Many online stores initially struggle to attract visitors. In other words, if you’re generating a steady flow of traffic, you’re doing something right.
The next step is to then convert these visitors into paying customers. You’re not going to make any money off of page views alone – you need to encourage your visitors to purchase your product by offering an engaging customer experience.
Below are just some of the reasons why you may be getting traffic but no sales (and what you can do to fix this).
Your website is slow
Most of us don’t have much patience when it comes to slow loading websites. In fact, 40% of us will abandon a website altogether if it takes more than three seconds to load.
You can determine whether your website is slow by testing it out yourself. If every page takes several seconds to load, it’s likely you’ll end up with a high bounce rate (while you may be getting visitors, they likely won’t be staying for more than a couple seconds). Website analytics software may be able to offer more data on the exact dwell time of visitors to give you a more accurate idea as to whether this is the case.
There are few reasons as to why a website may be slow:
- Your hosting provider is slow. Changing to a faster hosting provider could change this. While much more expensive, a private server could be a lot faster than shared hosting.
- There’s too much multimedia on your site such as videos or animations. Flash content is particularly renowned for slowing down websites. Keep such content to a minimum.
- Images are all high resolution. Optimizing these images could make the load speed faster.
- The code is unnecessarily bulky. Consider removing any excess code.
Your website isn’t mobile-friendly
Over 50% of internet usage is now on mobile devices. If your website doesn’t view well on a smartphone, you could be putting off a lot of visitors from wanting to make a purchase on your site.
Two of the biggest culprits include:
- Text that is too small to read properly on a smartphone screen. When viewed on a mobile, text may need to be magnified.
- Call-to-action buttons and hyperlinks that are too small to tap. Make sure that any buttons are large enough to tap with one’s finger without accidentally tapping on another button or link.
A website developer may be able to help you create a more mobile-friendly website. Some websites have separate web and mobile versions, while others are responsive in order to adapt to any device (the most popular option nowadays).
There isn’t enough product information
When buying products online, many of us like to have a good amount of product information available. If your product descriptions aren’t in depth enough, customers may worry that the product isn’t quite right for them.
Key information that shouldn’t be missed out could include the dimensions of a product, the ingredients (if it’s a food item), the price, shipping details, customer reviews and return policy information.
Your product photographs aren’t professional
Unprofessional product photographs will cause customers to lose trust in the quality of your business. If you’ve taken photographs of your products yourself, consider whether it may be more sensible to hire a professional product photographer to take some snaps.
3D photographs have become more popular in recent years and could be a great option for offering a 360 degree view of your product. You could even use professional product videos to show a demo of your product in action (these should be used alongside photographs).
If you resell products sold by other companies, you may want to be careful of photographs provided by these suppliers. Every company will have a different style of presenting its products and it could look messy if you have lots of product photographs with different backgrounds. Taking your own product photographs with the help of a professional product photographer can give your images a uniform style.
Your website lacks security certificates and trust badges
Customers may be less reluctant to use a website if it doesn’t feel secure or trustworthy. Certificates and badges are some of the best ways to show customers that your site is credible and safe to use.
An SSL certificate is worth applying for as soon as you build your site. This is displayed as a padlock on the left of the URL bar at the top of the browser. You can get granted this certificate by submitting your website’s CSR to the Certificate Authority.
Trust badges can meanwhile be used to show that your site uses a secure payment gateway. PayPal, Norton and Verisign badges are some of the most trusted examples.
Product navigation is a maze
When customers visit your site, how easy is it to find the products they’re looking for? This too can be an issue that stops many visitors from converting into customers.
Product navigation may not be too much of a problem if you only sell a handful of products. However, if you have a large inventory, you’ll want to find a way of organizing all your products such as using different categories. These categories could have subcategories accessible via drop-down menus.
A search bar can also be useful for helping customers to find specific products. This could help customers to search for specific keywords such as ‘leather corner sofa’ when searching for sofas (detailed product information will help to ensure that these keywords match up the product).
Finally, consider options that allow visitors to save a product to their wishlist. This could allow customers to easily find a product they were interested in if they decide that they can’t make a purchase right now.
The checkout process is too complicated
A complicated checkout process could be causing you to lose potential customers at the final hurdle. Once a customer has decided that they want to buy a product, the worst thing you can do is then make it difficult to buy that product. Customers may be shopping online on their lunch break at work or while looking after young kids – they may not have the time and patience for a lengthy checkout process.
A few things that can overcomplicate a checkout process include:
- Mandatory account sign-ups. Not all customers will have the time to create an account. Allow customers to sign up quickly as a guest by only having to offer limited contact information.
- Too many upsales. Continuously asking customers if they want to buy various extras and upgrades throughout the process could aggravate customers that are in a hurry. Keep these to a minimum.
- More than three pages. A checkout process shouldn’t take more than three pages to complete. Anything longer than this could test customers patience. If you cannot condense the process into fewer pages than this, at the very least make sure to provide a progress bar at the top.
- No auto-filling. By allowing customers to auto-fill certain details, you can speed up the buying process. Many users will have the autofill extension stored on their browser – make sure that your form is compatible.
Contacting you is too difficult
Not all customers are impatient. Some are the polar opposite – they like to gather as much information about a product as possible before making a purchase. While providing thorough product information may be able to satisfy these customers, others may still have very specific questions that may want to ask you – the seller – directly.
Making it difficult to contact you could stop you from converting these types of customers. A few ways in which you can improve contact include:
- Adding forms and email buttons to easily mail you with queries. Such options are likely to be more visible and more engaging than hiding your email address at the bottom of the webpage.
- Offer a phone number. Customers that have urgent queries may prefer to call you than to message you.
- Add a live chat feature to your site. Using live chat software, you could allow visitors to send you instant messages. This can allow more immediate interaction than sending an email, while also allowing more time to formulate questions than on a phone call.
There are too many pop-ups
Pop-ups can be effective at alerting customers of deals, encouraging customers to sign up to your mailing list or persuading customers to use your live chat feature. However, bombaring visitors with too many pop-ups at once is likely to drive away potential customers.
Pop-ups should be used in moderation and shouldn’t all be triggered as soon as a visitor arrives on your site. Studies have found that pop-ups are more effective when they’re staggered over different pages or triggered to pop up after a certain length of time. This gives visitors time to engage with the information on your website and get hooked in.
You’re optimizing the wrong keywords
Finally, you should consider where your visitors are coming from. It’s possible that you may be attracting the wrong types of visitor by optimizing keywords that are unsuitable. For instance, if you sell archery equipment, make sure that you’re not getting lots of visitors visiting your site via the keyword ‘black bow’ while looking for bow ties.
Web analytics software should be able to tell you what types of keywords are attracting visitors. This may help you to determine whether there is potential for confusion.