Optimizing your store is about staying ahead of the curve. Want to set up a new online store, or are you already running a Shopify store? Want to get more out of your store and your customers? Here are eight tips to help you optimize your store for more sales and engagement.
Edit Your Theme’s CSS… but tread carefully.
Shopify offers you loads of professional themes so that you can choose a theme that matches your store. Some themes are free and others are paid, but they can all be customized with a few tweaks to fit your branding (logo, products, contact details, etc.).
If you’re looking for more customization – that’s possible, too. You can take things a little further and edit the CSS files of your Shopify theme – but don’t go messing about if you don’t know what you’re doing!
- Shopify uses Liquid for its theme development (Liquid on Github), so make sure you use someone who is qualified in Liquid if you don’t think you can handle it yourself. With Shopify being such a commonly used product, there is an abundance of experts who can help customize your site.
Optimize Your Store for SEO
Good SEO is central to a great eCommerce store, and there are loads of little things you can do to get your Shopify store to the top of its SEO game.
- Having loads of indexed URLs pointing back to the same page is bad for SEO because it makes it look like your site has little unique content on it. This type of over-indexing is a common eCommerce SEO problem caused by filters and categories. To avoid any issues, always follow Shopify’s category guidelines and use the automatically generated canonical URLs. (Canonical URLs tell search engines to point all the relevant URLs back to the page of origin.)
- Image SEO doesn’t take long, and you can largely manage it yourself – a great little SEO hack for when you fancy doing a bit of data entry. Give product images compelling file names and optimize your image alt texts with descriptive copy to help crawlers decipher your images.
- Write good page titles for every single page – pay special attention to product and category pages. Also, write out some good meta descriptions using natural language – these show up in searches and on social media.
- Good SEO is also about helping to make your site faster – site speed being a big factor for eCommerce success on mobile (and desktop). Make sure your store doesn’t have any overlarge image files (check background images), and that any tweaks you’ve made haven’t worsened the site’s SEO.
- Here are some of the basic Shopify SEO developer guidelines – if you’re hiring someone, make sure they know what they are doing, as you are going to rely on SEO for your income!
Schema.org is a markup language that tells Google what certain items on your website are. It can be used to tag up a product price or a product review, or whether something is in stock or not (among other things).
Using schema.org, or structured data, is great for all websites, but it’s an especially canny way to help rank individual product pages.
- Using structured data means that people searching for your product will be able to have a better at-a-glance view of what you offer without even navigating to your site. Loads of users prefer to have lots of data handed to them, and this is a perfect way to do that.
- The whole system for doing this is very logical and shouldn’t take up too much time, but you will probably need a developer to help you implement it properly.
Make Gifting Easy
Everyone loves to give. Adding gift options to your store can be a great way to maximize sales.
- You can customize your Shopify theme so that it automatically includes a gift wrap option at checkout. It’s a great way to add a little bit more to the sale price and make your customers’ lives easier, too.
- Embrace gift giving with cute gift cards. You can set up gift cards as products – give people the chance to give a present they don’t have to choose. Include suggested gift card amounts, as well as allow people to set their own (people often like to give an amount that reflects an age). Make sure you make your gift cards visually appealing, too.
Split Test Your Pricing
Split testing is a great way to find out what’s working for your users – it’s a central tenet of conversion rate optimization. We all know that we should be split testing our email subject lines and landing page designs, but, with Shopify, you can split test your pricing (for free).
- Pricing is a super important eCommerce success factor that often gets overlooked in favor of more flashy “hacks.” The wrong pricing will sink your store, and even a small price increase can mean the difference between a loss or breaking even. Make sure that you have implemented a proper pricing strategy that is market- and product-fit.
- Once you have set a good baseline pricing, use the free Qbot Shopify app to help you split test your prices to see what happens to conversions and sales. Good split tests need to be run on several different occasions for reliable results.
Use Cart Abandonment Emails
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference… Who hasn’t been enticed into completing a purchase after a well-timed email?
A gentle reminder to complete a purchase, or a friendly question as to where they have gone, can be all your customer needs to come back and complete the sale.
- Be creative with your cart abandonment emails (here are some for your inspiration).
- Include a discount with all your cart abandonment emails to keep people coming back for more. With Shopify, you can automate these vouchers by modifying the universal email template. Here’s the tutorial.
Reach Out to Influencers
Your store will need backlinks and PR mentions in order to help it rank for your main keywords. Influencer collaboration is one of the best ways to promote your store.
- Find and choose the right influencers. You want to work with people in your niche with a large and relevant following. Look for people for who including your product in a roundup or review ‘makes sense’.
- Make your brand more attractive to bloggers and publications by making sure that you have good content yourself. Enhance your credibility by showing how people are already using your products and advocating for your brand. Here are five influencer approaches you can try.
Think Outside Shopify
Even if you can now open an online store in a day with Shopify – is that really the end of your ambitions? Embrace joined up multichannel and diversify your online store in order to build a lasting legacy.
- Selling on social media and through other third party marketplaces can help bring in funds to your Shopify store so that you can keep refining it.
- See your Shopify store as a central spoke of a larger retail complex and don’t forget the possibilities that lie in the offline world like networking and old school marketing.
- Don’t just stop at opening a store – you are building a business here.
Optimizing your store is a constant journey. You will need to use customer data and market insights in order to keep tweaking your store. Don’t forget to take ownership for your own store’s success – learn everything you can about the platform and ecommerce in general in order to make better decisions. What is the one thing you would change about most ecommerce stores and why?
You can see more from Patrick over at EcommerceTips.org and make sure to follow Patrick on Twitter here, or add him on LinkedIn.