Becoming One of the Best Shopify Stores [A 5 Step Idiot-Proof Solid Plan]

Whether you’re just starting out with your store or you’ve already had sales for a while, you’re always on the lookout to make your store one of the best Shopify stores out there.

But, it’s hard to read the label from inside the bottle.

In other words, the more you look at your site, the more likely it is you will keep overlooking the glaringly obvious problems that plague your site.

The best way to uncover those hidden gems is through improving through the 5 steps we layout here in this guide.

Best Shopify Stores’ Profit Gem #1: Analyzing Problem Areas With Your Store Metrics

Best Shopify Stores - Analyzing Problem Areas

You don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to issues on your Shopify store.

We want to go after the ‘low hanging fruit’ and get the biggest ROI for the minimum amount of work. There’s no use in re-designing every inch of a product page that hardly get sales when we could make, say, the best selling product more visible on the home page.

That’s what we call an easy win for everyone.

The first step to uncovering these ‘low hanging fruit’ areas is by analyzing your metrics.

Identifying key issues is a matter of simple mathematics: Take a look at your sales funnel report.

  • What’s your add to cart rate?
  • What’s your checkout rate?
  • What’s your purchase rate?

However, these are the symptoms. Finding the root cause and fixing it are the other two points to this trifecta of unearthing massive hidden profits.

Step 1 – Identify your symptoms
Step 2 – Find the root cause
Step 3 – Attempt to fix it

Taking out the guesswork

There are amazing tools out there for free to help you zero in on the problem pages and areas.

Google Analytics gives you Step 1 of analyzing your store – identifying your symptoms.

Google Analytics helps you identify what is wrong (keep reading for the ‘why’).

Best Shopify Stores - Google Analytics

You’ll be able to review metrics like your most popular products, the bounce rate, and where your visitors came from.

Google Analytics probably deserves its own article on all the metrics and patterns you can glean from the insights the tool collects.

Hotjar gives you Step 2 of analyzing your Shopify store. Finding the root cause. Hotjar helps you figure out why it’s happening.

Best Shopify Stores - Hubspot

Hotjar actually lets you see the user interact with your website. This is huge for usability concerns on your Shopify store and I go in-depth on this in this article on conversion killers.

You can see where a user is struggling to add something to their cart. If they are trying to find the cart to review its contents.

Or if they suddenly leave when they see something on the store checkout that they didn’t expect (high shipping costs!).

But there’s another big roadblock that can prevent your customer from taking action and buying your product that can be hidden in plain sight.

Best Shopify Stores’ Profit Gem #2: Getting Absolutely Concise About Your Messaging and Positioning

Best Shopify Stores - Messaging and Positoning

 

You can have your site absolutely tweaked for maximum optimization and still not get enough sales if you’re not clear on what you’re selling. What does it mean to have a ‘message’ or ‘positioning’? What exactly is a ‘value proposition’?

Essentially, it is the promise of the value you claim to deliver. It’s the reason people should buy from you versus Joe-blow down the street.

It’s always better to be concise than clever.

A value proposition is a clear statement that answers the following questions:

  • What problem does your product solve?
  • How exactly does it make the customer’s life easier?
  • Why they should buy from you?

Take this for example:

(Those are great features but it’s not appealing to my current wants or needs)

 

Best Shopify Stores - BFGoodrich explanation

(Now we’re addressing pain points and appealing to desires)

How can we demonstrate this kind of value online to create one of the best Shopify stores for our customers? Where it’s a no-brainer for them to go ahead and purchase?

Make it crisp and clear. What happens when we look for tires online and try to find a clear winner of value at first glance?

Best Shopify Stores - Onlinetires.com

GOOD. Onlinetires.com – The value is clear, they have the lowest prices.

Best Shopify Stores - SimpleTire

GOOD. SimpleTire – They may not have the lowest prices, but I know I won’t pay to ship and I can get it here quick. I probably won’t have to pay return shipping if I’m getting it risk-free.

Best Shopify Stores - Tire Rack

GOOD. Tire Rack – If I want to push my car to the limit, they are the go-to experts for performance tires

Best Shopify Stores - TireBuyer.com original

BAD. TireBuyer.com – An example of a poor value proposition headline. But in the description, what’s this?

Best Shopify Stores - TireBuyer.com

COULD BE GOOD. That sounds amazing. Why isn’t that in their site title headline?

There’s another unexpected place where you can really convert customers who are on the fence about your product or even you as a brand. Your “About Us page.”

This is one of the lowest bounce rate pages we see on the best Shopify stores. That means that when people click on your About Us page, it’s because they truly mean to read about you and your brand.

People buy from people they can trust.

The About Us page is one of the best areas to earn that level of trust.

This ties back into your messaging. What message are you telling your customer?

Your brand can be positioned in many different ways for different results.

Best Shopify Stores’ Profit Gem #3: Design and Usability

Best Shopify Stores - Design and Usability

If someone can’t use your site well then they won’t ever make it to buying your product.

Hotjar helps tremendously in this aspect because you can visually see how they use your Shopify store.

When someone comes to your site, either they buy something or they don’t. However, there’s a lot of things that lead up to someone buying from your Shopify store.

When someone comes to your site with the intent to buy, this is great.

When they go as far to add items to their cart, this is great too.

But when that same visitor then leaves? Disaster.

Finding those friction points that cause visitors to leave during the checkout process is vital.

What does this have to with Shopify store design?

According to baymard.com, a study in 2018 revealed that 26% of over 2,500 respondents claimed they usually abandoned their carts because the site had “too long/complicated checkout process”.

What other design problems can affect abandoned carts? A lot.

Best Shopify Stores - Reasons for Abandonments During Checkout - Bar Graph

The usability of a Shopify store isn’t something that can be wrapped up in a section of an article.

Baymard Institute has 69 topics on the subject that include 5–15 actionable guidelines, and a UX performance breakdown outlining high-performing sites within that topic — a total of 3,300+ pages of UX research.

But, we’ll hit the highlights.

Message. First, as we discussed in the previous section, it always pays to know your audience. What’s your positioning?

  • Are they trying to find the best price?
  • Are they looking for quality?
  • Do they want to read a dozen reviews?
  • Are there features they want to know immediately?

Once you know these things you can highlight these key areas more.

Homepage. What’s your homepage doing? How is it helping your customer as soon as they come to your site? Does it highlight the benefits of shopping with you versus the other guys? Is it highlighting your positioning? Do you have a phone number in your header? Flowr increased their sign ups by over 12% adding their phone number.

Collection Taxonomy. Do your collections make sense in how products are divided? Do they cover the main sections of products that people would be interested in for your site?

Navigation. Is your menu easily accessible? Does it display your main product collections? Does your sticky header show where the total is always at the top?

Search and Filters. Search is huge. People know what they want and are looking for it.

  • Does your site-search work well?
  • Is it prominent?
  • Does it guide the user to accurate options?
  • Are your filters helpful?
  • Do they allow your customer to pinpoint what they want?
  • Does it autocomplete entries for the user?
  • Does your sorting make sense?

Product Page. A lot of your time should be spent here.

  • Is your product selling itself as soon as someone lands on a product page?
  • Do you have numerous large images? (Make sure they’re compressed to avoid slow load times.)
  • Is the add to cart button easily visible?
  • Are the reviews hidden or are they proudly shown?
  • Do you offer product specifics to customers who want detailed information?
  • Do you discuss the benefits of the product with an accurate product description?
  • Do you provide the customer with a way to contact you about the product?
  • Do you provide shipping and returns information in an easy to understand manner?
  • Have you disabled social sharing? From the numbers, we can tell that no one uses those. People know how to share things on social media without the use of these.

Cart and Checkout. A lot of your time should be spent here.

  • Are you asking for too much information?
  • Are you requiring customers to create an account?
  • Does the checkout process flow smoothly?
  • Are you reminding them of how secure your site is?
  • Are your surprise shipping costs scaring people away?
  • Have you removed as many shipping options as you can? Most are redundant in any case. The two best shipping options you can have are free and expedited. Also, be honest about the carrier.
  • Do you have thoughtful and relevant upsells at the end of checkout?
  • Do you have a consistent design for button elements? This gives the presentation of a professional site and gives a sense of control and assurance. You expect every stop sign to be red, right?
  • Do you have a risk reversal badge at checkout? Simply add your guarantee badge, toll-free phone number and email (and logo if you want) in one image. This is one thing on the checkout that adds a huge amount of trust.

On cart notes… people get confused and don’t really know what to put here. They are separate from order notes and it just makes things confusing.

On shipping calculators.get rid of it! Read “shipping calculator” as “scary deterrent keeping the potential customer from getting to the checkout page”

Does your Checkout button make sense? Does your cart button say checkout? Label it “Proceed to Checkout” or “Secure Checkout”.

Accounts. Does your Shopify store allow the customer to look up their tracking info? Does it allow them to easily initiate a return?

Mobile. Does the smoothness of your site’s experience translate to mobile? Are the page load speeds affected?

These questions are a good step in the right direction to having a solid checklist on Shopify store optimization.

Best Shopify Stores’ Profit Gem #4: Upselling

Best Shopify Stores - Upselling

Upselling is one of the best ways to create a larger average order value on every order.

In 2006, Amazon reported that 35% of its revenues were as a direct result of its cross-sells and upselling efforts.

The idea is to make the customer spend more money than they would have in the first place.

Now that may sound unethical, but understand this: Upselling is geared toward the small percentage of your customers who don’t mind shelling-out more for a better or more valuable option.

Plus there’s a momentary “high” for the customer once they have made a purchase as well.

There’s no doubt that upsells work. But it’s a matter of when to ask for the extra item.

The consensus is that after the sale is the best time for online purchases. Bold Commerce found up to a 10% increase in sales after adding an upsell process after the buyer went through the entire checkout process.

Taking out the guesswork 

This isn’t the easiest task to accomplish within Shopify without eroding your conversion rate at the same time.

That’s why we created UpliftHero.

UpliftHero routinely upsells products to your customers without interrupting their user experience or the checkout flow because it cleverly places your upsells immediately under your Add-to-Cart button—just where your visitors’ attention is focused when they’re ready to buy.

But that’s not the best part, with UpliftHero your visitors are incentivized to add more items to their cart by leveraging your free shipping threshold—one of the most powerful motivators in e-commerce.

Best Shopify Stores’ Profit Gem #5: User Testing

Best Shopify Stores - User Testing

Want to know the easiest way to find where people get stuck handing over their money on your site?

Get an iPad or a tablet and load up your site. Hand it to someone who has never seen it.

Tell them to go buy something on the site. Just tell them a specific product or have them browse for a product given specific criteria.

It may be tempting to not just shoulder-surf but to point out where to click or tap. Refrain from this so you can see where they are LOOKING to click or go to next.

You can’t change how people navigate your store. But you can change your store to be more easily navigable.

Conclusion: What it takes to be one of the best Shopify stores

Best Shopify Stores - Conclusion

No one can promise you 100% success.

You have to do the work and the results can vary. However, I’m confident this is the closest to a tried and true plan to follow to create one of the best Shopify stores.

The one thing that can rocket your store past the finish line of maximum sales is the Shoptimized™ theme. Almost all of the steps we talk about in this article have already been implemented in our theme.

Stop leaving money on the table and letting customers slip between your fingers and get this best converting Shopify theme today.

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