Optimizing your online store is essential for taking your ecommerce business to the next level. With competitive ads and keywords, driving traffic to your store can be expensive, especially when you’re first starting out. When you optimize your store, you give it a fighting chance to convert browsers into buyers. The more buyers you have the more money you make. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about how to make your buyers buy more too. In this article, you’ll find 20 tricks for optimizing your online store.
20 Tricks for Optimizing Your Online Store
1. Does your website pass the first impression test?
The first impression your website makes with a potential customer can make a huge difference in whether or not they buy from you. If your site takes too long too load, they won’t wait around. Also, if you’ve added products but your home page is empty, they won’t trust you. Lastly, if your main banner mentions a ‘Summer Sale’ and it’s Black Friday, they’ll assume your website is inactive.
When optimizing your online store, it can be hard to look at your own website objectively. Look up other stores in your niche. Does your store have a chance to stand up with the competition? Do competitor websites have features that your website is missing? Ask friends and family what they think of your website but don’t tell them it’s yours. You’ll be more likely to get an honest answer from them if they don’t know you created it. Ask them what they think about the look and feel? Feel free to use Peek User Testing for a free five minute review of your store from a stranger.
Look at the two lingerie websites below. Which homepage makes a better first impression – Victoria’s Secret or Fortnight Lingerie? Be aware of your homepage image, the color scheme, load time and the top navigation if your homepage is the landing page.
2. What problem does your website/product solve?
When optimizing your online store, determine what problem your business solves. The most compelling businesses solve a problem for the consumer. They also make the problem and solution clear on their website through a slogan or banner image. When your business or product solves a problem you can guarantee that a customer will be looking for a solution. The more painful the problem, the more compelled a customer will be to buy the solution.
You might be thinking to yourself, ‘I have no idea what problem my business solves.’ A simple way to create a problem for your store to solve, when you’re stuck, is by donating a certain percentage to charity. For example, if your store sells animal products, you might donate a percentage of sales to animal shelters or to groups that protect endangered animals. Thus, the problem that you’re solving becomes animal endangerment or abuse.
For example, Trunkster sells luggage with GPS tracking. If you constantly travel and have had your luggage lost on multiple occasions this product might appeal to you. Their homepage makes their products top five selling features clear to consumers.
3. Is pertinent information visible and easy to find?
When optimizing your online store, remember this: your customers are impatient. They don’t wait around for information. They also want to be able to find things easily. Make sure that all of your information is visible and easy to find. Finding the product price, your business contact information and shipping information should be easy for a customer.
Look at this example on Endless Pools. Their product price is on the bottom of the page right next to their Add to Cart button. They de-emphasize the product price as it’s a high cost product. However, if you’re in the market for this it’s better to know the price upfront. When the pricing is visible you qualify leads better. If someone reads the entire product page and then finds out the product is $23,000 and can’t afford it, they’ll be frustrated. Your customer shouldn’t have to scroll to find the product price.
4. Build up your reviews and testimonials
According to Econsultancy, customer reviews can increase conversion rates by up to 4.6%, can build customer trust and improve sales. Customer reviews also give potential customers a chance to know what others think about the product they’re considering.
They help increase conversions, especially when verified, as it gives potential customers an idea of what other people who’ve bought the product think of it. According to Search Engine Land, 88% of people trust product reviews as much as personal recommendations. Thus, putting a lot of weight on your customer’s personal experience with your brand.
By having reviews on your store, you also let potential customers know that your products are tried and tested. Thus, making their purchase less risky for them.
You can download a review app like Product Reviews Addon. This app automatically sends emails to customers encouraging them to leave reviews on your store. Many who use the app, myself included, have noticed an increase in conversions and revenue.
5. Include upsells for every product
Every product on your store should have an upsell. There should always be a product that makes logical sense to pair with your products.
If you get stuck and don’t know what to upsell your product with, upsell more of the same product. This trick works wonders. If you sell beauty products, upsell more of the same product. Notably, if you sell things that run out quickly it’s especially effective. However, it still works well if the product doesn’t run out.
Upsells increase average order value for your store allowing you to make more money per transaction. Even if your customer gets a free gift or a small discount for buying multiple products, you’d still be able to make more revenue and profit through the transaction if priced correctly.
6. Optimize your online store with SEO
Optimizing your online store for search engines can lead to great returns. According to HubSpot 75% of people don’t look past the first page of results. The first organic result gets 33% of the clicks according to Search Engine Watch. Thus, making sure your website is SEO friendly can help you rank higher in search engines so you can appear on the first page and likely get the clicks back to your store.
While optimizing your online store, you’ll want to ensure each page has a meta description with the appropriate keywords while being engaging enough to encourage click through. You’ll want to incorporate keywords organically without overdoing it. Writing blog content with a focus keyword relevant to your niche can also help increase your ranking even if the focus isn’t on the product page as you can always retarget the visitors. You’ll want to include your main keyword in your image alt tags, your page title, and your page content.
Every few months, you should go back to old content you’ve written and update it with more information. This shows search engines that your content is still relevant as you’re continue to remove outdated content and adding more information.
You can install an app like On Page SEO Checker to easily edit meta descriptions, check your image tags and monitor your site speed.
7. Write compelling product descriptions
When optimizing your online store, you need to ensure you create a great product page. The product description is an important part of the product page. Are your product descriptions succinct, compelling and of value? Do they create a sense of urgency to encourage browsers to become customers?
It’s important to not steal the supplier’s exact copy. First, duplicate content can cause your site to be penalized by Google. Second, manufacturer copy isn’t typically written with the customer in mind. Thus, it’s important that you take the information provided and turn it into something that would compel a customer to make a purchase.
Making the product description short and easy to read with bullet points allows your customer to quickly scan the product information to make a quick purchase.
8. Add a countdown timer to your product pages
Having a countdown timer on your product pages is great for optimizing your online store. The countdown timer creates a sense of urgency which prompts the browser into making a purchase immediately.
Scarcity and urgency when combined can increase your sales by as much as 332% according to Conversion XL. The reality is that while you can always retarget a customer who’s visited your site before, it’s more affordable to convert them the first time around. You also risk losing them to a competitor if you don’t convert them when they first visit your store.
The countdown timer informs the customer that the sale on your store is quickly ending. You can also add a section to let them know how many of that specific product are left which will help create scarcity. You can use an app like Hurrify Countdown Timer from the Shopify App Store.
9. Add a sitemap to your store to optimize your online store
When optimizing your online store, be sure to include a sitemap. A sitemap lets search engines know about all of the pages of your website. Once a search engine is made aware of your website pages, they’ll regularly crawl the page to determine if any new information has been added to the site provided that your website has clean code, pagerank and other factors. If the search engines aren’t made aware of the web pages it’s unlikely that you’ll appear in the results page.
10. Feature a person on the homepage
According to Signal v. Noise, having a big photo of a smiling customer converted well on landing pages. They saw an increase of 102.5% more signups when compared to a landing page without a model.
Having a model wearing or using your product on your homepage or the page you direct your web traffic to can help you increase your conversion rating. Keep in mind that the person in the picture should be smiling and appear friendly. Feel free to run an A/B test to determine if this will increase conversions on your store.
11. Link out to other relevant products on product pages
You’ll want to optimize your store’s product page to help lower bounce rate and increase sales. Each product page should have a relevant cross sell. For example, if you sell electronics, you might have batteries as a cross sell.
Having other relevant products on product pages gives your customers an opportunity to add more items to their cart to hopefully increase average order value. You’ll want to ensure that the products look different enough from each other in order to prevent customer purchase confusion.
To feature cross-sells on your store, you can use an app like Cross-Sell. It allows you to handpick items to cross sell on your product pages. Remember to look at your Shopify reports to determine the most popular items that may work well as cross sells.
12. Build out backlinks
Building out backlinks is essential while optimizing your online store. Backlinks are links that are directed to your website. When another website links your website in an article, people who read the article may click the link and end up on your website.
If you have a retargeting ad, you can retarget the additional traffic to land the sale if they don’t purchase during the first visit. If a magazine or blog features your product, a link back to the product page can help give you a targeted, ready to buy customer.
However, when building backlinks you need to be cautious. Focus on getting a backlink from a relevant and reputable website. A backlink from a pharmaceutical company for your men’s fashion store is irrelevant. A backlink from a reputable website has clout which will help drive your page higher in the search engines while also likely providing a good flow of traffic from their large audience.
Remember to also include internal links within your own content too. Usually this is best to have in a blog post. However, focus on only including one or two internal links per article to avoid appearing spammy. You’ll also want to include backlinks in your articles to other websites to help grow organically.
13. Avoid duplicate content
When optimizing your online store, be attentive to duplicate content. Ensure that product descriptions are written by yourself or someone on your team. Don’t import the product copy as is from Oberlo as you can get penalized for duplicate and thin content.
On your product pages, be sure to not include repetitive information on all product pages such as sale information.
On blog posts, be sure not to have duplicate content. Thus, make sure you don’t copy and paste someone else’s articles onto your website as you’ll be penalized.
You can add code to certain pages or chunks of writing if you plan on having duplicate content on your website. Remember, duplicate content counts for duplicate content within your website or found on another website.
14. Increase the load speed of your website
There are several ways to increase the load speed of your website. First, you can have your images resized via Pic Resize which doesn’t impact the image quality. Also, remember to crop your images to the correct size of your theme rather than just placing the orginal file. You can also choose a template with a simple design and no gimmicks.
According to Crazy Egg, a 1% delay results in 7% fewer conversions, 11% fewer page views, and 16% less customer satisfaction. With a 1% improvement, companies were able to increase their conversion rate.
15. Add security badges to build trust
While optimizing your online store it’s important to focus on building trust with customers. According to Monetize Pros, Norton Secured, McAfee Secure, Truste and BBB badges were most recognized and trusted. The Symantec badge when added to a website consistently saw an increase in sales or conversions.
Badges help customers feel more comfortable with providing their credit card information online, especially for unknown brands. However, if a customer has already purchased from your store previously, they’ve already established some level of trust and badges have little impact.
16. Encourage email opt in by providing an offer they can’t refuse
Your online store should be great at collecting leads for you. According to SumoMe, a welcome mat for email signups collects the most emails with a 1.76% conversion rate. You can also use an email popup.
You’ll still need to present different offers to determine which encourages the most email signups. Is it a free ebook about your niche? Will it be a free printable your audience will love? Or will you offer a special discount code just for signing up?
According to ConversionXL, more than 7% of ecommerce user acquisitions come from email. Email also accounts for a 12% higher than average customer lifetime value.
By optimizing your online store to collect emails you can continue marketing to former customers who’ve already proven they’d shop at your store.
17. Include free shipping
You’ll need to do A/B testing to determine whether you should offer free shipping. However, offering free shipping or a free shipping threshold typically converts and increases sales better than not offering it at all.
Having one free shipping bar at the top of your website can inform your customers that you offer free shipping. You can use a Shopify App like Free Shipping Bar. Having multiple bars at the top of your website has shown to lower conversions according to Hextom. Keep it simple with only one message. Notably, you can use geo targets for different countries if your messaging is different between US and worldwide.
18. Offer a free gift if customer orders multiples
A trick for optimizing your online store that you should try is offering a free gift to customers who order multiple products. The best upsell is more of the same product. For example, if you sell men’s dress shirts on your store, upsell it with another men’s shirt and offer a free pair of cufflinks with it. Free gifts work like a charm.
To do this, you’ll need to install Free Gifts by Secomapp from the Shopify App Store. You’ll be able to create buy two get one free, buy one get one free and spend $x.xx get a free gift offers. You might find that buy two get one free works best at increasing your average order value. Using an app like this will help you make the most money out of each customer.
19. Look up your ‘search’ data
In Shopify, you can easily optimize your store by looking at your ‘top product searches’ report. The queries your customer types in the search bar can provide you with product ideas to import to your store. Customers will likely never contact you regarding the types of products they want. Thus, this report is a goldmine for helping you with your product curation.
Compile a list of relevant products your customers are searching for each week. Then, go into Oberlo and import new products. Next, you should also send out an email to your list letting them know you’ve added new products.
If you find customers are constantly searching for a type of product that isn’t directly related to your niche. You may want to expand your product line to accommodate those types of products. For example, if you sell apparel and customers often search for shoes, you might want to add a shoe collection to your store.
20. Add live chat to your store
As you focus on optimizing your online store, be sure to add a live chat app to your list. According to an e-marketer live chat survey, 63% of customers are more likely to return to an online store that offers live chat. In addition, another 38% said that live chat session resulting in a purchase.
However, adding a live chat to your store can sometimes reduce conversions. According to Kissmetrics, an online store should add a live chat component if the conversion rate is under 2%. However, if your website converts at above 5%, you’ll need to test it and analyze data to ensure that it doesn’t lower conversions. Live chat may distract potential customers if your website is already optimized.
Have you started optimizing your online store? What has worked well for you? What hasn’t? Share your stories below!