Getting your online store off the ground — laying the groundwork, stocking inventory and driving traffic to it — is a big challenge. From there, getting customers to actually make a purchase is a whole other ballgame.
For many Shopify store operators, the biggest reason why their revenue goals aren’t met is that they lose sight of their strategy. (Or, they fail to develop one altogether.)
The ecommerce landscape is constantly evolving and getting increasingly competitive. In fact, the U.S. ecommerce revenue is slated to hit $4.9 trillion in 2021.
Maybe you’re a newer store owner. Or, maybe you just need some help taking your store sales from ‘meh’ to ‘heck yeah!’
Here are 12 proven strategies to help you improve your conversion rate and increase your sales.
Opt-in forms are helpful to grab the attention of the visitor to get them to perform an action. One of the most common types is a pop-up message that displays when visitors enter your site. You can use this to provide incentives, like discounts, to encourage users to opt in.
But, you must understand the intent of the audience before placing a pop-up on your page. And you shouldn’t use them across your entire site.
For example, a visitor on your payment page already has an intent to buy. If you place an opt-in here, there’s a possibility you'll annoy the visitor and they'll leave the page altogether. It ruins the buying experience and does more harm than good.
Instead, include an opt-in on your home page, ‘About’ page, product pages, blog and other educational landing pages.
If you’re looking for a plugin on Shopify to help create opt-in forms, check out OptinMate (starting at $6.99/month), Sumo (free plan available) or Justuno (pro plan starting at $29/month.) They offer different types of opt-ins that can be triggered based on parameters such as exit intent, page scroll and user inactivity.
Email is also the most cost-effective method to reach your customers. Google and Facebook algorithms change regularly, and the ad costs to remain visible can add up quickly.
As a baseline — based on their behavior and intent — you can segment your visitors and (and then emails) into the following buckets:
Create different copy and offers for these segments. Some email drip sequences you can implement for your Shopify store include:
Email personalization is key. Also, be mindful of the number of emails you send in a week — too many emails result in unsubscribing or end up in the spam folder.
Customers abandon carts for many reasons: lengthy checkout, clunky checkout page and extra shipping costs, to name a few. On average, the cart abandonment rate was at 75.6% in 2018. Intimidating, right?
But worry not — a gentle nudge in the form of push notifications can help customers revisit their carts and go through with their purchases.
A push notification may be a sound alert, an on-screen pop-up or a combination of these items. Users can usually select their preferred method of "nudging."
Push notifications not only help encourage customers to check out, they also improve the conversion rate of first-time users. This is especially important for new ecommerce stores.
You can set it up so that a push notification displays a few seconds after a visitor lands on your page. Once they accept, you can get them to revisit your store more regularly and magnify your engagement efforts.
PushOwl (paid plan starts at $19/month) is a Shopify app that you can set up to bring customers back to their cart and carry on with checkout.
A great landing page increases conversions and helps your ecommerce store hit growth goals. But most landing pages fail to convert visitors because of factors such as an ineffective CTA, poor design and information overload.
The good news? You can build landing pages easily with a drag-and-drop page builder like Shogun. Your team can design beautiful, effective landing pages that convert — no coding required.
Some features to focus on in the landing page are:
You can add Shogun Landing Page Builder to your Shopify store for as little as $39/month (10-day free trial available).
Did you know that 87% of buying decisions begin online? This is the research stage. And think about it: You check out salon or restaurant reviews online before making a reservation, don’t you?
Social proof describes how people view an action as being more appropriate when they see others doing it. By using social proof in the form of testimonials or reviews, you’re helping customers feel confident about their choice to purchase from you. And, with a community of customers, you make them feel part of something bigger.
So, display and reshare social proof that depicts real customers using and posting about your product or service. You can also use headlines on your contact page like, “Join our 140k family on Instagram” to leverage social proof, too.
Nudgify (free plan available) offers a range of “nudges” within the app — social proof, FOMO, free delivery and custom messages you can display across your online store to drive purchases.
A strong connection with your brand will be the deciding factor when customers have to choose between you and your competitor. Moreover, customer acquisition costs are five times more than retaining an existing one. Customer retention can mean big sales.
Loyalty programs are an incentive for returning customers to keep shopping with a business, especially if they can earn a reward for doing so. Seventy-seven percent of consumers say a good customer loyalty program is more likely to make them stay with a brand.
A loyalty program can help you boost sales and forge a strong relationship with consumers. From making their first purchase to becoming brand advocates, a loyalty program makes a customer’s journey with the brand more meaningful.
You can use Smile.io (starter plan from $49/month) on the Shopify app store to build a loyalty and rewards program that aligns with your brand values.
A customer may not always know they need a product until you show it to them. Or, that you even carry a certain product until you bring it to their attention.
On top of providing a user with more options, upsells and cross-sells are good for business. In fact, product recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of an ecommerce store's revenue, according to Forrester.
So, strike while the iron is hot: Merchants usually offer recommendations on product and/or checkout pages. The idea here is to suggest a reasonable upgrade — you don’t want to suggest a $120 jacket with a $40 dress.
Another popular method to increase AOV, and consequently sales, is to adopt bundling, like Beardbrand did in this case study. In this situation, you group the main product with other products and sell the bundle at a higher price point than you would a singular item.
Check out Bold Upsell (plans start from $9.99/ month) for your Shopify store — it allows you to offer upsells/cross-sells and supports multiple offers and discounting options.
People are four times more likely to buy a product or service when it’s referred by a friend.
Referral marketing works because consumers trust the judgment of “real people” more than they trust traditional forms of advertising. Oftentimes, the person advocating also ends up with a discount or a reward, which is a win-win for everyone.
A referral program is hard to manage for a large ecommerce store unless you use a custom solution or app. ReferralCandy (enterprise plan is $49/month after a 30-day free trial) will help you delight customers and grow your business via its referral app.
Visual social platforms are becoming increasingly retail-savvy. Through the introduction of newer features such as checkout buttons, tags and links to products, and "swipe up" shopping, it's easier than ever to showcase products to your followers.
An Instagram business account is a must-have for ecommerce stores. More than 500 million Instagram users use the platform daily and 50% of them follow at least one business. Pinterest is an even more popular option for your store (second only to Facebook in the U.S.) and is an excellent choice for beauty and fashion brands.
Making your products available on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram makes shopping easier for consumers, allows you to promote products directly and helps users with a high purchase intent discover your products. You can also leverage user-generated content (UGC) on your social media handles.
After setting up your presence on these platforms, you can embed your Instagram feed on your Shogun pages to display products to your site visitors.
Live chat is the quickest way to reduce any kind of friction in the buying process and offer customers support.
Before, users would have to shoot an email to the store or look for FAQs on the site to get their questions answered, which meant a lot of waiting around. Now, live chat helps give them instant gratification and accelerates the decision-making process. And it's no surprise that a study found that more than 60% of consumers would return to a website that offers live chat.
Another bonus: You can automate responses for the most part and assist customers 24/7.
Set up an app like Tidio (basic plan is free; pro plan starts from $18/month) for your Shopify store to reply to your customers’ queries instantly and increase sales.
Shoppers may not be ready to buy a product and want to bookmark it for the future. Wishlists encourage users to sign up for an account with your store. From there, you can ask them to sign up for your emails, follow you on social media and more to stay connected.
You can also leverage wishlists to gain valuable information. For instance, you can use this data to make informed decisions before running promotions, ordering more inventory or making pricing adjustments.
Try Wishlist Plus (free plan available; starter plan from $14.99/month) for your Shopify store to allow customers to remember their favorite products and come back to your store whenever they’d like.
Your ecommerce business is competing for the attention of shoppers amid a sea of competition online. So, you'll need to get creative to stand out.
Consider newer channels and methods to boost your business, such as influencer marketing and gamification. Per the former, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when making a purchase. Pick the right influencer and partnership strategy to increase your brand awareness and ultimately increase your sales.
Gamification is a fun option to learn more about your customers and keep them engaged. Through quizzes, games and more, you can use this method to get people talking and posting about your brand – especially when rewards are involved (or at least bragging rights) to incentivize them to do so.
Product quizzes, leaderboard tracking and "spin the wheel" games are some examples of how you can leverage gamification for your online store. Octane AI (starting at $29/month) is an all-in-one platform that helps you grow your audience and personalize your offers via quizzes, SMS and Messenger.
Many of the suggestions in this post are low-hanging fruit. Meaning, you can implement these strategies and third-party apps and see the benefits almost immediately.
Check them out, and lean into the ones that will best benefit your store. Sell smarter and increase your revenue with a few simple tweaks — What’s better than that?
Swathi Bhaskaran is a freelance marketing writer in the tech and ecommerce space. She has over six years of experience and has written for Freshworks and Twilio.