Learn from the Best: Analyzing Shops Built by Simplistic (Part 1)
The barrier to entry is low—very low.
It would surprise you how little you need to launch a Shopify site and begin touting your products or services to the world. The catch? While the barrier to enter is low, the barrier to building an optimized shop with long-term growth potential can feel wildly insurmountable.
The most effective way to implement the right practices, avoid the wrong ones, and guarantee success over time, is to observe, mimic, and even steal from the best shops out there.
We analyzed two high-performing shops that we’ve worked with directly and penned a tidy report on exactly what we did to help distinguish them from the competition.
Learn from the best, and reap the same success.
Shop #1: 40 Boxes
When you’re one shop in a million, each tweak to your site could launch you ahead of competitors or push you down among generic shops that flounder and lose grip of market share.
40 Boxes is a curated marketplace that pulls in products at jaw-dropping prices from dozens of stellar brands. They approached us with one, critical objective, to design a best-in-class digital experience for customers.
After building the best experience possible, we still work with 40 Boxes to continuously optimize this experience and maximize revenues. Perhaps, one of the first and most important lessons is that once you’ve designed your perfect shop, keep iterating and improving. The world of eCommerce is never stagnant, and you shouldn’t be either.
The goals for this project were to:
- Raise conversion rates above 3%
- Build out email and SMS lists for future outreach
- Create personalized experiences to spur repeat customers
Before you jump into making changes to your site, begin by identifying clear goals for making such changes, the way the 40 Boxes team did above. You won’t know how successful a given change was unless you know what you hoped to achieve at the outset.
Solutions & Challenges
First, we implemented new site designs and began running A/B tests to determine which designs were the most effective. There’s no flawless, universal guide on how to design the perfect eCommerce shop. If there was, every shop would look the same and only the top products and lowest prices would survive.
In the real world, you must use A/B testing. A/B testing gives you access to real data from real customers and informs decisions based on legitimate human behavior, not a calculated guess at what’s working or not.
By focusing on the front-end user and how they interact with a site, we pick out quick wins and start planning for long-term site strategy. Often, we will adjust or implement any of the following changes to boost a site’s performance:
- Navigation restructure
- Mobile optimization
- Search strategy
- Subscription program implementation
- Upsell and cross-sell optimization
- Product performance enhancements
- Homepage, PDP or PDL redesign
- Site speed optimization
- Website personalization
Photo from Nosto.com
To help 40 Boxes more thoughtfully capture and retain customers, we introduced a platform called Nosto which enabled the 40 Boxes site to make personalized product recommendations for customers, truly customizing each shopper’s experience.
Using real-time data, Nosto can make sure when a specific shopper lands on your site, the images, copy, and products they see make the most sense for them and minimize the chances of getting off on the wrong foot.
Shop #2: W&P
W&P is a food and beverage essentials retailer with a wide selection of utensils, bowls, glassware and other trendy, functional kitchen items. W&P worked with our team to conduct a large-scale transformation of their site and present their product lines with better narratives.
“Our goal is to shift the website from being primarily brand-focused to primarily an optimized eCommerce experience that still conveys the brand message in a clear and concise way, presenting our multiple product lines together in one, cohesive story.” - W&P Team
While W&P’s goal is less quantitative, it’s clear in its intention and objectives. The goal for this project was to create a site that places emphasis on the customer and their experience, instead of the brand itself.
This is a brilliant lesson to learn, and an effective approach to adopt. While your site should house information about your unique brand and its story, it should ultimately champion the customer. By centering your focus on the customer and their journey, you further captivate them, serve their needs, and ultimately drive more conversions and growth over time.
Solutions & Challenges
First, we worked to improve W&P’s entire site aesthetic and personality, by making the layout and colors more conducive to a seamless customer experience.
We also updated the navigation and content blocks on the homepage to put the limelight on W&P’s product lines and create a user interface that is more enjoyable to navigate.
Knowing that the typical W&P customer is shopping for personalized items, often to give as gifts to people in multiple locations, we created clear messaging around this and added a custom app that allows customers to ship to multiple locations as needed. This included quick add capability, a flow to custom build bundles, and a personalization app.
One challenge was the fact that W&P’s current color scheme didn’t transfer easily to a digital medium. Working with W&P, our team selected new colors that didn’t stray from the brand identity, but instead propelled their new vision and looked tidy and attractive on the site.
Both for design and development, this was one of the biggest site maps we’ve ever worked on which creates multiple complexities and details to consider. By having the willingness to adjust their home page, their colors, and their visual positioning of products, W&P elevated their site to favor the customer, which also means favoring conversions, revenues, and growth.
The very best shops place the customer experience at the heart of their design and layout.
Doing this, often entails running strategic A/B tests, implementing apps and platforms like Nosto for advanced customization, and using features like quick add capability and others.
Visit the best Shopify sites while pretending to be a customer. Find a product you like and go to check out. What was easy? What was difficult? Where did you want more information, or less? Was it a swift, enjoyable experience, or was it clunky and misleading?
Ask good questions, observe, mimic, learn from the best, and build the shop of your dreams.
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