Top tips & tricks from Shopify Meetups to get you ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season

If you didn’t make the Shopify meetups in Auckland and Christchurch in October, here are the top tips on how to get your eCommerce site ready for the busiest retail season of the year.

shopify meetup group panel

25% of overall revenue takes place over the holiday season, so here’s how you can make the most of it and keep your competitive edge.

 

The following tips were provided by Shopify expert Darryn Soper,  Shopify Plus Support,  Front End Developer Lead

Improve your site speed to increase website conversions

Small improvements to your website can improve loading times and increase conversions by as much as 50% in some cases.

Check out Google’s Page Speed Insights to get a real time report and suggestions on where to improve.

Why? Because people are impatient, mobile phones are slower than desktop and with the holiday season approaching, you need to ensure you have a competitive advantage.

Apps are the most common offender when it comes to site speed.  When you see speed results that say things like “leverage browser caching”, “remove render-blocking content” or “minimize javascript”, chances are, some of these suggestions are being triggered by an app’s code.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may be that the app requires to be built in this way in order to function correctly. But still, every second counts, right?…

So how can you fix it?

Remove any unused apps.

It’s pretty common to install an app, use it for a bit, then forget about it without uninstalling it. So the quickest win you can achieve is to simply remove any apps that aren’t being actively used.

There is also no “ideal” number of apps to have on your store. So don’t feel like you have to remove half of your apps just to meet a certain target.

It’s also important to say that not all apps affect the site speed. Some apps like Mailchimp run entirely in the background, so they don’t get loaded on the website at all.

Depending on how it is coded in your theme, Quick View functionality could be affecting the load time of your store… especially on the collection pages.

“Quick View” is that functionality that you see when you mouse over a product in the collection page and an option pops up asking if you want to “quick view” the product, which, when you click on it, it shows the product content in modal.

If it is built in a way that it loads the content of every single product onto the collection page into a hidden element, waiting for the user to click on it, that is a huge waste of bandwidth.

For example, if I visit a collection page with 40 product thumbnails being output, and this pre-loading style of quick shop is enabled, that means for EACH of these 40 products we will be loading…

– ALL of the product images at a large size
– ALL of the product variant information
– AND the product description

Then, with ALL of this extra product information being loaded, waiting in the background, it is likely that the user may only trigger Quick View on one or two of the products… or perhaps not at all.

So, how can this be resolved?… All you have to do is simply disable Quick View functionality in the theme settings.

Now, if you see value in your Quick Shop functionality, and you don’t want to disable it, then I would suggest that you enlist the services of a Shopify Expert to have the content loaded via Ajax instead. This AJAX method doesn’t load the page content the customer actually clicks on the quick shop button, which saves a whole lot of bandwidth.

Optimize your images 

If you are getting suggestions to optimize your image size, you may be loading the images at larger size than they actually need to be.

Now the thing is, the output size of the majority of your images is actually controlled by your theme code. Even if you upload a HUGE product image, the Shopify theme code should apply a size filter to the image, which will render a smaller, optimized version of the image instead.

But sometimes, the image size filters are larger than they should be, and are instead downsized using CSS in the theme so you don’t actually notice, in which case a little theme development may be needed…

Now actually changing the image size filter isn’t that difficult, you just need to find the offending image in the theme code and replace the img_url value with something smaller.

There ARE more size filters available to us, which I won’t go into now, but if you want to learn more about size filters there is some great documentation in Shopify’s Help Center that you can check out.

With this said, the tricky part is actually finding the correct line of code to update in the theme. The PageSpeed tool will tell you the URL of the image that needs optimizing, but it won’t tell you where in the theme code this is being rendered from. To find this out, you would need to look at the site’s source code and connect the dots. This kind of optimization is likely better handled by a Shopify Expert.

Exponential Loops

Finally, we have Exponential Loops… sounds kinda cool, right?!… Like a roller coaster or something…

It is actually a coding term which is used to explain a situation where there may be loops within loops within loops within loops in the theme code.

This can have a huge impact on the load speed of your site.

Let’s say I have some functionality coded into my theme which allows me define a specific product thumbnail image on the collection page based on what the product is tagged with… kind of a weird scenario, I know, but bear with me.

Now we’ll assume that every product has about 10 product tags and about 5 images associated with it. To get the tag-defined image that we want, we need to loop through ALL of the products on the collection page, then for each product in this loop we need to loop through ALL of the product tags, then for each of the tags we need to loop through ALL of the product images… by the time the code has finished running, this gives us 2000 calls to the server before the page can start rendering! This is huge!

How do you know if your site is being affected by this? Some functionalities to look out for are grouped tag filters in the sidebar, images which change when you hover over product swatches on the collection page, and pretty much any other super custom functionality that may have been added to your collection page.

This said, these types of customizations aren’t always going to be using exponential loops. Sometimes the exponential loops are not that obvious. So unless you know what you are looking for, it will be difficult to find out.

This is when you may need some expert help from your nearest Shopify Partner and Shopify Experts.

Further substantiation on the importance of speed

Scott Kilmartin, an ecommerce adviser from Online Offline pointed out that of those businesses that did have some sort of mobile capability, many would be slow, clunky or difficult to use.

“To do mobile commerce well, brands need a stripped back mobile site, top-selling product on the home page, fast load speed, great and fast search function and a frictionless path-to-purchase and checkout purchase,” he told The New Daily. 

” 37 per cent of consumers said they were put off by slow page loading. Conversely, just 21 per cent of businesses thought this would be a problem for customers.” New Daily reported.

Scott went on to say that potential customers were increasingly coming via social media platforms like Instagram – a channel that encouraged “impulse purchases”.

“For impulse purchases, you might only get one shot that’s blown if the site has too many hurdles to buy from, especially for customers under 30,” he said.

 

photo 1

 

The following tips were provided by Leonardo Garcia-Curtis, Zyber (Shopify Partner) 

Make the most of this season with post purchase up-selling

  • By offering additional units of what the customer just purchased, you have a higher chance of selling additional units.  Bundle it, add value or offer a discount on additional purchases of the same item.
  • NB: Don’t try to bring in something new that does not relate to what they have just purchased.
  • Introduce custom logos for key seasons and update your branding to reflect the offer or the event e.g.
  • Update your marketing every 6 weeks to keep it fresh and exciting, to keep customers coming back.
  • Use your post purchase emails as a place to up-sell! These emails have an open rate of over 70%, so make use of them and include some extra offers or promo codes for repeat business.

 

Our own Hawk Steele from StarShipIT presented on how to automate fulfillment to gain back 25 hours a week!

Shipping automation will reduce delivery errors, time spent on fulfillment, shipping costs –  and restore your sanity.  Learn more about using shipping notifications for up-selling where we show you how to maximise your customer touch points via email using StarShipIT’s automated notifications and branded tracking pages.

Remove the friction for you and the customer by streamlining the send to end experience.

chc meetup hawk

Hawk presenting at the Christchurch Shopify Meetup

 

Keen to try StarShipIT for yourself?  Sign up for a FREE 30 day trial and someone will be in touch shortly to help you get set up and shipping straight away.