A successful Shopify store requires a two-pronged approach: raising your store’s visibility to drive traffic, and converting that traffic into customers. Improving the rate at which visitors convert into customers is commonly referred to as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). CRO consistently proves to have the biggest impact on your bottom line. Even with a steady flow of traffic, without any sales, you’re back at square one.
CRO is any action you take to improve the percentage of website visitors who turn into customers. CRO works hand in hand with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In other words, the visibility gained from SEO can help drive traffic to your store. Still, the underlying factor is conversion: if you are unable to convert visitors into customers, you won’t make any profit.
You also need to consider your ideal customer. Getting visitors to your store is fantastic but ultimately you want to be attracting prospective buyers, not simply those who find your shop on a whim.
To determine your best CRO strategy going forward, here are some basic tips to consider:
- No Errors Allowed: Ensure your website’s navigation is simple, every link should go to the proper destination. Visitors quickly get impatient if they cannot immediately find what they are looking for, and they certainly won’t become customers if they click on a link that displays a “Page not Found”! message. First impressions are invaluable. Check out this tool that will scan your site for errors http://www.deadlinkchecker.com/website-dead-link-checker.asp. Also, make sure to get your website into Google Webmaster Tools. You’ll find lots of valuable information there, as well, directly from the big G https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home.
- Heard of 80/20? The main navigation should give priority to categories and products pages that generate 80% of your sales. It has been proven that 20% of your products will generate 80% of the revenue, so identify your heavy hitters with regards to traffic and revenue, and dedicate more website real-estate to them. To learn more about the 80/20 rule, check out Entrepreneurs Journey’s article, What Is The 80/20 Rule And Why It Will Change Your Life — you may be surprised to see how applicable it is to your business as well as your life.
Additionally, it is wise to remember less is more when it comes to navigation and menus. Having too many links and pages can easily overwhelm customers, reducing your chances of making a sale. Focus on the products you trust will generate the most revenue for your business. Prioritize what is important to your bottom line. That’s not to say that About Us, Warranty, and Blog, aren’t essential in getting visitors to learn more about your business — they just shouldn’t be included on your main menu, as these pages are less likely to drive sales.
Not sure what a good menu should look like? Check out these sites:
- Transparency – Customers value transparency, and clearly stating your shipping and return policy will help establish trust and offer a clear understanding of what it means to do business with your company.
For instance, if you offer Free Shipping make sure to display that in the header of each page. This is a surefire way to increase your conversion rate, and increase your average sale value as well.
- Easy Search: Add filter navigation to all category pages. Again, customers will feel overwhelmed if faced with too many products, or if they cannot easily get to what they’re searching for. If you have more than 20 products in any given category, make sure to add a filter option to help customers narrow their search.
For example, let’s say you sell jewelry. Customers will likely want to filter the Rings category down to Fashion Rings, Engagement Rings, Wedding Bands, as well as filter by price. Each customer will have different needs, and allowing them to find what they are looking for in the quickest manner possible, will alleviate frustration, and encourage purchasing.
Advanced: A/B Testing
In school, we learn about trial and error when trying to find a solution to a problem. The same philosophy applies in business. Testing out different versions of emails, landing pages, and ads can help pinpoint what resonates best with your audience. A/B testing allows you to test two (or more) different variations of a particular feature to see what mostly influences your conversion rate.
For example, you can create two variations of the same page, with each page displaying a different “Buy” button; one red and the other gray. Therefore, you can measure each page individually to see which performs best. Such factors as color and font size may seem insignificant, but they can have a profound impact on your conversion rate. In fact, these are just the basics: we suggest checking out Shopify’s guide to A/B Testing
- Think outside the box
Once you begin A/B testing you’ll suddenly see that every aspect of your website could be changed (or not!) to improve your CRO. For example, try testing out product videos, menu variations, limited-time offers, and promo codes to see what types of features your customers prefer. Looking for unique ideas? Check out VWO’s Ecommerce A/B Testing Ideas.
- Apps make it easier
There are lots of apps you can use to help make testing easier on your Shopify store. Two in particular that we love are VWO and Optimizely
- VWO offers simple, easy-to-use tools that help you conduct A/B testing on a wide variety of features on your website. Additionally, VWO’s analytics and reporting tools will help you track your tests and trends, which is important to building a CRO strategy over time. In addition, VWO is easy to integrate with your Shopify store and is the testing app of choice for many well-known companies and organizations all over the world.
- Optimizely is another app that can help you perform A/B testing and personalize your website based on customer preferences. In addition to your desktop site, this app helps you optimize your mobile site to maximize sales, which is critical now that many are starting to make purchases on their mobile devices. Like VWO, Optimizely is easy to integrate with your Shopify store and offers great support to help you get started.
Initially, understanding the ins and outs of CRO can be a bit tricky, but once you train yourself to view your website from the customer’s point of view, you’ll begin to understand how to make their shopping experience easier. A customer that can easily find what they’re looking for is far more likely to make a purchase than one who has difficulty navigating your store. Got a CRO tip that has helped you? Let us know about it in the comments!