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BFCM: 3 Non-traditional ways Shopify merchants can increase conversion

BFCM: 3 Non-traditional ways Shopify merchants can increase conversion

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Sean McCarthy
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Albert Einstein would've been great at conversion rate optimization.

His ability to challenge existing logic (including his own) powered his famous thought experiments which led to some of the greatest new ideas in history. And while his fearlessness alone is worthy of aspiration, it's his combination of creativity and agility that you can apply to your own work.

The reality is that the e-commerce world is growing increasingly saturated—and reliable growth of any sort requires you to regularly think outside of the box. It requires you to look at your Shopify store as a collection of tiny atoms coming together in a collective experience for customers. And it means you need to start by questioning how you're using traditional paths to optimization.

It's these paths that the average store owner is using—and it's possible you should be too. Let's take a look at three non-traditional ways you can increase conversions this holiday season.

Dig deeper into form performance

Forms are clearly a key point in your website’s conversion funnel. And while you may have run A/B tests for different elements on your form, we believe it’s vital you dig a bit deeper into five core metrics. As is with many elements of conversion rate optimization and website analysis, benchmarking performance will be your first step.

After collecting enough information to understand how your form is converting visitors, it’s time to take a look at metrics judging the performance of individual fields and your form as related to the rest of the page it’s on. 

Here’s what Lucky Orange provides you in terms of Form Analytics. The primary focus here is spotting areas where your form experience is more difficult than it needs to be. Secondarily, you’re looking for signs that forms are having technical issues causing a poor visitor experience.


Cart abandonment is a massive battle for e-commerce store owners. While some of this issue is less in your control, visitors abandoning the process while completing your form is something you can certainly impact.

With an abandonment report, you should focus on which form field(s) cause the most abandonment. Possible optimization options include splitting a difficult field into two, removing the field entirely, changing placeholder text to make it more intuitive or reordering fields to place a difficult one between two simpler fields.

Here’s what a form abandonment report looks like inside Lucky Orange

Time to start:

How long does it take for visitors to start completing your form once they’ve arrived on page? The longer a visitor is on page before beginning your form, the more likely something will get in their way and cause them to abandon the site altogether. 

What can be causing a long time to start? On Shopify stores, we often see visitors trying to find information about shipping or really clarifying any vital information before completing their purchase. 

Later in this article we’ll discuss dynamic heatmaps and session recordings. These tools are a great next step if you see a high time to start. With session recordings, for example, you’ll be able to watch as visitors navigate the page before, during and after they’ve completed the form. Watch to see where their mouse goes, what they click or which other pages they navigate to before starting the form.

Field time:

What causes visitors to abandon forms? For some Shopify merchants, the finger can be pointed at difficult fields that take a long time to complete. With a Field Time report, you’ll be able to see which fields take the longest to complete. 

Alone, this metric is a great starting point. You’ll want to also view an Abandonment report on the form to see if the longer field times are causing people to give up on the form—or if it’s simply a longer required response. 

For example, a full address field or something that may require them to look up a piece of information might take longer on average, but the length of time won’t necessarily mean they’re struggling or considering abandoning.

Tip: Don’t forget to analyze metrics like field time for mobile visitors. Oftentimes, the numbers will look quite different across device types.

Average order:

A great place to start when trying to find A/B test ideas, average order reports show you how people go about completing your form. Despite our best efforts to predict human behavior, people are going to fill out forms in whatever order they deem easiest. 

Test field order to combine easy fields or to prioritize a gateway field (something people don’t mind giving you that then makes them feel connected to the effort of completing the form) and then view an average order report to see how you’ve impacted visitor behavior.

Repeated fields: 

Another sign of struggle on forms are visitors repeating fields over and over again. This report will highlight any field where visitors are starting to complete something but then delete and refill, or click out of the form and return to that field. What you’re looking for here are signs that people are either:

  • Not wanting to give you a piece of information and coming up with a fake response
  • Struggling to come up with a correctly-formatted response (address, birthday, phone number)
  • Having technical issues with a form that require them to try a field more than once
Offer smarter discount segmentation

As the holiday season approaches and the onslaught of hot deals begins, you need to differentiate your offers. While increasing the percentage off or number of BOGO options might help increase conversions, we can also get smarter about how you target on-site discount promotion.

In short, offering a targeted discount to someone who has a certain UTM parameter or other audience segment or who performs a certain combination of behaviors on your site better aligns discount type with visitor characteristics. In this instance, we’re talking about discounts offered via pop-up as opposed to those sent via email or SMS.

Here are some examples of how you can use segmented discounts to increase conversions this holiday season:

  • Offer a discount to visitors coming from a paid ad campaign, using similar language or highlighting similar products. Do this by offering only to those with UTM parameters aligning with  your campaign.
  • Highlight your loyalty program or offer an exclusive returning customer discount to those who you identify as previous purchasers. This can be done by passing custom user data into a tool like Lucky Orange.
  • Share a shipping discount (or highlight free shipping) to visitors who view your shipping information or FAQ page. Oftentimes, these people are looking for deeper details and will appreciate you valuing the smaller (but equally important) parts of a purchase like shipping.
  • Give visitors who finish a live chat a specific discount. These people are already showing purchase intent by taking the time to ask a question and may be even more likely to buy when given a unique discount.
  • Offer a discount to people who rage click or show some other sign of struggle. While these people may be on the edge of leaving your site entirely, a discount can help save the sale.
Watch people try to navigate your site

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, your best source of intelligence is watching people browse your products. You see how they go from one corner to another, which products they touch or take of the rack and how they ultimately decide to make a purchase or leave empty-handed.

While it’s more difficult than this to analyze online behavior, modern CRO tools give you a front-row seat to visitor activity through Session Recordings and Dynamic Heatmaps. Here’s what an example process looks like using these two tools for conversion optimization.

Step one: Start by viewing heatmaps for your most important web pages. This might include a product category page, shipping or FAQ information or anywhere else that gets a lot of attention. On this page, see how far down people are scrolling and which content blocks get the most (or least) clicks. 

Step two: If you see anything noteworthy in a heatmap, find Session Recordings for visitors on this page to see what’s happening that causes that behavior.

Here’s what Session Recordings look like inside Lucky Orange, with a panel showing key events during the session on the right-hand side.For example, if there are a large number of unexpected clicks on a certain element, see what happens before and after people click that element. 

Or, if your average scroll depth is not quite far enough to reach a key call-to-action, see what’s causing people to stop higher up on the page. Are they getting distracted? Do you need to move the CTA? Or, are they reaching the CTA but taking action elsewhere on the page.

Conversion rate optimization is difficult

This section title isn’t meant to discourage effort. Rather, it’s to help keep things in perspective as you continue your optimization journey. The truth is, there are endless spaces in your store you can test and optimize. Some will be more obvious than others and some may result in dozens of tests before any conversion rate increases happen.

The most successful CRO programs include a commitment to the combination of qualitative and quantitative data and a willingness to channel your inner Einstein by challenging your beliefs system.

Sean is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Lucky Orange, a leading CRO toolkit serving over 300,000 websites around the world. He helps businesses of all sizes better understand the role of a great website in the customer journey.