The 2 Reasons Your eCommerce Website Isn’t Selling [UPDATED For 2019]
Getting meaningful sales volume on your eCommerce website can be like vacuuming a beach. DIFFICULT & TIME CONSUMING. Trust me, I would know, I’m a Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant with 10+ years experience.
I’ve been at this for a while and have worked on/evaluated/audited /optimized hundreds of websites and I’m here to tell you that the issues boil down to 2 things and also that I am going to break down what those are in this article.
You will learn:
Your eCommerce website is making all kinds of crunching and cracking noises, maybe doesn’t start up every single time anymore and possibly your online store even smells a little funny.
Your online store just overall isn’t performing up to where you want it to.
Maybe you’re a small business owner who took your local retail shop online, or maybe you invented a product and are now selling it online to the world, or maybe you are selling software to businesses. Maybe you’re someone else entirely, like Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles, but you still want your eCommerce website sales to drive revenue & profit…but they aren’t.
FIRST THING FIRST:
Don’t panic! I’ve seen it before. You throw up an eCommerce website, maybe created on an online shopping cart, or basic or free website theme. Then, you take the time to list your products and then sit back and wait for the sales to come in from your online store.
Then they don’t…then you think to yourself: “Welp, the internet doesn’t work for sales.” or “I guess I just can’t sell my product or service online.” or “You can’t sell products on a website, only the big guys get to do that.”
What’s the problem here?
The problem is you’re making assumptions, then making statements…when you should be ASKING QUESTIONS.
When you have an eCommerce site that isn’t selling it almost always boils down to the 2 things I’m going to talk about in this article.
And no… like in a horrible break up line, it’s not the: “it’s not you, it’s me…” – it’s likely not your product or service and it’s certainly not the fact that products or services don’t sell online and websites don’t work.
That’s generalizing, and that’s an absolute, and as we know from Obi Wan Kenobi, only the Sith deal in absolutes.
2 Reasons Your eCommerce Website Isn’t Selling
REASON NUMBER 1 WHY YOUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITE ISN’T SELLING:
Seems like a good place to start right? Are people even coming to your website?
Before you even start thinking about calculating conversion rate numbers or anything of the sort, is anyone finding your product or service to be able to buy it?
Think about it. You can only really have two answers here, yes I have traffic, or no I don’t. Let’s look at the two tracks:
NOPE: Okay, so you can’t sell to an empty room right? If no one is on your ecommerce website, you aren’t going to be able to sell. So you have to immediately start with getting traffic to your online store.
Where and how are you going to get traffic to your eCommerce website?
Let’s ask some important questions.
Does your eCommerce website sell products or services that are in high demand and are searched for often on the internet?
You likely should pursue a Search Engine Optimization campaign to increase the visibility of your site and each individual product page. In other words, if people are searching for what you sell, you want to make sure your site shows up prominently.
But there is more to consider.
Do you sell a very niche product on your online store that maybe doesn’t get a lot of search volume, or do you want to get your products or services in front of a lot of people quickly?
Advertising is the quick fix here and also the long-term play combined with a good Search Engine Optimization campaign. This could mean running ads on Facebook, Google PPC, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, you name it.
The point being, getting visibility in front of people who want to make a purchase so your product claims a place in your target customers mindshare.
Translation? You putting your product in front of people who want to buy it. Simple dimple.
Okay, remember we were on a 2 path track here? Let’s take a look at option number B. (wait, 2?)
YEP: You do get a lot of traffic monthly, but people aren’t buying from your ecommerce website.
In my experience, this is where the fun begins and my analytical mind gets to do its thing.
You see, we should be looking at a few things here.
Are you getting the right traffic to your online store?
You would likely agree there is a difference between your target customer who wants and needs what you have to offer and someone who would be considered a “tire kicker” or even someone who is generally interested in the topic, right? RIGHT?
Let’s take a deeper look.
Let us examine a real-life example.
This is in the survival niche for people who are interested in extreme camping, doomsday prepping and things like that. Mostly stuff you can’t do behind a keyboard and a 4k monitor.
Have a look here:
An example I’ll use is let’s say you have an eCommerce website where you sell a paracord survival bracelet.
If your website is relevant for broad, general topics and you aren’t doing a highly targeted SEO campaign to make your site relevant for drilled down topics, you may run into something like this.
What do I mean by that?
Painting in broad strokes, it’s possible the reason your eCommerce website isn’t selling is that the topic of your online store is too broad and people aren’t interested ENOUGH in what you have to offer.
They could be in the information gathering phase of their Customer Journey and not ready to buy yet or aren’t in purchase mode.
If your website is targeted at basic survival, you may get people looking to find articles about hiking in the wilderness, or how to filter and purify water but are those people far along enough in the customer journey or deep enough down your sales funnel where they’re ready to make a purchase?
Nope. They just want information.
You see, you want your site to appeal to the people ready to make a purchasing decision.
Another example I typically give here is this one: “You sell high-end home furnishings, but your eCommerce website traffic is mainly people looking for bargain basement deals on high-end home furnishings. You need to target the high-end customer.”
Your eCommerce website isn’t selling because you are getting the wrong people coming to it!
HOW TO FIX THAT PROBLEM:
The example site I gave as you can tell is geared towards one topic, survival gear. The topic or keywords on the site are not skewed.
Keep the content on your online store focused.
Many people I work with try to do too many things and easily get distracted and spread themselves too thin with their eCommerce website. Do a few things REALLY well and really focus on them. Keep your content focused.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN:
- You have an online store that sells vitamins & supplements to people with Lupus.
- You say to yourself: “Well, technically anyone can take these vitamins and benefit. So I’ll try to keep my product descriptions and title’s general enough so people who don’t have Lupus will want to buy them too.”
You see, you run into 2 issues here when you try to do that.
- Since your eCommerce website topic is about Lupus, people not searching for that probably won’t find you, all mighty Google will point them to Amazon or something else instead since it’s general purpose.
- For people who are affected by Lupus that are visiting your eCommerce website, they will see product sales copy that is very general and doesn’t speak to them, resulting in them bouncing, resulting in, your bounce rate increasing, resulting in your search engine rankings dropping, resulting in, fewer sales, resulting in, you being unhappy, resulting in, you neglecting your houseplants, resulting in, your houseplants dying and rotting, resulting in, your house smelling. You see how bad this is?
So in that scenario, not only are you out of a sale since people are leaving but your house stinks and people won’t want to come over. So now your eCommerce website is affecting your personal life.
Don’t let your online store fail. It could ruin your life!
Make sure your product copy speaks to your target customer.
Focused Product Copy: Vitamin B12 may help Lupus Brain Fog symptoms. Perfect for those days where you are having trouble remembering where you parked your car.
Not Focused Product Copy: Vitamin B12 helps many ailments. Great for having more energy.
You see the power in Focused Product Copy?
It conveys the benefits of the product while speaking directly to your target customer.
And if that isn’t enough, you also have to keep the content on your eCommerce website geared towards those who are ready to buy.
Buyer Intent Keywords:
Here’s the thing, there is a stark difference between those who are searching for information vs. those who are searching for a product or service to make a purchase.
You want the keywords & content of your eCommerce website to be set up as the ladder.
You see, for this, I like to tell a story about a guy looking for a paracord survival bracelet.
You’re pretty cool and you see this cool product on Instagram or maybe while watching Survivor Man.
You don’t know much about it but you know it’s sweet.
So you google “Paracord Survival Bracelet”
Then, you find lots of blogs & YouTube videos talking about what makes a great Paracord Survival Bracelet.
So, you’ve gathered your information and you know that you need a:
Paracord Survival Bracelet with Fire Starter and Whistle
You know you need the paracord for cordage, making shelters, etc. and you want the fire starter to start signal fires, cook your food and you want the whistle to help affect your own rescue.
So, if you had one of these to sell on your online store, your product title and all your product copy would look like this:
Paracord Survival Bracelet with Fire Starter and Whistle – 3 Sizes – By Survival Gear Authority(TM)
You see what’s going on there?
You would make sure your product title, product page title, meta title, meta description, product sales copy etc. would have that in it, very specifically.
Someone searching for:
Paracord Survival Bracelet with Fire Starter and Whistle Size Large
Is very clearly showing intent to buy.
- They’ve narrowed down the product
- They’ve narrowed down what features/benefits /specifications the product needs to have
Now they want to find one that meets their price point and buy the thing.
You want to make sure that when that search is happening, you are showing up.
Okay great, let’s keep this going.
So, we’ve covered the importance of attracting the right kind of traffic to your online store. But that’s just part of the story.
REASON NUMBER 2 WHY YOUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITE ISN’T SELLING:
Conversion Rate Optimization
Huh? What’s that?
“You just used technical jargon and you better not lose me!”
Welp, it’s optimizing (or updating the appearance, text, images, colors, layout, etc. ) your site to convert users or leads, into paying customers.
Some Questions To Ask About Your eCommerce Website at This Point:
- Is your site sending all the right color psychology signals to your users to inspire them to take action and make a purchase?
- This article: The Psychology of Color in eCommerce breaks down really well the different colors and how they affect how your visitors to your online store feel, think, etc.
- The error I see the most is you want to make all the colors, especially on the buttons the same color as your branding because “it looks pretty” or “sleek” or “elegant” but whoa… you may actually be telling someone to take a hard pass on what you’re selling.
- Is your sales copy aligned with their needs?
- We used the example earlier about speaking directly to the target customer.
- You want to use the words they use, focus on benefits over features, etc.
- The Moz blog has a great article with 4 Ways Copywriting Can Boost Your Conversion Rates.
- Is the layout of your site aligned with the data that tells you how users read eCommerce sites and the hierarchy of importance, what they read first, what they tend to skim through, etc.?
- Over on Neil Patel’s blog, he has a great article about What these 9 Timeless Conversion Studies Can Teach You About 10x-ing Revenue
These are the sort of questions that you need to be asking yourself.
If you’re getting traffic and it’s the right kind of traffic and they’re not purchasing, you have a conversion rate problem. Your online shop is underperforming in a critical area, highlighting and leveraging your value proposition and inspiring users to take action and buy.
You may have a site built to sell shoes, but you sell shirts. You may have a site built to sell attorney services, but you are a landscaping business. Your eCommerce website needs to align perfectly with the needs and expectations of your target customers in every way.
Is it easy for the customer to make a purchase? Or do they have to go through six different steps to find your product, add it to their cart, enter their payment information, and check out.
Is your site credible? Does your user know you are accredited by the Bureau Of Amazing Things and able to accept all forms of major payments?
Are you only listing features on your eCommerce website when you should be listing benefits? Do you know what the difference is? Your users do.
The list goes on, but you get the point.
SEEMS TOO SIMPLE
As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you’re probably immediately inclined to think “it’s my price” or “I need to run a sale” or like I mentioned earlier “I just can’t sell these on the internet.” or even “No one can sell anything on the internet.” – Right Amazon?
But STOP in the name of dollars in your pocket and consider it’s actually you have the wrong types of potential customers coming to your site, or no one coming to your site. If you do have people coming to your site…maybe it’s your site.
Not sure how to tell? Well, just as anything else, it’s all in the numbers. The beautiful thing about eCommerce is everything can be quantified and qualified and there are analytic’s reports to help you identify all of these things so you know where to start.
If you need help with anything you’ve read here, I’m happy to make things quicker & easier for you.
Having great products and not selling is agonizing. Dominating competitors and selling through inventory is intensely gratifying.