Ross Davies Shopify Blog Post

How to Run a Successful Shopify Store: What the Experts Do Differently

In Conversion Optimisation, The Digital Marketing Blog by SeanLeave a Comment

Here on our blog, we’ve been showcasing some of our expert partners, who’ve been providing expert tips and advice on subjects they specialise in.

You can read Drop Zero Digital’s post on how to create personalised emails that celebrate your customer here, and Wix’s post on why and how you can rank Wix websites here.

Next up is Strafe Creative, one of our Web Design partners, with their Director, Ross Davies, discussing how you can run a successful Shopify store.

The post is full of tips and advice to help you drive more conversions from your Shopify website, so what are you waiting for!?

Read on below:

What’s the Deal with Shopify? 

Shopify is trusted by millions of businesses all over the world to deliver a streamlined and user-friendly e-commerce experience. 

What’s great about the platform is that it makes it so straightforward to set up your own online store, with an easy-to-use backend system, useful plugins and even a point-of-sale option for in-store purchases. 

On top of that, Shopify is built to scale. 

From small businesses operating out of your mate’s living room, through to multi-million-pound operations like Gym Shark (which of course started out small) – Shopify serves them all. 

At Strafe Creative we specialise in working with Shopify to design and develop high-converting e-commerce websites. Using key UX design principles and learnings from our 10+ years of experience, we work closely with our clients to redesign their e-commerce websites, putting their customers at the heart of the journey. 

In this post, we’ll cover why we love Shopify and introduce you to some of its best features. 

On top of that, we’ll also let you in on some tips and tricks from our design team that will help you improve your conversion rate, a few of which you can update yourself today! 

Ready? Let’s get into it… 

8 Reasons We Love Shopify 

Outside of its easy-to-use back end and great user experience, there are some other awesome features that we love. 

Throughout this post, we’ve referenced screenshots and imagery from our client X Rocker and you can read the full story on how we created 2 high converting websites for them here

1. Mobile First 

Online shopping on the go? No problem. 

As Shopify is mobile optimised, customers can shop wherever they are with a site that allows them to easily browse and check out on any device.

It’s quick, easy to use, and now with so many online stores using the platform, the experience is familiar and straightforward for users all over the world. 

2. Consistent Cart 

One of the reasons we love to work with Shopify is their cart and checkout process.

There is limited flexibility for developers like us to actually update and edit this, however, this is actually a good thing. 

The Shopify team are regularly updating this part of the platform to help improve conversions, meaning as a user, you get access to this optimised checkout process without having to even think about it. Shopify Plus does allow you to make edits, but fairly simple ones. 

In the images below you can see that whilst both brands have loosely customised the branding and GymShark (using Shopify Plus) has changed the progress metre, they’re the exact same layout. 

GymShark Check Out

XRocker Check Out

3. Express checkout

Part of this awesome cart is Shopify’s great range of payment options. 

They offer their own payment gateway (which is really handy if you need to launch quickly), membership payment gateways such as PayPal, Apple/Google Pay, and additional options such as a Stripe or Sage in which a customer can type out their payment details. 

The options make it so easy for a customer to purchase, as the platform has removed all barriers.

The Shopify Payment gateway also allows customers to save their details across all Shopify sites making checkout even easier. 

Expert Tip: Every Shopify checkout should have at least two of the payment options we listed above to aid conversions. 

4. Plugin Choice

There are lots of awesome Plugins to choose from on Shopify, enabling you to integrate your CRM, social channels such as Facebook and Instagram, and much more. 

Expert Tip: Some plugins offer multi-functionality, however if the plugin does multiple things and you’re using it for just one feature, it can slow your site down. We recommend using one expert plugin for each specific requirement you have. 

5. An Intuitive Blog

Compared to other e-commerce sites, the Shopify blog feature is intuitive and easy to use. 

Expert Tip: Link to products and add buy buttons to help conversions as a user browses your content

6. Go Offline

Run just one stock management system online and offline with the Shopify point of sale system (POS).

If you’re running a retail store or a pop-up, you can take payment in person using their POS which then updates your central stock level.

It saves time and reduces errors.  

7. Carrier Systems 

Many shipping companies have integrated well with Shopify. However, depending on the product you’re selling, certain carriers are better suited.

A great example is a tin of paint (it is going to leak, get bashed around and dented?) vs a book (this could just be wrapped in paper and sent). 

Each carrier has different advantages and disadvantages and Shopify allows you to easily switch between them. 

Expert Tip: Don’t settle on the first carrier you find, test out others and make the most of this feature until you find one that really suits your products. 

8. Speedy & Secure

As Shopify is a hosted solution, their site speeds are rapid and the security levels are high; we rarely hear about anyone getting hacked. Great news for everyone!

Which Pricing Should You Choose? 

For an average business, medium-sized, we usually recommend the option for £49 per month. 

Compared to the Shopify basics you get a lot of great reporting which allows you to understand the metrics behind your business in much more detail – and then of course tweak and improve things. 

Expert Tip: Whilst this option is a higher cost per month, the transaction fees are lower compared to the base-cost option. If you’re selling a lot then this works out as a more cost-effective option for you. 

How to Improve Conversions Across Your Shopify Site 

Struggling with your conversions? 

Luckily, there are some subtle things that you can update and include in your design that will help to increase the time users spend on your page and of course, those all-important conversions. 

Keen to learn how the experts do it? 

Keep reading… 

Let’s Start with the Homepage 

Link your logo

Not linking your logo to the homepage violates a user’s expectations.

It’s a pretty standard practice which people have now come to expect and without it, users are more likely to exit your site.

Use Strong Imagery

Great lighting and high-quality photos are really important!

Close-ups of the key product features help to give the user an insight into the details of your products. Videos can also bring to life its size and how to get the most out of it. 

Include a Search Bar

Different users interact with your site in different ways.

Some like to browse and some know exactly what they want and are ready to head straight there.

A clear, stand-out search bar is the quickest way to help people to get to what they are looking for. 

Split the Menu 

We’ve found that splitting the menu really helps with conversion.

On the left, a larger menu includes the product navigation and then on the top right, a smaller menu includes internal pages such as about, contact and blog etc.

This allows us to focus the user on the products straight away, without distracting them with other internal pages. 

Draw the Users in Immediately

A big call to action button, key benefits and as many sales avenues as possible will get the users to start browsing products.  

Showing individual products can feel a bit overwhelming, so instead, in the images below, you can see that below the fold users are given the option to browse categories. This gives users another navigation option outside of the menu and search bar.

Xrocker Homepage

Xrocker Categories

Make it Credible

Another key part of a homepage is to build the company’s credibility ASAP.

Social proofing helps to build trust and the more trust a user has, well the more likely they are to buy from you – makes sense right? 

Partner logos, bold figures and stats and customer reviews are the perfect kinds of social proof to showcase: 

Xrocker Partner Logos

Xrocker Stats

Xrocker Reviews

How to Increase Conversions on Shopify Category Pages

If a user navigates to a category page (or what Shopify calls ‘collections’) then there are some key features we recommend are a must-do to ensure a user can easily find what they’re looking for:  

Expert Tip: Always have a narrow image/header on your category pages – we want users to get to the product listings as quickly as possible. 

XRocker Narrow Category Page Header

Use Essential, Easy Filters 

These are so important to help people find exactly what they are looking for.

Without it, product lists can seem overwhelming and a user is more likely to leave your site.

Ensure products can be filtered by all key features or aspects including colour, price, product style and brands.

Expert Tip: Add a slight animation to the page as it reloads when filtering so that the user can see the list has changed. On mobile, if the first few products suit the filter then it can appear as if the page hasn’t loaded properly. A slight animation shows the user that it has reloaded and reorganised itself to fit the filtered options! 

Keep it Interactive

Interactions help a user understand what can be interacted with and clicked.

Adding a ‘hover state’ to both products and buttons brings this to life for the user.

Below you can see when you hover over the products, a ‘view product’ button appears. Small features like this help to increase the likelihood of someone purchasing. 

Xrocker Product Hover

Use Lazy Load

Typically in the past users have browsed products by ‘pages’ (called ‘pagination’). However, through experience, we’ve found using ‘lazy load’ is much better. 

With lazy load, as a user scrolls down the page, more and more items load up.

It keeps people on the site for longer as they scroll down through the products – similar to the way social media keeps loading. Great for engagement especially on mobile devices. 

How to Improve Your Shopify Product Pages

As standard there are a number of elements all e-commerce product pages should have, here’s your handy checklist: 

  • Breadcrumb System (great for SEO & internal linking)
  • Imagery (plenty of pictures to showcase the product) 
  • Sticky CTA (buy now button is on show at all times)
  • Title (obviously)
  • Product Code (in case someone is searching for the item with a code)
  • Price (it’s a no-brainer)
  • In Stock Indicator (or out of stock indicator)
  • Description (use a ‘read more’ button if a lot of description is required)
  • Variations (colours etc)
  • Shipping Options (tell a user upfront if they qualify for a discount)
  • Quantity (how many do they want?)
  • Add to Cart or Buy Now Buttons (convert, convert, convert)

XRocker Chair Product Page

In an ideal world, customers are ready to buy immediately after seeing all your beautiful photos and social proof, but that of course is NOT the case. 

Further down your product pages, there’s the opportunity to really sell your products through additional information and objection handling

Here are 8 things we always include to help our clients increase conversions on a product page: 

  1. Features: break these down so they’re easy to understand. 
  2. Icons: give a visual reference to the features or benefits 
  3. Benefits: help the user understand YOUR USPs
  4. More pictures: include additional imagery and video if available 
  5. Up/cross-sell: link to other items that complement the product
  6. Objection Handling: reference and address any objections a prospect might have
  7. Social Proof: Reviews and UGC 
  8. Technical Specifications: ensure they’re presented well, in an easy-to-digest format so you don’t overwhelm the users with figures and charts

XRocker Upsell Example

XRocker Product Specifications

Shopify: Built to Convert 

So there you have it, tips and tricks from us here at Strafe Creative to help you sell more on your Shopify site. Whilst some of these things can be done yourself, more technical updates may require a developer to support you.

If you’re looking for a high-converting Shopify e-commerce website then feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Read more on our blog or tell us about your project via our Project Planner.   

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