When you run an eCommerce website, your future sales and industry authority hinge on two things: design and diligence. If your site isn’t performing as expected, it could be due to a number of reasons.
In this article, we will look into some of the most prominent reasons why eCommerce websites fall short of reaching goals, and how to turn it around.
eCommerce Facts and Stats
According to research conducted by Marketing Signals, eCommerce sites have, on average, a 90 percent failure rate just four months out of the gate. Part of the problem is that site owners think they can just put up a storefront and sit back and wait for customers to roll in.
Sure, eMerchants have a reach that’s not limited by geography or time constraints. But, with millions of websites and billions of potential customers, online shops have a disadvantage over physical stores that people can pass by and see every day.
Part of the problem is with visibility, but technology and execution enter into the picture as well. Let’s examine the biggest roadblocks to your success and how to turn the situation back around in your favor.
Design and Performance Issues
There are plenty of options for web building these days, and that’s a good thing. It means you don’t have to spend a large part of your budget on hiring outside experts to design and construct or manage your pages.
The problem with DIY is that many of us don’t have the inside knowledge that professionals have when it comes to marketing trends, SEO, flow, layout, and even color psychology.
This translates to poor design, cluttered pages, and an overall bad experience that drives traffic away from your site. Poor quality UX and UI will also lead to lower page ranking on search engines, which take such things into consideration in addition to page load times.
Google algorithms also index for mobile responsiveness first.
Most DIY builders offer everything from optimization tips and tutorials to plugins that handle SEO, design, and layout issues for you. You can even view how your pages will look on almost any device or screen before you go live.
All you have to do is learn how to take advantage of the tech that’s in place to create the best-looking and performing eCommerce platform in your niche.
It is also a good idea to pay attention to industry and digital marketing trends as well as customer feedback about their experience.
Problems With Pricing
A huge issue on eCommerce websites is shopping cart abandonment. The odds are that customers are leaving your site without completing a purchase for one of several reasons.
Either your cart isn’t working properly, there are time lags or too many steps needed to complete the purchase, or there aren’t enough payment options or other incentives.
Speaking of payment, what are you charging for shipping? Many eMerchants include free shipping. Are your prices competitive with similar products?
These things can be easily remedied with a few tweaks.
First of all, you can use an eCommerce platform like Shopify or WooCommerce tools to make sure that your cart and other sales processes run smoothly and glitch-free.
Automated triggers will catch shoppers before they leave your page to obtain immediate feedback or offer on-the-spot discounts and other incentives. Streamline the checkout process so that it can be completed in as few steps as possible.
Next, conduct a little investigation into what the competition is offering and do them one better. Customer loyalty programs, discounts for referrals, and coupon codes don’t cost much and offer a great ROI.
Unremarkable Product Placement/Showcasing
Speaking of catalogs, how is the product placement on your site?
When selling a product, vivid images or instructive videos will enhance your marketing by drawing visitors in. Then your other content can close the deal. Just make sure to use high-quality video or photographic equipment or hire a professional to get the job done right if you lack the time, equipment, or expertise.
Another great tip is to include before and after pictures or videos to demonstrate how your product or service improved a customer’s life. Behind the scenes and lifestyle videos are also a good way to make a human connection. Make sure to get real images of real customers and staff members.
Studies show that a real human face increases relatability and conversion rates. So why not swapping out stock images for real customer photos?
Alternatively, you can call for user-generated content about their own experiences with your company. This will increase engagement and boost social proof.
Place product images and descriptions in a separate gallery instead of cluttering content-optimized pages, and provide concise, accurate descriptions with each image.
Double-dip on your SEO by alt_tagging images and video so they can be properly indexed.
You can also keep product images and videos on social platforms like Instagram and YouTube, which will improve page load times while helping with social outreach and backlinks.
No Clear Directive/Objectives
You can have engaging content, beautiful images and descriptions, and a layout that’s efficient and on-point as far as providing a quality user experience.
But, if you don’t let your visitors know what they’re supposed to do with this information, your page views, sales, and customer retention rates are going to reflect that.
One of the biggest reasons for cart and/or page abandonment is the lack of a clear directive. This is known in the business as creating a call to action (CTA).
There are several different ideas for how to best include the CTA in content. Some web marketers include a clickable link with long-tail keywords at strategic locations throughout the content. Others simply place a button at the bottom of the content saying “Learn more” or “Buy Now”.
How you structure your CTA depends on the type and purpose of the content. If you’re looking for subscribers for your newsletter, you can add a paywall with a form that says something like “Join our subscriber list”.
A “Purchase Now” or “Add to cart” button should be placed directly below product images. Just make sure that whatever CTA you use is prominently displayed on your page and has a clear directive for customers to follow.
Consumers realize that any marketing effort is geared toward sales. But, nobody likes to feel that they’re being sold to no matter how great the product or service.
When creating your website, optimize your pages by including engaging content rather than giving visitors an obvious hard sell.
One great way to gain customers and sell without selling is to create content that draws them in by telling a story. To create this type of content, you first need to have a detailed image of who your ideal customers are and what needs or problems they have. Then create content around how your service or product can help them solve that problem.
This hits emotional triggers or addresses pain points in a way that helps prospects see themselves in your advertising rather than passively watching the digital equivalent of a TV commercial or ad from a catalog.
You can also increase your sales revenue with targeted marketing by using various tools for email outreach, optimization, automation, and analysis/reporting.
You can leverage tools to automate everything, from email marketing to social media engagement. Such tools will greatly help you eliminate the guessing game in your marketing strategy.
The Importance of Testing
None of these suggestions are any good unless you have a plan for implementing them and a way to gauge their success. This is where A/B testing comes in.
Before going live with any eCommerce platform or right after making changes, conduct testing of each element using a representative sampling of your target market. You might find that your sales rate increases just by changing the size and color of the “Buy Now” button.
When conducting A/B testing, make sure that your sample size is large enough, say about 1,000 customers, and that it runs long enough for results to be relevant.
The best practice says to conduct an A/B test for at least two weeks, but one month is better.
Make sure that your control and experimental group contain an equal number of similar participants, and that they are representative of your core audience. It’s also important to test one element at a time so that you can narrow down what is and isn’t working faster.
All of this might seem to be time-consuming, but so is sitting around for months at a time wondering where all of your traffic went. Ideally, you should design with these suggestions in mind from the outset, before you launch. Anything worth doing is worth taking the time to do right.
If your product or service is meant to grow, starting with a solid foundation and aiming for organic, stable growth is more sustainable for the long-term.
It can mean the difference between being a flash in the pan or an industry leader with a solid customer base that keeps growing.
If your goal is to consistently bring in new traffic to your website and convert those visits to purchases, you need to ensure that your website is performing well and that your customers can easily find what they are looking for.
Keep testing and improving, and always listen to your customer feedback. By following the above suggestions, you can make your website work smarter for you and improve conversion rates effortlessly.
Guest Author Bio: Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.
Also check out her other guest article on Kevy about effectively analyzing and gathering data.