12 of the Best Shopify Stores We’ve Seen (& what makes them great)

The best Shopify stores can teach us a lot.

Looking at the best Shopify stores gives us inspiration, helps us improve our own store, informs our marketing and challenges us to level-up our brands.

Because in today’s eCommerce environment, it’s no longer enough to just have a great product. To be successful, you need to deliver an incredible online shopping experience for your customers too.

So, in this article, we’re going to get your creative juices flowing by looking at some of the best Shopify stores out there. What’s more, we’ll discuss a key takeaway from each example that you can implement in your Shopify store right now.

So whether you’re just starting out, or a veteran of the eCommerce world - let’s get started!

What do the Best Shopify Stores Have in Common?

While many of the best Shopify stores look different on the surface, most of them share a lot of  common characteristics.

Understanding these characteristics, and ensuring that your own store possesses them too, is a great way to take your conversion rate and sales up a notch.

The core characteristics that the best Shopify stores share are:

  1. Awesome product photography
  2. Amazing product descriptions
  3. Enticing product videos
  4. Solid SEO and content marketing
  5. Well-timed pop-ups
  6. User-focused navigation
  7. A thought-through linking structure
  8. Lots of quality social proof
  9. Powerful brand storytelling
  10. Complete mobile optimization
  11. Clean store design
  12. Low barriers to purchase

Of course there’s many other elements you could add to this list. But think of these twelve points as a kind of ‘must-have list’ for your own store. These are the 20% of optimizations that’ll get you 80% of the results.

12 of the Best Shopify Stores We’ve Seen This Year

With those twelve characteristics in mind, let’s examine 12 of the best Shopify stores who exemplify these characteristics and see what we can learn from each one. Starting with none other than sustainable shoe retailer Allbirds.

1. Allbirds - The Importance of Good Product Photography

As visual beings, our shopping habits heavily rely on what we see. This is especially true when it comes to online shopping, as we lack the ability to physically examine a product. 

Seriously, according to Justuno, 93% of consumers consider product photography as the primary factor when making a purchase.

Additionally, studies have demonstrated that high-quality images can increase the likelihood of a purchase by up to three times compared to low-quality images. 

Essentially, if your product photography is subpar, your sales are not as high as they should be - and in fact, they might be way below where they could be.

Allbirds product photos include both lifestyle and product-only shots. Every image is super-high resolution and shows the shoes from multiple angles. Customers can zoom in and see the product up close like they would in real life. 

Without even needing a pair of shoes, I think you can agree that these images make their shoes hard to resist.

🔑Key Takeaway: Never underestimate the importance of good product photography. Include high-resolution images, multiple angles and 360-degree view for extra credit.

2. Beardbrand- The Power of Product Descriptions

The words you choose to describe your products can make or break them.

According to salsify's 2017 "Cracking the Consumer Code" report, 87% of shoppers consider product descriptions to be extremely important in their purchasing decision. 

Additionally, a staggering 98% of shoppers have been dissuaded from purchasing a product due to incomplete or poorly written descriptions.

Beardbrand is an example of a company that understands the importance of crafting product descriptions that resonate with their target audience. They use emotive language to allow readers to imagine the benefits of using their products before they even make a purchase.

You can follow their lead by using Hubspot's free buyer persona generator to create a profile of your ideal customer. 

Then, write your product descriptions in a way that speaks directly to your persona using their language and positioning your product as a solution to their problems. As famous copywriter Shirley Polykoff once said, "Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer."

🔑Key Takeaway: create compelling product descriptions that speak directly to your ideal buyer to improve your product's chances of success.

3. Ratio Coffee - The Case for Product Videos

Using product videos can significantly increase your sales. 

In fact, according to Animoto, almost 75% of adults are more likely to make a purchase after watching a product video. 

Additionally, 96% of consumers find product videos helpful when shopping online, making it an essential visual medium that you can't afford to ignore.

Product videos allow your audience to see your product in action, demonstrating its features and benefits - they bring it to life and showcase benefits.

You don't have to go as fancy as Ratio Coffee to be effective, but with the low production costs nowadays, it's crazy not to invest in some video assets for your Shopify store.

🔑Key Takeaway: the best Shopify stores with product videos drive higher conversions than those that don’t have them. Plus, you can re-use your videos as marketing assets in your paid ads.

4. BirchBox - A Lesson in Content Marketing 

Content marketing is a powerful but often overlooked strategy in the world of Shopify. It's an awesome way to build a long-term conversion strategy that can pay off big time.

A great example of quality B2C content marketing is Birchbox's 'Magazine,' which is a blog of skincare and make-up tutorials aimed at helping their customers get the most out of their products.

Not only can content marketing improve your Shopify store's organic traffic through improved SEO, but it also builds trust between you and potential customers. And when customers trust you, they're more likely to convert, leading to a stronger brand and more revenue for you.

So, the key takeaway here is to create content (like social media posts, blogs, guides, and videos) that focuses on helping your customers solve their problems. By doing so, you can build a loyal customer base and enjoy long-term success in the eCommerce world.

🔑Key Takeaway: Create social media posts, blogs, guides & videos that focus on helping your customers solve their problems. Not sure where to start? Check out our guide on how to blog and get free organic traffic on shopify here.

5. Tattly - The Art of the Pop-up

Pop-ups may be controversial, but there's no denying their effectiveness in making money for your Shopify store. Even with some arguing that they're annoying, a well-designed pop-up can seriously impact your bottom line.

Consider this: the average pop-up conversion rate is 3.09%. That means if your store gets 2000 visitors per day, you could gain around 1850 email subscribers per month.

Assuming that each email subscriber is worth between $6-10 (depending on how well you're doing with email marketing), a single pop-up could bring in up to $18,500 per month in revenue.

While this is just a theoretical example, the principle holds true: when used correctly, pop-ups can make a significant difference in your revenue.

Take a look at Tattly's beautifully designed pop-up that offers 20% off as customers leave the store. This incentive encourages people to rethink their decision to leave and possibly make a purchase instead.

🔑Key Takeaway: Every visitor is a chance to capture a lead. Use a smart pop-up to build your list and create automations that turn them into customers.

6. Gymshark - A Logical Navigational Structure

Good navigation is key to a successful eCommerce store, yet it's often overlooked. Take Harvard Business Services, for example. When they improved their navigation elements, they saw a 15.68% increase in sales.

One Shopify website example that excels at navigation is Gymshark. Despite having thousands of products, they keep it simple with just three main categories: men, women, and accessories. From there, you can easily narrow down your search with sub-categories.

This straightforward approach makes browsing and shopping for gym gear a breeze. Remember, a clear and simple product categorization can make all the difference in converting visitors to customers.

🔑Key Takeaway: Poorly structured sites will always struggle to convert. Prioritize simplifying and clarifying your product categorization, so that it makes sense to your visitors.

7. MVMT - A 404 Page That Works for You

As the best Shopify stores go, MVMT is a major contender for the crown. Perusing their site can provide a wealth of eCommerce design knowledge. One interesting feature I came across was their utilization of the 404-page to guide customers back to their desired content.

It's no secret that broken links can significantly harm the shopping experience for visitors. 

That's why I found it ingenious that MVMT has enhanced their 404-page with a visually appealing image, a link to the men's or women's sections, and a footer banner promoting the advantages of shopping with them.

🔑Key Takeaway: Use your 404-page to your advantage by making it easy for shoppers to get back to where they were.

8. Hem - Leveraging Social Proof

A whopping 70% of folks trust recommendations online from people they don’t even know.

So, if you’re not leveraging social proof (reviews, ratings, media coverage etc) on your Shopify store, you’re missing out on a simple way to boost your conversion rate.

Scandi-furniture retailer Hem displays powerful reviews from high-authority media outlets on their store’s home page.

As visitors scroll down the page, they’re greeted with more customer reviews to round-out the brands trustworthiness in the eyes of their soon-to-be customers. 

They also feature customer reviews on their product pages to showcase the quality of their items and give shoppers even more confidence to complete their purchase as they move down the sales funnel.

🔑Key Takeaway: Let customers know how good your brand is by using the words of others. Add real reviews and media coverage to your store to build trust and boost conversions.

9. Pipcorn - How to Tell Your Story

Lost of Shopify stores don’t know that one of the highest bounce rate pages on their site is often the ‘about us’ page

This matters because it means that the traffic you’ve driven to your site is keen to know more about your brand, but you’re not giving them what they need to know to stay.

Snack retailer Pipcorn have an amazing ‘about us’ page on which they tell the interesting story of how their brand came to be. It humanizes what otherwize might be a faceless brand.

After reading, of supporting a giant globo-corp or buying snacks, you’re becoming a part of their family business, you’re supporting local farmers and sustainable commerce.

That’s significant because it resonates with the audience that Pipcorn is trying to reach. It aligns the Shopify store with the ideal buyer’s values.

And that’s something that larger brands, with bigger marketing budgets, can’t compete with.

🔑Key Takeaway: The best Shopify stores have a great brand story that appeals to their ideal buyers. Skip a generic  ‘about us’ page & tell the tale of how you started & what you stand for.

10. Hiut Denim Co - The Importance of Mobile Optimization

According to Forbes, a whopping 91% of consumers make online purchases using their smartphone. So if your site isn’t optimized for mobile - it’s very likely that you’re not maximizing your sales.

And it’s worse than simply losing sales - According to Google, existing customers who have a negative experience on your mobile site are a whopping 62% less likely to buy again.

The good news is that Shopify stores generally all work pretty well on mobile. Especially when it comes to the technical aspects of performance.

But there’s still a couple of aspects that are essential to get right. Theme selection and store design are key. To see a great example of mobile optimization - check out Hiut Denim Co.

In fact, all of the best Shopify stores we’ve mentioned so far do a great job of nailing the mobile experience. So, open a few of them in your browser and phone. Then, compare and take notes for how you can improve on your site.

In particular look out for mobile-friendly characteristics like:

  • Mobile-friendly cart functions
  • Prominent above-the-fold CTA placement
  • Removal of non-essential page elements
  • Simplified navigation
  • Mobile-optimized images

To go beyond a mobile optimized site and boost customer retention, it may be worth considering creating a mobile app too. You can use apps like Shopney or Vajro to easily turn your store into a professional mobile app.

🔑Key Takeaway: Ensure your store is optimized for mobile shoppers, and consider launching a mobile app if the bulk of your traffic is coming from mobile. Why not add an app download CTA and 10% discount incentive on your order confirmation page with ReConvert to boost downloads?

11. Brilliant.co - The Art of Clean Store Design

According to the data, 86% of visitors arriving on a business's homepage immediately look for information regarding the company's products or services. Moreover, 40% of users abandon a website if the layout is too complicated or unattractive. 

Therefore, it is crucial not to let your store's design overshadow your products and value proposition, particularly if you have a one-product store.

Brilliant, a bike manufacturer and retailer, emphasizes minimalistic design to showcase their product in the forefront and highlight the key benefits of shopping with them below. 

One smart move to improve your store's performance is to conduct user testing using a tool like Hotjar to establish a baseline for future improvements.

🔑Key Takeaway: Your store’s design has a massive impact on your sales. Check out our post on eCommerce homepages to level-up yours and make a great first impression today.

12. Miracle - Reduce Friction At All Costs

According to Baymard's research, unexpected shipping charges during checkout are the leading cause of cart abandonment, with 64% of users becoming aware of shipping costs as early as the product page. Surprisingly, up to 27% of users miss sitewide shipping-related banners when visiting a store.

To address this issue, the researchers recommend placing shipping offers where users cannot miss them, specifically next to the "add to cart" button, to ensure maximum visibility - exactly like Miracle does here:

But it’s not just shipping costs that add friction and scuttle conversions. Pretty much all of the factors we’ve discussed so far either facilitate or reduce barriers to conversions. But some of the top conversion killers are:

  1. Unexpected fees at checkout
  2. Difficult navigation
  3. Lack of trust Signals
  4. Needing to create an account to checkout
  5. Difficulty finding a coupon code
  6. Having to input the same info twice at checkout
  7. Not offering the customer’s preferred payment method
  8. Final cart price is in a different currency
  9. Lack of useful shipping options

Auditing your store will give you the best insight into how you can lower the friction customers face during the checkout process.

🔑Key Takeaway: Free shipping is one of the best ways to boost conversions. Use a threshold to boost AOV. Display your free shipping offer next to your ‘Add to Cart’ button for maximum uptake.

Transform Your Store Into One of the Best Shopify Stores Today!

Creating an exceptional digital shopping experience is crucial - whether you're starting a new business or an established retail giant, the 12 Shopify stores above provide inspiration and actionable tips you can implement immediately.

It’s important to remember that the best Shopify stores are built one change at a time. Attempting to overhaul your entire online shop can be overwhelming. So, we recommend starting small and experimenting as you go. If what you’re doing yields positive results, then continue with it. If not, move on and try another approach.

Ultimately, as with most things in eCommerce, building a great store is about throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.

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