Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketer, we’re always looking for the secrets to transforming your online business into a conversion powerhouse. Anatoliy Labinskiy is here to dive into his strategies, tips, and best practices that will help supercharge your website’s performance and revolutionize your e-commerce journey!
Rich: My guest today is an entrepreneur, e-commerce expert, salesman, holder of four-time Two Comma Club awards. His story is a perfect example of life when everything goes against us to become successful. In less than five years he went from a simple waiter to a successful businessman, and an owner of an eight-figure award winner in the e-commerce space.
He’s a founder of GSM Growth Agency that helps e-commerce entrepreneurs grow to six to seven figures in revenue. He’s included in the Forbes Business Council and featured as one of the top 10 e-commerce entrepreneurs helping people during the COVID 19 recession.
Today we’re going to be talking about how to improve conversion rates at your e-commerce site with Anatoliy Labinskiy. Anatoliy, welcome to the podcast.
Anatoliy: Thank you, Rich. I appreciate it. I’m really grateful to be here today, and I would love to share as much value as I can. I love to speak about our industry and I’m like a workaholic. I’m living this subject!
Rich: Sounds good. Your company works with e-commerce sites to improve them. When you’re working, when you’re taking over or working with a new e-commerce client, what are some of the first things that you look at when you’re looking to increase conversion rates?
Anatoliy: So first things first, when a client is joining us at the firm, first thing is our onboarding process. So the onboarding process, it’s actually exactly to help us understand where the biggest problems are. If we’ve already done, before getting someone onboard, if you’ve already done the prequalification, we still need more deep information.
So we have several pages on the onboarding process where a client’s supposed to fill it out. It takes some time because we need to have really deep down the information. What about their competitors? What’s their conversion rate right now, if it was before better or worse or the same? What have they done so far? What creatives are winners for them? What’s the Facebook pages or competitor’s information websites? And so on. So we need to analyze a whole competitor space, and their business, to understand where are their pluses and where are their minuses.
So when we find out what exactly are the metrics on their end, and we get access. So after the onboarding process is the team meeting where we discuss what are the real weakest things on the ad account, on the structure of the ads, on the Shopify store itself, on the product pages of the winning landing pages, like what’s missing and what we can improve. And definitely before implementing anything, we start building a plan of action and do one thing at a time. Otherwise, you can screw up just the performance of what is exactly working for now.
To find out if our changes are going to be better or worse, we have to test it one thing at a time. So to check the main product picture if it needs to be adjusted, change it to a more real-life picture when someone is using that product, especially if this product is helping somehow in their life. If there is any kind of cross-sell on the page on the checkout process. Like whatever it is we see that is missing, or analytics showing that it’s not working that well as it should, with building the process of the step-by-step action for those kind of problems.
Rich: Okay. So what I’m hearing from you, and especially if somebody is at home and they want to do this themselves, the first thing is it’s not just your website. You’re also taking a look at the Facebook ads and other ad platforms that are driving traffic to the website, making sure that there’s consistency, that the ads are working, that they make sense.
And then you’re also taking a look at the website itself. All the elements of the page, all the elements of the website. And on top of that, taking a look at competitors, getting some good ideas from what they’re doing or seeing where the opportunities may lie because they’re not doing the right thing. Am I getting that correct?
Anatoliy: Exactly. And plus find out, let’s say if the offer is exactly the same like all the competitors. So okay, competitors are above them on the level, let’s say three weeks, five weeks, or the same level with them. And here we have profitability problem on the client side or a conversion rate problem. So it could be the reason of several factors.
But let’s say they test good enough quantity of the creatives. They don’t know what they were doing before they joined us, but they still cannot increase their profitability or improve the conversion rate. But we see that their competitors are doing quite okay. So it means they’re just losing on this kind of competition space when they’re running traffic to the store. We need to find out if we can adjust the offers.
So usually what we can do in this case, if let’s say the simple offer is one product is $49.99. So for example, if this product is $49.99, we know that cost of goods is say $11, and our break-even is $38. So $38 is our margin. What traffic sources they’re using, email, SMS marketing, affiliate marketing Facebook ads, TikTok ads, Google Ads, whatever. So according to that let’s say it’s Facebook or TikTok. Facebook we need at least $30 margin to make sure that we are safe to keep things profitable. Because in our days, really what we recommend is do not go lower than, sorry. If you have low ticket, it’s supposed to be selling on bundle to be profitable.
So in this case if it’s TikTok advertising main traffic source, it is at least $20 margins supposed to be on the product, or like a bundle of the product to make sure that these things will be profitable. So we know we have breakeven of $38 on particular product. What are we supposed to do? Our offer is dying off. So our product is dying off and we see that we are losing to competitors. Well here is the thing, we will duplicate this landing page a couple of times and make different offers to test the different offers on the store.
One offer will be original, where is traffic going to. Another offer is going to be, let’s say, one plus one. It depends on the product. Each niche is different. For example, one of great places recently, like the store made in the previous months, a hundred plus. In the months before it was around six figures, so it was quite fine. And after that, the next one and half months, it started dying off and it went to $40k a month. And when we decided, okay, we look on the case and were like, okay, what we can do here. And we decided to make – the product is headphones – and we decided let’s make it one plus one. We have seen that nobody from the competitors have done it. So we decided to make it one plus one offer. And in this case we were selling those kind of headphones for $35.95, if I’m not mistaken, and the breakeven was $21.
So we counted and $21 is our breakeven unit, it’s what we can go with on TikTok. Let’s make it one plus one, but one plus one for the same price, we cannot do that. And we decided to test it out. To make a minimum margin of $21, we call our cost $14. So $35.95 plus $14 is $49.95. Let’s make this offer to test. We made several pages on $44.95, $49.95, $54.95, and $59.95, one plus one offer. And the call to action was like, “Hey, these headphones have so many awesome colors. It’s just too bad to get only one. So we decided to give you a second one as a gift.” So just like hook, and from the dying store, losing profitability, we converted that store into a new level of profitability, increased the profitability to 32% and new consistency, and brought the store back to over $100,000 a month.
So that’s one of the latest cases which we made. And we always like testing out the different offer about one plus one, two plus one, three plus one. Until we see that some of the products can be selling with some additional product as a gift, let’s say for the cooking niche. We had this rolling pin for the cookies for making dough or something like that. So we were selling over the year different offers for different holidays. And especially the church, all the religious people loved that stuff. So we were selling these kind of rollers for such kind of audience, but again, we were thinking about profitability.
It was consistent, but low profitability. So we decided to create a PDF we just found in Google top 10 recipes for the cookies. Just some kind of news from the magazines. So we took the text and placed it in the PDF. So our designer made the nice PDF really look quite expensive, with fancy pictures and so on, and just offer it with the $39 plus dollars, you will get this PDF for free when our rolling pin was $29.95. So we increase our every shorter value just by giving them for free something which doesn’t cost us any money, but people were like, wow, I want these recipes. And our marketing as well, it was a good fit, a good point to return them back by providing them as well recipes to buy something.
Rich: So what I’m hearing from you is that a lot of the profitability aspect of the e-commerce store really comes down to being creative on some of the offers and trying to come up with things that aren’t being done by the competition, also finding ways to add value to whatever it is, or at least perceived value, right? You spent a little bit of time and money putting together this PDF, and then you have an infinite number of them that you can include with this. And it turned out to be a really interesting offer for people.
So I guess my question is, when you are running these, it sounds like you’re setting up individual landing pages to test out different offers to see which ones are working. Is that correct?
Anatoliy: Yes. Because if something is working right now, even if it’s working not that bad or not that well, still you should not destroy the things by completely changing the offer. If you need to adjust the text, adjust upsells on the page, adjust the picture, it’s fine. But if you want to completely switch the offer, name of the product, and so on, better to test it out on the separate landing pages just to be safe.
But especially when we want to test at the same time five different offers, because we want to understand what’s really going to be working fast. And when we see analytics, oh, okay, $49.99 is giving us great quantity of sales, but actually the conversion rate is low. And $44.99 is giving us quite a lower quantity of sales, but the conversion rate is super high. And if we count it here, profitability is much higher on the lower price.
But that being said by these different landing pages and the analytics, we can see which one is really performing better in terms of profitability. And sometimes – actually, not sometimes – most of the time, it’s surprising us that lower price is performing better in terms of profit than the higher price. Even if it looks like the value is better but quantity is lower, and on the quantity, lower price is winning. So this is when we find fast what’s working and start focusing only on 1 million page and continuously growing that.
Rich: When I think about landing pages, and I know that different people have different definitions for landing page, I think of a page that’s it’s on the website, but it’s not necessarily linked to the website so that you can run multiple tests. And I know with a lot of e-commerce sites, people just take their Google ads, or their Facebook ads, and they just point them to the product page.
What I’m hearing from you is, while you do that as one test, the bottom line is you’re also creating maybe up to four or five different offers. Running ads that specifically go to those individual landing pages. You wouldn’t navigate, if you went to the homepage of that website, you wouldn’t navigate to those offers. Their offers are only there if you go through the ads, and that’s how you’re doing more accurate testing to improve conversion rates. Is that correct?
Anatoliy: Yes, a hundred percent correct. So we don’t want to mess up the experience of the users. Can you imagine they will go on the website and will see several offers on the same product? Yeah, it’s confusing. We would be directly removing the trust. What are we doing? It’s like people won’t be trusting that there are some legitimate things going on in the store.
So this is the thing about the couple of days of testing, like up to one week, when you’re running traffic on several pages at the same time and then you hide all of them. And you have only one main page, which is really delivering you all the results, and people can navigate on the store to that page. So still you have your main page, which is what’s visible from the beginning on whole store, which is the old offer. And you remove the old offer when you find out that the new one is actually the winner and can help you out with the optimization problem. And as well as I said, there are infinity variations of offers. It’s all about our imagination and experience.
For example you need as well when you are a brand or just beginning brand, taking advantage by creating value as you were saying, adding value to the products, create a value. Like let’s say Amazon Prime, they have subscription based. You need this kind of subscription on Shopify as well on your brand, especially if you are in a specific niche with an active audience. First of all, to collect obviously cash. And secondly, to provide them value. Because you can offer them let’s say VIP group, like Facebook page or Facebook group for the VIP members who will be first to get the new products which are added to the store. And we’ll be selling to them first before selling out to the market. Which means they will not feel that they’re sold out before they come to your website. You are going to be provide them extra 5% 10, 20%, it depends on your margin discount if they will decide per to purchase while they’re on the subscription base. So you provide the value of the discounts of being first, maybe with faster shipping, because they’re in the VIP group.
So find out what’s logical for your financial ecosystem and create this kind of offer, and start charging the subscription $9.99, $4.99, $14.99. It depends, obviously, of your niche. Maybe you have a high-ticket product and $14.99 could be completely fine. But I can say from our experience $4.99 and $9.99 are super secure, super safe. People are completely okay with that to subscribe, and time by time you will start getting an extra six figures a month on just this kind of subscription-based income.
It’s almost per profit, but you need to hire agencies or individual people who are going to be calling your card holders, who going to be helping them out to update their cards. So they’re supposed to sell them the idea that all they have to do is update the cards and continue being on your subscription. You have to take care of potential disputes, which could happen. There is a system which just helps you out with that to analyze and make sure that you won’t be on the high dispute rate. So you have to build a system, but you have good enough healthy cash to test out new offers, new products, new ideas in your store without investing your main profitability. Without taking out from your main profitability so you can expand fast and without using extra cash from your main flow.
This is one of the things which we always highly recommend when we see the brand, especially brand with the active audience. It’s easy. Just type it in, make it a post, or email marketing, “From now on we have this kind of x,y,z for the VIP group. Join us, it’s only $9.99 per month, but you’ll get fast shipping. Your new items are going to be shipped to you first before we even put them on our website”, blah, blah, blah. So all these kind of ideas, right? And it’ll give extra profitability as well, which doesn’t cost you anything in the end.
Rich: And I’ll just say, being an owner of a business, subscriptions is such a boon. And coming from the agency world, which is so often what we say in the U.S., it’s “boom or bust”. Like either you’re too busy or you’re not busy enough. A subscription plan or recurring revenue streams really balance that out and give you the breathing room that sometimes you need to grow. So absolutely if you can create some sort of subscription on your website, fantastic.
Now, we’ve talked a lot about the money side of things and the profitability side. I’m curious as you’ve worked through a lot of these different e-commerce sites, what are some of the things that you’ve either played around with to see if they make a difference, or you’ve seen that they make a difference? You mentioned the photos. I’m also curious about social proof and reviews. What are some of the things you have a checklist that you go through on a website to make sure that you’re making it as optimized as possible for conversions?
Anatoliy: That’s a great question. I just moved directly to the offers but without saying the most important thing. It’s trust. Trust on the landing page. According to what you just said, choosing about the picture to improve the conversion rate by giving the better quality experience.
I’ll share now some ideas, but regarding the reviews, it’s super important to have on your store active reviews. Just not miss any kind of reviews which you got somewhere from Amazon or wrote by yourself, or even someone texted to you. Make sure that you organize it in the way where it’s going to be a picture from someone who purchased from you, or let’s say you are in the drop shipping space or whatever, and you just started, took some from somewhere else.
You need to take it and organize that with the pictures, with the story, with the feedback. Make it an average 4.0, 4.5. Don’t make it five because it’s shady. Nobody would believe it. Like even great companies, great thousand companies, they never had five. They have 4.8. 4.7. Everyone has like some, because there is always going to be some kind of negative people and that’s fine. It looks more efficiency, that there is some real stuff going on. So don’t be okay with that. Even if you need to write the comments by yourself, which is obviously happening, or hire an agency for that, or real people on your end from email marketing coming back and leaving their feedback who purchase from you.
Don’t hide the bad comments. Like obviously if it’s awful with no reason that’s not the thing. But keep the average numbers of the good and bad comments on your landing page so it looks efficient. And at the same time, make sure that most of them or the best of all of them has the pictures in reality. So no professional photos. Just that someone took on an iPhone, some just made it selfie, whatever it is. That’s awesome because it gives the person who is shopping in your store feeling that he already has this product, right? How this product will be, looks at home for him.
Plus regarding the landing page, we are checking out on the product description what it’s all about. Is it too much of the information and it’s boring? Maybe some information could be switched from text to simple icons, which is waterproof, no iron, whatever it is. A couple of icons, which is one can be on one or maximum two lines organized simply on your product page will make the user experience much higher. So as it’s easier to understand visually when we watch on the several icons, we understand five things in the same second. But if it’s text, we need to spend second by second to read these bullet points. That’s fine, but we don’t recommend that if you want to optimize your landing page in the best possible way.
Think about the creative part to give to your designer or hire a designer or whatever. This is the text. I want to sub the transcript into the icons. Even the main picture. Let’s come back to the main picture of the website. Those kind of icons could be added to the lifestyle picture, let’s say, if it’s something related to the legs, ‘Leg Master’ or something like that, which is a pain relief product. So if it’ll be just a product, it’ll be just some drawing or whatever. Nobody cares. Like on the white background, it looks nice. Professional photo. Awesome. But sometimes conversion rate is fine and no need to touch it if it’s cool.
But most of the time you need to show what exactly this product is doing. So show this main picture. It could be like a legs standing on this massager, or if it’s holding the legs around. So it is on the leg. It’s showing how it works and these kind of small icons on the bottom of the photo is describing. So in one spot you answer several questions without letting them scroll down. Because every scroll down decreases your conversion rate.
Make sure that your add to cart is up as possible and scroll closer to the picture as possible. Because first of all, let’s be clear. Everyone understand that in our days the majority of people are shopping online through their mobile phones, not through the website. Well, 85% of the users online are purchasing through their mobile phone, which has surprised me as well. But these analytics a while ago, whatever we were tested we were seeing – our partners, friends – everywhere is the same. Like over 80% of purchases is from the mobile phone.
I had one time an experience where I have seen a particular product with selling on desktop. I was like, it’s weird, but desktop is working for this product. So we are running this always on both placements, but I’m just saying that the majority is mobile phone. What’s the minus about mobile phone? People need to scroll to see something, and then more scrolls lower the conversion rate. You have to make the bullet points as close as possible to the add to cart button without lower scrolls.
So the picture with the icons, with the engagement one, which is like product is in use, it’ll be powerful. The name of the product is supposed to be sharp and catchy. So it’s supposed to be something like a really catchy name. To brainstorm yourself, go to ChatGPT and ask for five different names for your brand. Describe the mission, describe the values and vision, describe names of your competitors as well, and find out five different variations of your own name, and it will give you some sharp names for your website, for your product.
And at the same time, after add to cart, it’s important to have – not every brand is needed – but if it’s something that is really improving the convenience of living for people, that could be necessary to show the gif format picture after add to cart. So how it works, it’s this two second slideshow – not even slideshow – two second video in the gif format, which will give understanding. Not a full video which they need to press to watch, it’s YouTube, they can leave the website or whatever so it can kill the conversion. But in this case, if you’re making this kind of gif format, short picture of exactly the smart point. Which is that it’s the biggest bullet point to convince people to purchase.
It’ll be a super smart idea to edit there so they have seen the main picture with the icons and so on while, okay, I understand everything, so this is what I need. I was looking if it is gluten-free or not gluten-free, blah, blah, blah. And after that, this kind of in use moment of video for three seconds, which is gif format. It’s not taking the speed of the website so it’s quite light, it’s not heavy as a video. And it’s just showing in a few seconds how it is used and a person will understanding completely, “Wow. Okay. That is something that I can purchase.” Plus, these kind of reviews.
So it’s the main things which you’re looking at, what is missing or not missing. When we see conversion rate is awful and we’re asking what has been made before, what kind of landing page was before. If they test it out before the icon, if they test it out before different pictures, gif format pictures, what was the pluses and minuses of that? And plus these kind of reviews. Most of the time they’re awful.
Nobody in the field is thinking, “If I have reviews, that’s good enough.” No. You need to organize them in a nice way that people will enjoy watching them, enjoy going through them. Otherwise, if it’s messy, it looks untrusted on the whole website.
Rich: That makes a whole lot of sense. This has been a firehose of great advice in terms of improving your e-commerce site, Anatoliy. If people want to learn more about you and about your company, where can we send them?
Anatoliy: Yeah, actually I was thinking about that. But I really decided to give them something completely for free. We have on our site, if you don’t mind adding the link to that, it’s a complete guide of How to Build the Killer Ad Copy. It’s a structure for the ad copy, which has helped us to generate over eight figures for our clients. Usually we are selling that eBook for the $97, but for you on this page, we’ll make it completely free. So my team will prepare that and guys and girls, just download it, read it.
There is a lot of logic behind why you have to use that kind of structure of that copy. A lot of psychological things about the consumer and what’s pushing as a trigger to press on the button and shop now. So I highly recommend that, it’s completely free of charge. And go there and have a look, it’s going to be valuable for you.
Rich: All right. That’s awesome. We’re going to have a link to that in the show notes. So if you want to go check that out, there will be a link there and you can download that. Very generous offer. Anatoliy, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate all you shared with us today.
Anatoliy: I appreciate it Rich, for having me here today. Have a good day.
Anatoliy and his expert team are dedicated to helping businesses elevate their brand and stand out in the market by providing unique tools to help optimize lead-generation and sales opportunities.
Here is Anatoliy’s ebook on creating killer Facebook Ads, which he graciously is offering to AOC listeners for free: https://bit.ly/43S2c1w
As President of flyte new media and founder of the Agents of Change, Rich Brooks brings over 25 years of expertise to the table. A web design and digital marketing agency based in Portland, Maine, flyte helps small businesses grow online. His passion for helping these small businesses led him to write The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing, a comprehensive guide on digital marketing strategies.