Are you struggling to make online sales? First you need to identify the problem

Are you struggling to make online sales? First you need to identify the problem

So you have a online store. You’ve put sweat, tears, time and energy into it. Now you sit waiting for the sales to come in. You didn’t have vision

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So you have a online store. You’ve put sweat, tears, time and energy into it. Now you sit waiting for the sales to come in. You didn’t have visions of sales pouring in, but you thought a few a day wasn’t asking too much….

It doesn’t matter if your store is new or it’s been around for years, if you are not getting regular sales –

  • You need to identify what kind of problem you have (Traffic, Engagement or Conversion)
  • Focus your energy on fixing the actual issues that are causing your low sales

The sooner you fix the problems the sooner sales will start coming in.

If you are sending traffic to your website with paid ads it is even more important to understand how to troubleshoot possible issues. You don’t want to waste your hard earned money sending traffic to a site that has engagement or conversion problems.

Depending on what’s wrong, the solution won’t be the same. Most ecommerce store owners think that a lack of traffic is their problem. A lot of the time it isn’t though. It doesn’t matter if you are getting 1,000 or 50,000 people a day to your site. If no one is buying you have a problem.

To help identify the cause of your low sales I have put together the following questions.

Q1: Are you getting visitors to your website?

You could be offering the best products in the world but if you have no visitors (or traffic as it’s known) you are not going to make any sales. The very first thing to determine is if your website is getting visitors.

  1. Yes – I’m getting visitors
  2. No – I’m getting very few visitors
  3. I’m not sure if I’m getting visitors

Yes – I’m getting visitors

That’s great. Your site is out there and you are getting visitors.  Continue to Question 2.

No – I’m getting very few visitors

So you have checked your analytics and you are not getting many visitors to your site. You have a traffic problem. Without visitors you are not going to make many sales and it will be difficult to know if your website has any other underlying problems.

There are different sources of traffic and in an ideal world it is best to have a mix of visitors from all sources. It isn’t great to rely on just a single source because things can change suddenly. By change I mean Google, Instagram or Facebook might change their algorithm and your traffic may drop as a consequence and there may be little you can do about it.

Sources of traffic include:

  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc)
  • Paid Ads (Eg. Google & Facebook Ads)
  • Email marketing (Your newsletters and email campaigns)
  • Direct traffic from traditional advertising (Newspapers, Radio)
  • Organic Search – People finding you on search engines

Actions to take to increase your traffic:

  • Register for my Free 5 day SEO Challenge. Organic search traffic is free. SEO is the process of optimising your site so that it is returned by Google. This is a must for every online store. To be found on Google there are many things that you can do to improve your position in the search results. In the challenge I look at some of the basic ones that you can implement yourself.
  • Order an SEO Audit.
  • Consider paying for Google or Facebook ads. You may want to hire a marketing company to help with this.
  • Make sure you are attracting people to sign up to an email list. This will enable you to market directly to your audience.
  • Once you are getting some traffic to your site don’t forget to come back to this post to identify if you have a problem with conversions.

I’m not sure if I’m getting visitors

Numbers are your friend. You need to be using analytics to track everything. I recommend installing Google Analytics even if your website platform has its own built in analytics. Not only will you be able to use the reports to see how many people visit your site, you will be able to find out where they come from, what country they reside in, how many pages they visit and much more.

Actions to take:

  • Set up Google Analytics. You will not be able to figure out what the cause of your problems is without it.
  • I then suggest that you also configure Google Search Console as this will let you know if Google is having any problems indexing your website and where it is appearing in the search results currently.
  • Once completed give Google a week or two to collect data and then come back to this post to identify if you have a problem with traffic or conversions.

Related: Discover How To Get Other People To Grow Every Part Of Your Online Business For You And Watch Your Profit Soar To The Next Level!

Q2: Is your website engaging your visitors?

So your website is getting traffic. That is great but there are different types of visitors. You need the ones that want to buy what you are selling. If you are attracting the wrong people, it won’t matter how many visit you most likely won’t be able to sell to them.

There is also such a thing as spam traffic. You need to understand how to read Google Analytics to exclude the spam traffic or have it set up to exclude the reporting of the majority of spam visitors. Spam traffic doesn’t count and shouldn’t be included in your metrics.

Some useful metrics to get an idea of the level of engagement on your site are:

  • Bounce Rate. When someone visits your site but leaves straight away without performing an action. This varies depending on a few factors but an average for an ecommerce site is between 25 – 60%. Any lower and you may have an error in your analytics. Much higher and it might need some investigation.
  • Average pages/session. This is the number of pages that someone visits when on your site. Generally speaking the more pages someone visits the more engaged they are.
  • Average time on the site. Again this is a general metric as just because your page was open for 10 minutes does not mean that someone was engaged that entire time.
  1. Yes  – My visitors are engaging with my website
  2. No – My visitors are not engaging with my website
  3. I’m not sure what that means or how to check

Yes – My visitors are engaging with my website

Fantastic. You are getting quality traffic so you definitely have potential to be generating sales and income. Continue to Question 3.

No – My visitors are not engaging with my website

So you have an engagement problem. Perhaps you are not attracting the right type of visitors or there could be a problem with your website. An audit of your Google analytics and Google Search Console reports may be able to shed light on what is happening.

Some reasons for low engagement:

  • When first landing on your site it is not clear what you sell.
  • Your page/website is not what the user was looking for. This could due to a problem with your marketing or SEO and you are simply not attracting visitors interested in what you are selling.
  • Your site is slow to load. People don’t wait for long and a slow site will have a large impact on your bounce rate.
  • Your site doesn’t look professional. People worry about purchasing from an online store that looks DIY. Good branding and design goes a long way to influencing a visitor’s perception of your credibility.
  • There are too many choices which are overwhelming visitors and they don’t know which action to take.
  • You play a video or sound automatically. I close all sites that do this!
  • You immediately show a large popup box wanting someone to enter their email etc. You need to give people time. They just landed on your site and they don’t know who you are yet. Some people will just leave your site.
  • Your site is not responsive. This means that it isn’t resizing to fit on mobile devices. All users now expect a site that is easy to use on mobiles.
  • If you have a physical store it may just be that people are looking up your site to get a phone number, location or opening hours. This is not an issue but good to understand.
  • Someone has landed on a blog article but you have no further links to lead them to products or other content on your site.

Actions to take to increase engagement:

  • Check if you are doing any of the things that I have mentioned above and fix them if possible.
  • Consider purchasing a ‘Healthy Website’ Review for a report detailing the problems you have with your website. I have 20 years of experience creating and improving websites.
  • Contact me to book a 1 hour strategy call ($140) to discuss your website issues and get my recommendations on what I think your problems may be and what steps you can take to fix them.
  • Use a tool like Crazy Egg & Hotjar to see what people are actually doing on your site.

I’m not sure what that means or how to check

If you find the idea of checking your Google Analytics reports and trying to understand them all too overwhelming I am available to help. I can help you get a tracking tool installed, check your google analytic reports and let you know if you have any issues worth looking further into.

Actions to take:

  • Consider purchasing a ‘Healthy Website’ Review for a report detailing the problems you have with your website. I have 20 years of experience creating and improving websites.
  • Contact me to discuss a quote to analyse your reports and website. I can let you know if you have an engagement issue or any other obvious problems.
  • If you have time, you could consider doing a Google Analytics course to learn how to analyse your own reports.

Q3: Are you getting quality traffic but still not getting a lot of sales?

If you have got to this question then that means you are doing something right. Well done. You have people visiting your site and you are possibly getting sales. What is important to understand now is why more people are not buying your products. First though lets consider what sales you should be expecting. The average conversion rate for an ecommerce store is between 1 – 4%. This may vary for different industries and if the visitors are on a mobile or desktop.

The calculate your conversion rate, take the number of people that buy, signup or whatever the main action is that you want them to take on your website and divide it by the number of visitors. A site that has 5000 visitors per month and 50 sales has a conversion rate of 1%.

  1. Yes – I’ve got quality traffic but low sales (Conversion rate less than 1%)
  2. No – I’ve got quality traffic and reasonable sales (Conversion rate over 1%)
  3. I’m not sure what that means or how to check

Yes – My visitors are engaging but I still have low sales

You have a conversion problem. There are many factors that can contribute to this.

Some reasons for your visitors not buying from your website:

  • A technical problem. It is important to actually go through the entire buying process on your website and test it is all working. Do this on a desktop and on a mobile. I know this sounds obvious but problems can occur even though it was all tested at launch.
  • Your buy button or other CTA Button does not stand out.
  • Your website isn’t easy to navigate.
  • It isn’t easy to find things and your navigation is not set up optimally.
  • What you are selling is not what your visitors are after or it isn’t the right price.
  • Your photos are not high quality with different angles of each product or they are simply not appealing. Include video if possible as well as quality pictures.
  • There are no product reviews or social proof.
  • Your site is slow to load.
  • Your site doesn’t look professional. Good branding and design goes a long way to influencing a visitor’s perception of your credibility.
  • You have not provided enough detail about each product. Think about what users want to know and make sure it is on the page. They shouldn’t have to go and look for the information.
  • Your shipping/postage amount is not easy to find or it is too high. People do not like to pay for shipping. If possible try to offer free shipping and absorb the cost. If you are charging for shipping make it visible on the product page so a user doesn’t have to go and find it.
  • The time it will take for the product to arrive is not clear.
  • Your site is not secured with an SSL certificate to provide security for the customers details.
  • You do not accept the payment method the customer wants to use. Eg. PayPal, Afterpay.
  • You do not have a clear returns policy.
  • The checkout process is not easy to use or people are becoming distracted before they have completed their transaction. Consider removing the main navigation once they commence the checkout process and make it really clear what steps are required to complete their purchase.
  • You don’t have a live chat.

Actions to take to increase conversions:

  • Check if you have any of the above problems and fix them.
  • Consider purchasing a ‘Healthy Website’ Review for a report detailing the problems you have with your website. I have 20 years of experience creating and improving websites.
  • Contact me to book a 1 hour strategy call ($140) to discuss your website issues and get my recommendations on what I think your problems may be and what steps you can take to fix them.

There are a few ways to tell what is preventing people from buying on your website so you know what to fix. User tests can be run and tools like Crazy Egg and Hotjar can be installed.

If people are putting items in their shopping carts but not going through with the purchase there are ways to target them with Ads on Google or Facebook. Some ecommerce systems also have the ability to send emails to people who have abandoned their shopping cart to remind them they haven’t purchased.

No – My visitors are engaging and I’m getting lots of sales

Excellent. You must be doing something right. The only job you have to do now is:

  • Check if there are improvements that may further increase your conversion rate or average amount of each sale. Things like offering upsells once a user has checked out and suggesting related items that they may want to add to their cart can all increase your total sales.
  • Increase the traffic to your website.

I’m not sure what that means or how to check

You will need to look up how many sales you had last month and login into Google Analytics to find out how many people visited your site last month. Divide the number of sales by the number of visitors. Using the result you have your conversion rate and can now answer question 3.

Next Steps

Get more visitors

Once you are confident that your site is performing well and you are achieving reasonable conversion rates, your next step is to increase the traffic to your website. If you attract quality traffic you should continue to get sales. There are many different ways to increase traffic to your website. The best methods will depend on your product and budget.

  • Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc)
  • Paid Ads (Eg. Google & Facebook Ads)
  • Traditional advertising (Newspapers, Radio)
  • Organic Search – People finding you on search engines
  • Email marketing (Use email to target people on your list and make sure that you continue to market existing customers)

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