Expert advice for Shopify store conversion rate optimization

Have you ever wanted an expert to take stock of your website and report back with quick fixes to improve conversion rate optimization? 

CartHook CEO Emily Foreman recently hosted Jon MacDonald of The Good, a conversion rate optimization firm that has achieved results for some of the largest online brands, for a live look at the websites of some select Shopify stores. 

Watch the webinar here or read on for proven strategies you can implement now. 

To recap, we broke Jon's tips into five key areas of your website. 

Above the fold: Navigation, feature image, CTAs

Canyon Cooler Homepage

Navigation toolbars

Website navigation can make or break your visitors' experience. Starting at the top of the homepage, Jon's biggest tip? Skip promoting discounts or updates and only feature free shipping in the notification bar. This eases shoppers concerns that they're going to be surprised by shipping charges.

You also want to keep toolbars separate. The notification, utility, and navigation bars should all be separate within your website's header. 

Jon recommends listing just five to six items in your website's navigation bar. 

What not to include: 

  • Don't list "shop" as a category. Instead, list a handful of items that immediately indicate to visitors what types of products you sell. 
  • Don't list "blog." A blog is great for driving traffic and filling the top of a funnel. Once they're on your site, you want to focus on conversions. 
  • Don't use "insider" terms and jargon. For example, chef's know "GBD" means "golden brown and delicious," but new visitors looking for meal kit delivery might not recognize the abbreviation. Keep the terms used in your navigation bar easily recognizable. 
  • Don't include rewards. Reward programs are great for customer loyalty and should be introduced after a conversion. 
  • Dont list "home" in your navigation bar. "You're taking up a really valuable navigation spot that could be useful for products," says Jon. People will click on your logo if they want to go to the homepage. 
  • Don't list "contact." Instead, list contact information in a column in your footer.
  • FAQ pages? "FAQs are where good content goes to die," says Jon. If there truly is a frequently asked question, you should address it in your content. 

Feature image area

The feature image area of a website is where you should convey the overall message of their brand and focus on differentiators. Typically, Jon isn't a fan of featuring a single product, special, or new product in the featured image area. "Instead," says Jon, "I want to know what makes your brand different." Try telling a story or sharing content that will solve your customer's pain or need. 

Considering a gallery slider? Think again. "Automatic rotating sliders are very, very poor performers," says Jon. According to a study by Notre Dame University, when it comes to gallery sliders, the first image gets clicked 1% of visits and the third and fourth items are clicked about 1/10 of a percentage. "People just don't click anything past that first item," says Jon.

Feature image area tips:

  1. Display good photography
  2. Focus on your differentiators
  3. If you do have a rotating image, keep the CTA in the same place
  4. Lead with features and benefits over product
Hydro Jug
If you do decide to have a gallery slider, make sure the CTA stays in the same place.

Homepage CTAs

Products promoted on your homepage need a clear call to action, with a low intent to purchase. "So many brands try to close the sale on the homepage," says Jon. However, the goal of your homepage CTA should be to get visitors into the next phase of the funnel. Save the "Buy Now" CTA for your product pages, after customers have demonstrated intent by clicking through. Use a lower intent CTA like "Shop Now" on the homepage. 

Homepage CTA tips:

  • CTAs should be consistent with the rest of your site's design.
  • Use terms like "view details" and "learn more" over "buy now." 
  • In-page navigations like accordions or carousels don't perform well and rarely receive clicks.
  • Send homepage CTAs to collections rather than individual product pages.
  • Avoid customized copy, like "handpicked for you." Jon says, "You don't know who I am, and this is my first time to your site and you're handpicking items for me?" If those items are best sellers, just call them that.
  • Badges like "Best Seller" perform extremely well.
Badges like this perform extremely well.

Product pages: Shipping, b-stock and sales

Shipping: Free vs flat rate

With 12 years experience optimizing websites, Jon believes free shipping can't be beat and recommends adding the cost of shipping into your product's price. A slightly higher priced item with free shipping just performs better, says Jon.

B-stock and sale items

Try listing sale and b-stock items within their category, rather than in a separate "b-stock" or "sale" category so you get more opportunities to cross sell. Visitors who are interested in sale items see other items that catch their eye. A stand alone "sale" or "B-stock" section eliminates that opportunity. 

Listing a sale item? Jon recommends doing these 3 things to keep the offer enticing:

  1. List the original price.
  2. Add a strikethrough. 
  3. Call out the discount. "Do the math for the customer," says Jon.

Bottom of the homepage: Submission forms, social proof and footer

Submission forms

All email signup forms should set expectations and give visitors reassurance. 

Jon's form submission guidelines

  • Clearly tell visitors what they're signing up for and how often they'll be contacted.
  • Include a privacy statement.
  • Unless you really need the first and last names, just collect the email address.
  • Text messaging is huge these days, so there's a push to collect phone numbers. However, in a sign up form, you should choose between focusing on email or phone number. CartHook CEO, Emily Foreman, suggests, "A great way to capture that information is on the checkout page." Try implementing a SMS cart abandonment solution that captures email and phone numbers. 

Social proof

Getting others to promote you is infinitely more effective than promoting yourself. "The reality is that consumers trust what other consumers say so much more than what a brand has to say," says Jon.

Tips for presenting social proof:

  • Include one key point or sentence. Or, include a full quote, and bold the key areas. 
  • Put photos next to quotes and use real photos.
  • Use videos. Social proof performs especially well in video.

Social feeds

If you show an Instagram grid, don't link out to Instagram. According to Jon, customers won't come back! Instead, link products to product pages over an "add to cart" option.



Optimizing your website footer is more important than you think. Jon's experience testing user activity shows that visitors head directly to a store's footer for contact and support info. The best way to organize this information is into columns. 

Right side column

List your company's contact information in the right hand column. If you list a physical address, a phone number and an email address, then "you're hitting the trust trifecta," says Jon. 

Left side column

On the left side of your footer, Jon recommends adding a column that includes all of your products, repeating your main navigation items. 

Avoid distractions

Don't tile payment processors or credit card logos at the bottom of your footer. Visitor's eyes are drawn to them, but they don't add value. "It's just not a concern anymore," says Jon. "I'd suggest eliminating those to clean it up a bit and so consumers aren't distracted by the color icons." 

Easy access to support

Make it easy to locate support materials in your footer by clearly linking to your help center.


Per Jon, any amount over $100 can benefit from a split payment option like Affirm or QuickPay. Express pay options, like Shop Pay are recommended, especially considering about 70% of checkouts are now happening on mobile, says Emily. 

For offers after the checkout and before the thank you page, Jon recommends CartHook to his clients.

That's because CartHook Post Purchase Offers lets Shopify stores add the offer to their native Shopify checkout. Customers can accept with one click, because they've already added their shipping and payment info.

Post-purchase offers are timed to a sweet spot: right after the customer completes the checkout and before they see the thank you page. Cart conversion rates are never impacted since the post-purchase offer is presented after the checkout event! Shopify stores using CartHook see an average 15% conversion rate on offers! See how easy it is to boost AOV and find new revenue by trying CartHook's 14-day free trial today. 

Pop-up ads

"If there are just a couple of things I can eliminate from the internet, one of them would be pop ups like this," says Jon.

Jon discourages pop-ups that are presented right after a page loads. Instead, bake them into the page's content or build them into the page's scroll, once visitors have gotten to know your content. 

Discounts in pop-ups? Hard pass. According to Jon, discounts immediately tell visitors that your products are not worth full value. 

Timed offers? Users know they aren't really timed and fake urgency diminishes a brand.

Jon concedes that pop-ups do work well to collect email addresses, though they might not be good addresses. Too many fields in pop-ups create a poor customer experience. "Generally, these are things that are going to kill conversions," says Jon.

Are you ready to implement Emily and Jon's conversion-focused strategies? 

Leave a comment on the YouTube video and let us know which strategies you plan on testing.

Want to see more content like this?

Thanks, you're all signed up!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Join the world's fastest-growing indie brands.

Request a Demo