You’ve set up your online store, but no-one is buying your products. What are you doing wrong?
It could be a multitude of things – most of which can be easily fixed. Here are just some of the possible reasons as to why you’re not getting customers and what you can do about it.
Lack of effective marketing
Without investing any time or money into marketing, it’s unlikely you’ll get any visitors to your site – let alone customers. With so many websites out there, marketing is essential for standing out.
Most eCommerce companies understand this but still don’t pour enough energy into marketing. Other companies invest lots of time and money into marketing but don’t use the right marketing strategies.
Below are some of the most effective marketing strategies to use for attracting customers to your online store:
This stands for ‘search engine optimization’. In order to rank highly on search engines like Google, you need to invest in SEO. This involves using a variety of tactics including keywords, hyperlinks, and changes to your site’s code so that you can appeal to search engine algorithms. SEO can be complex, so it’s worth hiring an SEO agency.
Social media marketing
This involves using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to market your products. Social media is a great tool for reaching out to new customers as well as keeping current and old customers in the loop with news and deals. By creating pages on these platforms and using a mix of promoted posts and hashtags, you can start getting your products noticed. You can do your own social media marketing, or you can hire a social media marketing company to help you generate leads.
PPC stands for ‘pay per click’. These are a form of online advert that display until a certain paid number of online users click on them. Such ads can help you reach out to more customers and build brand exposure. A PPC marketing agency can help you to run an effective PPC campaign. This could be more effective than trying to manage a campaign yourself.
You can also email to help sell your products. These could be cold promotional emails to strangers, or they could be promotional emails targeted at a mailing list of subscribers. Mailing lists may not get you many initial customers but are useful for attracting return customers.
A blog on your website could help to build customers. Blog posts can be used to share your expertise and gain the trust of readers, as well as creating extra doorways into your website. Blogging can also help with SEO. To create effective blog posts, consider topics that are likely to appeal to your customers.
The second most common reason for not getting customers beyond a lack of marketing is overpricing. Even if you sell premium products, you need to make sure that your prices are level with those of competitors (most customers are likely to shop around and will use the cheaper option if available).
In order to keep pricing competitive you need to make sure that you’re not being overcharged yourself by suppliers – the cheaper you can run your business, the cheaper you can set your prices. Occasionally throwing a ‘sale’ and offering discounts and bundles to return customers can be another way of encouraging sales.
An overcomplicated checkout process
When customers see a product that they like, it’s important to make the sales process as smooth as possible. If customers have to create an account and go through pages of forms before they can order your product, they may decide it’s not worth their time.
Consider allowing customers to buy your product without signing up – or make sure that the ‘create account’ form is no more than a page. Use progress indicators to let customers know how close they are to making the transaction and use clear error messages to let customers know when they’ve made a mistake. At the payment stage, make sure to offer enough payment options and make sure there is a clear summary of their order that they can refer to.
Poor quality product images/descriptions
If customers feel that product information is lacking or that it isn’t well conveyed, they may decide against making a purchase. It’s important that information is clear and detailed to gain customers’ trust that this is the product for them.
When it comes to images, consider paying a professional product photographer to take high quality and unique photographs. You could consider offering multiple photographs or even looking into 3D photographs that allow customers to see the product from multiple angles.
Make sure to provide detailed information on each product. On top of detailed paragraphs on features, including a summary of bullet points for those that don’t want to do too much reading. You can also use a FAQ page for offering information about your company.
Slow/expensive shipping options
High delivery charges and slow shipping can be other aspects that will put off customers.
Consider looking into fast shopping options if you don’t already provide them – spend time shopping around so that you can get the best deal. Make sure that the price of shipping is clearly displayed alongside products before they put them in their shopping cart so that customers don’t feel they’re being conned by additional charges.
Fast shipping can be less convenient for sellers, so consider finding alternative ways to promote slow shipping. Many companies are now promoting ‘green shipping’ as an option – slower delivery methods tend to be greener (such as using trucks instead of air delivery), which customers may view as a worthy incentive.
Unresponsive website design
Does your website display well on smartphones and tablets? With roughly 50% of internet users accessing the internet on their mobile and 3% using a tablet, it’s important that your site isn’t just aimed at desktop users – you could be neglecting more than half of your potential market by not including users of other devices.
A responsive website is able to display differently depending on the device it is viewed on. This could include making buttons and certain information bigger for smartphone users, as well as making sure that text formats correctly. Most modern websites are responsive – if you have an older website, it may be something that you want to look into. There’s also the option of creating an app for mobile users.
Poor customer support
Can customers easily get hold of you if they have further questions about their product? While detailed product information can prevent this, you should still offer clear contact information just in case – and you should check your inbox daily to ensure that any serious questions are being addressed quickly.
Customer support can also be important when it comes to discussing product faults or enquiring about late delivery. Communicating with customers is essential for keeping them happy and encouraging return business.
Bad reviews are also likely to negatively affect your ability to attract customers. A bad review can occur for a variety of reasons – generally, it’s because of poor customer experience, although unfortunately sometimes you may get trolls and competitors faking negative reviews.
Make sure to monitor reviews and try to encourage positive reviews from happy customers to outweigh these negative reviews. Certain platforms may allow you to respond to reviews so that you can apologize and address problems – this can win back the trust of some customers by showing that you’re not ignoring criticism.