Nowadays, the demand for online shopping has fueling huge eCommerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. But sadly, not every online business gets a taste of that increasing sales. Some small eCommerce website is struggling to survive with little customers and sales to keep the businesses alive.
So, why those small eCommerce sites have little to no income? And is there any way to fix it? That’s why this article will explain all the major reasons why an eCommerce site fails and its solution.
The primary aspect of the fail/success of one’s eCommerce site, if your product is ugly and pricey, why would I pay my hard-earn money for it?
Talk to your peers, colleagues, family members that could be your target audiences. You don’t need $$$ to have a decent survey. A simple asking of what would you like, what problem does it solve, who influences your decision making can make a huge difference.
A simple tactic to collect response for free is to use a free form like Google Forms to pass it around your office, social media groups, and friend circle with links. Not everyone will fill it out for you, but there’s a chance you will get some response.
See What Your Competitors are Doing
Look at your competitors, what did they sell, how’s the review, what tactic did they use to attract more customers? This observation can be great when building your own eCommerce empire. Copying your competitors is a no-no, what you need to do is surpassing them.
See what’s trending is a great way to identify what would you sell next. The rise of social media making people more vulnerable to other influences online.
This’s especially useful if your target audience includes them who love surfing the internet and browsing social media pages. Here some sites where you can observe what’s trending is Instagram, YouTube, Facebook Group, and Pinterest.
People Don’t Know Your Website
How could you expect people to buy your goods, if they don’t even know your store exists? Your brand new eCommerce site isn’t going to magically pop on the first page of Google/social media feed without some extra effort.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Friendly
According to SerpWatch, search engine optimization stats suggest that 39% of global e-commerce traffic is from search. This means not landing on Google’s first page, you can lose up to a quarter of potential customers.
Some easy methods of optimizing your website to be more SEO-friendly are to decrease the site speed, optimize image, and organize site structure to make it more crawlable. You can also hire a copywriter who is experienced in SEO-ready copies for your site.
Social Media Marketing
Sometimes it’s hard to make it to the first page of Google with all those huge sites like eBay competing with your freshly made website. Now, you need to find alternatives channels to get people to notice your site, and social media is the perfect candidate for it.
It’s not hard to increase site traffic via social media without spending a dime. Try spending some time to establish a strong online presence by completing your profile, create prominent and unique content, and engaging with your audiences. You will definitely see a growth in website traffic.
Affiliate with others so that they can advertise products’ links on their website or social media, and gain a portion of the profit every time a product is sold via their posted links.
With this win-win partnership program, you’ll definitely find people to spread the word for you. You might get fewer profits with each sale, but when the sales increase, it can definitely make up the lost money in no time.
Influencers take up a huge part of those who idolized them, you can definitely imagine how big is their impact. Get an influencer to advertise your site/goods isn’t cheap but with a carefully planned marketing strategy, you will surely earn the money back.
Paid online advertisements, like Google Ads, can target users with ads by using their recent search, making advertising more effective. Social media ads like Facebook ads and Instagram ads are also great for increasing brand awareness with its wide user base.
Your Website Doesn’t Look Trustworthy
Do you ever look at your website and thought to yourself “God, my website kinda looks like a scam site”.
Professionally Designed Website
A bad website usually consists of basic web design, keyword stuffing, overuse of CTA (with tons of colors and animation), not user-friendly with an overall I-only-want-your-money vibe. This can easily come off as fraud and certainly not welcoming.
A professionally designed eCommerce site not only provides a better user experience but also presents itself as a reputable business with making its customers as their first priority.
Social Proof (Especially Review and Testimonials)
Social proof means having others to influence the decision-making process. It can be anything from celebrity endorsement to a simple five-star review. However, we understand that not all eCommerce sites manage to get featured in the Wall Street Journal (this means that you can’t slap its logo on your homepage or footer).
So, we will focus on reviews and testimonials instead. Showcase your reviews and testimonials on the homepage is a great way to show your business’s legitimacy. And don’t forget reviews on the product page. Tempt your buyers to leave a review by offering rebates for the next purchase.
Also, you need reviews outside your website, some of the sites where you can leave your reviews are Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook page. Review sites like these often appear on the first page because they have more authority, making it easier to found by your potential customers.
Certification and Authentication
Certification or authentication is especially important if you are selling expensive, high-end products that have many counterfeits floating all over the internet. in which you can show it on your About page or FAQs.
The certification and authentication can be anything from an authorization letter for official distributors or a simple receipt that proves that you bought it from reputable sources. Scan it or take a picture of it and upload it to your page.
Talking about the picture, avoid using stock photos! We all know that stock photos are great, they’re cheap (or even free) and save your time from taking the photos all by yourself. But do you know that people will doubt whether your business is real by all those overused photos?
Well, that’s why you need photos of your office, warehouse, products, workers and show it on About page and Press Release page, or post it on social media. And here you go, you just show the world that you have the products to ship to your customers and you are running a legit business.
Running a blog can be exhausting, but nevertheless, it’s one of the best ways to tell your customers “Hey, we are real, look at the photos/articles!”. Your blog posts can be anything from the announcement for new products or sales to an article of your business getting a brand new award.
You can publish your press on social media sites or a blogging platform. Most website creators come with a blogging function. Or you can create a new blog with a new site builder under a new subdomain.
And for those who just don’t want to spend extra cash on another blog, you can take a look at website builders or blogging platforms that allows you to connect your own custom (sub)domain name for free.
Not User Friendly
If your users are going to have a hard time browsing through your site, they might leave the site without buying. So, considering spending extra effort on your site for better user experience.
People these days are using a smartphone and if you’re still using your desktop-only site, you are outdated. A responsive website resizes according to the screen size, eliminates the needs for pinch and zoom, and also provides better usability for users with different devices.
Easy to Navigate
How would your users buy the thing if they can’t find it on your site? This is why navigation plays an important role. Sites especially eCommerce need to have a clear structure of links along with some handy widgets to simplify the whole search-and-buy process.
And below are some examples of elements that would make the shopping experience a whole lot different. In which most of them are ready in eCommerce website templates.
- Dropdown menu
- Search bar
- Filter and sort by
A guarantee is important for customers so they don’t risk their money if anything outside their control happen (broken products, wrong color/sizes, etc.).
Ever heard of 30 days money-back guarantee? This it is! This guarantee is great because people will get a refund as long as they have a reasonable excuse. Those who are selling digital goods might find this guarantee to be more effective than those who are selling physical goods.
Major eCommerce sites will also use this guarantee to protect the consumers’ rights and to warn against unethical sellers that are deceptive toward vulnerable customers.
Return and Exchange
If you can’t afford a money-back guarantee, return and exchange might be for you instead! Instead of losing money by paying the refund, your customers ship the wrong/defective product back and exchange it within a period of time after presenting a reasonable reason(s).
No promotion? Are you kidding me? A huge XX discount is what motivates me to spend money because of the money I will “save”. Yes, you will lose some money with the promotion, but think of the sales that will skyrocket.
Black Friday, Easter, Christmas, and many more, these are the holiday that those major online retailers will announce some sort of sales. Sales give the impression that the customers will be saving a whole lot of money.
And since Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day often involves gifting, this is the time of the year that people will spend on pricey things for their loved ones.
First-Time User Promotion
Attract the new users with freebies, or discounts, it can be anything from discount, freebies, or even free shipping. For example, there’s an eCommerce site that offers a free item for first-time users who only need to pay the shipping fee.
The shipping fee is probably one of the major factors that stop people from pressing that purchase button. It’s expensive especially if you are an international buyer. Sometimes, it costs almost a quarter of your purchase, which in the eyes of many, not worth the money.
If you are running an eCommerce site that sells light and small but profitable items (branded handbag, expensive apparel, and so on), there’s a chance you can cut off the shipping fee after the users reach a certain amount of purchase.
However, this might be not the case if you are selling something fragile or huge and heavy like pottery, wooden frame, and so on.
Everyone loves free stuff. Freebies can be anything range from keychain to probably some little handy tool that people will find it useful. However, a great way to incorporate giving out freebie into your marketing strategy is to give out trial packs.
If you have seen an abundance of cosmetic brands love giving out their trial products to their customer as a form of freebies. The customers who are interested in the trial pack might also purchase the larger version of the products, increasing the sales even more.
The reward point is a popular method to get people spending and get more things. People love reward points because those are equal to free cash. After accumulating a certain amount of points, they can exchange for other items or vouchers that can be used only in your site, and making more purchases that crank up the sales even more.
We mentioned affiliation marketing earlier, which is to encourage people to advertise for you while you split the profit with them. But if you think that splitting profit per item is too much, why not get your registered users to invite their friends to your website instead.
Instead of giving out a portion of money every time an item sold via the given link, the users will receive a one-time reward in the form of reward points or discounts that can only be used in your site, which can lead to next purchases so the points or discounts are not wasted.
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)
Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO isn’t exactly a promotion but the use of fear in people to miss out on a good deal. This tactic often uses numbers to highlight the urgency of the promotion. For example, a number beside buy now to show how much the stock left, or a countdown counter that shows when the promotion ends.
The moving number gives the users a sense of urgency like a ticking clock. It makes the user feel as they are running out of time and they need to act fast before the counting down to zero.
And number helps people to visualize a scenario better. For instance, 2 free lollipops left is way more urgent than a few free lollipops (which can be anywhere from 2 to 5 lollipops) left.
The contest is also a great way to get more users, luring them with the expensive prize. Just like freebies, other than cash and expensive gadgets, you can drop in some exclusive set of your product into the prizes.
However, it’s important to note that different country has different regulation for holding a contest. So, please check out the rules and guidelines before holding one.
Bad Call To Action (CTA)
Call To Action (CTA) plays a huge role in the eCommerce site. It can be anything from the signup button, buy now button, or even a newsletter subscription form.
There are different types of bad CTA designs, but they all have one similarity. Nobody wants to click them. That’s the last thing you want your CTA to be.
A good CTA should have a suitable prompt with a large, readable font like serif and Open Sans, that’s how people notice the context of your CTA. Incorporate images can make the CTA more visually appealing to users and make them more memorable. Use numbers such as $30 rebate with $31 minimum spend for people to visualize the scenario more easily.
As for color, the most suitable color would be color that “make sense”. So what is the color that “makes sense”? Well, it”s the color that makes your CTA stand out. But isn’t that contrast color? But black is in contrast to white, but does that mean black is a good color for CTA? I would say, no.
A good piece of advice for choosing the color for your CTA (especially the button) is to choose it based on color psychology, which is the study of color affecting human behavior.
Above the Fold
Above the fold is the part of the web page your users will see (and notice) right after accessing your site. ECommerce sites’ above the fold are often filled with a carousel of CTA-like images that indicate new product launch, promotions, and important notice.
The sticky banner is a banner that will not disappear regardless of how much the users scroll. This’s great for people to notice the button. Some examples are the fixed promotion notification bar on the top of the website and the sticky buy now bar on the bottom of the mobile site.
It’s not surprising popup is one of the popular methods to show CTA, some of the examples of CTA for popup are promotion notification, and newsletter signup form.
It’s not impossible for small eCommerce sites to compete with major online retailers. Good marketing tactics and proper website optimization could make a good eCommerce site that will work as a customer-magnet.