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by Joshua Uebergang February 23, 2016

Out of the Sandbox has designed some of the best premium Shopify themes available. I’ve said this for a long time, and in the Shopify conversion guide, the Retina/Austin theme is what I recommend as the number one theme that most stores can use to maximize their sales. But even if you have the best theme installed in your shop and you get many visitors, your orders can still be less than impressive. I have helped ecommerce stores increase their sales for over seven years now, and have found that these boosts in sales rarely come from tweaking the shop’s colors, layouts, and other design improvements.

The source of massive jumps in your conversion rate usually comes from solving problems unique to your ecommerce business. Special answers to increase sales in your store could be improving a poor quality product, decreasing the product price, refining the checkout process, or having high-resolution product photography, because an important feature was previously unseen.

For example, I tweaked a guarantee of one store to instantly boost sales 50%. The product was inherently risky so the guarantee provided reassurance for people to try the product.

So how do you find these big growth opportunities? You know, the roadblocks and opportunities that lead you to triple your sales year-after-year? Well, you can’t discover what matters to the visitor until you actually hear what matters to them.

The Secret Power of Surveys

The secret tactic used by the best conversion marketers in the world is surveys and asking the right questions. I use this method of qualitative testing to get inside the mind of the visitor and become them.

What you ask is of course just as important as actually asking. “Successful people ask better questions,” said performance coach Tony Robbins, “and as a result, they get better answers.”

Here are my five favorite survey questions you can use right now on your ecommerce store to increase sales:

1. Where did you first learn about us?

The best way to identify the source of most of your sales is with ecommerce tracking in Google Analytics. Even with the perfect analytics setup for your store, you can miss where someone first heard about you.

The first discovery point could be a radio advertisement or conversation with a friend. Someone can learn about your store from an unlinked mention in a popular forum that leads them to do a Google search for your brand name. Analytics tells you that the sale originated from an organic search, but really it was from the original forum post that the user read.

If most origins of discovery come from an offline customer word-of-mouth referral, you’d learn the social nature of your product. This presents multiple chances to skyrocket sales. For example, Diamond Candles discovered that people use candles with friends so they growth-hacked the process by creating an unusual experience where a ring reveals itself once the candle is burned. The customer then wears the jewelry which leads to more conversation and referrals.

Clusters of communities exist everywhere. When you ask visitors where they first heard about your store or product, you can brainstorm valuable ideas to hack growth and learn where you need to be.

2. What are you unsure about with your purchase?

A fantastic question to ask on your cart page. Sometimes you can also trigger it when the person stays on a product page for more than two minutes.

The average cart abandonmentsits around 65%. This means 65% of people who reach the /cart page or further in Shopify, do not complete their purchase. Cart abandonment is a big revenue-suck for ecommerce.

Common responses I’ve seen to this question include:
  • “Delivery cost is too high”. Turns out the Shopify shipping configuration was wrong for New Zealand residents!
  • “I got frustrated and gave up”. I couldn’t find any cross-device issues segmenting analytics reports so we conducted a usability test. Turns out a lot of people have problems with the “Update” button on the cart page of many Shopify themes! Christian Holst found users expect fields to auto-update and there to be one button at checkout.
  • “Cheaper at XYZ”. This gave me the idea to lower the product price for the month. Profit for the product jumped 10%.

You will also get product-specific questions where people question if the item in their cart is right for them. Run the ecommerce survey question on your cart page and you will learn a lot!

3. What other information would you find helpful on this page?

This question is suitable on any page of a website, not just an ecommerce product page. If you put it on your About page, you might learn that people are searching for your contact information. Even though your contact details are on a Contact page, adding them to the About page could boost conversions from the added trust.

If you don’t have a section on your product pages that let people ask questions (the YOTPO app is great for this), a survey that pops up after one minute provides interested visitors the opportunity to ask a burning question. You then take the answer to their question and integrate it into the product description. The continuous improvement will increase your conversion rate.

4. What other options were you considering before buying from us?

Oh, I love this question in competitive markets. People can buy from Amazon, eBay, offline, or another online competitor. All this is just for the same product.

But sometimes your competitors are more than just those who sell similar products. A store that sells espresso coffee machines is in competition with others who sell substitute methods to make coffee. If the survey leads you to discover your customers consider a drip machine, a page on your store that compares the pros and cons of various styles of coffee machines could increase sales.

The goal of the question is figure out what you need to do to turn interested visitors into a paying customer.

5. What convinced you to buy from us?

The ultimate question to ask on the order confirmation page. Answers to this question will give you ideas on how to position your store and brand - a bit like the previous question.

Too many start-up stores try to do everything. The result is mediocre results everywhere. But when you find your biggest buyers and know what they require to buy from you, your marketing becomes effortless. Do more of what is working for you.

Start Your Survey Today!

One burning question may now spring to mind: “How do I use all this info and make my own surveys?”

I’m glad you asked! The answer is the WebEngage Shopify app. It is an awesome piece of software that lets you ask all these questions to the right visitor at the right time.

If you have any questions for me, ask below and I will try to help you out.
Joshua Uebergang
Joshua Uebergang

Joshua Uebergang is author of the Shopify Conversion Rate Optimization book, the ultimate free guide to turn more visitors into sales in your store. He is a certified Shopify Expert Marketer at Digital Darts where he helps stores rapidly grow.

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