The Ultimate Guide for eCommerce Conversion Optimization In A Shopify Store
Updated: May 14
Anyone starting out in eCommerce knows this frustrating feeling of getting a bunch of visitors in their store, without making any actual sales.
What causes it? How can you make sure the effort and money you're spending getting people into your store get you the results you want- sales?
You need to optimize your entire funnel for conversions- it can be confusing at first, but don't worry, I've got you, with the complete guide to conversion optimization in Shopify!
First, What is eCommerce Conversion Rate?
A conversion rate is defined by the percentage of users taking a specific action on a web page. Typically, in eCommerce, the conversion rate is measured by the percentage of visitors completing a purchase.
So basically, your store’s conversion rate is the percentage of people who purchased, out of the people who visited your store.
The conversion rate of an online store is affected by a few different factors, and when we talk about optimizing it, we need to look at the whole funnel, which can be divided into three stages:
Awareness - potential customers find your store through search & advertising.
Pre-purchase - potential customers browse your store pre-purchase: product page, cart, and checkout.
Post-purchase - customers who have just completed a purchase in your store
1. Service & product
Before we can start talking about optimizing your funnel, you need to make sure that the services & products you are offering are something that customers actually want to buy.
I'm not going to get into this too deeply, but it should go without saying that you have to do your research before deciding on the product that you want to sell.
Some questions to ask yourself before choosing a product are:
Is this product hard to find in my potential customers' area?
Does this product have the potential to go viral?
Are my prices competitive compared to the rest of the industry?
Can I easily target a specific audience that would love this product?
Is my target audience for this product large enough? (1M+)
The more yeses you get on these questions, the better the odds of your product to sell.
Obviously, the first step toward having conversions is getting people to visit your website. And honestly, generating the right traffic to your online store is a subject for a full post all on its own.
Some of the most popular traffic sources you could use are:
Facebook and Instagram paid advertising
Google AdWords or shopping
Organic search- SEO optimization
Each source has its advantages and disadvantages, but whichever ones you use, you have to make sure you target the right audience. Otherwise, you're only wasting your time and money.
Keep in mind that the goal is not to have the largest amount of traffic to your store, but to have the largest amount of targeted traffic to your store.
Pre-purchase Store Optimization
Looking at your online store, before even trying to generate traffic into it, there are a few things you can do to make it look more professional and encourage conversions.
First and foremost, you have to make sure that your customers trust you. It might sound obvious, but a lot of new merchants fail to really Implement trust-building elements into their store.
When a customer comes into your store without previously knowing you or having any experience with your brand, he will be rightfully suspicious. It is your job to make him feel comfortable buying from you.
A lot of new merchants focus on having trust badges in their store as a way to seem more trustworthy. While these are important, they are not nearly enough to create trust with your customers.
Some important trust-building elements are:
Trust badges- as I mentioned, these are a good component to have in your store, so customers know they are purchasing in a secure purchase, has the option to return the product if they're not satisfied, etc.
Live chat and phone number- this might be the most important step to building trust with your customers. Make sure they have an easy way to reach you or your support representatives. Having a phone number makes you seem legitimate and makes customers feel like they have someone to talk to if they have an issue, while a live chat is most customers' preferred method of contacting support. Use apps like Tobi for a free Facebook messenger chat.
Easy returns and refunds policy- buying online feels a lot of the times like buying a cat in a bag, you never really know what you will get. Stores that truly believe in their products offer an easy refund and returns policy, in case the customer is not happy. Customers want to see that you are committed to their satisfaction when purchasing from you.
User-generated content- UGC is one of the strongest ways to improve trust with your customers. We will talk more about it in its own separate section, but it is worth mentioning in the context of trust as well, since it should be something you display boldly in your product pages and possibly in your homepage and collection pages.
About us page- this is something most customers won't even look at, but having an about us page that seems personal yet professional will definitely help convert customers who do go there. This is not something you should waste hours on, this is a page that, at first, you should create very quickly, making sure to keep it simple.
Good content- having poorly written text in your website, with a lot of grammar errors and spelling mistakes is one of the worst things for your store when it comes to trust- it makes you look like a scammer. Take yourself and your business seriously and make sure all the text in your store is well-written and clear. You can use Grammarly to help you proof your text against errors, but it will only take you so far. If you need to, have someone with near-native or native English write your content for you.
2. Landing page optimization
A common mistake a lot of new merchants make is to focus extensively on their homepage, wasting hours or even days optimizing it and making it look perfect, and designing the product page as an afterthought.
While having a pretty, professional homepage feels like an accomplishment, you have to take into account that it is not always the most efficient thing to focus on.
In most cases, you would take customers directly to the product page through advertising- that makes sense since we want the customers to have the smallest number of clicks between them and actually purchasing the product.
You have to take into account when designing and optimizing a store, that the product page becomes the landing page- the first page the customers see of your store.
Does that mean that you should completely neglect your home page? No. It simply means that the bulk of your effort should go into the product pages, and specifically to the product pages that you plan to advertise most heavily.
So, make sure the layout of your product page looks good, fits the types of products that you have, and is cohesive in its color scheme and general look.
Important things to customize on your product page are:
Product descriptions- these need to be well written, provide all the important details, and have no grammar and spelling mistakes. Don't just stick to the dry details, sell your products with descriptions that activate an emotion.
Visuals- have quality images of your products from different angles, showing all of their components and possible variations. If possible, adding a video helps tremendously with conversions.
Colors- like I've already mentioned, make sure your product pages have pleasant and easy on the eye colors, that are cohesive with your store’s color scheme.
Product reviews and ratings- this helps conversions like nothing else does- in fact, reviews can increase your conversion rate by 190% at least! Use apps like Loox to display product reviews with images.
3. User-generated data
User-generated data (UGC) is a form of social proof, and it is effective in improving conversion rates because it works on our psychology on two different levels:
Trust- people generally trust their peers’ opinions much more than they would trust a brand’s testimonial on itself. That makes a lot of sense, because their friends have no reason to lie in this brand's favor. So, seeing the opinions of actual real people helps potential customers make the decision to trust you.
FOMO- peer pressure is something that keeps affecting us, no matter at what age. Seeing other people buying from a certain brand or using a certain product, makes us want to conform and do the same thing. Displaying other people who bought from you will help make potential customers want to jump on the bandwagon.
What are some of the best ways to display UGC on your store?
Reviews- we've talked about reviews both when it comes to trust and when it comes to landing page optimization. So, there is no reason to expand on it too much here, but know that product and store reviews are one of the most effective forms of UGC- it's a must-have on your product page.
Testimonials- these are another form of UGC that is very effective. You can display users’ testimonials on your homepage or on any landing page in your store, to tell the story of how your products helped past customers. Most reviews apps will also include a testimonials widget, so you don't even need to invest in another app.
Social feed- show your past customers’ pictures and opinions in a social form, that feels familiar and engaging to new visitors. Displaying UGC as a social feed makes it seem more relevant, real and fun.
One great app that helps you achieve this, is Swave. It allows you to display an Instagram story feed of past customers using your products. The app helps you encourage customers to upload their picture with your product for a discount or cashback.
4. Retargeting & Remarketing
You most likely don't purchase from stores you don't know after visiting them once, so you can’t expect all your customers to purchase from you after their first visit to your store.
That means that you need to prepare an infrastructure that will allow you to get in front of the eyes of old visitors and turn them into customers. In order to do that you need to know who these customers and visitors are, and have a channel through which to communicate with them.
There are two main ways to create these communication channels:
Installing pixels on your store allows you to save anonymous information about people who visited or purchased from you, so that you can, later on, use this data to communicate with them on different platforms.
By installing Facebook pixel on your store, you can collect visitors’ data and turn it into an audience. Once you have enough data, you can use this audience to display Facebook ads to past visitors, reminding them about your store and even showing them items they might have left in the shopping cart.
Similarly, you can use Google remarketing by installing Google Analytics and enabling remarketing. This allows you to collect data that you can later use to create ads in the Display Network.
Retargeting and remarketing Ads are a great way to make sure that customers that have visited your store do not forget about you, and have the chance to come back and visit you again. You can offer a discount on these ads, to encourage people to purchase.
Distribution lists actually allow you to market to existing customers and visitors for FREE.
Traditionally, you would collect your customers into a mailing list and send them promotional emails, abandoned checkout reminders, updates and special deals. Nowadays emails are seeing very low open rates, so while you should still collect customers’ emails, you should spread out your efforts to other platforms as well.
Make sure to collect subscribers for each platform you plan to build a distribution list on. It could be a pop-up, support chat, ATC checkbox or anything else. Each app we recommend here has its own growth tools that you can use.
1 .Facebook messenger- Apps like Recart allow you to collect your customers into a Facebook messenger distribution list.
This platform is an especially powerful place to collect a distribution list in, because everybody opens their messenger messages, and you can actually communicate with your customers on a platform they are using regularly.
2. Push notifications- these notifications come straight from the customer’s browser. When someone agrees to receive push notifications from you, he will see a little pop up on his desktop whenever you send a notification or a campaign.
These notifications are relatively limited, but they are very powerful in the sense that they will pop up in the customer's desktop no matter where he is.
Not all browsers and devices support push notifications, so using a smart app like Push Nova gives you the flexibility to use Facebook messenger when push is not supported.
3. SMS messages- SMS is an old friend of ours from the beginning of the age of mobile phones. But most of us would still open each SMS message we get, so using this platform as a way to advertise to your customers could be very effective.
In fact, merchants using the app SMSBump are seeing 2000% ROI and more. You would collect subscribers from people entering their phone number at checkout, or through a sign-up form.
We've arrived at the final step in the funnel.
Congratulations, you've managed to optimize your store and get sales! Now it is time to take care of the last step in the funnel, and make sure that the sales you got don't turn into one-time purchases and go to waste.
Getting first-time sales is expensive and difficult, which is why it is so important to make sure to invest in those people who purchased once and turn their first time sale into a second, third etc.
1. Distribution lists & retargeting
I've mentioned how important it is to use distribution lists in a few different mediums as a way to remarket to potential customers, but they are a powerful tool when remarketing to existing customers as well.
I will not expand on this subject too much since we've already talked about it. But for existing customers, your distribution lists are the best place to send information about new sales, or even sales that are exclusive to them, reminders and updates about products that they liked and purchased before, customer surveys and so much more.
When using your distribution list, the important principle is to keep in contact with your existing customers so that they do not forget about you, without spamming them with endless promotions.
AliExpress Facebook retargeting
2. Thank you page
This is the part all of your customers see when they complete a purchase from you, and most store owners are not utilizing it to the best of its ability. If you optimize your thank you page as well as you did the rest of your store, you will see a growth in sales and increased conversion rates. Th
is part of the funnel is definitely a numbers game, if you have very little store sales, it will take a while before you actually see the benefit of optimizing your thank you page for conversions. But once you do get a large enough amount of sales you will be surprised at how effective this part of your website can be.
The principles behind optimizing you thank you page for conversions are similar to the ones behind optimizing the rest of your store for conversions. Make sure that your thank you page does not feel like an exit door from your store to the rest of the internet, but feels like an integral part of the shopping experience.
With good use of the thank you page, you can take customers back from this page to your store and even get them to purchase again immediately. You can also generate a whole lot of UGC in your thank you page, that you can later use for remarketing and as social proof in your store.
ReConvert is a Shopify app that allows you to take full control over your thank you page, edit, design, and optimize it in a simple drag and drop interface that looks exactly like the Shopify interface.
The strongest element to put in the thank you page is by far the pop-up with timer widget, which offers your customers a discount for a limited amount of time that you decide about, to create urgency and generate a new sale immediately.
Optimizing your entire funnel for conversions helps you generate sales and revenue. A lot of people find themselves focusing on the first or the second part alone, and missing out the importance of the three components together.
For maximum results, you need to focus on the entire funnel. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming or scary, you can take it step-by-step and learn the skills that you need to learn by optimizing each of these parts.
The best strategy is to learn from people who do what you want to do- lookup successful stores in your niche and try to learn how they optimize their store. You don't have to copy what they do, but you can learn from it and use the same core principles they use until, with experience, you feel confident enough that you know what works and what doesn't.