As an e-commerce business owner, you probably know how much effort and the amount of financial resources it takes to attract visitors to your online store. SEO, advertising, social networks, and other measures are often used to drive more traffic. But why do people visit your site only to then leave without making a purchase? We can list at least 20 reasons for this frustrating customer behavior.

However, in this article, we won’t dip into traffic quality or advertising techniques. Instead, we will discuss the most burning website design issues that kill conversion. Also, we’ll tell you about the best practices used for conversion rate optimization in Shopify stores.

First, let’s figure out what to strive for. On average, an online store conversion rate keeps between 3% and 4%. In some cases, this index can reach 8% or be as low as 0.3%.

So, do you want to know how to increase the conversion rate in a Shopify store? First, you should identify factors that currently affect customer behavior and prevent the success of your e-commerce business. We will then give you some clues on how you can fix them.

#1 Poor Navigation

Navigation is one of the biggest online store design pain points. Most often, navigation turns into a real problem for large online stores selling thousands of products. When customers land on your website and start searching for a specific product, bad navigation can push them away immediately.

Your Shopify store will not sell if your website visitors do not have an opportunity to find their desired product with relative swiftness and ease. Although there is no universal solution for all online stores, there are several recommendations that might help you.

How to fix it

Structure the drop-down menu

A simple and clear catalog structure is the most critical recommendation that must be implemented in every online store. It is essential to divide all products into several main categories with subcategories. All products should be placed no deeper than the 3rd level of nesting so that the customer can reach the needed goods within three clicks or less. If the store’s assortment is extensive, apply catalog filtering.

As an example, take a look at the Quad Lock website and how they structured their drop-down menu.

Navigation menu structure for Shopify conversion rate optimization

Such category organization allows users to reach the needed page with a simple click.

Position category blocks correctly

People tend to pay the most attention to the beginning and end of lists. We advise you to take advantage of this trick rather than building your menu blocks chaotically.

Place accents

Believe it or not, it happens that customers end up not buying just because they can’t easily find the “Buy” button. To avoid such a pitfall, look at your website through your customers’ eyes and make sure that all CTA (Call-to-Action) buttons are obvious.

Visible Search

Website search is a must-have feature for online stores with a wide assortment. If the visitors come to your website knowing exactly what they need, make sure that there is an easy way for them to find what they are looking for without the need to click through the entire navigation menu. Here are several additional tips on how to increase the Shopify store conversion rate with the help of user-friendly search:

Work on search functionality

Pay attention to the search capabilities. Be sure to configure the following:

  • Search by product name or number
  • Search taking into account typos and autocorrection
  • Suggest the most suitable products if there is no perfect match to the search query
  • Search by product characteristics or abbreviations


Make the search faster and easier using the auto-complete feature. Once the user starts typing a search word, a drop-down list with the corresponding goods appears. You will benefit more if that drop-down list includes not only names of products, but also images.

Filter by characteristics

This feature is especially relevant for online apparel stores. A user can specify some attributes like size, material, desired color, and so on. This option significantly shortens the customer journey and lets them proceed faster to the order phase.

An excellent example of a site with a well-tuned search menu is Death Wish Coffee.

Well-tuned search menu for Shopify conversion optimization

In this case, all the above tips have been successfully applied with the help of Searchanise, a multiplatform smart search app. Additionally, after clicking on the search icon, you see the drop-down menu with the most popular search queries, best-selling goods, and special offers.

#2 No CTAs

CTA buttons are one of the most crucial tricks to use in the online store. The goal of every e-commerce store owner is to make sure CTAs are clicked by as many visitors as possible. If, at the stage of website design, you forgot to include CTAs or didn’t make them stand out from the page background, then your visitors may not see it, potentially even forgetting to purchase from your store. They will likely land on your website, look through the catalog, and then leave, just to make the purchase on another store with a more obvious setup. To avoid this, you need contrasting CTA buttons on the product pages, saying “Buy Now”, “Add to Cart” or something to that effect.

How to fix it

There are three main rules for the CTA design.

  • 1. It should be bright and contrast with the background.
  • 2. Leave enough free space around the button to make it eye-catching.
  • 3. The CTA text should be clear and precise.

On the Ball and Buck website, these techniques are well traced.

Obvious CTAs for Shopify conversion rate optimization

The black button on a white background and a clear call to action is what you see first when you land on a product page. Additionally, target audience segmentation will help you in creating the best CTAs. So, first, analyze the needs or your clients and then personalize your UX copywriting.

#3 Checkout Issues

Even if the design of your site is impressive, all the blocks are in place, and the navigation menu leads the visitors to the desired product page in a matter of seconds – it is still not everything. If your store has a confusing shopping cart and checkout, this is another point for Shopify conversion optimization.

How to fix it

Consumers adore simplicity. They want a simple and clear checkout process.

  • 1. Make sure that the cart button is obvious on each page throughout the website. Do not be afraid to mark the number of products added to the cart. Customers should always see that they have already put something in the cart.
  • 2. Make the checkout progress bar visible to customers so that they can see which stage they are completing at any given moment.
  • 3. Order and payment forms must be easy to understand and fill in. Request the minimum customer info. All data, except name, phone number, email address, and payment info is redundant. Most customers refuse to fill out lengthy forms and, thus, they might refuse to buy from your store. Not to mention, it’s less data for you to worry about protecting.
  • 4. Simplify filling in the data on the checkout page with the help of drop-down lists or autocomplete feature so users do not have to type in every parameter manually.

Unfortunately, the out-of-the-box checkout page in Shopify is not customizable. This leaves two possible decisions: upgrade your store to Shopify Plus or use one of the third-party apps, like Cashier, which allows customizing the checkout to your needs.

Here is a poor example of shopping cart button design.

Bad 'cart' button design example

As you can see, it is not possible to find a shopping cart button at first sight. It merges with the rest of the text and confuses the customers.

And this is what a good shopping cart button should look like:

Right shopping cart design for Shopify conversion optimization

#4 No Email Follow Up Sequences

Have you noticed that your potential customers often add selected items to the cart only to abandon it and leave your site?

Every time a user leaves your store without submitting an order you lose a potential customer and, of course, the money that goes with it. According to statistics, until 2018, the average abandoned cart rate was about 70%. By the end of 2018, this indicator changed and has dipped to 57%, which provides hope to the e-commerce entrepreneur!

We have already discussed several reasons for such user behavior. As an e-commerce business owner, you can hardly do anything about the window-shoppers, but you should be interested in ways to minimize the number of abandoned carts within your store.

How to fix it

Do not hesitate to remind your visitors about their abandoned cart. The only way to return customers to the store is to set up follow-up emails and send them to the visitors who shared their email address before leaving the site. Abandoned cart recovery is a part of the Shopify store functionality.

To reduce the number of interrupted purchases, you should set up a chain of emails which include the content of the abandoned cart and some kind of motivation, like a discount coupon. As a result, you can significantly improve your Shopify conversion rate. About 65% of recipients open these emails, and 30% of them go on to make a purchase.

If you want to know how such a feature might help you, just install an app like Follow Up Email Marketing, available on the Shopify Store.

#5 Login for Purchase

Mandatory registration may seem to be an effective way to obtain additional data about your leads and customers. Some online stores go further and force visitors to complete registration to access the product catalog.

However, the reality is that such an approach brings a lot more harm than benefits. A test conducted by experts at Smashing Magazine showed that 100% of users negatively react when they are forced to complete a registration.

How to fix it

Let your customers choose. Enable guest checkout in your Shopify store.

Consumers understand that their email address is required for purchase confirmation, but they don’t want to be forced to log in. Besides, when ordering a product, they will have to submit their email anyway. Optional user registration gives your users a chance to make their own decision on whether they feel like logging in or not.

#6 No Customer Support

The huge advantage of brick-and-mortar stores over online stores is the possibility to communicate with the seller in person, ask questions, and get immediate answers. To increase conversion rate in the Shopify store, you need to organize the work of the online sales and support team in a way that a buyer does not feel the difference between shopping on-land and online.

How to fix it

Refine the “Contact” page

Here, you want to make available all the communication channels: phone number, email address, physical address (if there is one), links to your pages on social networks, etc. Additionally, create a “Contact Us” form and place it on the website.

On Minaal, an online store selling bags and gear for any occasion, the Contact page is perfectly organized and includes all required contact info and a form for fast feedback.

Contact form design for Shopify site optimization

Online chat

Chat allows users to get an immediate response without leaving the product page. Marketing agency Econsultancy stressed that customers who talk to online support on e-commerce websites show the highest level of loyalty. The secret is simple: this type of communication helps the client quickly get answers to any questions regarding the characteristics of the goods or the conditions of the purchase and delivery.

As an example, look how The Modern Shop implemented this idea.

Online chat for Shopify site optimization

“Call Me” button

This type of CTA block is good for customers who do not want to call the hotline or type queries into the online chat. Thus, by submitting their phone number, customers will receive a phone call from your manager, or whomever else you designate, to answer all their questions or help them to place an order over the phone.

It will be better if you inform users about the precise timelines within which you will contact them, and add a countdown timer. If you say that you will call within 30 seconds, then make sure that the support team member can manage to respond to the request within the set timeframe.

Check out how practically Bay Sports applied the Callback button on their product pages.

Example of callback button for better Shopify conversion rate

#7 No Upfront Shipping Costs and Terms

According to recent statistics, one of the primary reasons for shoppers to abandon their carts is expensive shipping. If the customer found the needed product on your store, the next question that interests them is – “What are the payment and shipping terms?”

Of course, you have a Delivery and Payment Terms section somewhere on the site, but the customer still needs to find this page. The shipping cost on your store may not even be that high, but if the customer realizes the fact of additional charges only at the checkout stage, then you risk adding another address to your abandoned cart email list.

How to fix it

The best solution is to post information about possible payment and delivery methods, and terms on the product page. Thus, customers see the product description, its purchase and delivery options, and after that, they are free to decide whether all these terms suit their needs.

Shipping costs and terms made obvious in Shopify store

#8 No Customer Feedback

About 92% of visitors study company and product reviews before they make a purchase. 88% of them trust customer reviews as well as the recommendations of close friends and family members. Therefore, if there is no customer feedback throughout your store, it will be hard to increase the customer trust level.

Product reviews also serve as a social proof of the quality of the products you sell or the services you provide.

How to fix it

Customer reviews is a must-have on your online store. But where should you get them and how do you encourage customers to leave their feedback?

There are several possible ways. First, before you even say it out loud, posting paid fake reviews or writing them yourself is a bad idea. False feedback is easily recognizable. If you want your real customers to leave their feedback after the purchase, you should somehow stimulate them. You can exchange their reviews for promo codes or discount coupons. Another option is to send them an email asking to spend a couple of minutes and share their experience with the product they have bought from you.

Reviews from social networks work twice as well. For example, Vanity Planet, an online store selling beauty gadgets, posts their customers’ photos from Instagram on their product pages. They manage this by simply pulling all photos that have a #VPBeauty hashtag in the description.

Customer feedback feeds that increase a Shopify store conversion

Important! You should not remove negative comments. Paradoxical? Yes – you may think so, but when there are no people in the reviews who are, at the very least, slightly dissatisfied with their purchase, it looks suspicious. Therefore, negative feedback is an opportunity to show how you solve problems and fix mistakes made on the part of the company. Be ready to apologize, propose possible solutions, smooth out the consequences with gifts and discounts.

#9 Non-adaptive Design

In the US alone in 2020, mobile retail revenues are expected to amount to $339 billion. So, if your online store is still not mobile-friendly, you are losing a significant chunk of potential customers.

How to fix it

Luckily, most Shopify themes already have adaptive layout and you likely don’t need to worry about this. However, to dispel all suspicion, make sure that:

  • Product images are smoothly displayed on mobile devices
  • There are no text overlays
  • All basic information is visible
  • Order and checkout are user-friendly

If online shopping is somehow complicated, you must eliminate even the tiniest issue and make the mobile customer journey smoother and faster. First, think about replacing your Shopify theme with a new adaptive one.

Additionally, there are some other tricks you should implement:

  • Showcase popular products on the first screen. This allows for drawing the visitor’s attention to the best deals you offer and makes them continue browsing your online store.
  • One-step checkout. You can divide the process into several stages and indicate each step with the help of a progress bar at the top of the page. When users see their progress, it encourages them to proceed to the end.
  • Limit the products feed. To prevent users from scrolling the category pages forever, limit the number of displayed products on each category page. To simplify the search, create a multi-level menu.
  • Fix the search bar and “Add to Cart” buttons. Take into consideration mobile website navigation – sometimes it is impossible to fit all the product info and characteristics on a 6-inch mobile screen. For better mobile user experience, we advise applying a sticky CTA button as well as a search bar.
Device adaptive Shopify store theme increases the conversion

#10 You Let Your Potential Customers Easily Leave the Store

As we have already stated, not every online store visitor is ready to make a purchase. Some of them add products to the basket to review them later, while others (41%) postpone the payment for later and then forget about it. In both cases, your potential customers leave their shopping carts unpaid. However, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to convince them to finish the checkout process.

How to fix it

The best way is to create a pop-up message that will be shown at the moment when a visitor decides to leave your site. This message can tell a client about an advantageous offer, which becomes available once the user chooses to stay and finally submits an order. For example, you can offer free delivery, a discount for the first order, or at least ask the visitor to submit an email address so that you can notify them about your best deals and sales in the future.

Here is how the 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters engages their visitors:

Pop-up messages for better Shopify conversion rate

#11 Website Load Speed Is Too Slow

A common cause of low conversion rates is slow website loading. If the site is slow, visitors are more likely to close the tab. Marketing experts from around the world say that the site load speed should be close to one second or even less. In reality, most owners of big online stores with a large number of products can only dream of achieving such indicators, and are still interested in ways on how to optimize a Shopify store.

How to fix it

Shopify site optimization for higher conversions should start with website load speed optimization. Analyze your online store with PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix and identify the pain points which influence the website performance. Here is what you can do:

  • Choose a responsive theme
  • Revise all installed apps and sort them out or optimize
  • Optimize all images
  • Refuse homepage hero sliders, instead, use a hero image
  • Reduce the number of HTTP requests

Recently, we helped one of our clients to optimize the site load speed of his online store built with Shopify and implemented all steps from this checklist. As a result, the website load speed was halved, and the client stated that it increased the conversion rate in the Shopify store by 23%.

#12 Security Issues

Often, customers interrupt the checkout due to concerns about the security of payment processing.The conversion in your Shopify store won’t enjoy any increase if:

  • The website does not include evidence of its safety for the customer’s personal data
  • There are no reviews from other customers saying that they are satisfied with the provided services and security

How to fix it

Buyers shouldn’t be afraid to send you money. So, after getting through our Shopify conversion checklist, make sure that your online store includes the following:

  • Support of the popular payment systems: PayPal, Stripe, VISA, etc.
  • HTTPS protocol – to provide more protection.
  • Privacy Policy section, with an accurate description of all possible interactions between the seller and the customer.
  • Refund Policy. Customers want to be aware of their rights in case something is wrong with the product they purchased from you.

Not everybody gives meaning to these nuances, but it is important to comply with them. Otherwise, most customers will show you no trust and go purchase from other, more secure e-commerce websites.

#13 Few Payment Methods

Depending on the targeted region of your e-commerce business and on the personal preferences of each customer, a variety of payment methods may be required. Of course, it’s up to you to decide which of them should be available on your online store, but if you do not meet the needs of your customers, you risk losing a big part of them. This directly affects the conversion and increases the number of abandoned carts.

How to fix it

Not all customers have a VISA card or PayPal account, especially if you are selling your products worldwide. Other than out-of-the-box Shopify Payments, there is a wide selection of payment gateways, popular in different countries and regions around the world.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to tell which one of these 13 listed conversion killers you need to eliminate first. By implementing all of them, you can create an excellent base for building a profitable e-commerce business.

Remember that any change you make to your online store must be focused on simplifying the customer experience and journey through the site.

Our Whidegroup team has extensive experience in optimizing Shopify stores and knows how to boost conversion rate in Shopify. We are always ready to cover the implementation of any technical aspect that will improve your conversion rates. If you’re interested in learning more, drop us a line!

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Olha Olha
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