Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Webinar Recap: Shopify Store Teardowns with Kurt Elster


We recently teamed up with Shopify Expert Kurt Elster from Ethercycle to review ecommerce stores and see where they could be improved.

Kurt reviewed six stores and highlighted opportunities to implement best practices and gave feedback on customer acquisition. A summary of his feedback for each store is below.

When clicking through the reviewed stores, you may notice that some of them have immediately put Kurt’s advice into practice, hence we’ve included screenshots of the stores for reference.

If you want to attend the next webinar: sign up for our email newsletter and we’ll give you a heads up when the next one is happening. You’ll also be given the first chance to submit your store for review.

1. Nisolo

Nisolo’s homepage


  • Choose your carousel images wisely. 9 out of 10 people will only see the first slide. Don’t assume that people will click the carousel pagination to see the other images.
  • Add a call-to-action for every carousel image. At the very least, add a label or some copy that frames the image appropriately.
  • Change the placement of “free shipping”, possibly into a browser-width banner. it doesn’t make sense to be at this header hierarchy.
The ‘Favorites’ section on Nisolo’s homepage


  • Add a “gift guide” section to the header navigation, potentially replacing “About”, which could be moved further down into its own section down the page. To maximize its usefulness as a conversion driver, the navigation should be as simple and clean as possible.
  • Instead of “favorites”, name it “bestsellers.” “Favorites” needs a bit more context. You could also go one step further and have a bestsellers section for men and another for women.
  • Provide a stronger incentive for the newsletter. Why should anyone sign up for “News & updates”? You will likely get a higher opt-in rate with more benefit-rich copy here, like “Exclusive deals for X, or first access to Y”
Nisolo’s Product Listing Page

Product listing page

  • Consider bundling the repetitive products. You could show a larger variety of products by grouping the Emilio Chukka boots; they appear to be differentiated only by color. You could have just one page for the product line and have the visitor choose the color.
Nisolo’s Product Page

Product page

  • Test having longer product descriptions. Bonus points for including a narrative that reflects your brand’s story.
  • Show only reviews of relevant products. When viewing some men’s products, the Yotpo plugin was showing reviews of women’s products.
  • Remove the share buttons. They typically just distract the shopper from their buying experience, and you’re unlikely to generate significant traffic from them.


2. Clipless

GetClipless’s lifestyle shots

Customer acquisition advice

  • Use Facebook retargeting (specifically, Perfect Audience). The Get Clipless team identified that PPC is an important channel, so retargeting may be effective. Seems like a fit for the target audience.
  • Invest in content marketing. Creating content for your niche has long-term SEO benefits, while creating potential hook points for educating customers. “10 tips to make sure you don’t lose your phone” etc.


  • Make the lifestyle shots relevant to your shoppers. Is this how your customers segment themselves? Think about their usage, not your product lines.
  • Consider putting the labels underneath the images as text. With the text overlaid on the pictures, it can be hard to read / difficult to skim.
GetClipless’s product page

Product page

  • Don’t rely on tabs for information display. Assume that less than half of people will click those tabs, so don’t put critical information in them.
  • Excellent lifestyle shots. Great, high-quality selection of lifestyle shots showing the product in use.


3. Pele Che Coco

Pele Che Cho’s homepage navigation



  • Make sure navigation items are easily understood. For example, “SS15” — what does that mean? If the large majority of your target audience can understand that, great, so make sure that you’re using appropriate language and labeling.
Pele Che Coco’s product page options

Product page

  • If you shop worldwide, auto-detect currency. Currently, everything is in Euros. If your shoppers are from non-Euro countries, consider showing the relevant currency based on their IP.
  • Remove redundant options. Some items have a dropdown menu with only one option; if possible, remove the option to select. Reducing friction and the number of clicks is always a reliable strategy to increase conversions.
Pele Che Coco’s shopping cart

Shopping cart page

  • Decide on one primary call-to-action. “Update Cart” and “Check Out” have the same visual weight; ideally, “Check Out” stands more that “Update Cart.” For every view, have one primary call-to-action.
  • Consider removing “specify” text box. Not only is the English grammar incorrect, but it’s unclear what action you want the shopper to take here and whether it’s a necessary step before check out. What value does this add to the experience?

Checkout page

  • Great job using Shopify’s responsive checkout. This will boost conversions, especially as mobile usage in ecommerce continues to increase.
  • Add a logo. The rest of the site has a nice look and feel, keep it consistent through checkout by adding your logo at the top. It’s easy to do and preserves the shopping experience.

Further notes on getting customers

  • Build a lifestyle brand by sending free samples to Instagram influencers. Target people with 250K followers and offer them free items in exchange for a post or a hashtag. Working with influencers has been an extremely successful strategy for Greats, a designer footwear store (and ReferralCandy customer).


4. MacGregor & MacDuff

This is not a Shopify site, but we reviewed it because there’s a lot of marketing lessons that are applicable to all ecommerce stores.

MacGregor MacDuff’s homepage


  • Have a primary point of focus on your homepage. Above the fold, there are way too many things competing for attention — is it the awards? Is it the authority signals (“30,000 customers”, “2000 products”, etc) or is it the product lines? If you’d like to improve conversions on your homepage, this is a great place to start.
  • Streamline information below the fold. There’s a lot of good content below the fold, but they’re all competing for information.
  • Make links look like links. There are links on the page that look like normal text, so the visitor wouldn’t know to click them. For example, “Kilt Hire From £69.00” is a link, but looks like normal text.

MacGregor MacDuff's product page
MacGregor MacDuff’s product page

Product page

  • Remove the social network buttons. You’re potentially distracting shoppers here, with very little value. They’re in shopping mode, but you’re basically asking them to stop doing that in order to follow you on Twitter, or go to Facebook, or watch your videos on YouTube.In general, you can help your conversions by reducing the amount of distractions and keeping the shopper focused on the buying experience.

Further customer acquisition advice

  • Give bonuses or discounts to forum members. In the application for review, there was an identified forum that sent a lot of traffic — consider giving that forum bonuses or specials to help increase conversions or repeat purchase. A customer referral program may be a smart addition to your customer acquisition strategy here.

5. Fifth Bond

Fifth Bond's homepage
Fifth Bond’s homepage


  • Make your press mention logos more prominent. These trust indicators are excellent, but they’re buried all the way down at the bottom of the page.
  • Excellent product shots. You’ve taken powerful, consistently treated photos. Great!
  • Give the lifestyle images more context. There are photos of women wearing your jewelry about halfway down the page, but they appear to be in isolation to the rest of the design. Is there a way you can put some text around them to give them more context? There is a copywriting opportunity here, one that will help you evoke emotions relevant to your store, which can enhance the buying experience.

Fifth Bond’s product listing page

Product listing page

  • Test whether hover-for-price is effective. Currently, the shopper has to hover their mouse over the image to see item pricing. This makes the shopper spend a bit more effort to easily browse your selection, and can also be a bit distracting. It’s worth testing to see if simply displaying the price below the image and removing the hover effect will improve your conversions.


Fifth Bond’s product page

Product page

  • Great job showing shipping and return information! This is a great “objection buster” and pre-emptively answers a key question for shoppers of luxury items.
  • Great idea showing “Jewelry Care.” Showing item care instructions is excellent, even if people aren’t looking for it. It shows that you’re professional and care about your products.
  • Add narrative to your product copy. The product details here are displayed in a very stark, “clinical” way — simply stating facts and figures about the proudct. There’s a huge opportunity here to tell a story and really give some emotion to the item. Sell the benefit. Sell how the jewelry is going to make everyone in the room look at you. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. The classic example is [J Peterman] catalogue.
  • Avoid social buttons. It’s highly unlikely that people will tweet a product page. What’s worse, is that it has negative social proof. Most of your pages have zero “Likes” — subconsciously, it may tell the shoppers that nobody likes the item.
Fifth Bond’s footer

Checkout page

  • Upgrade to Shopify’s responsive checkout. There’s really no reason not to; you can reasonably assume that conversions will increase, especially since a larger and larger number of purchases are happening via mobile devices.

6. Pursebox


Pursebox's header
Pursebox’s header
  • Great job highlighting free shipping and returns. Making that prominent adds to the comfort that shoppers feel when going through your site.
  • Optimize your email list calls-to-action. Great job building your email list. Looks like you’re using Hellobar, which means you can A/B test the copy and button text. Make sure you’re doing that, you can get a few % increase which translates into big numbers down the line. Also, make sure you’re using smart copy on your email form at the bottom of the page, don’t just use “Join our mailing list” — tell them why and what benefit they’ll receive.
Pursebox product page

Product page

  • Great product copy. Every description has personality, which plays a part in building your brand and hooking the shopper with emotion.

Cart page

Pursebox's shopping cart
Pursebox’s shopping cart
  • Reduce the number of logos around the Checkout button. Shoppers may find the credit card options distracting. If you insist on having them there, consider putting them in grayscale.

Further customer acquisition advice

  • Commit to content marketing. Noticed you have some blog entries — blogging and content marketing need a lot of time and commitment in order to build them as viable customer acquisition channels. Consider hiring freelance bloggers to have consistent output for your blog, or contacting more popular purse and fashion blogs to submit guest articles.

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If you’d like to work with Kurt, check out his Website Rescues service.

David Fallarme

David Fallarme

David Fallarme is a Marketing Director at ReferralCandy. He specializes in helping people make charts go up and to the right. Also karaoke.

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