The ONLY 2 Reasons Your eCommerce Website Isn’t Selling [UPDATED For 2019]
- Why is my eCommerce site not selling? You’re either not getting any traffic or the right traffic OR you’re missing KEY elements from your website design.
- These are the ONLY 2 reasons your eCommerce website isn’t selling. If you fix these, you will be on easy street.
- By the time you’re done reading you will be able to fix your eCommerce website sales quickly & easily.
Getting sales on your eCommerce website can be like vacuuming a beach. DIFFICULT & TIME CONSUMING. Trust me, I would know, I’m a top rated eCommerce Consultant and Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant who’s been at this 10+ years. I do this stuff myself, selling on websites is not easy.
I have worked on/evaluated/audited /optimized hundreds of websites and I’m here to tell you that the issues of selling on websites boil down to 2 things. I am going to break down what they are and more importantly, what you can do about it to increase your eCommerce website sales.
You will learn:
FIRST THING FIRST:
You throw up an eCommerce website, possibly 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 selling on websites.” or “I guess my particular product or service isn’t good for selling on websites.” or “You can’t sell products on a website, only the big guys get to do that.”
Well, I can tell you first hand, that isn’t true. If you’ve been trying to sell online with your eCommerce website for awhile and it’s not working, you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. You just need a little help.
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 selling on websites doesn’t work.
ONLY 2 Reasons Your eCommerce Website Isn’t Selling
YOUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITE ISN’T SELLING BECAUSE:
It’s Not Getting Any or The Right Traffic
Seems like a good place to start right? Are people even coming to your eCommerce 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 to begin with?
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:
You likely should pursue an SEO (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.
Advertising can be a quicker 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.
Thing is, you still need to build a buzz around the internet about what you are selling on your website, otherwise, advertising platforms will charge you way more per click than brands & retailers who are building a buzz.
Because advertisers want to send potential customers to websites that will give them a good experience and result in a sale. Because that’s how advertisers spend more money with them.
How do they know?
If you’re not familiar, whether it’s Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. advertising platforms know what customers are most likely to buy and what ones are most likely to browse.
Think about how many folks are logged into Google Chrome, Facebook, Amazon, Gmail, their Android Phone, their iPhone with Google & Gmail accounts, you name it.
Then, consider all the tools you have available to you on your website to collect data and send it back to the mothership in return for them telling you who’s going to your website, what they’re doing and how they’re doing it:
- Google Analytics
- Google Ads Conversion Tracking
- Facebook Pixels
- Pinterest Tags
- Native Advertising Snippets
- & more
Just like Santa Claus who knows if you’ve been sleeping or if you’re awake, advertising platforms and search engines know who to send where and why.
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.
Selling on websites isn’t rocket science, it’s just making sure you’re in front of the customer when:
- They are open to becoming aware of what you are selling on your website
- Are considering buying what you are selling on your eCommerce website
- Are ready to make a decision to buy what you are selling on your website
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 selling on websites.
You see, we should be looking at a few things here.
You would likely agree there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between your target customer who wants and needs what you have to offer and someone who would be considered a “tire kicker” or someone just generally looking for information on the topic, right?
Let’s take a deeper look with a real-life example.
Have a look…
Let’s say you have an eCommerce website called Lupus Health Shop – Natural Remedies For Lupus where you sell health supplements, medical devices, courses & more to people affected by Lupus.
You would likely agree, there are health supplements & more sold on that eCommerce website that are beneficial for far more general audiences.
However, the sales copy, imagery and much more was optimized to speak to a specific customer with a specific pain point as they’ve found that these particular products significantly benefit Lupus symptoms in particular.
Why was this done? Wouldn’t you want to appeal to everyone?
Nope, when you try to appeal to everyone you appeal to no one.
If that sounds like the way you’re selling on your website now, then it’s very likely 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’re selling on your eCommerce website.
You are likely appearing to website visitors in the information gathering phase of their Customer Journey and not ready to buy yet or aren’t in purchase mode for what you are selling on your eCommerce website.
If your website is targeted at basic “health” you may get people looking to find articles about how to prevent a runny nose or lose some weight 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 IT:
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.
Do 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.
YOUR ECOMMERCE WEBSITE ISN’T SELLING BECAUSE:
Key Elements Are Missing From Your Website Design
Do you fall into one of these categories?
- You set up a Shopify or WooCommerce eCommerce website with a free or cost-effective theme, took the images & text from your product catalog, expected people would “just find it” and expected it to just sell, but it isn’t selling.
- You have an eCommerce website that’s been up for several or a few years, but you’ve neglected it. Now, you are starting to focus on it by sending some Google or Facebook ads, but it isn’t selling.
- You set up a Shopify or WooCommerce eCommerce website with a free or cost-effective theme, sent some traffic from Facebook or Google, but it wasn’t selling. So you tried testing different prices, a few different audiences on Facebook, even tried a few different themes that you thought “looked nice”, but your eCommerce website still wasn’t selling.
If you are, I promise you’re not alone.
Just like all the hidden & complex details that go into making your product(s) a cut above the rest, just as much goes into selling it online through your eCommerce website.
HOW TO FIX IT:
Start By Asking These Questions About Your eCommerce Website:
- 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
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 brand, retailer 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…. your site is too general and not designed for your specific customer or isn’t using the correct mechanisms to build trust and inspire a purchase.
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.