The Stockroom has been up and running for 9 months now.
In that time, we’ve generated just over $70,000 in sales, acquired 1,256 customers and drove over 300,000 visits to our website.
We’re pretty proud of the early success The Stockroom has experienced as a new ecommerce business, especially considering that we’ve spent almost nothing on advertising or marketing for our store.
However, a lot of the traffic was driven to our website as a benefit of being part of Shopify, a company with a substantial online audience and brand recognition.
At this point in our journey, we’re ready to turn the dial up on our growth. We want to start experimenting with different marketing strategies to acquire more customers and make more sales.
However, before we take out our credit card and start scheduling Facebook ads, we want to make sure that The Stockroom is set up for success and that we won’t be leaving any money on the table.
In more technical ecommerce jargon— we need to optimize our website for conversions.
The first step in conversion optimization is to make sure every action on your website is being recorded.
The reason being, is that your website data can reveal what makes your potential customers purchase from you.
Once you gain an understanding of how your potential customers interact with your business, you can make the appropriate changes to your website to optimize for more purchases.
If you are using Shopify then you are already tracking user behavior on your website and collecting data automatically with Shopify reports.
However, since data is so valuable to your business, I would suggest setting up additional free tracking so that you can collect as much data as possible, as early as possible.
It is no surprise that Google, the search engine king, has one of the best free data tracking platforms available.
Google Analytics is widely used by both large and small companies and often considered the gold standard when it comes to free tools.
That being said, since Google Analytics is a robust tool with a ton of great functionalities, figuring out how to use it for your business can be a daunting task.
At this point in our ecommerce journey I’m going to completely ignore the long list of tools and reports one gets access to with Google Analytics.
Right now, just making sure that I am capturing that data and tracking user behaviour is of the utmost importance. I don’t want to get bogged down in the details. I just want to make sure I am recording all of by website data, so I can analyze it later.
Here is how I setup Google Analytics in 3 short steps:
- Create a Google Analytics account
- Get your tracking ID at the bottom of the New Account page.
- Copy the Website Tracking from Google Analytics (it is a large block of code) and paste it into your Shopify store under Preferences -> Google Analytics
If you’ve installed the Tracking Code correctly you should see this on your Google Analytics account:
Ahh beautiful data! That blue line shows that we are collecting data on The Stockroom.
On top of Shopify Reports and Google Analytics we added a third data tracking platform to our store.
I know, it sounds like a lot, but trust me this is truly the bare-minimum you can do to make sure your store is capturing all of the most important data points that will allow you to make informed marketing decisions.
The Facebook Pixel will allow you to do two important things:
1. Track your Facebook ads performance
How many people who saw or clicked on your ad bought something from your store and how much did they spend?
2. Track your store traffic so you can retarget visitors with ads
Who has visited my store and has a Facebook profile, how recently did they visit my store and what pages did they look at?
Setting up the Facebook Pixel on my Shopify store was incredibly easy. Here is how you can do it, too.
Once you have a Facebook Page for your company, and create a Facebook Ads Manager account, you’ll get access to a Facebook Pixel to add to your store.
In the Ads Manager, head over to Pixels, which is under Assets in the navigation menu.
Hit Set up Pixel and you’ll be presented with two options.
If your website or online store uses Shopify, you get to select the first option which will give you three easy steps to installing your Facebook Pixel that don’t involve messing with your store’s code.
Here they are:
- Go to your Shopify Admin and click Settings then click Online Store
- There is a field on this page called Facebook Pixel. You just paste your pixel right in there and hit save.
- Jump back into your Ads Manager account and go to the Pixels page. If there is a small green dot next to your Pixel code name, your pixel is installed correctly 👍
Landing Page Optimization
Now that all of my customer behavior is being tracked through Shopify, Google, and Facebook, I wanted to try and step into the shoes of my customer and see what my website looks like through their eyes.
The first page I wanted to examine through a customer's perspective was the website page they are most likely going to visit after seeing an advertisement or endorsement.
This is usually referred to as a landing page.
There is a lot written about landing pages—how to build them, how to write copy for them, how to optimize them.
Since I am just getting started scaling my store, I am going to be pointing my customers to the product page as a default landing page for most of my advertisements or promotions.
With Shopify, your product page will naturally have most of they key information that a customer will be looking for if they are considering making a purchase:
- Photos and/or videos
- A description
- 3rd party reviews
While it may seem simple to add content to each of these, there is a big difference between filling up your product page with content and optimizing it for purchases.
Product Photos and Videos
Photos and videos have been proven to have the biggest influence on purchasing decisions over any other piece of material a customer looks at.
Photos and videos are what bridges the gap for customers shopping online who do not have the luxury of being able to touch, smell and appreciate a product in real life.
The visual assets you use on your website need to replicate this real life experience as closely as possible in order to win over customers shopping online.
This is what I did on my landing page for the 10x Journal, a product that I plan on promoting in my store.
On my product page, I made sure to include as many photos as possible that show the product from various different angles, and allow you to see what the journal’s page contents look like.
These photos are taken on a plain white background that really emphasizes the journal's beautiful design, which is accentuated by good lighting.
The photos for the 10x Journal were taken using the Foldio-2, a portable mini studio that allows you to take high quality product photos with no experience and just your smartphone as a camera.
In addition to the photos, there is also a product video embedded right in the product page.
This video provides an even more detailed look at the inside and outside of the journal, an explanation of how it works and how entrepreneurs can use it to be more productive.
There is a saying in ecommerce: Don’t describe your product, sell it.
I believe this saying was created to combat the tendency for people to describe their product in dry, technical, detail.
It is much easier to describe the physical details or a product, like in the case of the 10x Journal, it’s size, paper weight, materials and number of pages included.
To optimize my product description and make sure I am really selling the product, and not just describing it, I forced myself to answer the following questions:
1. Who is my ideal customer?
Once I figured this out I made sure I was speaking directly to them.
2. How does it work?
I didn’t just name the features, I also described the value they created.
3. What is it about my product that makes it different from competitors?
I made sure we told the story of the Journal’s origin and why it is solving a problem for Entrepreneurs.
Once I had answered these questions, I had a much more detailed and compelling sales pitch on my product page.
I still needed to add in some product specifications, to answer customers questions. I did this by listing them in concise bullet points at the end of the description so they would be easy to find and read, for those who were looking for it.
No matter how much time and effort I put into making my product seem great, I needed 3rd party unbiased confirmation that the 10x Journal delivered on all the claims I was making.
This is where product reviews come in.
Product reviews are a store owner's best friend. They provide two amazing benefits to your product page:
They provide social proof that customers have purchased and enjoyed your product
They provide additional details about your product which may fill in any gaps in your own description
There are many creative ways to generate product reviews. In December, I wrote a whole article about the tactics I used to get 50 product reviews in 1 week.
For now, I will just highlight two important things you should do to collect product reviews from past customers and make sure that you are getting more reviews going forward:
- If you haven’t already, email everyone who has purchased from your store and ask them for a product review.
Make sure to include some kind of freebie or discount offer in exchange for leaving a review. A small gesture, like 10% off their next order, goes a long way.
- Schedule an automated email to go out to customers asking them for a product review a few weeks after they make any future purchases.
Now that my landing page was looking good, I investigated the customer experience further to make sure my store was fully optimized at every stage, from cart to checkout to mail-after-purchase.
If a customer decided to add the product to their cart, I wanted to make sure that before they made their way to checkout, they were encouraged to buy some other products.
Once you start to pay for advertisements and promote your site actively, you will want to make sure that every purchase is of the highest value possible.
For example, if it costs you $20 to make a sale, and a customer is purchasing a journal for $36.99, and you can convince them to add a complimentary calendar to their order that costs $30.00, your return on ad spend nearly doubles.
To have an upsell offer appear before checkout, I used the app Boost Sales - Upsell & Cross sell.
The app was easy to install and allowed me create multiple different offers depending on what products were in the customer's cart and the value of their cart total.
Here is an example that would be shown to a customer if they were purchasing one of our free guides:
Abandoned Cart Campaign
There is nothing more devastating than abandoned carts. They just sit there, a reminder of the sale that almost was.
For the first couple of months our store was opened, we didn’t have any strategy for recovering abandoned carts.
After 6 months, we have 1980 and $73,727.77 in abandoned cart values.
It is unlikely that we could have convinced all of those customers to proceed with their purchase, but even if we recovered 10% of those sales, that is an additional $7k in revenue.
To begin trying to win back some of these missed sales, I scheduled an automated abandoned cart email to go out 24 hours after the cart was abandoned.
I did this through MailChimp. If you don’t have a MailChimp account I suggest creating one so you can start growing your email list. With MailChimp there is a Shopify app that connects your email list directly to your store and allows you to schedule automated abandoned cart emails.
Here is a look at the automated email I created:
Adding a discount code to this email is considered best practice. Any additional bonus you can offer these customers that will encourage them to purchase the items they were considering can have a big impact on recovering the sale.
Security and Social Proof
Even in 2017, many shoppers are still worried about checkout security and fraud when it comes to buying online.
I can’t blame them. Unlike a regular retail store, shopping online lacks the human face-to-face confirmation that you are purchasing from a trustworthy source.
Luckily, there are several things you can (and should) do on your website to reinstill confidence in customers that they are purchasing from a safe and secure location.
One thing that we do at the Stockroom is use images of ourselves— Jane and Mary-Rose— on multiple pages, especially the About Us page.
These images let the customers know exactly who is responsible for their orders, and ingrains trust that we will take responsibility if anything goes wrong with their order.
Adding an on-store chat option serves a similar purpose in assuring website visitors that there is real person behind your business, and one that you can trust with your money.
On The Stockroom we used the Facebook Messenger channel which was super easy to install and customize for our store.
Since adding the “Message Us” icon to the bottom of our store, we’ve been receiving roughly 3-8 messages a day. Customers ask us questions about our products, delivery time and even browse products through Facebook Messenger.
While all of the changes I did to my website are considered best practices for conversion optimization, this is just the beginning.
Once I begin actively marketing my store, the data will being to show me what further adjustments I need to make to drive more purchases.
To make it easy for you to optimize your website for conversions, I’ve shortened this blog post into a concise checklist and am giving it away for free, as digital product:
I’ve also gone ahead and added in an additional 10 optimization techniques that weren’t mentioned in this blog post, but are incredibly powerful for turning your traffic into sales.
Enjoy the free guide, and let me know in the comments what you are doing to optimize your website for conversions.