The Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Checklist for Shopify

Is your Shopify store getting traffic but not making sales? Check out our ultimate guide for Shopify conversion rate optimization.

Life as an entrepreneur is never easy, especially on the internet, where small business owners must turn to pricey ad campaigns, intricate search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, or simply wait and pray that consumers stumble upon their website in a vast and overpopulated online landscape.

What’s worse — as you likely already know — is that getting traffic to your Shopify store and actually making a profit are two different beasts. While it is true that boosting traffic can potentially lead to increased sales, it is more effective to focus on turning the people who are already visiting your website into your customers.

Turning window shoppers into real shoppers is an often difficult and time consuming task, but it can be done! By making changes to your Shopify site, ensuring that visitors are guided every step of the way to ultimately make a purchase, you can turn traffic into profit. This is called conversion rate optimization, or CRO for short.

Want to increase your Shopify store’s conversion rate? We’ve got you covered. We don’t believe in secrets, so follow along with our ultimate guide for conversion rate optimization (CRO) — a checklist that we use on our very own clients — to optimize every inch of your Shopify store to make more sales.

The home page is the first thing that visitors — new or returning — see when they visit your Shopify store’s site, so it is paramount that it makes a strong first impression. Here are a few steps to optimize your home page for conversion rate:

Right from the beginning, visitors should get a clear understanding of who you are/who your business is and what you do. Since this will be appearing on the home page, it does not have to be an in-depth explanation — a longer form of this can be placed in the “About” section of your Shopify site — but it should feature the important details (or selling points) that potential customers need to know.

A home page specific hero image is a great way to catch the eye of your visitors. It should not just look good, though, it should also offer a clear unique selling point (USP) that entices potential customers into becoming proven customers

Your website banner should remind people who visit your Shopify store where they are and who you are at all times, remaining visible throughout the website. Additionally, it is a plus if the banner features your company’s logo that serves as a link back to the home page for easy navigation

When running a business, you can never have too many contacts. An email pop-up on your Shopify’s home page is a great way to expand your newsletter and build relationships with your customers. You can also entice visitors to sign up for your newsletter by offering discounts or special offers. Don’t overdo it, though — make sure that the email pop-up is easily understandable, not too pushy (allow visitors to close the pop-up), and professional.

A purchase pop-up displays buyer activities to the visitor. These apps display when (either in real-time or on a rotating delay) and what other shoppers are buying. Not only does this reassure them that other people are indeed purchasing things from your Shopify store, but it also encourages them to explore products that they may not have been interested in before.

Things like product reviews, testimonials, awards, press responses, and user-generated content (UGC) are a fantastic addition to your Shopify home page because it demonstrates not only that your products are being purchased/used, but that they are enjoyed!

While the Shopify home page makes the first impression, visitors will likely be spending most of their time perusing your store’s product pages. Here’s how to make them CRO-friendly:

This should be a no-brainer, but always use clear and high-quality product images and videos so customers know exactly what they’re buying. Additionally, the more photos/videos, the better — the product should be displayed at every angle.

A call to action, or CTA, button should be bright and eye-catching so that it captures the attention of the visitor and entices them to buy.

Make it easy for customers to buy. The “Add to Cart” button on your Shopify product pages should be clearly visible and above the fold, meaning that visitors do not have to scroll down on the page (on any device) to click it.

The best kind of buzz is the kind that happy customers create for you. Including user generated content, or UGC, in the product image carousel can help visitors place the product in real-world situations, rather than trusting only what is provided by you/your business.

Depending on the industry, GIFs are a great way to capture the attention of your Shopify site’s audience. This doesn’t mean adding a silly GIF of Michael Scott from The Office, though. All GIFs should be related to the product or the business and should preferably be created specifically for your use.

Your Shopify store will appear differently depending on what device visitors are viewing it from. What may look great on a desktop can appear squished or compressed on a mobile device. Since many consumers shop straight from their phone, it is important that product descriptions are optimized for those devices.

Sticky buttons follow the user wherever they are on the product page. This means that visitors have the ability to add the item to their cart even if they have scrolled below the fold.

The more accessible you can make the products/services you offer on your Shopify page, the better. A great way to do this is to offer a split-pay option, allowing buyers to use multiple payment options to pay for one transaction. This should be featured on the product page, so that buyers know ahead of time that it is an option, rather than them choosing not to purchase because they did not know it was possible or because you did not offer a split-pay option at all.

A fantastic method to build buyer trust and secure a sale is to include risk reversal options, such as free trials, money-back guarantees, or warranties, in your Shopify product pages. This makes buyers feel safer, as they know they can return the product without fear if it is defective or unsuitable for their needs (within the allotted time). If offered, these risk reversal options should be highlighted or featured on the product page. Of course, your Shopify store will actually need to honor any of these risk reversal methods — if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk — even if it may mean some loss of profit on your part.

Pop-ups are useful CRO tools, but if used incorrectly, they can hinder more than help. Pop-ups used on Shopify product pages should be large enough that they draw the user’s attention, but not so large (or too frequent) that they crowd the screen and frustrate them, potentially ending in the loss of a sale. Once again, pay close attention to the way these pop-ups appear on mobile, as a pop-up that seems like a reasonable size on a desktop can overpower a phone screen.

CRO is not all about flashy pop-ups and CTA buttons. In fact, one of the most effective tactics to boost your Shopify store’s conversion rates is to optimize the prices of your products and services. This doesn’t mean you have to slash prices low enough to result in a profit loss, though. Use data and market research to see how much customers are paying and how much other merchants are pricing for similar products/services, and price your goods accordingly. Remember: prices that are too high turn customers away, but so do prices that are too low, as buyers may fear that it is too good to be true.

Desire triggers are statements that tap into the psychological needs and behaviors of buyers, usually touting the scarcity, urgency, or exclusivity of a product or service. Using desire triggers on your Shopify product page urges visitors to buy either due to the fear of missing out/going without or their need to belong. Desire triggers are especially powerful when paired with a CTA.

Almost all major online retailers include an “items you may like” or “other people who liked this item bought” section. These catch the eye of the buyer, encouraging them to explore the rest of your Shopify store and, ultimately, buy more. As a result, this can increase your average order value (AOV) meaning that you can make more profit with a fewer number of customers.

With online behemoths like Amazon offering free two day shipping, buyers are becoming less and less willing to pay shipping fees at all. If possible, offer your buyers free shipping (the product price can be adjusted to absorb this cost) or create a minimum amount of money they have to spend to earn free shipping. Many buyers are willing to spend a bit more to receive a tangible product instead of paying for shipping.

In today’s marketing climate, there has been a great shift in buyer focus. Businesses can no longer rely on the quality of their products to make consistent sales. Instead, buyers care just as much about the company that they are buying from, as the product they are buying. This is why your Shopify store’s “About Us” page is of value to your CRO efforts — customers are buying into who you are, not just what you sell.

Though you touched on your brand’s story on the home page, the “About Us” page is where you can really delve into the who, what, and why of your Shopify store. You need to convince visitors what makes your business different from your competitors and make them care about you/your company as a person — not just a brand

Including photos and short biographies for the major players behind your Shopify store helps buyers understand that you and your team are real people (just like them!). Humanizing your brand is important because it builds trust between you and your customers. Buyers are more likely to be loyal to people, not a nameless, faceless brand.

Identify your target audience and explain who this is in your Shopify site’s “About Us” page and explain how your brand aims to help these people. Potential customers who relate with your ideal customer will feel personally connected to your brand.

Tell visitors what your brand stands for and what it is passionate about. It is not enough to simply want to sell camping gear. Instead, you might say that your brand sells camping gear because you want to build a world without barriers and help your customers experience all of the wonders nature has to offer them, first-hand.

The final step on any customer’s journey, the checkout page can make or break a sale. Now is not the time to be overly frilly with design (and no pop-ups!). This is when buyers will enter their payment details, so it is important that they feel secure inputting this information. Here are a few ways to boost CRO on your Shopify store’s checkout page:

Post-purchase upsells are effective because they entice buyers without asking for any more effort on their part. They have already established that they are interested in buying what your Shopify store has to sell, so featuring a post-purchase upsell that increases the buyer’s perceived value or uses a desire trigger (for example, “today only” or “offer only valid for first-time buyers”) results in a larger sale and a higher AOV.

Customers use many different ways that they can pay for their purchases. When you include payment gateway on your Shopify checkout page, gateways like Paypal, Shop Pay, AfterPay, etc. Buyers of all types can go ahead with the purchase of your products, leaving no customer behind.

Shopify has a setting which allows you to change the wording of your checkout page in your language settings. Changing the language of the checkout working to align with your message and branding can emulate and continue on with your brands messaging.

Though it may seem like a daunting task, optimizing your Shopify store to increase conversion rates is more than worthwhile, helping your shop reach its full potential.

Have any questions? Shoot us a message.

Posted by
John From Jotting

Shopify developer, SEO expert, and Social Media marketer who has been in ecommerce game for over 4 years. I've worked on 100's of Shopify ecommcerce stores, understanding each store owners SEO, product, and marketing needs.

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