Shopify Marketing

Shopify Homepage CRO: 12 proven ideas to boost conversions

Make your Shopify homepage convert like that of the top 10% and 20% of brands. Here are 12 deep research-backed ideas to land better (and more) conversions.

Shopify Homepage CRO: 12 proven ideas to boost conversions

Over 1.75 million merchants use the Shopify platform to sell their products. The number of merchants has grown 4.66x since 2016.

Shopify merchant count during the period 2012-2020
Source

It’s not that hard for startups, SMBs, as well as big businesses to set up shop on the platform and sell. 

The hard part is converting those visitors into customers. 

The average Shopify conversion rate is 1.5%

The top 10% and 20% of stores record a Shopify conversion rate of 4.6% and 3.3% respectively.

Unfortunately, only 22% of business owners are happy with their Shopify conversion rates. If you want to land yourself among the top 10% and 20% of eCommerce stores, you need to stop scraping the surface and dig deep. 

In the next few sections, we share delve deep into each CRO element such as psychology, UX, copy, and design to unearth ideas that drive more conversions for your business. 

UX

1. Personalize your homepage for every visitor (yes, it’s actually possible) 

Every visitor landing on your homepage is important. The way to show that you value them is by offering them a personalized experience. The best way to do this is through segmentation. 

Many retailers make some common eCommerce segmentation mistakes. One way you can avoid them is by categorizing your audience by intent. You can gather this from the keywords they use to land on your site, the kind of actions they take once they land on your site, and the responses to surveys on your site or feedback from review requests, etc. 

For example, you can help visitors carry on from where they left off. Did they search for a product from the search bar but didn’t purchase it? Remind them that the price for the product has dropped.

For example, when a customer adds a product to the cart on the Pipcorn Shopify site but doesn’t checkout, it features on the cart the next time the customer visits. 

Moreover the product recommendation too adapts based on the customer’s preference.

Personalized product recommendations on eCommerce homepage

Once, we added Cheddar Crunchies to the cart, the recommendations suggested more of Cheddar products. 

2. Don’t make users second-guess your navigation elements

The impression customers acquire from your Shopify homepage shouldn’t just end there—it should carry over to your other pages too. After all, your customers need to buy from you right? 

Navigation acts as the catalyst that transports customers—based on their intent—to where they need to go. Your homepage is the best suited to perform this role. One of its primary jobs is to guide the visitor to the site and make them purchase. 

2 navigational elements that help it do this are familiarity and convention. Users don’t want to admire how ingenuously you have designed your site. They just need to find the right options to move ahead. 

On the Shopify store, you’ll find 2 default menus: the main menu and the footer. The main menu comprises both the homepage and the catalog/category page. You have the option to add additional menus on the platform based on your requirement. 

Let’s look at how you can leverage navigation to boost your Shopify conversions: 

  • Allow your users to find options fast. Use icons on your menu that are universally used. Some icons may mean different things in different industries. You should do extensive research before planning to add them to your site. 
  • Let users know they’ll be clicking on a link. You can choose any of these options to make your visual link stand out: change its color, add an underline, turn the mouse arrow into a hand, etc. It’s the little things that make all the difference. This is pretty fundamental but then many sites still don’t get this right.

Just like how Orange Street Paper Co. uses its brand colors to highlight a link.

Link highlight in menu
  • Decide which menu to go for based on your product catalog. It’s easy to be confused about which one to go for: vertical or horizontal navigation. There are studies on both sides to vouch for. Eyetracking studies reveal that while the top menu is easier to locate and use, it’s not as helpful for brands with a huge product list. However, if you’re going ahead with a vertical menu, make sure you keep it left-aligned. 

3. Follow the rule: information first, CTA second

While there are plenty of best practices on CTA button design and copy, none of it is complete without placing the CTA correctly. 

So, how much of a jaw-dropping design or a magnetic copy that you come up with, your visitors won’t click on it unless they see it. 

There are plenty of studies such as this one that highlight the benefits of placing your call to action above the fold. While there’s definitely a lot of virtue in terms of visibility for a top-of-the-fold placement, there are some caveats to look out for. 

Firstly, since the time of the study, the web has evolved a lot. Scrolling has become more commonplace for users with the rise of multiple devices. Moreover, your CTA is as effective as your prospect’s knowledge of your product. If it’s a straightforward, easy-to-use product that doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how, placing the CTA above the fold can make sense. 

Again, if your visitors need to be well-versed with the product information before they can arrive at a decision, you can experiment with placing it below the fold. This applies more to complex products where the visitors need to weigh the benefits and features. 

Hence, CTA placement is directly linked to product complexity

Here are some takeaways to help you achieve the right CTA placement for your Shopify site: 

  • For straightforward products, above the fold is good enough 
  • For complex products, you can place your CTA below the fold
  • Think of your homepage like a story, use the Attention Interest Desire Action (AIDA) model to drive customers towards the CTA
  • Use directional cues to direct your visitor’s eyes toward the CTA
  • You can experiment with multiple CTAs on long homepages
  • A/B test the placements to find out the sweet spot for your brand

Psychology

1. Invite the right customers with clear shipping thresholds

Your visitors look for many things once they arrive on your Shopify homepage. One of the primary ones is where your shipping threshold lies and if it aligns with what they’re looking for. 

Around 66% of customers expect free shipping for every online purchase. Once you highlight your shipping thresholds, it’ll be easier to draw in interested customers. Doesn’t matter if your threshold is high, the word “free” has a lot of magnetic appeal.

The why behind this is best explained by psychologist Dr. B. J. Fogg’s Behavior Change Model. The theory states that 3 elements influence most human behavior: motivation, ability, and triggers

In this case, the motivation is free shipping. Communicating your shipping thresholds helps customers judge their financial ability to meet that threshold. And the trigger is finally them purchasing or abandoning your product based on their comfort level with your shipping threshold. 

What you can do: Communicate your shipping thresholds right on top of your homepage to help customers decide their budget comfort levels right away. 

They will thank you for the transparency and not feel cheated once they land on the checkout page and realize it’s out of their budget. 

Ocean & Co. uses the first banner strip on its homepage to communicate its free shipping threshold to customers.  

Free shipping threshold communication on homepage

Once visitors are aware of this and mentally place the brand in their minds, they can enjoy the gorgeous design and visual elements of the site and start shopping. 

Shopify easily allows you to customize your shipping profiles, rates, and locations as per your requirements. If you’re a brand that ships to multiple locations, you can create separate shipping profiles for each and set individual shipping rates under each. This will offer you greater control over your shipping policy. 

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2. Earn your customers’ trust on all channels

Previously, you simply needed to earn the customers’ trust on your primary sales channel. Our retail store, or website, or whatever. 

Today, you have to earn it on all channels. Because customers flock on diverse channels to purchase. 

But does that mean you have to start from scratch for every channel? 

Not necessarily. Not if you get the concept of trust transfer

It’s a psychological phenomenon where a customer’s trust which is already established for one channel will automatically flow to another channel. These can be from online to offline and vice versa. 

Trust transfer directly affects customers’ purchase intentions through loyalty. For example, a customer who has already purchased from a brand’s online store can be keen to check out from their offline store, considering their previous purchase experiences. 

Depending on where your customers start their purchase journey, you can turn them into trust magnets. Here’s how:

  • Online site - This is a crucial touchpoint since the first and last impression can form here. You can build more trust on your site by gathering reviews through platforms such as Trustpilot and adding them through Shopify apps such as Product Reviews.
  • Mobile site and app - More and more customers make their purchase decisions on mobile devices. Presenting them with uniform branding on your desktop and mobile sites and apps can help build more trust. 
  • In-store (if applicable) - You can increase visual trust by displaying your ratings and trust score around your store. 

3. Give before you take—leverage the reciprocity principle

Most retailers are aware of the reciprocity principle. If you do a favor to someone, they feel the need to return the favor. 

Think about all the complimentary items that you’ve given out to customers crossing specific purchase thresholds. Or as a customer, you must have received plenty of shampoo samples to test. It’s an oft-used psychological tactic by retailers to motivate customers to take the desired action. 

However, many store owners approach this with a ready mind to getting something back. This intention is often detected by customers and it ruins their shopping experience and makes them hesitant to trust the brand or share any information with them. 

Nielsen Norman Group did a study where two user groups were asked to fill out forms: one who received the promised reward before filling the form and one who were going to receive it after filling the form. 

The result? The group which got the reward after showed more inclination to fill the form. But the group which got the reward before shared more information. 

The takeaway here: it’s more valuable when visitors share information willingly rather than when they feel compelled to do it. 

What you can do: Don’t look for direct gains from your freebies. Play the long game. 

Here’s how Bonlook uses the reciprocity principle. 

Example of reciprocity principle by BonLook

It offers a free virtual try-on option where shoppers can experience how the glasses will look on them, from the comforts of their own homes. There’s also help at hand in the form of email, phone, and FAQ. 

This is a great value pitch to communicate to your customers. They may or may not buy from you eventually. But you have moved them way closer to the buying stage (and that’s a lot).

Copy

1. Humor sells (even if you have a boring product)

Your homepage copy plays a serious role in converting visitors into paying customers. However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have fun.  

Humor in your copy will help engage customers, consume more content, browse products, read descriptions, and checkout. 

Check out this example from Woot and you’ll know what we’re talking about. 

Example of humor in homepage copy

It makes even the mundane texts hilarious. Not only does this make customers remember the brand better but also motivates them to engage with it. 

Here’s another one from its homepage.

Example of humorous homepage copy by Woot

Here are some pointers to help you add humor to your copy effectively: 

  • Find out if your audience has an appetite for it. Test it out, in the beginning, to see how our audience is responding to it. Also, it’s important to make your humor relatable. They’ll connect to it only when they’ll relate to it. 
  • Don’t go off-brand to be humorous. Your humor will fail if it stands out from your overall brand personality. Hence, try to lace your humor as part of your brand image. 
  • Avoid offending anyone. Evaluate your copy from all perspectives to ensure it doesn’t offend anyone. Be sensitive towards race, gender, and culture. 

2. Your homepage copy has one job—make sure it does it well.

There’s one important role your Shopify homepage plays—advancing your visitors on the path to purchase. 

That’s all. And it’s your copy optimization skills that come into play to ensure that your homepage achieves its goal.

What can you do? Once you have your eyes set on the larger goal—taking your visitors down the shopping funnel—you’ve to come up with ways how to do it.  For example, your homepage copy can nudge them to discover the story behind your brand or explore the benefits of each product. 

However, it won’t provide all these answers at the outset. It’ll simply direct visitors to pages where they can find the answers. 

For example, anyone landing on the Google Nest homepage will have little difficulty in understanding what the brand is about or what it sells. 

Example of homepage copy

In fact, the homepage also adds a short microcopy for each category so visitors can understand exactly how the product line will add value. So, the ones moving ahead to the product page will be genuinely interested in purchasing. 

homepage copy by Google Nest

3. Create a competitive edge with customer benefit-focused copy

In continuation to the above point, once you have the purpose of your Shopify homepage set, you can dive deeper into solving the customer problem. 

You have to remember, a visitor doesn’t arrive on your homepage to read about you praising your own brand. They come to find a solution to their problem. For example, a visitor looking for a jacket during winter isn’t typically looking for a jacket but to remain warm. 

That’s what your copy should focus on. It shouldn’t try selling the jacket but the warmth and comfort of a jacket in winter—which the customer seeks. 

What can you do? To offer solutions to the customer, you have to first identify what the customers are facing. Nail down all the issues customers face and show them how your product can resolve them. 

See how Meow Meow Tweet leads their homepage copy with a customer problem? 

Example of customer focused copy

Any visitor landing on their homepage will be driven by the specific problem they face (smart personalization done here!) and go ahead in trying to find a solution. The product-led solution comes much later. 

Design

1. Make searching super easy for customers

It’s not easy to create a perfect website where customers don’t need to look for anything at all but find everything right away. 

That’s definitely where all Shopify retail sites want to reach. Till then, customers have the search bar. 

Search is such an essential function on your site that most customers don’t think twice about it. However, if your site user experience is such that it’s not easily locatable or is confusing, then it’s definitely an obstacle in your customer’s shopping journey. 

Some best practices to make your search function a no-brainer for customers are: 

  • Place it where customers will expect to find it. The usual place is the top center or the top right corner of the blog. 
  • Use an icon visitors can easily recognize. The magnifying glass is a globally accepted icon. 
  • The search bar design matters too. You can experiment by placing it within the bar. Here’s an example below. 
Example of search icon within the search bar
Source

Or use one that expands like the one on Pitchfork

Search bar example from Pitchfork

You can easily add a mobile-friendly search bar from the Shopify store—it comes with autocorrect, search suggestions, and spelling recognition. 

2. Limit the number of drop-down menu options

If you feel leaving your customers spoilt for choice will lead them to convert, think again! 

The famous jam study indicated that choice wasn’t always a motivating factor for customers. It impedes customers from making decisions. 

You’ve to balance out your distractions and how to offer customers what they’re looking for. This boils down to optimizing your navigation accordingly. 

It all depends on how big a product catalog you have. If you have somewhere higher than 5 options, you can consider going for a drop-down menu. However, it’s not ideal when your list increases to more than 10. 

It’s absolutely necessary to avoid long drop-down menus since they make users scroll to see all the options, which isn’t a good option. If you have a long list of categories, consider choosing a mega menu. 

FleetFeet presents its homepage dropdown smartly. 

Homepage drop-down menu from FleetFeet

Although its product list exceeds 10 options, it keeps the dropdown limited to 9 options and adds an “All” option for customers who want to explore more. Clicking on All directly takes users to the category page. 

For your Shopify website, you can hover to the Navigation section of your admin page to customize items on your dropdown menu easily. 

3. Use other alternatives to image carousels

There was a time when image carousels wowed customers. Now, they’re just bad conversion elements. 

eCommerce image carousels are too fast, too confusing, and too difficult for customers to control and use to find what they’re looking for. 

So should you stop using them altogether? Well, you have 2 options: 

  • If you have to use them, make necessary optimizations so that they aren’t as intrusive.
  • Use other alternatives to image carousels

Some of the image carousel optimizations you can make are: 

  • Avoid auto-playing slides. Offer visitors complete control over browsing the carousels. 
  • Experiment with touch-friendly sliders. This is all the more helpful for mobile devices. 
  • Limit slider number to 5. If you don’t want users to become impatient and drop off, keep only 5 or fewer sliders on your homepage. 

If you don’t want to go ahead with sliders, consider using content blocks, segmented homepages, or adding a video or a strong value proposition in the space. 

See how Made presents its product list horizontally by adding arrow navigation on top instead of letting the product slide on its own. 

Example of image slider from Made‍

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