Make sure your site loads in under 3 seconds or your sales will suffer
Did you know - we humans have a shorter attention span than a gold fish ? According to a study by Microsoft - since the mobile revolution started in 2000. Humans attention spans have gone from 12 to 8 seconds. Which is a whole 1 second lower than a gold fish, which has a 9 second attention span. Yes.. this is you, your customers and everyone you know !
Which is why its so important for your site to load blazingly fast. We took this into account when building our Themes - we noticed not many other Shopify themes paid any attention to your site load speed. Instead, they chose to focus on design and making your site as bloated as possible. Whenever you add an app from the Shopify App Store - you are decreasing that load speed too.
Load speed is also VITAL for SEO and Ads - If you have a horribly slow site you aren’t going to be seen favourably for your page score .. yes BOTH Facebook and Google give you a (sometimes hidden) page score. And your ad cost will suffer as a result. Not to mention the users that actually came onto your site - cost you money for the ad click and left because they got distracted.. worse than goldfish ...
So how do you know if you have this issue ? Well - if your site loads in under 3 seconds then you’re good. If it doesn’t - you have a problem and you need to fix it. Get started by going to gtmetrix.com. They will give you a full report on what to change and the entire step by step. The most common issue will be your images and sizes, the gtmetrix report will give you optimised images for your site - but they are computer generated and usually you can optimise the images further. Ideally you want to get a designer to give you optimised images (in jpg or png format). We will also give you optimised images in our free conversion report if we think you need it to get the site up to speed.
Credibility and Trust
The importance of an about us page, logo and contact details
Trust is easy to understand but hard to get right. 4 things that can easily push users over the fence are a great about us page, a good bold - authoritative logo, trust badges and contact details that are clearly visible and not lurking somewhere strange.
The first thing you need to work on is your about us page - you need a message that will resonate with your audience but isn’t robotic and formal. You are talking to humans, be yourself and be human, know why you’re doing what you are doing and tell your customers. Write out your mission statement. Tell them your story. Extra points if you put in photos. For more tips on About us pages I highly recommend this post by Lindsay Kolowich (Hubspot)
Your Logo needs to carry the message of your about us page or at least look like you put in even the slightest amount of effort ! Not just something that has no relation to your brand, about us, products or message and just “looks good”. There’s tonnes of Studies and infographics behind the psychology of logo design. Here are some studies on the psychology of shapes as well as colors of logos. Make sure you stick to these to give your customers the right message through your logo.
Trust badges are proven to increase sales - and immediately increase the authority of your store. Make sure you include them. If you can’t figure out where to place them - put it in your footer - which is actually somewhere customers scroll very often (more later)
Last but not least in ensuring your Shopify store just exudes trust is contact details. Having no contact details visible anywhere is a big red flag, having just an email is better but the best way to gain trust is a phone number and/or a physical address. A quick tip if you don’t have any physical address is to get a virtual office which are available in so many locations around the world. You can also get a PO Box and enter the address of the post office where the PO Box is located as your address. Make sure any actual customers know to send any returns to the PO Box though otherwise you will have a nightmare of a time (unless you talk to your Post Office directly before hand about potential situations like this).
Our Themes take your logo to the forefront of your customers minds with a header that accentuates the logo perfectly no matter the colours you choose for it. The theme establishes trust through phone, email address and social media accounts as well as an optional address in the footer. We also show customers your trust badges at exactly the right time (when they are adding something to cart or when they are trying to figure out if they should buy - through the site footer).
Use free shipping as a reward to increase Average Order Value
If you aren’t already offering free shipping - you need to. A study done by stitch labs recently found that customers offering free shipping see a 10% increase in their revenue. Combining this with a Free Shipping Bar gives you an almost 30% increase in revenue because of the boost in Average Order Value (AOV). What happens when you don’t offer Free Shipping ? Well, ask the 47% of shoppers that said the would abandon at checkout if the merchant doesn’t offer free shipping.. yes .. 47%. The research.
If you can’t really afford to give all your customers Free Shipping - I would recommend switching it to an ‘incentivised’ offer. So something like spend $100 and get free shipping. Whatever the value is, you will see people spend to that level - it’s a principle called gamification - which makes them want to ‘unlock’ free shipping... Like in video games. It’s a very strong offer and a very strong incentive to shop with you and you’ll see your cart values start to rise because of it. Make sure the free shipping incentive is an achievable price with around 2-3 products though - otherwise it might not help your store at all.
Our Theme comes with an integrated Free Shipping Bar App - which counts down your progress towards free shipping. We implemented it in our theme after seeing a large jump in Cart Value for Store Sales once users switched to using it rather than just having a normal ‘free shipping’ announcement at the top of the site … an example of a bad announcement bar is something like “Free shipping Australia-wide”.
Above the fold content
Focus on the first things your customers see on your site homepage.
‘Above the fold’ is a term used to describe the content of your page that customers see without having to scroll down. Something they see immediately which needs to say and do 3 important things: What are you selling ? Who is it for ? How can they get it ?
When answering the questions, be sure to use explanations that a 5 year can understand. Your “How can they get it” explanation will be the button or CTA (Call to Action) and it needs to be BOLD and CLEAR in its purpose. i.e Buy Now or Add To Cart
You need to limit the number of images you have on image/video sliders to 1.. maybe 2 if necessary - to focus the attention of the customer on your message. Make sure all your sliders follow the 3 important Principles above as well - your sliders need to explain what you’re selling, who its for and how they can get it. Otherwise you may as well have no sliders at all.
The most under-rated part of all your pages
The most under-rated links on your site - are the ones at the very bottom of the page - the footer ! Clicktake analysed almost 100,000 page views and found that 22% of people scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page. Same thing happened with Milissa Tarquini (TMZ.com) - she found that the most clicked link on the homepage is at the very bottom. Here is the research behind this and many more UX-related discoveries.
With this in mind - make sure you have important info there like your phone, email, address & trust badge to establish that credibility. The other thing we recommend is to add a list of your best sellers - just a list. Lots of sites have seen sales for these products increase just by integrating this simple change.
Another thing we recommend you have is a ‘scroll to top’ button. Which helps the user get back to exploring your actual site after establishing you are trustworthy. Something worth mentioning is having a newsletter form down there as well. Give the customer a reason to sign up, like offering them exclusive discounts to future sales etc. We like to believe that the more emails you have = the more money you make. It’s a direct correlation that we really can’t refute and has stood the test of time.
We developed our Themes knowing all these things and made sure it had an incredibly dynamic & configurable footer which drives home the trust (through badges), credibility (with phone, email, socials and address) and helps you with email collection. The theme also has an integrated scroll to top button which works seemlessly.
Give customers as much information as possible for them to make an informed buying decision.
If your theme does not come with easily configurable product badges then you are missing out on a good bit of business. Having product badges helps draw attention to products and therefore increases sales. Product badges need to be used effectively though.. otherwise they really don’t make sense. If a store has everything marked as “on sale” it kind've defeats the purpose of having an “on sale” badge to begin with. Our rule of thumb for badges is : new products, best sellers, sale items (don’t make everything on sale) and best reviewed products are marked with their own special badges. This helps the user easily find what they think may be valuable to them.
Product pages need to have pricing clearly visible - and if it is on sale then either show the previous price and savings in percentage or dollar value. The customer needs to be completely aware of what they are paying for. A mistake lots of sites make is having the price with the same text style as the title or description. It’s hard to find and not very professional - almost like you are trying to hide something.. You can fix this up easily by making the price bold and the same size as the product title size.
Your product photos need to be clear and preferably on a white background. Take a look all the best selling products on amazon and you will notice - they have a white background. Most of the most popular stores on Shopify and on the web also stick to this principle too. Have a look at ASOS.com (one of the largest clothing retailers in the world)
As much as possible; use videos to show what's included in your packaging, an overview of the product, how to use it etc. an example is (if you have a clothes store) having a video of how a model looks wearing your t-shirt/ clothes from different angles rather than just a picture. Make sure to include as much other information as you can in your videos ! Putting a video in the description will work. But if you need more organisation then put it in your product tabs. If your store doesn’t have those then you need to get a theme that does (something like our Themes).
Make sure you add in as much information as possible to help the customers make an informed decision - FAQs about products need to appear in the product page - not in your FAQ page. Someone who has a question about your shoes won’t scroll through the entire FAQ just to find their answer on shoes - so make it specific. If a customer is on a page for a shoe then make sure that page answers their questions - about shoes.
Always make sure to include things like size guides (if you sell clothing) and Shipping times. Shipping times are the #1 question from your customer. Make sure you address that question. As a general rule of thumb - the faster your shipping times the more likely you are to sell. Nobody wants to wait too long. Always offer express shipping as an option unless its expensive and you’re shipping to an international customer.
Reviews are vital content to the product page - it helps to sell the product if you have reviews integrated into your store. The more reviews you have - the better your product page looks and contrary to popular belief - if you have all 5 star reviews and not a single bad score (we’re talking 2/3’s) then customers will actually trust you less. If you have a negative review - just make sure you always respond so customers can see you actually care. Anything with a 4 star or above is good for business. If you are struggling to find your first reviews for your products - try asking your suppliers if they have reviews for your specific product, ask friends and family to leave some etc. It’s not worth promoting a product through paid ads if you don’t have any reviews on your product(s). Infographic on reviews.
All these tips on products like product badges, tabs, clear pricing, support for videos in description, size guides and even reviews are FULLY integrated with our Themes. Lots of other themes lack all these features.
Don't be Fake and get your customers to buy NOW to seal the deal.
When we talk about scarcity - We’re talking about scarcity that is real - not fake. Live visitor counters are ok - if they actually are TRUE live visitor counters. Showing your quantities as limited is ok as long as there actually is a limited amount left. Faking things like that can even kill your bottom line eg. lying that you have 1 product left means the customer will only add a maximum of one item to the Cart, and if there are actually “100 people viewing this product” and none of them have bought - then it must be a bad product right ? When we created our Themes, we didn’t want fake scarcity anywhere to be seen - we created only “true” scarcity which shows if the product is limited in quantity (if it actually is) and we show TRUE live visitor counters to customers, we have a bunch of tools we call “Sales Motivators” as well as a cart/checkout counter which urge the customers to finish their purchase right now.
Scarcity is a tricky thing to get right. Too much can be tacky - too little and you’ve lost a sale. Scarcity needs to be done subtly and at just the right time. Countdown timers for flash sale items is an example of a good way to encourage customers to check out right now. Cart and Checkout Countdowns work and are used by giants like amazon to give customers that sense of urgency. We have quite a few examples of subtle yet convincing “nudges” to steer the customer to check out now and work wonders to create scarcity and these are all included in our Theme(s). Here are Good Examples of subtle 'nudges' on the product page. and check & cart pages.
Upsells and Crossells
Serve the customer products that they may be interested in at just the right times
Picture this : You’ve just come into some money and want to buy this awesome pair of shoes that you’ve been looking at for some time. You go to the store and pick out the shoes and head straight to the cash register to pay. The sales person realises by speaking to you that you really really love these shoes and offers to help you keep them looking great with some shoe protection. Would you take that offer ? I’m going to say you probably would if you had more money. Let’s pretend you do have that money and accept that offer. The sales person then even says that that cleaner also comes in a combo back with some deodorising spray (so your shoes don’t smell) and some special polish to keep them dry when it rains. I’m sure you’d agree that .. If you had money - you would probably buy that too.
The first offer the sales person made you is a crossell - they recommended a product that would compliment your purchase. Then the sales person made you an upsell offer, which is the combo pack with the spray and polish. They increased your purchase value and probably made a handsome profit on the crossell/upsell. You’d be surprised how many business’ actually are ONLY profitable because of those kinds of offers. They sell you a product they don’t make much money on and then sell you addons that make them lots of money. These offers are powerful because they are relevant and they increase dollar value and profit for those stores that implement it.
You want that functionality in your eCommerce store - and you need the offers to appear at the right time - i.e when a customer adds an item to cart. You can then offer them things that fit in perfectly with their purchase - thats the formula for a good upsell and crosssell offer. Added these shoes to cart ? Why not buy our shoe cleaning solution ! You can do this using apps or with our Sails Theme Upsell & Crossell App to give incredibly targeted offers and messages to your customers at just the right time.
The perfect places and times for suggesting crosssells are when the customer adds to cart, in the cart page itself and using “related items” in your product page. Upsells are best presented in just the first 2 i.e when customer adds to cart and in the cart page itself.
QUICK TIP: Using this Upsell hack you can increase dollar value even without installing apps or buying anything. Add your Upsell products as bundles and create variants for your Shopify Products that have the product in a bundled option. eg. Buy 2 get 1 FREE (SAVE 33%). Customers can then select the upsell in the drop down list. All without you spending a single cent.
Always Be Closing (Selling)
Use Your Opportunities to sell more very wisely.
Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that once you have sold a product to someone - that’s it. You’re done with the sale and on to the next person that we can sell to. That’s actually a fundamental flaw that occurs in most failed stores and business'. All successful business' will tell you that repeat customers are what keeps them alive. You will see … All smart, well seasoned and successful entrepreneurs and Shopify Stores … They all focus on One thing with an obsessive relentlessness: Customer Lifetime Value. When you make a sale - it’s just one chapter in your relationship with a customer. You now have someone that trusted you enough to buy from you, you know what they would pay money for and you know their contact details. This is a level of power that very few business’ in the past had access to. This is why the internet has changed the entire landscape of sales and marketing.
You need to take every opportunity you have with the customer AFTER the sale and turn it into a sale. The best time to sell to the customer again after the sale is actually immediately after they’ve just bought ! The best thing to Offer them is the SAME product they just bought but this time in a bundle (if you haven’t offered them an upsell previously anyway). Alternatively, just offer them crosssells, other upsells etc. You can do this through zipify one click upsell. Which allows you to easily integrate further selling into the Shopify checkout flow by hooking into the thank you page after purchase.
The Next Opportunity to sell comes when you send a receipt - if you don’t do this then you probably should. A good receipt email will include relevant products to the one the customer has already bought in an attempt to sell them further. We are actually working on this email integration and will hopefully have it live very soon ! Transactional emails are the best opportunities at selling the customer more things - this is because these emails are almost guaranteed to be read and opened by them. Your chances start to decrease beyond these emails.
If you don’t have review email follow ups integrated into your flow you probably should have a follow up. Email your customer a few days after delivery and ask for a review. This helps with the products social proof through reviews and it also gives you another opportunity to sell ! What new products that came in since they bought could this customer possibly be interested in ?
Beyond the review email you want to put the customer into an email sequence where they receive your best sales / offers and relevant items which they may be interested in purchasing. Remember: you know what they are interested in - use that information and Email them at least 5 of your best offers ! Don’t be Shy. You’ll be surprised how many more sales you will get with this change alone.
Set up Tracking PROPERLY
A few basics on Look Alike Audiences, Facebook, Google and Screen Recording Tools
Another thing people sometimes forget to do is add BOTH a Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics Tracking code to their site so they can capture the data and learn what to improve through it. There’s so much value in both these tracking tools and they can honestly be the only tracking tools you have and you’d be well sorted to optimise, scale and grow your store.
Some people like to include Hot Jar and other sort of “record the screen” tools which I am not against - they are user friendly and do the job, they help you figure out whats going on BUT they will slow down your site with all the additional calls they make to their server, ALWAYS have a plan to shift away from them eventually. They are absolutely brilliant for the early stages of your store and trying to understand your customers thought process though - and if you aren’t too familiar with Google Analytics then they are perfect tools.
Eventually once you get enough (Facebook) Pixel data you want to start creating Custom Audiences and Look alike audiences from your visitors so you can optimise your winning ads and audiences and not have to worry too much about interest based targeting. I will go through this in more details in another post but the LAA Audiences I always have set up are:
1%, 1-3%, 3-5% and 5-10% for each of the below :
1. PUR (Purchase) 180 Days 2. IC (Initiate Checkout) 180 Days
3. ATC (Add to Cart) 180 days
4. VC (View Content) 180 Days
5. VV (Video Views) 50%, 75%, 95%
6. LTV (Lifetime Value) > $50 and above purchases
Abandoned Cart Emails and Retargetting
Important to get this set up ASAP to lower your CPA
If you don’t have abandoned cart recover emails set up - you need to get that done ASAP. It’s built into shopify and is FREE - it’s also disabled by default so if you don’t remember doing it then you probably haven’t done it. Here is the tutorial to get you started.
Abandoned Cart Apps do make it easier to manage and customise the recovery email and we are actually planning on rolling out a customiser for the abandoned cart email very soon. Complete with upselling opportunities and drag and drop functionality.
If your store doesn’t have Retargetting set up - you need to get it set up ! It’s quite simple to do with Apps like shoelace etc. BUT If you are willing to put in a bit more effort to do it manually, you can learn some useful Facebook Ad Tricks which are always going to be valuable tools in eCommerce and Online Marketing in General.
Retargetting groups with Facebook ads is as simple as creating a custom audience based on ATC (Add to Cart), VC (View Content) and IC (Initiate Checkout) pixel events that haven’t made a Purchase (PUR). Facebook Ads retargeting differs to the abandoned cart emails because you get to cover this whole new set of users that you may have never thought of. A few examples: People that have liked your page / post / ad recently but haven’t visited your site (Liked post exclude View Content) or Video Views above 50% (i.e saw a video ad for longer than 50% of the video length - Video Views exclude VC).
There’s so many other ways you can customise and optimise your retargeting campaigns to get the maximum number of Sales but the ones I cover above are the basics. I will hopefully write up a more in-depth article about these and how to set them up. So sign up to dragondropthemes so you can get these emails - you get a nice free theme trial and you also get to read my awesome content 😉
ALWAYS Collect Emails
Give people a good incentive for their email. (Don’t be spammy)
Imagine this; I see a great ad for an awesome theft-proof bag. The videos and pictures manage to convince me to purchase it and I’m really excited to do just that BUT as soon as I click that ad and try to order it… I realise it’s out of stock.
That Sale is probably lost right ? WRONG - thats a customer you need to capture. You need to grab his email, he’s highly interested. Put an out of stock app on your store and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Thats what our Sails Theme comes integrated with and it explains the concept behind this tip well - ALWAYS Collect Emails (non spammy) !
Want examples of spammy ways to collect emails ? Ever see those popups that just come up for no reason. You just entered the page and you’re immediately greeted with a coupon or asked to give your email. Yeah - thats spammy. Don’t do that - especially if you are trying to build a brand. It will cost you in the long run.
Always have the popup on some kind of action or intent. Eg. If a customer has been browsing this page for longer than 30 seconds then chances are - that they are interested in this product or your store. The customer is leaving the page ? Make sure they see your final offer before they leave (exit-intent). That sort of email collection is non-spammy and recommended. I also like to suggest you integrated a newsletter sign up form into the footer to collect emails there (footers are highly underrated like I mentioned above).
Coupons are a good tool to lure customers into giving their emails - but turning the email collection process into a game is even better. Things like the App : wheelio do this very well. We want to release our own version of wheelio in an upcoming update so stay tuned for that !
Essentially you are trying to give the customer a good reason to give you their email. Simply saying “Please sign up to hear about our products” is not engaging - will not work and is not recommended but its not as bad as not having an email popup at all ! ALWAYS COLLECT EMAILS.
A Plan Beyond Expensive Paid Ads
Emails, Organic, Social Media, Low CPA and Brand Presence
“Being with the end in mind” is not a famous principle in the 7 habits of highly effective people for nothing. It’s a mantra, a playbook that your Shopify store needs to follow. You need a plan beyond paying for (the expensive) Ads every day. You need Organic SEO rankings, you need a nice presence on social media, and you need to think about your brand. Or at the very least : you need a lower CPA (Cost Per Acquisition i.e Cost for getting a customer to buy from you) for your ads.
All my tips above help you get to that conclusion on your own. But I here I am telling you anyway; Having a site that loads quick forces you to care about your site customers, providing them with what they need and accomodating them. It also helps with long term SEO and reducing your CPC and therefore CPA. Having a solid about us page and logo forces you to think about your brand, what you stand for and who you’re helping.
Emails help push you towards “Organic" too - emails have been around since the early days of the internet and have consistently been the most useful and powerful internet Marketing Tool.
SEO is a tricky one - there’s 2 parts to it. On Page and Off Page. What you can focus on and control is the On Page SEO and there’s lots of tools on the App Store that will guide you through improving your on page seo score and I highly recommend you set one of those apps up and start learning more about keywords and putting yourself in the mind of your customer. It’s an App we are considering adding to the Sails Theme ourselves.
Social Media is less tricky. Post consistently (quantity over quality - unless you are going for a brand strategy), always interact with the people that will buy your products (don’t comment generic things on peoples posts) and keep it real. Instagram is by far by favourite social media weapon because it rewards these things and the more I find myself putting time into Instagram the more results I see.
I don’t consider retargeting ads to be an expensive acquisition channel. It’s actually one of the cheapest channels to get sales and thats why we focus so much on Customer Retention and repeat customers in our tips.
The Sails theme by Dragon Drop Themes takes all these things into account, SEO, Email Collection and gives you this perfect template for starting your store. I know I have plugged it enough but it honestly will help you a tonne and I really hope you check it out and see for yourself.
All the best and Until my next post !