How to Increase Your Shopify Store's Conversions

This guide was created to help eCommerce entrepreneurs create high-converting Shopify stores.

Time-tested strategies

Shopify is the top website for creating an online store. It’s used by some of the most established and popular eCommerce companies in the world. But launching on Shopify doesn’t guarantee success. You can’t take the build-it-and-they’ll-come approach to online business.

This guide was created to help ecommerce entrepreneurs create high-converting Shopify stores.
Shopify is the top website for creating an online store. It’s used by some of the most established and popular eCommerce companies in the world. But launching on Shopify doesn’t guarantee success. You can’t take the build-it-and-they’ll-come approach to online business.

There are many generic blogs about Shopify conversion rate optimization. We tried to cut out the obvious things and dive straight to the substance. This guide will not walk you through how to pick a Shopify theme or set up an account. Think of this resource as Shopify 201, where you’re introduced to best practices and tactics for driving more of the right prospects to your website, increasing conversion rates and average order values, and maintaining strong customer retention.

We’ve tested these tactics on our own businesses. At, we buy DTC stores who’ve achieved $5 million in annual sales on their own. Then we apply the same tactics found in this playbook to help them scale and increase conversions. We’ve sourced the ideas in this guide from years in the field, working alongside top experts and helping leading eCommerce brands.

With that said, this guide isn’t for every DTC brand. It will be most effective for companies who’ve already achieved at least $1 million in annual sales. Also, this isn’t a list of one-off tactics to help you hack your way to slightly better sales. These ideas won’t help you cut corners to temporarily boost conversions. No, this guide is for DTC brands who’re ready to take their store to the next level by following user experience best practices and tactics that the A-players in eCommerce are using to get ahead.

These steps require time, people, and resources. Once applied, we believe these steps will help you design a site experience that customers get excited about. If that sounds like your style, then let’s dive in.


Underlying philosophy

Every article has an angle, an inherent bias. We decided to try to call a few of our known biases out up front. We see these as the underlying philosophies behind this guide.

The majority of Shopify optimization guides deal exclusively with on-site conversion tactics. We’ll cover many of those as well. Except we also want to cover other pieces of the marketing funnel. Specifically, we believe no conversion strategy is complete without a holistic view of the customer experience. Rather than only considering the branding on our ecommerce store, we apply our brand to every touchpoint in the marketing funnel: ads, delivery updates and boxes, blog posts, email blasts, and Amazon listings.

Customer experience drives online conversions in 2022. And perhaps more importantly, it also drives customer retention, helping you create a store that not only converts, but also grows and gains fans over time.

Many members of our team began in SaaS before moving to eCommerce. We believe that B2B experience gives this guide and our work a unique flavor. Specifically, we bring a data- and statistics-based approach to every new project, something that’s common in B2B and far less common in DTC.


Part 1

Design a conversion-optimized Shopify store 

Tell one story

Our goal in every new Shopify project is to create a fast, singular web experience that carries the same style, story, and design from one page (or platform) to the next.

One of the strengths of Shopify is that you can invest as much or as little as you like to design a store. As you consider how to update your website, customer experience comes first. It’s easy to bloat your store with clunky features that don’t move the needle for your business.

As a rule, it takes money, time, and talented people to achieve the best site experience. Many Shopify apps don’t work well together. Having too many (or the wrong ones) can significantly slow your site speed. As you design your store, consider every plugin through the lens of one question: Does this tool add or detract from the larger story or I’m trying to tell?

If it detracts, build the tool custom, or go without.


User experience is the foundation of conversions


“The principles of conversion are laced within user experience.”

- Nirav Sheth, founder of Anatta


It’s 2022. People have been using the internet to shop for years. That means they have certain expectations about what an online store, shopping cart, and website flow should generally look like. When you deviate too far from these customer expectations, you cause confusion and frustration—and by extension a low conversion rate.

The industry standards for user experience are captured well by Nielsen Norman Group and Baymard. Here’s a quick overview of what should be included in a user-friendly website:

  • Fast site speed

  • Simple navigation

  • Low bounce rate

  • Mobile and desktop optimized

What does this have to do with conversions?

User experience is just a web designer’s way of asking: How easy is it for site visitors to accomplish what they want to on your website?

The better your user experience, the easier it is for people to move from passive web visitors to new customers. For example, most websites receive about 50% mobile traffic. If your website isn’t mobile optimized, you’re likely losing a lot of sales.

There are many ways to improve your user experience. Just going off the list above, you can reduce image sizes to increase site speed. Put your most-clicked navigation button to the leftmost position in the nav bar to shorten the distance to clicks. You can reduce bounce rates through creating better content.


Intuitive site navigation

Can your prospects find what they’re looking for?

Navigation is one of the most important design choices for any eCommerce website. Prospects must be able to easily find the products or information they’re looking for. This means designing your site with intuitive navigation that matches user experience best practices.

Most consumers have done enough shopping online to have ingrained expectations about how to shop online. It’s your job to give them what they’re looking for—and then some.

There are multiple ways to help customers find what they’re looking for. Your most important design choice is to organize your products by most popular products and by clear product categories.

When someone arrives on your home page, they should immediately be able to find your most popular products. There should also be one or more dropdown menus that allow the user to quickly sort for the product they’re looking for based on categories.

On the Layla Sleep website, one of our categories is “Mattresses.” This turns into a dropdown menu that features the three top selling mattresses by name, as well as a link to “See All Mattresses.” Here, Layla Sleep makes it easy for site visitors to shop the most popular lines, while also making it clear where to go for additional mattress options.


Prioritize the most-clicked categories by positioning them on the far sides of the top-level navigation menu. The far sides are the two most commonly clicked areas.


Navigation tip:
An SEO consultant suggested that site navigation should follow this formula: > collections/pages > product category > products > exact product


Home page

Home will be one of the most commonly visited pages on your website. This is where first brand impressions occur, how product and promotion discoveries are made, and where people begin to understand what your company stands for. 

Here are the most common elements of a strong Shopify home page.

Hero image:

Your hero image—also called “above the fold—is the area on a user’s screen as soon as they arrive on your website (and before they begin scrolling). It’s a site visitor’s first impression of your product and brand, making it one of the most important pieces of your website to get right.

A good hero image should achieve a few things:

  • Capture the visitor’s attention with a benefit-driven headline 

  • Give site visitors a first glimpse at your product

  • Include a clear call to action to help visitors immediately find what they’re looking for

  • Provide social proof to build immediate confidence in your product


“When it comes to graphics, videos, and product photography, you can’t cut corners. Differentiate your brand and product through real design, not some off-the-shelf template. When I visit the best eCommerce stores, it’s a customized experience.”

- David Hauser


Top products and current promotions

Cut straight to the chase. Showcase your top selling products and any special promotions you’re running. The home page gives site visitors a high-level view of your business. You don’t have space to discuss every product variation or feature. Showcase your core product—or anything that has a special promotion.

Consider how Athletic Greens displays their top product, with multiple buying options that include special discounts.


Social proof

Social proof comes in many forms. You can use customer reviews, media and client logos, and numbers from customer results. The purpose of social proof is to show two things: demand and customer satisfaction for your product.


Customer-focused introduction to your brand

Your copy should always cater to customer benefits, even when you’re talking about your brand. People are self interested. They care less about your origin story or founder than they care about what your product does for them.

Still, you can talk about your brand in a way that emphasizes the benefits you offer customers.

At Perfect Keto, we introduce our founder as a form of social proof. “Doctor-developed. Backed by science.” technically tells the customer about our origin story. But on a deeper level, we’re telling customers that they can trust our process and ingredients.


Benefits and high-level features

Think big picture. If you’re in the health food space, you can talk about the higher-level benefits like clean eating, helping people feel and look better, and the quality of your ingredients. On the home page, you don’t necessarily want to dive into the specifics of an exact product's benefits. Consider adding content that instead gives context for the benefits every product in your store offers customers.


Opportunities to engage

Invite prospects to follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletter. This shows site visitors that your brand extends beyond the four corners of your website. You meet customers right where they’re at, including their favorite social channels.


Product offer page

The product offer page—also called a landing page—is where customer buying decisions are won and lost. Here’s what you should know about increasing conversions on these pages.

Page length varies by product complexity

“Is there a lot to say about your product?” asks Ezra Firestone, a Shopify expert and founder of Smart Marketer. If there’s a lot to say about your product—such as in the case of a healthy food that deserves ingredient breakdowns or an electronic device—then you should consider a long form landing page. Simple items like clothing deserve only a traditional product offer page

No matter the design or length of the product page, the core elements of your offer should be visible in what’s known as the “buy box.” This is the hero section of the product page. Prospects should have the ability to learn about your product, select their size and quantity, view product images, and add the item to cart—all before they ever have to scroll.


Elements of a strong offer (conversion assets)


“There are some basic templates I see used across many eCommerce sites. But testing—especially headlines and images—is the best way to go.

- Robbie Thomas


Here are the core elements to include on your offer page:

  • Product photos: There are two kinds of product images. They include images on plain backgrounds (from multiple angles) and lifestyle images (where viewers can see the product in context). For some products, a third image type is “how it’s made.” These are graphics that show either how the product is built or its ingredients. According to Ezra Firestone, the most-clicked part of any landing page is the “next image” button in the image carousel. That’s why you should include at least six product photos per landing page, giving prospects a clear picture of what they’re looking to buy.

  • (Optional) Gif or short video for the image carousel: The video can include simple instructions for using the product, a customer testimonial, or even just a video of someone using or enjoying your product.

  • Quantity / variant selector: This is where customers can select between flavors, sizes, and colors. They have the choice to order one item or several. 

  • Clear copy: There are many approaches to effective copywriting. Some of the key things to remember are: keep your message simple, focus on the benefit your product offers to the customer, tell the reader who this product is for, and describe the practical features that your product offers the customer. More often than not, the shorter your copy, the better.

  • Purchase safety: You want to make the customer feel safe buying from you, especially if it’s their first time. The best ways to bolster their confidence is through purchase guarantees, clear return policies, free trials, or free samples. The more you can do to remove risk from the buying experience, the more likely prospects are to buy.

  • Customer review: Use a review from your ideal customer to create effective social proof on the page. If you have the choice between multiple reviews, Ezra Firestone says to “pick one that enthusiastically endorses the product” - 

  • Clear buy button: Here, you want clear language like: Add to cart, Buy now, Add to bag, etc. One of the mistakes people have with CTA copy is trying to be cute instead of clear. The highest converting CTAs prioritize clarity over playfulness.

  • Special promotion: This is a tactic you will use to increase the conversion rate, average order value, or both. Special promotions might include upsells, product bundles, subscriptions, gamified shopping experiences (like earned free shipping or discounts through purchase minimums), or limited time or quantity displayed on the page. Every special promotion is meant to instill FOMO in the prospect, which results in more sales, at a higher average price.


Build campaign-specific landing pages


“If you’re driving traffic using paid ads or influencer partnerships, you’ll probably want a direct response LP that convinces someone to make a purchase after reading the page just once. In my experience organic doesn’t convert as well as paid traffic, so you might set a goal of email collection so you can then nurture that person towards a purchase using an email drip campaign.”

- Robbie Thomas


In the next section of this guide, we’ll dive into your brand experience off the Shopify store. These are the experiences that happen across podcasts, email, social media, and beyond that enrich the customer experience. 

Before we dive into that subject, let’s dive into one more element of your Shopify store: campaign-specific landing pages. When a customer arrives on your website from an ad, you want the messaging on that page to match the message in the brand ad. That means creating landing pages for several types of campaigns and brand interactions.


Partnering with influencers to advertise products is a powerful marketing channel. When a prospect learns about your company through the influencer, the prospect still doesn’t know (or necessarily trust) your brand or product yet. But they likely trust the person advertising your product. 

To carry that trust, it’s smart to create landing pages for every influencer. This page will include a picture of the influencer, as well as other personalized details like their name or special promotion code.


SEO and digital ad landing pages

Prospects want to see cogency between a link they click and the landing page they arrive on. The key phrase you use to rank on Google should be clear on the landing page that it leads to. The offer and call to action on your Facebook ad should match the offer and call to action on the landing page. The same can be said about visuals: your brand message at one touchpoint should carry across all other touchpoints in the campaign.


Optimizing the Cart


“Offer gamification to the cart. People should be able to unlock things like free shipping or discounts. You need to make things as quick as possible — introducing Apple, Amazon, and Google Pay — to check out fast.”

- Nirav Sheth


Your cart is one of the most overlooked opportunities to increase average order value. Here are some tactics you can use to increase per-transaction revenue.

Gamify the cart experience

There are multiple ways to gamify the checkout experience to raise the average order value. The most common technique is rewarding customers who meet a certain minimum order value. When a customer crosses that threshold, you can automatically enroll them for free shipping, a small gift, or a discount toward a future purchase. 

Shoppers who haven’t yet reached that order value will be incentivized to do a little more shopping just to meet the threshold, raising your average order value.

Add one-click upsells

You can also add featured products on the checkout page to encourage last-minute sales. This can be an unsell of the current product in their cart. For example, if the client selected the 8-count box, the one-click upsell might be a 12-count of the same item.

You can also upsell using related products. If someone is checking out with a pair of leggings, you can add an option to one-click add the matching top. 

Offer bundles

Tap into past sales data to understand which products are commonly purchased together. When a customer is in the cart with only one of those items, you can have a section marketing one or more items that are commonly purchased with that product. You can make the offer even sweeter with a message like “bundle and save.” Give a discount to customers buying related products.

Offer a subscription

Many products in categories like food, skincare, and healthcare are needed on a recurring basis. Offer discounts to customers who subscribe for weekly or monthly subscriptions to your product.


Customer-driven copywriting

Some of the best copy is written by customers. Customers speak with emotion. They tell you the reason behind their purchase. They explain the features they love. You can gather customer language through interviews or review mining. But one of our favorite tactics is placing surveys on pages where decisions really happen. 

Make it a standard practice to run a Hotjar survey on pages where customers are making decisions. The survey should ask “Is there anything holding you back from buying this product?”

Use the answers from your Hotjar survey to improve your copy. If you see a trend with people asking how your product tastes, you’re going to need to do a better job of describing the taste.


“I like to look for companies that have products that require some level of customer education. The challenge in explaining a novel product or concept usually forces the company to use good copywriting. The best hack for spying on companies whose advertising you respect is to look at all the ads they’re running using Facebook’s ad library. Click the links in the ads to see what landing pages they’re sending traffic to.”

- Robbie Thomas


Split Testing

We will finish the first half of this guide with the most important element of conversions: testing.

You can glean a lot by following user experience best practices, gamifying your cart, and using customer reviews on your core landing pages. But at the end of the day, every tactic must be tested. The highest converting eCommerce stores are aggressive split testers.

Whether this means testing large elements that have the potential to make a noticeable impact on conversion rate or small things that may cause incremental improvements, top stores have systems for testing. You don’t want to leave money on the table. Come up with your best ideas. Then put those ideas against one another to determine a statistically-significant winner.

Tools for testing: 

  • Unbounce and Zipify for building landing pages. Both tools allow you to A/B test different versions of a page using the same URL. 

  • Google Optimize to track changes to your website

  • HotJar (for heatmaps and qualitative feedback)

  • Woopra provides real time analytics across different touch points

When you’re starting out, begin by testing the biggest items. Test header images and above the fold copy on your home and landing pages. Once you have those optimized, you can begin moving below the fold to the incremental changes.

Statistical proof creates confidence. That’s exactly what we want to feel about the performance of every page in your store.


Part 2

Customer journey: How to maintain brand identity across channels

Creating a high-converting Shopify store doesn’t stop with the Shopify platform. Every customer experience, across any channel, is an opportunity to impact future sales. For the remainder of this guide, we’ll introduce you to the conversion optimization tactics you can implement across all channels.

Marketing funnels and customer retention 

It’s common to talk about marketing as a funnel. There is the top of the funnel, where media like social networks, news coverage, blog posts that rank on Google, and various forms of advertising can introduce consumers to your general brand and message. As consumers get to know your brand, they move further down the funnel, where they become aware of your brand and products in relation to their own needs. A little further down the funnel, you have a purchase.

Then there is retention media: typically email and SMS. Retention media only occurs when customers (or leads) give you their direct contact information, usually in the form of their email address or phone number. They have given you permission to contact them again in the future, potentially leading to recurring sales and customer retention.

Every new subscriber is a potential future sale. It’s much easier (and cheaper!) to sell using retention media than discovery media. To continue our thread from earlier in the guide, every channel should carry the same singular story of your brand. Whether someone visits your website, sees your ad, or receives your newsletter, they should recognize the underlying brand.

For the remainder of this guide, we’ll discuss how to maintain that brand identity across your marketing channels.


Ads and organic

Media buying

Paid media isn’t just Facebook ads. The most successful eCommerce companies rely on non-traditional advertising forms. A few years ago, before social media advertising became a standard (and flooded) practice, it worked effectively for many brands. Today, the same reach is harder to get. 

Two notable channels for eCommerce advertising are influencer marketing and sponsored podcasts. Both of these channels deliver more value for ad spend than they receive credit—and business investment—for.


Creative production (organic media)

A core part of marketing on the web comes down to strategic creative production. You need discoverable resources that hook your target market and draw them to your website. We’re talking about SEO, social media, and YouTube or podcasts. 

These creative resources come in many forms. ECommerce stores might use a combination of videos, photos, graphics, articles, software, templates, and ebooks. And that’s not even an exhaustive list. There are many articles about how to create effective social media posts, videos, and blogs. Instead of focusing on what your team can create, we’re going to double down on the content we’ve found to be most impactful for sales: user generated content.

Professional creators versus user generated content

For an eCommerce store, the creative production and sourcing of content is one of the most underrated tasks in an organization. Think of an eCommerce store. The agency is creating beautiful photos that align with your brand colors, font, and core messaging. These photos can be used across landing pages. Quality is high and you see the results in conversions.

But when it comes to moving the needle for content that doesn’t appear on Shopify (such as social media, YouTube, and blogs), we’ve found that customers create some of the highest-converting content. The catch is, how do you convince customers to create on your behalf? That’s where it gets tricky. 

Customer-sourced content

Start by looking for what already exists. If your company has achieved $1 million in sales, there’s likely already some user generated content floating around the internet about your brand. There’s no easy way to put this: finding user generated content is a manual (and often time consuming process).

You can hire a VA to run your social accounts. They can respond to comments, plan posts, and create a publishing schedule. You can also train them to browse relevant hashtags and channels to discover creative content from customers. Have them get in touch with people who are posting about your product. 

Once you’ve scoured the web for all existing mentions and content about your brand, it’s time to begin commissioning it. If you’re reaching out cold, find creators with less than 10,000 followers who want to improve their presence. These artists often want to prove themselves. They’ll be more willing to give you an awesome batch of photos for a lot less than established creatives. 

Just like you test headlines on your Shopify store, you should test the user generated content. When images, videos, and articles perform well, you can double down. Test and invest is your strategy on every channel.


“If you can’t use your own customers, there are a number of services like that have a directory of content creators you can pick and choose from. It’s imperative that a content creator understands your product: what it is, who buys it, and the benefits it offers.”

- Robbie Thomas


Retention media: Email and SMS

First, retention media is not limited to newsletters and marketing email blasts. In fact, some of the most powerful retention elements of email and SMS happen in the simplest (and most overlooked) customer and brand interactions. 

Consider shipping. Most Shopify users rely on the most basic notification templates to update customers about their order. This means that the most important interaction a customer has with your product—when they receive and use it for the first time—is preceded by a templated, thoughtless interaction via email: “Your order was delivered.” This is a major missed opportunity.

Instead, you can customize your email or SMS messages with highly branded interactions. What if, on the day your package was scheduled to arrive, the customer received a message from you containing a short video. “Your order arrives today. Here’s how to get the most out of the product.”

A brief video for education can make the first experience the customer has with your product even more enriching. Every engagement you have with customers—from newsletters to social media posts to shipping notifications—is an opportunity to foster a strong relationship with them (and improve the likelihood of future sales).

Retention media is also ideal for integrating rewards to encourage more purchases or even remind an inactive customer about your brand. “You just got 7 points toward your next purchase.” Those sort of messages encourage reengagement with the brand.

Permission-based marketing

The marketing term for email and SMS is permission-based marketing. As opposed to disruptive marketing (like ads), permission-based marketing is more affordable and effective because customers provide you with their personal contact information. 

There are two primary ways to begin this type of communication with customers. The first is to simply request their contact information during the checkout experience during their first purchase. The upside here is that the customer already shows they trust your brand. They’re purchasing your product, after all. Also, the customer is expecting some form of contact from you because of shipping. The other approach to gaining a prospect’s contact information is through a relevant lead magnet.


The lead magnet

Figure out the biggest pain point you can solve for free.
— Matt McMonagle

A lead magnet is a form of value that your business gives away in exchange for someone’s contact information. Lead magnets come in many forms:

  • Ebooks

  • Templates

  • Calculators

  • Software

  • Discounts

  • Whitepapers 

  • Courses

  • Recipes

  • Book chapters

Really, a lead magnet can take almost any form, depending on your ideal audience. A B2B company may give away an industry whitepaper. A DTC food brand may give away healthy recipes. An author may give away the first chapter of their upcoming book. 

The key to a good lead magnet is knowing your customer and then delivering the highest-value and most relevant thing that you can give for free.


eCommerce is still in the early days

We’re still in the early days of eCommerce. Yes, the pandemic brought many new businesses online. The landscape is more competitive than ever. But the move to online shopping has barely begun. Future demand will be much higher than it is today. Massive opportunities exist for the eCommerce brands that put customers first and deliver quality products.

It’s helpful to think of eCommerce as growing in new categories. Sure, some items like books have been commonplace online for a long time. But food? eCommerce has barely made a dent in this industry. For many industries, the path online has only just begun.

As we’ve communicated throughout this guide, the most successful brands don’t limit their focus to a single website. Shopify is only one channel out of several. The most successful companies use every channel—from the unboxing experience to social media content to shipping updates—to build memorable brand experiences. 

The most successful eCommerce brands aren’t those that optimize for one-time purchases. They play the long game, fostering a lasting relationship through the use of good storytelling, great products, and a brand that customers see everywhere, and could recognize anywhere. 

At the end of the day, creating a high-converting Shopify store is not about temporary tactics. It’s about telling a bigger story that’s consistent across all customer interactions. A seamless shopping experience, across many channels, is the conversion formula of the most successful eCommerce stores. 


About buys and grows DTC & SaaS brands. If you are in the market to sell a brand or know someone who is, please contact us to see if there’s a good fit!