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How to improve mobile conversions on Shopify

This is a guest post by Stephen Gardner of Shop Sheriff.

In today’s mobile-first economy, it’s more important than ever to have a strong mobile presence. In 2018, Google began rolling out mobile-first indexing, which explicitly promotes a positive mobile experience, and conversely punishes sites who have a poor mobile experience.

With more than half of all online orders now taking place from a mobile phone, it’s more important than ever to promote your mobile presence and convert highly where it matters most.

Maintain a good page speed

Google has announced that load time is a direct ranking factor. This means that if your page suffers from poor page-speed, you’ll be significantly docked in the SEO category. On top of that, Google released statistics showing that 53% of visitors will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Maintaining a good page speed might just be the single biggest direct factor to improving your shop’s conversion rate!

If you’re interested in checking your current website page speed, we recommend Google’s own Page Speed Insights checker, which will also suggest performance fixes for your shop. You can also download Shop Sheriff’s PWA app which will integrate directly with an advanced version of Google’s Page Speed Insights for free.

If you’re struggling with maintaining a good page-speed, the most likely problem is your theme. We tested the Shopify platform with no theme installed, the page-speed scores on Google’s Page Speed Insights score well into the 90s. A poorly developed or bloated theme is the most likely culprit if your page speed is suffering.

Since it can be difficult to identify a fast theme, we’ve done the work for you and identified some of our favorite fast themes which may help your decision making process. Here are our top 3 fast themes for mobile devices:

  1. Turbo (paid)
  2. Narrative (free)
  3. Brooklyn (paid)

If you’re still looking for a list of some other popular themes and their relative speeds, check out http://fastshopifythemes.com/ and see if the theme you’re considering is listed there.

A list of shopify themes and their page speed scores
A list of shopify themes and their page speed scores

Use a clear, concise call to action, with power words

On mobile, you’re only given so much real-estate with which to compel a user to click on your call-to-action. The best call-to-actions will be:

  • A strongly accented color, in contrast to the page behind it
  • Uses power words which are relevant to the shop’s niche
  • Sends a user to the exact page that they expected

A good homepage call-to-action will be relevant to your store. Instead of “Shop the collection,” you may be able to think of a power word or action that directly relates to the mindset of the individual browsing your shop. Consider a shop selling wilderness gear, with a call to action that says “Enter the wild” instead of “Shop now.” A user’s curiosity is much more likely to compel them to click on a big bold “Enter the wild” button.

Get rid of excessive pop-ups and third-party apps

The automated messenger popup, the Privy email popup, the coupon popup, sales-pop notifications… Too many “conversion” apps will actually hurt your conversion.

“At the heart of bounce rate is perceived negative experience” – bounteous

Similarly, all of these conversion apps are likely to be adding scripts to your Shopify store that will load in every single page view, and this can hurt your SEO.

As a rule of thumb, you should not have more than one popup appear on a user’s initial page load. You should definitely not have a popup on every page load.

If you do happen to be using pop-ups, we recommend a coupon offer as a great way to convince a user to enter their email.

Most pop-up related apps like Privy will also come with features in which you can set “triggers” on which to show the popup. This means you can wait until a user has expressed some kind of intent before asking them for their information. If you are able to do this effectively, your sign-up rate will be higher and your bounce rate will be lower because a user does not feel bombarded by marketing tactics, and can efficiently browse your site.

Adopt mobile-first paradigms like AMP and PWA

2019 is the year for AMP and PWA. These two technologies represent the overall global shift towards a mobile-first economy. Adding AMP and PWA both have an impact on your overall SEO and user experience. If you’re looking to future-proof your Shopify store, you will surely want to research these technologies and see if they can be useful for you.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

AMP is a framework created by Google, and is a way of building blazing-fast websites which get cached in Google for mobile search results.  Accelerated Mobile Pages are tricky to create, because you must adhere to the AMP specification, and would require you to code your entire Shopify storefront using the AMP library. Thankfully, in 2019 there is an AMP for Shopify app solution which will automatically add AMP to your site.  The AMP app uses a separate theme, so your current shopify storefront is not affected.

Set up AMP pages on Shopify with AMP by Shop Sheriff
Set up AMP pages on Shopify with AMP by Shop Sheriff

With about 10 minutes of setup, you can have beautiful looking AMP pages ready to go. AMP pages are then accessible by users who come from a mobile search. Google will automatically deliver your AMP page to them instead of your standard mobile view.

It’s worth noting that AMP does not replace your mobile website, instead it offers you faster performing pages that Google can index for mobile search results. AMP pages generated by Shop Sheriff will be able to receive the google AMP lightning bolt badge on their search engine results page, indicating to viewers that they are AMP-enabled and lightning-fast.

Google has done several case studies on adding AMP to eCommerce stores, and the overall results have been extremely positive. Shops see longer dwell times, increased click-through-rates, and overall higher conversion rates when using AMP.

PWA (Progressive Web Apps)

PWA is another mobile-first design pattern which promises a website will be fast, reliable, and engaging. PWA-enabling your shop means that it will load more quickly, and allows visitors to install the app straight from a browser, without having to go to the Shopify apps store.

The team at Shop Sheriff released a PWA app for Shopify that works perfectly with their AMP app, and even integrates directly with an advanced version of Google’s Page Speed Insights tool (Lighthouse) to show your exact PWA score.

PWA by Shop Sheriff and their Lighthouse integration
PWA by Shop Sheriff and their Lighthouse integration

PWA by Shop Sheriff uses something called a service worker to automatically cache static resources for a faster page-load, meaning things like fonts and images won’t have to be downloaded again on every page view. This can lower the amount of data a visitor needs to download, and therefore improve the speed of your shop. By improving the speed of your shop, a user is more likely to continue on to another page, less likely to bounce, and more likely to convert into a paying customer

Take advantage of push notifications

Shopify has some extremely useful push notification apps. The most popular app, PushOwl, has a 5.0 star rating on Shopify and thousands of happy customers.

PushOwl comes with several useful features to improve conversions, including the ability to notify users of abandoned carts, new sales, and other customizable events. PushOwl will also directly integrate with PWA by Shop Sheriff, so that your push notifications will send a user to the PWA app version of your shop (if they have it installed). PushOwl’s pricing tier is friendly enough to get started without any risk.

When using push notifications, our biggest piece of advice is not to automatically prompt a user to accept push notifications right away. If a user blocks push notifications (for example, right when they land on your page), then you will likely never be able to ask them for this permission again. In order to convince more people to accept push notifications, PushOwl allows you to first prompt them using a custom modal or popup, before the official push notification prompt is shown.

The flyout widget for PushOwl
The flyout widget for PushOwl

If a user denies the custom modal window, then it’s possible to ask them again for permission at a later date. If a user denies the official popup that is generated by their desktop or phone, then you’ll have a hard time being able to ask them for permission again.

Test your mobile friendliness with Google

Finally, Google provides their own mobile-friendliness tester, which will let you immediately check how google views your site on a mobile phone. To get started with the test, head here and conduct your own test.

Testing a Shopify site with Google's mobile-friendliness tester
Testing a Shopify site with Google’s mobile-friendliness tester

Follow these steps to optimize your Shopify store for mobile conversions, and watch your sales take off.

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