While this time of the year no doubt presents great opportunities for ecommerce retailers, the lead-up and preparation can be overwhelming. Stores that are smaller, newer, or very niche, may be struggling to prioritize which aspects of their sites to optimize ahead of BFCM.
Here are our top picks for boosts merchants can implement quickly and easily in the coming weeks. Focusing on just one of these options could mean increased average order values, fewer abandoned carts, and overall happier customers.
Upselling and cross-selling improve customer experience and result in higher cart values. It’s easy: introduce your customers to products that are better than or complementary to those they already plan to buy. According to Shopify, upsell and cross-sell recommendations are responsible for an average of 10-30% of ecommerce revenues.
Upselling shows customers an upgraded or better version of the product or service they already have in their cart. For example, if a customer is buying a laptop, you may suggest they buy a different laptop with more memory and processing power, and a better graphics card.
Cross-selling shows customers a product that complements what they’re already purchasing. For example, a customer buying a digital camera may be prompted to also buy a memory card or spare battery pack.
Cross-selling can be particularly valuable for customers if you recommend items that they need for the product they’re already buying. Examples are batteries, a case, or a memory card.
Many apps can be used for both upselling and cross-selling. Some highly rated apps include ReConvert Upsell & Cross Sell, LimeSpot Personalizer, and Personalized Recommendations. There are many more available on Shopify’s store. Each app contains different features so you can decide which will add the most value to your store. Most of them are straightforward to integrate into your site and can be used nearly immediately.
The prices of the apps range from free to US$59.99 per month. Some charge merchants a percentage of the revenue generated or a set amount per customer instead of a monthly fee.
When deciding whether to focus on upselling or cross-selling, consider that upselling performs 20% better than cross-selling onproduct pages. However, cross-selling is more effective when used oncheckout pages and can drive sales by up to 3%.
Customers fill their carts all the time without completing a sale. In fact, the Baymard Institute reports that more than 69% of shopping carts are abandoned. BFCM will be no different. Data from Barilliance shows that globally in 2019, more than 71% of carts were abandoned during Black Friday, and 68% on Cyber Monday.
Each time a shopper fails to complete a purchase the merchant loses money.
One of the easiest ways to recover abandoned carts is to set up automated, targeted emails to convince shoppers to complete their purchase. Create enticing emails that not only encourage them to finish their purchase but also make it easy for them to pick up where they left off. These recovery emails could include incentives like discount codes, free shipping, or even recommendations for other products the customer may like.
You can send automated cart abandonment emails via your Shopify store’s admin portal. Shopify has an easy, step-by-step guide on how to set this up. Alternatively, if you’re using an email service provider like Klaviyo, you can set up automated abandoned cart emails as part of your overall email marketing strategy.
You could also consider installing a free app, like PushOwl, instead. It sends shoppers web push notifications to remind them to return to their cart. Merchants can also use it to send customers notifications about sales.
Don’t forget about the customers who shop with their phones and tablets. In 2019, 69% of BFCM sales on Shopify stores were made from mobile devices, and research indicates that this trend is likely to continue.
Luckily, all of Shopify’s themes are responsive and mobile-friendly. But if you’ve customized anything on your site or are using a theme from a different developer,check that your site is as well optimized for small screens as it is for desktops.
Grip6 shows us how it is done, with large clickable collection images, a free shipping banner at the top, and tabs to organize product info.
Customers on mobile devices should be able to navigate around your store easily and intuitively. You can organize your menus in the backend of your Shopify store by dragging and dropping items to ensure the most important ones show up first on mobile.
Make sure product photos are easy to zoom in on. Consider adding a bigger, easily visible add-to-cart button. Remove clutter by getting rid of unnecessary text, images, and videos. This will also help to improve your store’s load time.
A Google study found that bounce rates for pages that take between 1 and 3 seconds to load are 32%. This increases to 90% if the page takes 5 seconds to load. Removing images, compressing the remaining ones, and limiting the number of videos on the page will help.
Shopify themes that offer good mobile optimization include Brooklyn, Simple, Narrative, Mobilia, Empire, Split, and Flow.
If you haven’t already got Google Analytics tracking for your site, now is a good time to add it.
The data it collects will help you understand your customers’ behavior, which you can then use to optimize your cart, product, and checkout pages. You can also more easily track where your customers drop off and troubleshoot the issues. Shopify has a beginner’s guide to Google Analytics if you need help setting it up or want to make sure you’re using it correctly.
Shopify’s overview dashboard will give you a good idea of how your site is performing. Here you’ll be able to compare the value of your recent sales to a previous time period, track your average order value, and compare the performance of your sales channels.
Use the data gathered from Google and Shopify’s analytics to set yourself goals for conversions and sign-ups during BFCM. Once the gifting season is over, use the same tools to see if you’ve achieved those goals and identify areas for improvement.
Heat mapping is one of the easiest tools you can use to pinpoint where users are experiencing problems on your site. It’s visual and intuitive, making it a popular tool for ecommerce optimization among merchants. Read our article on heat mapping for more information on how to set it up and use the information.
If you’re swamped with things to do in the run-up to BFCM but still want to make sure you have the best shot at making successful sales, why not install an app or two to improve your chances?
Shopify has several free apps that are easy to install to better your customers’ shopping experience and your conversions. Here are a few recommendations.
It is important to be prepared for the busy time ahead. Many aspects of your business will be under increased pressure which will have implications for your team and your customers. By preempting this you can prevent it from becoming a problem.
Identify which areas of your business may be under strain during BFCM. Consider hiring temporary staff to assist in these areas. This can go a long way to making gifting season a more enjoyable experience for you, your team, and your customers.
Communicate changes to standard delivery times and rates due to higher demand clearly and frequently to your customers. You can use the top banner on your Shopify site to do this. If orders are going to take longer to get to customers, consider adding a personal touch like a handwritten note, product voucher, or small gift to their parcel, to ensure that they’ll continue visiting your store.
Remember that things inevitably do go wrong during such a busy period. Prepare a contingency plan which identifies your risks and how you’ll deal with problems if they arise. Don’t panic if things don’t quite go as planned. Consult with your team and deal with problems quickly and calmly as they occur.
Following one or two of these easy steps will help boost sales and increase conversions during the gifting season. Most importantly, it’ll make things easier for you and your teams, and result in happy customers.
Co-authored with Nina Wolf.
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