Over 1.75 million merchants use the Shopify platform to sell their products. The number of merchants has grown 4.66x since 2016.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
1. Highlight transactional elements over content-rich elements
When your homepage is your main landing page, you’d want your shoppers to prioritize certain actions over others.
Let’s be very clear about one thing: when a visitor lands upon your Shopify homepage, your primary intention is to have them buy from you (even if it takes a while).
This is why you’ll need to prioritize your transactional elements if you want your visitors to act in bottom line impacting ways.
This could mean a bunch of things including:
- Highlighting transactional links across primary navigation, hamburger menus etc.
- Featuring only selective content-rich elements in the primary menu
- Displaying content-rich elements in the footer menu
While content-rich information helps visitors know your brand, company and policies better, transactional links reveal offer-led landing pages, product listing pages and individual product pages themselves.
For Cuvee Coffee, as an example, “buy coffee” and “find coffee” precede every other element on their primary navigation menu.
Here are a few to-remember aspects when you’re highlighting transactional elements over content-rich ones:
- Create a balance between transactional and non-transactional aspects for shoppers to feel convinced about buying from you
Here’s how outdoor clothing brand Patagonia does it, without a lot of fanfare.
Their primary menu features two explicitly transactional elements (“shop” and “sports”) and non-transactional elements (“activism” and “stories”) each.
- Keep transactional elements less hidden compared to content-rich elements
You can afford to keep content-rich elements out of direct sight because those aspects don’t need immediate action.
This is why some brands choose to highlight ONLY transactional elements in their primary navigation.
The following is an example from Vanity Planet.
2. Place textual & visual info based on scanning patterns
While considering CRO techniques for your Shopify homepage, you’ve got to consider eye tracking patterns that visitors use to absorb and process information. This is not consciously done, but nevertheless have a big impact on what a visitor first notices and what they decide to act on.
- The Z pattern
This pattern of scanning has been noticed specifically on landing pages that have a fair amount of negative space and not a whole lot of textual information. As the Z shape naturally describes, the shopper’s eyes travel from the left to the right then drops some way diagonally to the left again, then to the right.
If you consider the Z pattern for your Shopify homepage, here are a few factors you may want to keep in mind:
- The first horizontal line at the top sweeps through the most important elements the shopper’s eyes need to absorb & process
- The diagonal line right after, sweeping from top right to bottom left, needs to feature a content build-up that nudges the shopper to click on the CTA
- The horizontal line at the bottom needs to feature the CTA at some point to close the first loop of information followed by action
Here’s an example from the homepage of Zalando. Notice how the Z pattern plays out above-the-fold.
- The F pattern
This pattern of homepage content scanning is born out of the most natural way in which people scan languages read from left to right.
It causes a deviation for those who read from right to left, but the truth is, most of the world reads from left to right.
Conversions attributed to the F pattern are for a simple reason - when people are able to read and absorb information without extra effort, chances are they will also be likely to act effortlessly.
If you consider the F pattern for your Shopify homepage, here are a few things you may need to look into:
- The topmost horizontal line needs to establish brand and navigation effectively
- The next couple of lines are predominantly meant for the visual that’s either conveying facets of a product or showing people using it
- The last lines are reserved for chunks of text, by which time shoppers are ready to scan more than look for detail
Take a look at the following homepage example from sustainable fashion brand Allbirds.
3. Minimize visual clutter to highlight the brand narrative
Most of your visitors consider your homepage as their gateway into the rest of your brand. So, when you’re deciding on your information and visual hierarchy, steer clear of visual clutter.
Beyond lack of aesthetics, visual clutter is known to promote what is called “cognitive load”. It refers to an overstressed working memory that has to put in more effort to accomplish simple tasks. In short, it’s bad news.
One big reason you may want to get rid of visual clutter is to make your brand narrative on the homepage stand out, as a shopper scrolls.
The following screenshots are from the homepage of travel accessory brand Away - notice how they’ve managed to feature multiple visual and informational elements without creating clutter. The brand also manages to retain a steady narrative across their homepage flow.
Here are a few measures you’d want to consider to make sure your Shopify homepage remains clutter-free:
- Keep only those aspects which are in line with the main purpose behind your website
- Avoid putting the same promotion in multiple places
- Create a strong linking strategy to figure the select products and pages you’ll link to
- Use clear content blocks to distinguish from design elements & white space
Love what you're reading? We think you'll love this too: 11 Lesser-Known Customizations For Your Shopify Product Pages
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.
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.
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.
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).
Still forming your personal views on Conversion Rate Optimization? Reading this might help further: 10 Common CRO Myths: Debunked
1. Make space for your most popular offerings
The majority of above-the-fold real estate on a homepage belongs to the hero banner.
After all, it’s given that name - “hero” - for a very good reason.
This amplifies the importance of what you place in the banner space - whether you choose the carousel approach with multiple offerings, one bold image or a couple of slides only.
When a shopper first lands on your Shopify homepage, this is the space that greets them.
So, the hero banner needs to achieve at least some of the following, if its existence has to be justified:
- Showcase what your brand is about. How it can help through its products and why it exists to make a difference in the world, make for stories that shoppers are curious about.
- Educate about your offerings. Awareness building is necessary if you want your shoppers to choose your products, but for all the right reasons.
- Communicate the singular value proposition. This is essentially what sets your products apart from similar products out there. And anyone willing to engage with your brand, NEEDS to see why they must continue to do so. The USP will drive home that point.
- Convey an important announcement. It could be about a new product range or about a seasonal sitewide discount.
In the example below, notice how pet brand Barkbox brings shoppers to notice their subscription service for dogs. The hero banner, in this case, achieves a great balance between copy and visual.
Hestan, the cookware brand, takes a very different approach on the other hand.
It showcases multiple offerings in the hero banner space - making it a carousel that’s a combination of auto and manual horizontal scrolling.
2. Use visuals that evoke strong emotional reaction
We’re all familiar with what they say about first impressions. It gets truer when it comes to the hero banner.
Treat this header section as the mood setter for shoppers.
This is where they get a sense of what your brand stands for and how your products can impact their lives.
And this is why the visuals you use in this above-the-fold section, become so vital.
From humor to surprise to a sense of wellness to a feeling of satisfaction, the hero banner visual is in charge of creating an emotional response.
Here are a few considerations to ensure your hero banner image is doing what you intended for it to do:
- Bring life into it. If you’re highlighting a new product launch for example, showing the products in a carousel, with relevant images, may make a lot of sense.
- Make sure the details are seen and registered. Especially if you offer products that are known for their craftsmanship and fine-tuning. Think tech accessories or home decor.
- Offer more control to the shopper. If you’re using a carousel, ensure you offer them a way to manually control the speed of one image changing to another. Using elements like parallax scrolling and pause buttons can be beneficial.
The following example from Michael Aram shows how a relevant hero banner image can instantly tell shoppers what they can expect from a brand and its products.
Fashion brand Thom Browne, on the other hand, reserves a video for the hero banner space. The video sets the mood for a new collection that the brand is launching.
3. Make copy & visual work together to drive home the USP
While it may not be immediately obvious to shoppers, a brand conveys its USP in the hero banner both through visual and copy.
Typically, while the visual works to create an emotional response, the text clarifies or informs or entices and so on.
Since the USP is the key messaging that a shopper needs to get to know the moment they step on to your homepage, it’s ideal that copy & visual work hand-in-hand to deliver it.
Here are a few important considerations to keep in mind while you’re working on this aspect:
- Keep the brand at the center of the messaging. This will ensure your header visual(s) and the tone you communicate with in your copy, are aligned to the big picture.
- Identify a clear benefit or point of recall. For example, if you’re selling a lifestyle product, the USP may be in conveying a certain aspect of the lifestyle you promise to shoppers.
- Help your buyers imagine a new reality. Quite obviously, that’s why your brand and your products exist.
Take the example of Sunday Lawn Care.
The brand exquisitely works out its copy and visuals (in a video) in a combination to convey how a shopper might enjoy the advantages of its products.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Or use one that expands like the one on 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.
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.
Looking to deepen your Shopify CRO knowledge? Here's something that can help: 30 Shopify product page templates (+ stunning real-world examples)
1. Include social proof in your information hierarchy
To think every shopper will have the time, patience and inclination to go into product pages to find social proof, is to believe in the ideal.
On the contrary, when shoppers land up on your Shopify homepage, they’re looking for a bunch of good reasons to not drop off.
Give them relevant social proof right at this stage, and it’s likely you’ll lower bounce rates and improve the chances of conversion.
The “wisdom of the crowd” as they call it can often have a positive impression on the minds of those who are unfamiliar with a brand.
Social proof actively displayed on a homepage means a number of things including:
- The brand is confident about what it is putting out there in the world. And have existing buyers vouch for it.
- Others in the social system are familiar with the brand’s products, and hence, someone new can easily put their trust in them.
Wondering how to weave social proof into your Shopify homepage? Here are a few approaches you may want to try - aligning with what works best with your product category and brand values.
- Introduce media mentions. When you explicitly display some big media names that have carried news or articles about your products, shoppers breathe a sigh of relief.
- Crunch some seriously impactful numbers. Statistics prove that you’ve done your homework around data and gathering insights from them. Also, people generally like to buy into anything that creates a large scale impact - it makes them feel like they’re making a difference too!
- Carry customer reviews and ratings. A good idea is to especially pull out a few that reflect a trustworthy brand experience. The more product specific reviews can be embedded into the respective product pages.
- Link to the page that features case studies. This can be especially relevant for those looking into the details and perhaps wondering if a long-term engagement with your brand and its products is possible.
The following example is from Frida, a brand that focuses on new mothers and babies. They’ve incorporated a video with a nice narrative based on real reviews by real customers.
Casper, the sleep accessory brand, on the other hand, brings in their social proof right after shoppers have scrolled past their above-the-fold section.
Along with a review, they place a product that can catch a shopper’s attention.
2. Ensure customer service is accessible & actually offers support
While shoppers often gain trust reading and watching what buyers have said, they also look for a step closer home: one where their real-time queries are attended to.
This is where customer service comes into the picture on your Shopify homepage.
The idea is to ensure customers don’t have to enter a special “help” zone or get into a product page to seek help.
Here are a few ways you can ensure your homepage becomes an instant source of customer support:
- Introduce a “support” section in the footer. Make sure your contact information, FAQs and any other information around policies & registration figure here. Here’s an example from Frida.
- Clearly mention a phone number. And ensure someone human is assigned to take calls at the end of it. Truwood Watches, for example, offers up their customer support number upfront on their homepage footer.
- Empower the “help” section with a virtual assistant option. This is just in case a shopper isn’t able to have their questions answered through a FAQ section. Just like fashion brand ASOS does alongside a strong FAQ feature.
3. Reveal important pieces of brand journey & company information
It’s true that shoppers may not be as convinced by what a brand says about itself as they’d be by customers.
Nevertheless, a brand still retains the accountability of informing shoppers why it exists, what its approach is and how it is going about making a difference.
Along with a brand narrative that cites the brand’s journey, citing important company information also becomes relevant on the homepage.
Here are a few ways you can establish credibility by featuring important pieces of company information on your homepage:
- Share your brand’s story. Since most buyers love the human touch, inviting them to learn about your company has its own special appeal. Cereal brand Magic Spoon ensures this is done well.
- Introduce shoppers to your brand values. After all the values you produce and deliver with become equivalent to the experience customers can expect from you. Take a leaf out of footwear brand Mahabis’ homepage.
- Make your corporate information super transparent. Even if you don’t want to take up too much space in the main homepage narrative, make sure you feature the relevant links in the footer section. Just like Timberland does.
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