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Shopify PDP Doctor App

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Brief: The Shopify product page doctor app is designed to constantly monitor your product page and keep tabs on vitals. It’s an early warning system. Not only does it alert, but it also explains how to fix things.

Backstory: Shopify brands spend a lot of time and energy tweaking their advertising. But not enough time no time adjusting the pitch on their product pages. In fact, for every Shopify site, we’ve worked with the product page isn’t touched after initial development. This means Shopify sites around the world are operating under the assumption that their product pages are perfect. This is one scary assumption.

But why do product pages matter?

Consumers discover new brands in a variety of ways. Let’s focus on the two that the marketer controls.

Path 1: They Google it:

Path 2: They discover your ad scrolling their social media feeds:

For both paths, clicking the ad leads directly to the product page.

Also, the product page is the last stage of the window shopping experience. Beyond it the shopper knows they will need to pull out their credit card and 10,000 years of evolution have prepared us not to take risks. This means this is the last chance we have to convince the buyer.

Our app was designed to constantly track health vitals on your product page. Don’t bother looking, there is no other app on Shopify or anywhere else in the world that does what our app does.

We never planned to make an app

I’ve known Michael Whitaker for a decade. I’ve also been working on A/B testing for the last 13 years. We’ve run 100s of product page A/B tests, more than any agency in the world. Our focus is exclusively on product pages. We do custom work for clients and charge $8,000 a month and deliver a 20% conversion bump on the product page.

Michael’s challenge was ludicrous, “Rishi, can you automate important aspects of what you do into an app?”

Long story short, here we are.

Tracking vitals

Here is a listing of all the things our app will be tracking on your product page.

Where to focus

Our app looks at the distribution of sales and tells you how to go about optimizing.

Each sku that is driving 10% of overall profitability will be listed as star products in the list we display on the page.

If there are no skus that are driving 10% of overall sales and if the site has many skus then we show this message:

You have broad distribution across the 20 items you carry. Therefore it would make sense to think about optimization for products as a whole.

Here is how we go about doing this: we assume that the job of the product page is to sell the product featured on the page. But before we can sell the product to a visitor who is seeing you for the first time we have to sell them on you. We need to get this visitor to trust us as a brand. We need to get them over the unfamiliarity barrier. Here is what your “why we exist” story needs to communicate:

1: Empathizing with the visitor. Letting them know we hear them and understand their struggle.

2: Demonstrating expertise. You’ve spent years working on improving your processes: manufacturing, research, shipping, warehousing, studying competing products to further refine your processes. By paying one low price the shopper can get all the benefits of all those learnings. This is a huge advantage for the buyer and needs to be communicated in your story.

3: Philosophical alignment. Sir James Dyson, the founder of Dyson, said this: “I just want things to work properly.”

This is what the brand embodies. And this is why Dyson.com was able to expand from being just a vacuum cleaner brand to being a whole family of products all of which satisfied the “I just want things to work properly.” ethos.

4: Knowledgeable friend. Buying something for the very first time can cause a huge amount of anxiety. We feel much more comfortable buying from someone who we consider a knowledgeable friend. Before pitching the product let the shopper know you can be a knowledgeable friend.

Once you’ve crafted your “why we exist” story we’ll add it to your product page so you can see what difference it is making for conversion rates.

Engagement rate

If your product page had 100 visitors, 30 of which bounced immediately and 2 bought, what is your conversion rate? GA calculates it at 2 / 100 = 2% conversion rate. This is silly. There was 0% chance for these 30 bounced visitors to convert. Should we consider them our target visitors? If they were, they wouldn’t have bounced.

You can’t hope to convert a visitor who isn’t engaged. Here is how we define engagement: someone who visited this product page and spent a total of four minutes on the site.

We like the four-minute number because it’s big enough to indicate the shopper has high intent. This doesn’t mean they will buy our product, but it definitely means they are interested in our product category. It means they are engaged.

This is the number we use for our client projects and this is the number we’re using for our app.

Why does this matter? If your engagement rate is 30% that means 70% of your visitors aren’t a good fit. That’s potentially a red flag. It’s a vital health signal.

But you’ll never know this by looking at Shopify or GA data. But our app will give it to you.

Engaged conversion rate

The overall conversion rate of your site doesn’t tell you anything useful. And yet, that’s the metric you get from Google Analytics.

What you want to track is this: of the visitors to product page #12 how many units of product #12 did we sell?

Actually, you want to take it one step further:

Of the engaged visitors to product page #12 how many units of product #12 did we sell?

Visiting isn’t enough. You can only hope to convince and convert an engaged visitor.

Since our app already knows your engagement rate, we can easily calculate your engaged conversion rate.

Paid landing traffic

Some people navigate to your product page from an inner page on your site. Some arrive via an email you sent. Some enter via a paid ad.

These are 3 totally different types of visitors.

All 3 are important groups but paid traffic is most important. You are paying $$$ to get these folks in. For paid traffic landing on your product page, your whole site is this one product page. 

As the business owner, you need to know how this paid traffic is behaving and if it isn’t converting you want to know why and how to fix it. Right out of the box our app will let you know how your paid traffic is performing.

Did you know? For a typical ecommerce site return rates are 15%. This means if the visitor exits from your product page there is an 85% chance they will never return. All that $$$ for nothing.

What’s a good conversion rate for a site? Is it 4% or 3%? The only answer is it depends. It depends on the type of business you are in (jewelry site or coffee machine), how many competitors you have, your price point, etc. It’s a rabbit hole.

A much better metric is to compare the conversion rate of your own site. How is it trending? Is it going up or down? If it’s going down we can be 100% confident we need to fix it. Simple.

But who will track that? The Shopify Product Page Doctor app.

Mobile and desktop

A mobile page isn’t a shrunken version of a desktop page. Mobile visitors are in a different mental state than desktop visitors. Yet, every site in the world treats its mobile and desktop visitors the same. Our app breaks our analysis into mobile and desktop and this exposes a whole new layer of insights.

Personalization based on the awareness level of the shopper

eCommerce has been around for a long time. Amazon is 26 years old.

But there is a flaw in the Matrix.

If you and I went to this product page on Dyson we’d see the exact same content.

But are you and I the same person? No.

Do we shop the same way? No.

Do we seek the same information? No.

Then why is the product page the same for both of us?

It’s because Dyson and every bloody retailer in the world has made a terrible mistake:

Imagine you sell a juicer.

Your product page visitors will be in these 3 awareness levels:

— Someone new to juicing

— Someone familiar with juicing but new to your brand

— Someone deep in their juicing research journey

Your sales pitch will be so much more powerful if it were personalized to the awareness level of these 3 visitors.

The other benefit of crafting copy based on levels of awareness is that it drastically reduces word count because now you are writing for just one audience.

Right now your page talks to everyone the same way. Using our app, you’ll be able to personalize the sales pitch with a few clicks.

Browse versus buy modes

Some visitors are looking to buy today. Others are in research mode. When you go to a car dealership to look at your next potential purchase, what are the odds that the enthusiasm of the sales guy will make you sign today? Pretty low we’re guessing. The same is true for your product page visitors. But how to know if a visitor is in buy mode or research mode? We take care of that.

Example: https://www.frictionless-commerce.com/case-studies/alternatives-to-pop-ups/

Hidden assets

Not everything on your product page is equally important. Let’s say your product page has a demonstration video. You feel the video is at a fairly visible location. Looking at your analytics you discover people who watch the video have a conversion rate of 12.4% (this is great news) but only 5.2% of page visitors are clicking the video play button (this is very very bad news).

If you had this data you would immediately know what to do (make the video more visible). But calculating this data is a multi-step process. With our app, it’s automatically tracked and it’s tracked constantly so that if 6 months from now the conversion rate of the video drop from 12.4% to 6.5% you’ll get a notification with a recommendation to consider either shooting a new video (since this video is losing juice) or to add a new asset that does the job.

Another hidden asset example is your customer reviews. By default, there is no tracking in GA or Shopify that tells you how many visitors saw reviews and the conversion impact of people who saw reviews. With Shopify Product Page Doctor App this can be easily calculated.

How to get started

Our app works only on Shopify and is implemented as a custom app.