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Shopify Strategies for Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) 2020

Welcome boutique owners and e-commerce brands!

This week I’m getting into the nitty gritty on Shopify strategies for conversion rate optimization, and the all important question of how to increase conversion rates.

Conversions can tell you a lot about your business, so it’s wise to pay attention to them. They also are what affect your bottom line ... your sales.

Paying attention yet?

So in this post I’m diving into:

  • why you might not be getting the conversions you want,
  • which areas you should focus on to improve your conversion rate, and
  • some hot tips on Conversion Rate Optimization from us here at Hot Mess HQ.


Wait - what is conversion rate optimization anyway?

Conversion rate is the % of visitors to your site that make a purchase (in ecommerce!). In other business or website types, you might have a different conversion goal - but for the purposes of ecommerce, let’s stick to SALES as your goal... ya feel me?

Bear in mind that the average conversion rate for ecommerce is 1-4%. So it figures that you need a lot of hits to your site to get those purchases. Anything above this rate is either kind of unrealistic, or you’re doing something crazy good - so maybe it’s time to increase your prices, huh! All this to say - a conversion rate of 1-4 % is NORMAL..

So where do you find that out?


Well, it’s easy to see your conversion rate in Shopify under your analytics. You can also find it in your Google Analytics if you’ve set up a goal, which I’ll go into more detail on below!

Need help optimizing your website to increase your revenue?
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What are the reasons for not hitting your conversions goal?

There are a few reasons why you might not be hitting your conversions goal, and it’s important to figure out what the reason is before you wade in and start changing every little thing. Some common reasons are…

  • Not enough traffic
  • Not the right traffic (therefore not adding to cart, or adding to cart and then not purchasing)
  • Something wrong with your site
  • Something wrong with your cart experience (like a new app or update and there’s a bug.)

This is why we say always keep an eye on your site health, and always double check your site on mobile and desktop!

If you’re NOT getting the traffic, then you need to address that first. Check out this video on how you can work on increasing traffic to your site.

If you ARE getting traffic, and it is the conversions that’s the issue, then here are some of the first things to look at…

  • Site speed - slow loading sites cause high bounce rates and therefore low conversions. BUT dont worry too much about the new Shopify metric: Google Page Speed Insight. It just is not possible to increase this massively, and with a good Shopify design, this will probably be fairly low anyway. Be much more concerned about how your site loads on mobile and have some friends test this for you: make sure it's not loading too slowly on anyone’s devices. You want it to load within a few seconds.
  • Optimized for Mobile - make sure your site is optimized for mobile! Always check this! Make sure it functions properly, and appears similar to your desktop site for brand coherence across devices.
  • Site Design - Design is so important - I can’t stress this enough! Make sure your site is looking great and makes a great first impression, with a strong, cohesive and beautiful brand - if that’s your style - just make sure you hit this!
  • Information for Your Customer - Give customers enough information to make a purchasing decision. I recommend having a link to your shipping & return policies on both your main and footer menu. Don’t be vague! Do you offer free shipping above a threshold? Answer questions your customers will have - how long is delivery? Have a returns form on your site so that customers can check it and feel confident making a purchase.
  • Easy Transactions - Ensure transactions are as easy and as frictionless as possible! Make sure you test it on mobile and desktop. Go to your home page, make sure you can navigate around, add to cart and checkout without any issues. Get rid of anything confusing or that just doesn’t work. And remember not everyone is super tech savvy! Think about if it’s your grandmother trying to make a purchase - make it super easy for her!

How to Track Conversions in Shopify

If you’re wondering HOW to track your conversion rate….

The main place is in your Shopify dashboard. Conversion rate is in there on the left panel under analytics. You can view it by last week, last month, last year... Depending on how you set your goals.

The second place is Google Analytics, which is more specific. You can see different pages and difference conversion rates for each page.

You can also create goals in Google Analytics. A goal tracks a specific landing page, which is any page that your customer could possibly land on. This can vary a lot depending on how big your site and inventory is. So focus on where people are landing the most. This might be your most popular products, or if you get high traffic volumes from particular sources like Pinterest - then focus on that page.

So that page becomes your first step in your goal. You set it up like a funnel, so you need to specify the funnel steps - e.g.

  • Product Page
  • Product
  • Add to Cart
  • Checkout
  • Enter payment details.

In Google Analytics, the advantage is that once you’ve built the funnel, you can then see where people are dropping off. Then you can think about why - like if they're not entering payment info, what can you do? Are you only offering Shopify payment options? What if you add others, like Paypal and Sezzle?

What if you add a note to say that their payment is secure.

See where things are sticking, and work on that.

Then you want to test, either with an app, or someone who has specific experience in User Experience Testing. Go through the website with ideal clients and try to identify any issues that your potential customers might encounter, and the ways that it could be smoothed out.

We like Lucky Orange Heatmaps - an app on Shopify where you can see recordings of how people behave on your site, where they're going, when they're leaving. These kinds of insights can help you tweak your site and make improvements you might never have thought of.

How to increase conversion rate

So let’s break down the strategies on how to increase conversion rates a little more...

1. Optimize your main pages

✅ Let me say it again for the people in the back... Design is everything! Make it easy - don’t make your customer work too hard, because... they’ll get bored and leave.

✅ Clear content and customer journey. Make it clear what you want the customer journey to be. Don’t make them do 10 million things. Choose one or two actions you want them to take as they navigate through your store. And of course, focus on high quality, on brand and relevant content.

✅ Navigation & Menu Structure. Is it easy to find what they're looking for? Tidy this up and make it easy to navigate through your site.

✅ Use Categories well. Are the categories empty? Do you have outdated collections, or too few items in your collections? Use sub menus if your catalogues are quite big. If you have big catalogues, break it down so people can find what they're looking for. Have a shop by size drop down menu - check out my video for tips on how to do that.

✅ Take care with what is Above the Fold. Important information must be “above the fold” - this is what visitors see on the site before they even scroll down. So you have this one opportunity to entice people to stay, and that’s why what’s above the fold is critical. You'll lose them if they can’t immediately see why they should stay, and aren’t incentivized to scroll down. So don’t have a huge logo taking up the top of your mage - this is prime internet real estate!

✅ Have clear Calls to Action - again, be clear about what you’re asking people to do on your site. A confused mind says no!

2. Optimize your Product pages

  • Product templates should use the same structure.
  • Product Descriptions should be consistent and clear - don’t be too cute. Include important information about the product.
  • Utilise white space - make the page easy to read.
  • Separate the important sections e.g. price, color options, sizing chart, reviews.
  • Sizing guides - Use clear sizing guides with international conversions.
  • Use High quality Images - multiple shots are ideal. Use zooms, 3D, video and multiple angles to showcase the products well.  
  • Clear call to action at the top: Make it easy to buy, add to cart, continue shopping, etc.
  • Returns: Have a clear return policy which highlights how easy it is to return. Make sure this is super visible on your website. Again, I recommend that this is in both your main and footer menus.

3. Optimize your Check out pages

Definitely make sure that your check out pages are optimized to give a good customer experience. What assurances are you giving your customer that you’re reliable and that they can trust you?

The Aim: Build trust in your brand. You can do this with actions like….

  • Have security badges (like SSL certificates)
  • Include your Logo on your checkout page
  • Provide clear details of Guarantees & refund policies
  • Give clear shipping options. State any priority shipping, world shipping, or free shipping you offer
  • Check that it is easy to enter a Coupon code

4. Review and optimize Abandoned Cart

Customers are most likely to return and check out after either 1 hour, or 10 hours later. Because of that stat, we recommend a series of retargeting efforts. Emails aren’t the only form of retargeting - you could also use push notifications or text messages. But you do need some piece of info from your customer first.

You could also use an app to recover abandoned carts. We love Consistent Cart, which works by taking customer deets when someone adds a product to cart. It’s not compulsory to leave an email address, but we find it’s such a good way to get contact info. A lot of people might bounce and never come back, but it could really help. So test it and see what your ideal customers think!

It’s important to use this data to continuously test and improve customer experience & conversions. And then retarget those customers in whatever way makes sense for your business.

Hopefully by now you’ve got a few things you can put into practice to help boost those conversion rates.

But if you’re still reading and you’re like, “But dang it Angela, I am doing all of these things!”

Don’t worry girl.

I’ve got some bonus tips for you…

⭐Bonus Tips⭐


If you think you’re getting all of this right but still not getting the conversions, it might be worth doing a split test of your product pages or sales page. This way you can try and narrow down which your customers prefer, and then go with that. You can test 2 different product pages where you make small changes to test - change the order that product info is presented, or you highlight different things on one page vs the other. Make sure the changes are small, because if you have too many differences you just won’t be able to tell what it is that works! So. Test one thing at a time.


Add a Curated Instagram Feed on your home page: this adds social proof, social relevance, especially if you’re sharing user generated content. Plus, it makes your site look so much more dynamic and appealing!


Scarcity or urgency maketh a sale… So what can you do to get the customer to make a purchase right now, today, especially for a first time visitor

    • There are some really cool apps that will add banners for a Flash sale for first time website visitors (we love Sales Countdown Timer Bar 2.0) - this will only show the first time someone is on your site, and then.. Never again!  
    • Have an opt in email or text or or push notifications - with discount immediately for taking that action
    • Sales Pop - this is a notification that appears on the top of your page when someone just added to cart - that urgency is great for social proof!

This is all especially important if they are making a first time purchase! And it might seem a bit much, but if you then convert first time customers into repeat, loyal customers… that’s the goal, girl, and it’s all worth it!

Final thoughts 💭💭💭

I’ll leave you with some final thoughts...

  • Make sure your site is optimized for mobile
  • Make sure your product photography & descriptions are on point!
  • Send follow up retargeting emails - send abandoned cart emails 6-24 hours after the cart is abandoned (or use the Consistent Cart app), as well as follow up and order confirmation emails.
  • Be a high touch business! Talk to your customers and followers everywhere you can. They won’t see everything you post - and don't worry about bombarding people. If they are gonna leave, they are gonna leave anyway!

So this was quite a lot to cover! But I hope this has been valuable and you've learnt something about increasing your conversions!

Still got a question on Conversion Rate Optimization? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

As always, I’m here for you to help you keep it real and succeed! So… Go convert girl!

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