Ecommerce Web Design Tips for Improving Shopify Conversion Rates

Ecommerce Web Design Tips for Improving Shopify Conversion Rates

Getting visitors to your Shopify site isn’t easy. It takes a ton of hard work and strategizing. In fact, as most of us know, there’s an entire industry devoted to traffic generation.

Content marketing, SEO, newsletters and other email campaigns, social media marketing… We devote an incredible amount of time and money to get people’s feet through our digital doors.

But what if our potential customers don’t like what they see when we’ve got their eyes on our site?

Let’s make the question even more nuanced. What if even one tiny but critical UI element alienates them? What if a vital call to action is hidden? What if we haven’t created sufficient trust before throwing a Buy Now button at them?

I’ve got at least two dozen questions like these.

But I guess the most important one I want to ask is this: Are you investing thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into generating traffic, but almost nothing in optimizing your front-end for conversion?

If the answer is yes, you’ll want to keep reading.

In this article, I’m going to take a look at seven ways you can use design, layout, and various front-end features to boost your Shopify store’s conversion rate.

Design Tips for Improving Shopify Conversion Rates

1. Use a Product Video on Your Home Page

This tactic is ideal for ecommerce sites that sell a flagship product or want to shine a very bright spotlight on a particular new item in their inventory. It’s doubly important if you’re selling a niche product that many members of your target audience may not be particularly familiar with.

The benefits of using video as a conversion tactic have long been established and discussed by CRO experts. But why wait for a customer to reach a product page before giving them a multimedia presentation of the amazing thing that’ll change their life?

Take a look at what plant base retailer JOI did on their highly engaging home page.

It’s clear from the page’s messaging that the company knows many visitors aren’t entirely aware of what a plant base is. There’s tons of informative copy and imagery used on the home page. 

This is a company that’s done a great deal of research into their buyer personas and realized that education plays a huge role in conversion.

What JOI gets right is to supplement traditional messaging with a short, highly informative, beautifully produced video that positions the benefits of their product perfectly.

2. Combine Scarcity and FOMO With a Discount Countdown Timer

Psychology plays an incredibly important role in motivating visitors to click on that “add to cart” or “buy now” button.

Two of the most common emotions that successful online retailers harness to boost conversions are scarcity and the “fear of missing out.” 

The two feelings are quite similar but definitely not exactly the same thing. The differences are subtle. Scarcity makes the visitor feel like there’s a limited time for them to make a purchasing decision, while FOMO makes them think that their peers will enjoy a benefit that’ll pass them by.

Zoma Sleep uses a simple and popular design element that does a great job of combining these two psychological triggers. And they’re not scared of shining a nice bright spotlight on it.

Right at the top of every single page on their site is a highly visible horizontal UI component that stretches across the entire width of the visitor’s screen. 

The bar’s color scheme makes it difficult to miss, as do its contents – a call to action positioned right next to a ticking clock showing how much time is left before a massive discount expires.

Throughout the remainder of their journey through the site, this discount code (and the fact that they only have a couple of days/hours/minutes left to use it) will be playing on visitors’ minds.

3. Show Real-Time Purchases

Illustrating social proof is a vital part of creating a healthy conversion rate. If you’re not already doing what you can to show your leads that their peers have confidence in your products, it’s time to start doing so.

Real-time purchase notifications (along with visible customer reviews) are a great way to create trust in your brand and confidence in your products.

As alluded to earlier, social proof is crucial to create confidence in two things: your brand itself and your individual products.

The former is critical if you want your visitors to trust that you won’t take their money and run away. Or that your store has just become operational and you still haven’t quite got your fulfillment processes ironed out.

Visitors may be hesitant to do business with a brand new store that doesn’t already have an established reputation and an existing customer base.

Orizaba Original is a niche clothing Shopify store that uses real-time purchase notification popups to show site visitors that their peers trust the brand. As visitors browse the site and its wares, the occasional popup lets them know that “John from New Mexico” just bought a particular item.

This is a terrific way to generate trust and establish brand credibility.

4. Have Multiple, Early Calls to Action

Who says a call to action has to sit on a product page? In fact, who says that a visual motivator to start shopping can’t be one of the first things a visitor sees as their eyes hit your homepage?

Sure, there’s something to be said for “building up to” a pitch or positioning your brand and products before using in-your-face terminology like “But Now” or “Shop for X”; some visitors appreciate a more nuanced interaction with your sales messaging.

Part of conversion rate optimization is testing various approaches to graphic design and text-based communication. There’s nothing stopping a store owner from ditching the subtlety for a week to test out how site visitors respond to a very early, very obvious call to action.

If test results prove that your target audience responds well to a bolder sales approach, why not make it a permanent feature?

Mannequin Mall does a great job of this. The mannequin retailer made the decision to embed two highly visible calls to action in their home page’s main header. Their approach is to give their visitors the option to either navigate through the landing page, learning about the company and its products, or start shopping instantly.

5. Don’t Skimp on Design Quality

Some of you may think advice THIS broad doesn’t deserve a place on a list about specific design tips and strategies, but I’m going to respectfully disagree.

“Hooking” your visitor with a professionally designed, eye-catching, and engaging UI is paramount to retaining their attention and reducing your bounce rate. It stands to reason that the longer you can get someone to stay on your site, the more likely it is they’ll find a product that interests them.

With this goal in mind, you must employ a designer that has experience in building visually engaging sites. The right designer knows how to build a front-end that instantly hooks the user through the intelligent use of color, digital typesetting, layout, and other aspects of graphic design.

One of the benefits of using Shopify is that you can circumvent this expense by selecting a website theme that matches your target audience’s sense of aesthetics. 

If you are a Shopify user, or you’re considering it as your ecommerce platform, rest assured that there are more than enough engaging, professionally-designed options in its theme library.

6. Create a Personalized Front-End for Your Registered Users

The overhead in this exercise is significant. Not all digital retailers will have the option of implementing it right off the bat.

This tactic depends on either using cookies or motivating your visitor to register or log in before they start browsing.

If you can manage this, you can leverage what you already know about the visitor to present them with a dynamic front-end personalized for their needs.

Do you know what a visitor’s previous purchases were? Show them other products that are obvious upsells or cross-sells. You already have this data. What did other customers buy along with the historic purchase? Amazon does this to great effect on all their product pages as well as their landing page.

Do you know the customer’s location or nationality? Can you use this information to recommend seasonally appropriate products? 

Building this functionality may take some time and require a steep financial investment but. If it’s in your budget and it’s done correctly, front-end personalization can have a massively positive effect on your store’s conversion rate.

7. Make Customer Reviews a Very Visible Part of Your Product Pages

This is another terrific application of social proof and one that most ecommerce sites already make use of. However, there’s a particular approach to customer reviews that I want to draw your attention to. 

The best way to discuss this tactic is to show an example of how it’s done right. Head on over to women’s fashion store Modcloth for an illustration of how to use reviews as a core part of the product page’s content.

Reviews are “hidden” behind a visible link showing the product’s average star rating. But once you click on them, they become one of the main focal points of the page’s UI.

Each review is highly detailed, with the customers being given enough space to write what they thought of the product and general shopping experience. 

Just as important as the review itself are the elements that give it credibility. Modcloth makes reviewers relatable. They’re humanized, rather than just anonymous “internet people.” Modcloth shows the customer’s name, the date of their purchase, the size of the item as well as how the chosen size “felt” on the customer.

The retailer even goes so far as to respond to some of the reviews, turning it into a conversation and making the entire review process seem like friends talking about the product.

In Closing

There’s no denying the relationship between user experience and conversion. The way your visitors engage with your Shopify site’s visual messaging, calls to action, and interactive elements play an incredibly important role in turning them into customers.

Critical to boosting your conversion rates with smart front-end design is to accept that you’re never going to have the “perfect” website.

Implement minor tweaks constantly. Always run split tests. Never stop gathering detailed engagement and conversion metrics. And confidently commit to a design tweak that emerges as a conversion-winner.

If you’re genuinely serious about achieving ecommerce success, accept that front-end design optimization is a never ending journey.

Keep researching. Never stop tweaking.

This is a guest post contribution by Karl Kangur. Karl is a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert. He started his first online business as a twelve-year-old Estonian boy. He has since moved very far away from cold, northern Europe. He hopes to compete in a bodybuilding competition after the pandemic passes, and is still obsessed with delivering amazing results to his clients.

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