Are you thinking of starting an online store to make some extra money?

Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms in the world. With an intuitive page builder, beginner-friendly interface, and loads of built-in functionality, it’s no surprise that nearly 4 million store owners have chosen Shopify to build their ecom empires.

But starting a Shopify store is actually the easy part. The harder part is converting visitors into buying customers. For this, getting your Shopify website design right is crucial. Because even if you’ve got great products, without a store design that’s optimised for sales, you’re going to have a very hard time building up trust with visitors and convincing them to buy from you.

So here are some fundamentals for designing a profitable Shopify website. You MUST get right in order to actually make money with Shopify.

Give your products clear titles and pricing

This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many stores get it wrong. Your product title should be concise, specific, and easy to find. It should also accurately describe the product and include any relevant specifics such as size, colour, or weight.

Additionally, have your price clearly displayed next to your item’s title, with an ‘add to cart’ button underneath.

Wherever you can, include a discount or special offer to drive sales as well. Shoppers are always looking for a good deal, and the more value you can stack into your pricing section the better.

Use high quality product images

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words and that’s certainly true in ecommerce. Your product pictures need to be high quality and clearly showcase the product.

Using a white background is a good idea for most ecommerce products. Backgrounds that look too busy, colourful, or distracting can confuse and distort your visitor’s view of the product.

Aim for between 5-8 images of each product, each taken from different angles so that visitors can get a good idea of size and shape. Where possible, use large format pictures with a zoom function as well, so that visitors can examine the quality of the product in detail.

Once you’ve nailed your photography style, stick to it! Keep your images consistent across your store, so that your viewers get a smooth visual experience as they browse.

Communicate your unique selling proposition

With over 94,000 live Shopify stores just in Australia, you can be sure that whatever you’re selling, someone else is doing it too!

So why should visitors buy from you, and not your competitors? What makes you different? What makes you better? That’s your unique selling proposition, or USP.

Your USP gives your brand a competitive edge by highlighting a factor that closely matches what your ideal audience is looking for.
Maybe your products are tailored for an underrepresented market (hello, fellow left-handed people). Perhaps your store guarantees 3-day delivery. Or your products might include features that other similar products don’t.

In the example below, the brand clearly highlights what makes their product different/better. Plus they also display another USP of free expedited shipping in the top ribbon.

Highlight whatever makes YOUR brand different on your home page, and in your product pages. Remind visitors why your products are the perfect choice for them.

Write persuasive product descriptions

Product descriptions have three jobs:

#1 To give visitors a quick overview of the features of your product.
#2 To create an emotional connection with visitors by highlighting the benefits.
#3 To boost the SEO value of the page

This is achieved firstly with a short description underneath the product title that summarizes what the product is and its key benefits.

You also want to include a longer description underneath the ‘add to cart’ section that expands on the product’s value.

This longer description not only helps potential buyers understand more about how the product is going to be useful to them, but it also includes keywords for search engines like Google to use to rank your page higher in their results.

Things you could include in a longer description –

  • About the ingredients
  • How to use (demonstration videos are great here)
  • Expand on key features and benefits
  • Address common objections or concerns
  • FAQs

Showcase your brand identity

Your brand identity is like your store’s fingerprint. The colour palette, fonts, image styling, and tone of voice should all be consistent with your brand and followed throughout every page in your store.

People are shopping with you not just for products, but for an experience. Consistent branding elevates that experience and helps build a personal connection with your store’s visitors.

Always keep in mind that your online store is your shopfront. And its integrity must be maintained. Because the stakes are high in the online world – It takes about half a second for visitors to decide whether they like your site or not, and whether they’ll stay or leave.

Include lifestyle imagery

Creating an emotional connection between the product and the potential buyer is the #1 influencing factor in sales.

Because at our core, we buy things because we’re seeking to create a version of ourselves that we aspire to be. We buy lawn mowers to achieve a perfectly manicured lawn we can be proud of. We buy baking tins to delight our kids with home-made cakes on special occasions.

Lifestyle imagery helps nudge people’s imaginations into picturing what owning the product will do for them, and more importantly, how it will make them feel. Similarly to staging a house you want to sell, lifestyle photography gives potential buyers a taste of the experience they’ll get, with the aim of triggering a buying decision.

So think of how you can demonstrate your product in a real life setting to create an emotional connection with your potential buyers.

Who do they want to be? And how can you show them that version of themselves with some lifestyle imagery?

Don’t hide shipping information

One of the biggest reasons shoppers abandon their shopping carts is unexpected shipping costs. People expect delivery to be either free or fast – preferably both. If you can promise them this, then let them know!

It’s wise to offer either free or flat rate shipping when you can so that there are no surprises when buyers begin the checkout process. Free fast delivery is also a great way to incentivise high value orders.

Display your shipping on your product pages at an absolute minimum. Ideally your shipping will be on your home page too, especially if it’s free or flat rate. Your store visitors want to know!

Automate upsells for every order

Upsells are a terrific way of increasing order value without having to capture the customer all over again. They can take a variety of forms – cross sells, add on sales, bundle sales, ‘customers also bought’ are all examples of an upsell function at work.

Whichever form of upsell you choose to use, make sure your checkout cart process remains smooth and doesn’t require too many hoops to jump through. You don’t want to interrupt the sale!

The copy on your upsell pages should be short yet compelling, and the product imagery needs to be on-point too.

Most importantly, the upsell item should complement the initial product. For example, a solar powered phone charger is a great upsell for camping gear. But a Christmas tree is not!

There are a number of Shopify upsell apps that can automate the process for you, so you can maximise your revenue on each sale and significantly increase your customer lifetime value.

Offer an incentive for signing up to your email list

According to a Marketo study, 96% of consumers who land on a website aren’t yet ready to buy. Email is the perfect way to keep in touch with them and entice them to come back and shop with you when they’re ready.

Otherwise, once they’re gone, they’re gone. And the amount of time and money you spent on advertising to attract them in the first place is gone too! But if you do it right, email marketing can generate $42 for every $1 spent. Which is an incredible 4,200% ROI. Can Facebook compete with that? I don’t think so!

There are many ways you can incentivise store visitors to leave their email address with you, so you can keep in touch.

  • Offer a 10% discount
  • Send them a free book or item
  • Enter them into your VIP club
  • Give them a chance to win

Just don’t expect a great result by just asking them to ‘Join my newsletter’. Think about what they might find most valuable, and offer a piece of it to them!

Over to you…

Designing a profitable ecommerce store is certainly achievable once you follow these basic principles of Shopify store design. But the reality is, in order to make the most of Shopify’s huge range of features and functionalities and maximise your chances of online success, it really pays to work with a professional Shopify store designer.

Confetti Design specialises in ecommerce websites. We understand how to build beautiful, functional, and conversion-focused Shopify stores that grow with you. Our team has extensive Shopify design, development, and marketing experience and we love to help store owners succeed.

Whether you are starting up a business or thinking about your current digital marketing, give us a call.

We can help.