You’ve invested in a beautiful design, you have ads going on major social media networks, and you’re drumming up lots of nice buzz with your influencers and PR campaigns. Traffic is spiking, but something seems to be off – you notice that a lot of your visitors don’t actually end up buying anything. Maybe they never even start the purchase process, or maybe your store is rampant with abandoned carts. Regardless, your company has a problem: it’s difficult for customers to actually complete a purchase on your Shopify store..
The difficulty may lie in a technical problem, but it also may be caused by a piece of content (or lack of one) that’s giving your customers a bad feeling about whether or not they can trust your store. Regardless of the root of the problem, it’s critical that you figure out what’s causing the hold-up, and make it right – or watch your bottom line wither.
1. Gain Trust & Appear Psychic With Data-Driven Recommendations
The key to a great Shopify store is to make it feel as much like an ideal physical store as possible. A big part of that? Anticipating what your customers want based on their behavior and the information you get as they “walk in the door.” That means investing in the tools you need to get to know your customer’s data, and then using that information to suggest specific products to them.
To get started, you’ll need to understand where the majority of your customers come from. This will also give you a heads up about what advertising and PR moves are delivering the best ROI for you. To do this, set up an analytics tracking tool; we recommend installing Google Analytics, and complimenting that data with Nextopia’s own Search Reports. Google will give you information on how customers are arriving at your site, but Nextopia’s toolset is superior in showing you exactly how they’re moving around on your pages.
We especially love the “absolute zero results” tool, which records the products that customers were searching for on your website, but were led to a dead end. Are your customers spelling one of your products incorrectly repeatedly? Are they calling an item something other than what you named it? Nextopia’s analytics will give you the insights that will help you name products in a way that makes the most sense to your customers.
Once you’ve optimized your product listings and understand your customer’s behaviors, you’re ready to start predicting what items they’ll be interested in buying! Not sure your store would really benefit from recommendations? A study by McKinsey Research has estimated that over a third of purchases on Amazon and 75% of Netflix shows are selected from product recommendations. Additionally, Alibaba has confirmed that it generates 20% conversion on personalized shopping pages. I think we can confidently say that the ROI of recommendation engines justifies a trial for your store.
This has worked incredibly well for Nextopia client Jollyes, an amazing UK-based pet superstore. Once a customer selects a product, they use that information to guess what else the animal may benefit from.
Recommendation engines are also a great way to draw attention to product categories that your viewer may not have otherwise thought to look at. For example, Growth Spark client Newbury Comics’ recommendation engine may draw someone from their collectible toys section all the way to their extensive vinyl collection.
2. Optimize Load Times (Even If That Requires Simplifying Your Design)
One of the most frustrating reasons to lose customers is simply that your site loads too slowly and they don’t have the patience for it. Who can blame them – after all, they don’t know your brand! Make sure to always put your best foot forward and nail first impressions by making sure your site loads quickly.
The biggest culprit in slow loading websites is images. Yes, it’s ideal to use large, beautiful pictures, but make sure they’re optimized. When you’re working with Shopify, you can do this easily by adhering to their image recommendations.
If your site is still running slowly, check that you don’t have any apps installed that you aren’t actually using. Additionally, make your website less cluttered and complicated. This can be done by going through the backend of your site to remove or consolidate rarely-visited pages.
Finally, it may be a good idea to use one of Shopify’s ready-made mobile-friendly themes. This will produce a simplified site that matches your general aesthetic, but is built to load incredibly quickly. This solution is especially helpful for customers that are accessing your store on their smartphone, or who have a poor internet connection.
3. High Quality Product Photos Are Worth A Thousand Words (And Dollars)
While it’s important to make sure your site loads quickly, it’s also important that your customers are greeted by a visually pleasing website, and more importantly, are able to get a good idea of what your products look like.
If you’re questioning whether that splurge on a photographer is worth it, consider that Etsy recently found that the quality of images is the defining factor in 90% of customers’ decisions. This outranks cost, shipping and even reviews for many purchases! However, don’t lose hope if you just don’t have the funds for a photographer. Grab your (or your friend’s) high quality camera phone and learn the basics. If you’re diligent and patient with your shoots, you’ll be able to create high quality photos that offer the same or close to the same benefit.
4. Encourage Reviews For Ultimate Trust
When your customers are looking for a product online, they often feel a bit handicapped. Who can tell if the photos are playing tricks, or if the seller is actually fudging some details about the product? However, there’s one aspect of any ecommerce site that customers believe: real reviews. Especially if they mark verified buyers.
Recent research by Profitero actually found that there’s a strong correlation between a product’s number of online reviews, and the number of sales made in a given period of time. That’s not even counting how many are positive or negative. This lift is so significant that just one review on a page that previously had none can be expected to give that page a 108% traffic lift, and 65% increase in conversion.
But how do you get reviews? For most customers, all you need to do is ask (nicely). Your customers want to tell you what their experience was, and to feel heard. Reviews are a perfect mix of the two. For best results, schedule an email to trigger a few days after products are marked as delivered, and ask for their thoughts on the product, and how your brand can improve.
5. Offer 24/7 Customer Support To Never Miss A Sale
The last, but certainly not least, popular reason that your website may be holding back your sales is that your customer has a question, but they don’t know who or how to ask. This is often the case if the only contact information you provide is the phone. Let’s face it, most people hate calling, especially when they’re worried about sales pressure on an item they aren’t sure about.
Customers who visit your site are almost always hoping to find something that they want to buy – all you need to do is help them justify it. That may mean upping the appeal on your product pages, making your site work more smoothly, or gaining their trust more effectively. Once you find your weak point and fix it, your store has nowhere to go but up.
About the Author
Ross Beyeler is the founder and CEO of Growth Spark, a leading web design firm that specializes in Shopify, and offers cutting edge design with superior functionality. When Ross isn’t busy working with clients or designing the next big thing in ecommerce, he’s travelling to exciting places – even if that just means the new coffee shop down the road.