trustworthy is to add security certificates. This shows that your site has been verified for secure transactions, removing any doubts they may have while sharing their bank details.
Most consumers make their purchase decision based on the payment options available to them. They’re not going to keep asking you if you accept payments via a particular wallet or credit card. So it’s on you to give them the required information beforehand.
You don’t even have to go looking for logo files to include in your store. The Payment Logos app by Vitals has got you covered. The app gives you high-quality resolution logos that can be customized further.
This one’s obvious, but also often ignored. The difference a simple http:/ and https:/ can make on your conversions is massive. The latter being an obvious indication of a website that is secure to not just transact over but also browse through.
14. Use pop-ups to re-engage visitors
Sleeknote conducted a study and found that popups with images (3.80 %) convert better than popups without images (2.07 %) by 83.57 %.
There are thousands of blogs out there that might recommend not using popups as they’re intrusive in nature. Which, in our humble opinion, is not the best advice when it comes to conversions.
Instead of not using popups, you should be focused on ensuring you’re timing them right. In this case, at exit intent.
This is when a visitor has gotten distracted or disengaged from the content on the web page they were on. Instead of letting them leave your store, an exit-intent popup gives you another chance to recapture their attention.
You could nudge them to explore a new collection or make them an offer they cannot refuse. For example, a first-time purchase discount or a deal that is available for only the next 60 minutes.
The Vitals app for Pop-ups helps you set this up in minutes with ready-to-use and customizable templates.
Another strategy here is to capture leads by engaging the visitor. So even if the visitor has abandoned the website, you can reach out to them later to promote products and deals.
You can do this using gamification, wherein the visitor gets something in return for simply engaging in a game. And of course, sharing their email address while doing so.
The Vitals Wheel of Fortune pop-up app gives the traditional pop-ups a twist. It makes the pop-up more interactive with a spin the wheel interface. The app lets you customize the pop-up design as well as the discounts/ rewards that are up for grabs for the winner.
15. Offer one-click/accelerated checkout to repeat visitors and customers
Shopify claims that Shopifypay has a 40% faster checkout completion time 18% higher conversion rates for returning customers.
One-click or accelerated checkouts allow shoppers to go directly from the product to the payment stage in just one click. This is an essential feature to have if you see regular shoppers coming in for staples and if you notice a greater number of sales coming from mobile devices.
These shoppers already have a saved address, a preferred payment mode, and are usually always aware of the return and shipping policies beforehand. A one-click checkout removes the need for them to go over the same information again.
Vitals Accelerated Checkouts allows you to redirect users straight to the checkout page as soon as an item is added to the cart. This helps your store visitors complete a purchase in minutes; especially when there is just one item to be bought.
16. Leverage technology to make your product pages interactive
The only way an online shopper can get a look and feel of the product is through the images you include on your product pages.
Now we know you’re focusing on high-quality product images. You’re following all the best practices of product photography to give your store visitors every perspective possible. Just like this store:
In fact, you’ve started to focus on showing product-in-use pictures along with comparison pictures too. But is that enough?
Previously, if we were doubtful about how a product looked, we could walk into a store and try it out.
And even if we did make a bad purchase online, filing for returns and exchanges was easier. Now, you’re just going to have to wait for days at a stretch if that happens.
That’s where turning your product page into a trial room comes in.
Offer virtual product try-on
Imagine you’re buying accessories such as eyewear; you would definitely want to make sure it doesn’t look too small or too big on your face. Similarly, if you’re buying makeup online, you want to be sure it looks good on you. But how do you try on products without getting a tester in hand?
Virtual try-on are your new best friends. We’re seeing the makeup and fashion and apparel industries pickup on this conversion strategy lately.
Here’s Sephora’s app using AR to offer virtual try-on to their mobile shoppers:
Even Lenskart, an eyewear brand, is offering a 3D virtual try-on that leverage the front camera/ web camera of the device in use.
For that matter, brands are seeing an increase in engagement as well as conversions on their website using this tactic.
Use 3D models to showcase your product features
According to Adobe’s What Shoppers Want survey, 91% of consumers said they would like the ‘Ability to turn products around in a full 360-spin and zoom on any perspective.’ Now you can do this with 3D models on your Shopify store.
Matter and Form have created an amazing guide on 3D modelling and how you can use them on your product pages. Read it here.
Leverage 360-degree videos to share perspective
The new-age online shopper is busy. They really don’t have the time to browse through endless product images to get an understanding of what’s being offered to them. This is where including a 360-degree video helps. So much so that it has proven to improve conversions by 27%.
The best thing is that you don’t need to do anything additional for this conversion strategy. Shortlist all the product images that add up to give a 360 degree perspective of the product and then use a tool like Ortery to patch them into a video.
Pro tip: Add annotations to highlight the key features of your product in the video.
Implement click-to-zoom on product images
You may think you’re giving the visitor a good view of the product. But they want to zoom in further to see the details such as the stitching on a pair of jeans.
In this case, you don’t want them continually zooming in and out using the two-finger drag on their trackpads. This will disturb the other elements on your web page, eventually hampering the experience for the visitor.
So make sure you implement click-to-zoom on all your product images.
For example, here’s what Tiffany’s product page image looks like:
And the moment you hover over it, here’s how it automatically zooms in:
Include videos explaining the product
The one thing we all like about shopping from brick and mortar stores is how there’s always a sales representative around to help us out. But online, the human touch is often amiss, leading to more confusion and lesser conversions.
Including videos on your product page is a great way to combat this scepticism in online shoppers.
Nordstrom goes one step further with this strategy. They have created product videos with their on-ground sales representatives walking you through its features, and how they can be styled.
Include influencer/ customer videos sharing reviews
Allow shoppers to calculate shipping upfront
The number one cause of cart abandonment is the addition of unanticipated and additional charges at the very last stage of the checkout process. To avoid giving your shoppers any unwelcome surprises, make sure you offer a shipping calculator upfront at the product or cart page itself. This will ensure buyers can calculate the shipping and handling costs as per their location and cart items beforehand. This avoids any disappointment at a later stage.
The Shipping Information app from Vitals allows you to clearly display shipping timelines and costs via a shipping info snippet. You can now systematically tackle cart abandonment due to surprising shipping charges by keeping buyers informed beforehand. Vitals also allows you to use multiple shipping rates such as Standard, Premium, Express, and so on and easily edit the related shipping info in the snippet.
A/B test all critical changes
While all strategies discussed so far are industry best practices, it’s best to not rely on them blindly to improve your conversions. Instead, A/B test all critical changes you wish to make to your ecommerce site or app to let data validate whether or not they actually move your key metrics. Once you have enough data to make a decision, you can go ahead and deploy the winning variation universally.
This way, you will always be sure of the changes you are making and have customer data to back them up. A/B testing allows you to get rid of the guesswork from conversion rate optimization and let visitors decide which version of a webpage they prefer.
Ecommerce is booming now & speed is everything here.
Platforms like Shopify are making it easy for brands, big and small, to go online. But simply setting up an online site and uploading your products isn’t enough.
When the competition is so high, you need to focus your efforts on being able to convert the traffic you drive to the website. It’s costing you at least a few hundred dollars when you are running advertising campaigns on the search engine and social media platforms.
This is where conversion optimization comes in. The above strategies are the very basics that should have been a part of the process all along.
So, when you start designing your Shopify store or see a dip in the conversion rate, it’s time to double down on these strategies one by one.
Vitals has built an app that includes the feature set of 40+ Shopify apps to enable your Shopify store to improve its conversion rate. This assures that you can take care of multiple conversion strategies with just one app on your store.
Lesser load. More conversions!