Site performance is absolutely critical to the success of any Shopify store. And this is where having the right theme can make a huge difference. Our friends from Debutify have prepared this guide to give you the 5 key elements every Shopify theme should have.
Conversion rate optimization is very important for every Shopify store but another key element that has a huge impact on its bottom line is performance optimization – the process of making websites load, render and respond faster.
Why is performance optimization so important? Well, back in 2009, Eric Schurman at Bing and Jake Brutlag at Google conducted several experiments to see how their users responded to increased server delays. Google found that an extra delay of less than half a second led to a 0.6 percent drop in user engagement, while Bing’s test with a full two second delay caused a drop by over 4 percent.
When it comes to ecommerce in particular, site performance is absolutely critical to the success of any Shopify store. This is where having the right theme comes in. Besides functionality, aesthetics, brand identity and user-friendliness, your choice of theme also determines your store performance and ultimately how easy and desirable to buy your products are.
Choosing a theme for your online store is one of the most important decisions every eCommerce merchant has to make but sometimes it could be a bit overwhelming. For a Shopify theme to properly optimize store performance, it needs to satisfy five key elements that we are going to explore below.
Mobile First Experience
Your Shopify store should be user-friendly on both desktop and mobile interfaces (different phone manufacturers and different screen sizes too). Keep in mind that mobile shopping is the future of eCommerce because more and more people are shopping via their smartphones due to the ease and convenience these mobile devices have to offer.
The latest statistics show that over 45 percent of all online purchases are being made on mobile devices and it’s expected to reach 55 percent by 2021.This is why it’s no longer enough to choose a theme that has a good-looking mobile version: you need a theme that focuses on a mobile-first approach. The ecommerce store of the future is going to need to be built more for the mobile device user than the desktop user.
Fast Loading Speed
No one enjoys browsing slow websites, especially if they came to spend their hard earned money on them. If the pages on your Shopify store take more than three seconds to load (be it due to animations, sophisticated scrollers or some other heavy features), many of your potential customers would be tempted to bounce away to another merchant out of frustration.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that fast loading websites are highly favored not only by human users but by search engines too. Back in 2010, Google announced that page speed would have an impact on a website’s ranking. However, this was only focused on desktop searches. Fortunately, after several years of promising to do so, Google stated in July 2018 that the loading speed of mobile pages would be used as a ranking factor in mobile search.
Therefore, having a fast loading Shopify store is not only great for your UX, but for your SEO too.
It’s not enough for a Shopify theme to be mobile-friendly and fast loading. In today's highly competitive ecommerce industry, it’s more important than ever for merchants to select a theme that gets the most conversions out of whatever traffic they drive to their store.
For example, if your Shopify store gets 1000 visitors per month with 50 of them making a purchase, your conversion rate is 5%. To raise your store performance to 100 purchases per month, you can either double your conversion rate or double your traffic.
You will find that the former is way more effective and affordable than the latter because getting more existing visitors to respond to your calls-to-action (CTAs) takes just a few strategic changes while getting more new visitors requires a directly proportionate increase in marketing spend/effort.
What are some effective conversion boosting tactics and features you could add to your store?
Cart retention remains one of the biggest challenges for all eCommerce merchants today. Adding a cart countdown will create a sense of buying urgency and will reduce the number of abandoned carts. People are more likely to complete their purchase right away when they notice there’s a clock on it because they don’t want the effort they have already made in loading their cart to go to waste.
Live sales are great to raise buyer confidence by showing products that are currently being purchased from the store. Just like no one likes to dine at an empty restaurant, no one likes to shop at an empty Shopify store. Knowing that other real people are making online purchases in real-time gives undecided potential customers the confidence they need to make one of their own.
Located right under checkout and cart pages, trust badges are very effective when it comes to building brand credibility and promoting trust.. The more secure people feel about sharing their payment details on your website, the more likely they are to complete their purchases. This is particularly important in today’s online environment where cybercrime is becoming more rampant.
Choosing the right Shopify theme for your brand is just the first step, you have to then make it perfectly reflect your brand. Consistency is extremely vital for building a stable brand image and reputation, and ensuring success.
As a merchant you will need to add your own brand logo, home page text, product photos, descriptions, categories/subcategories, blog content, header and footer content, information page as well as social media pages and other contact details.
You should also be able to easily change the fonts, background color, text and menu color(s) of your Shopify store as well as how much content is displayed on each page in order to match the exact needs and preferences of the type of customers that you’re looking to attract.
24/7 Developer Support
Theme support is another extremely important factor to consider when deciding on a theme to use for your Shopify store. You should be able to talk to the theme developers as soon as possible, should you run into any issues with the product or even simply need some guidance.
The last thing you want is having to wait for hours or even days to get assistance regarding some performance problem. In the world of ecommerce, your store being down or slow for an extended period of time can have a serious impact on your brand credibility.
Use a Tool You Can Trust
All in all, choosing the right Shopify theme for store performance is not something to be taken lightly. But with the right partner on your side, you can quickly and easily decide on the best option for you and make it best represent your brand.
Available in two versions (Debut-Light and Debut-Default), Debutify is a Shopify theme specifically designed to boost conversions and store performance for any product type and catalog size. It excellently delivers on all the key factors above that ecommerce merchants need to consider.
Debutify has a very easy plug & play setup which enables merchants to edit themes, without needing any coding experience. Every update Debutify releases is built for mobile-first experience and ensures super-fast load time of only two seconds. Moreover, users have a wide range of powerful conversion boosting add-ons to choose from, and the support of a 24/7 developer team to take care of any potential issues and provide step-by-step trainings.
It’s no mistake that Debutify still remains the highest converting free Shopify theme of all time.
About the author:
Raphael Bergeron is the CEO & Founder of Debutify, and is dedicated to helping people build a high converting Shopify store in minutes, without any technical knowledge at all, passionate about creating pixel-perfect web interfaces for e-commerce.
This article originally appeared in the SMSbump blog and has been published here with permission.