The road to a sale can be long and bumpy… and not exactly how you’ve imagined it to be as you were all excited to open your e-commerce store.

A sale "contains" many elements, starting with a very first impression a shopper has of your brand and finishing with a smooth checkout process. But what if it seems that you’re doing everything right, yet all your time and effort simply don’t pay off?

There might still be something that you’re missing along the way. One or two reckless mistakes that seem insignificant but do affect the final decision of your potential customers.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the most common answers to the question of why I am not making sales that will help you evaluate the online shopping experience that you provide, and go through some of the best practices from famous brands.

1. You’re focusing too much on making a sale

One of the reasons why you make no sales even though your product seems to be great can be the lack of trust. If you’re new, your potential customers might not be familiar with your brand yet, so there are few chances that they will start buying from you right away.

So instead of just trying to sell, work on building your audience first. Depending on your resources, this can be anything you can come up with, like engaging with prospects on social media or starting a blog.

Creating genuine connections, sharing your expertise, and showing everyone that you clearly know what you’re doing will help your prospects make a decision that’ll work for your benefit.

2. You have no clear brand strategy

Brand strategy, or brand positioning, is a way you differentiate your business from your competitors, identifying what sets you apart and how it resonates with the needs of your target audience. The latter can also help you craft a communication strategy that will make it easier to connect with your potential customers and start building a strong community.

Being just one of so many and having no brand strategy, especially when the e-commerce competition increased so much in the last two years, reduces your chances of being picked by potential customers. To stand out and to nudge shoppers in the right direction, you have to create a strong image that clearly states the value your products provide.

Brand example: Apple

Apple store in New York City

Have you ever been stuck in a discussion about which one is better – iPhone or Android? Exactly – stuck, because if you're an Android user, proving that it's better than iPhone to a true iPhone fan is barely possible.

Apple has built a unique brand personality that revolves around emotions. It’s not just a brand, it’s a lifestyle. It’s all about innovation, passion, aspirations, hopes and dreams, and this image brings the brand some kind of… exclusivity that so many seek.

Such clear positioning and the right choice of the audience unites Apple users into a strong community, making it truly difficult to nudge them in any other direction.

3. You’re targeting the wrong audience

If you define your target audience as “everyone” – that’s another good reason why you’re not getting any sales.

Clearly identifying your potential customers is the core for your product, your marketing, and your brand overall. Otherwise, you might not receive the desired response as most of your site visitors won’t be converting, and you might even get some negative reviews or notice increased unsubscribe rates.

The reason behind this can be as simple as that – your product is not relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach.

What you can do instead is to take advantage of the data you have. Analyze how visitors behave on your website, how do they react to your marketing campaigns, learn their age, gender, segment by location, income, etc.

This way you will be able to focus your communication and further product development on the right type of customer – the one who will find your business appealing and will likely end up buying from you.

4. You don’t showcase customer reviews

Although reviews are a great way to learn how your brand is perceived in the eyes of your customers, they can also significantly impact shoppers’ purchase decisions. In fact, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

This means that by not including the testimonials section on your store, you’re missing that extra step to a sale that you might get if reviews were available on your store. Besides, having no reviews can even look suspicious sometimes, especially in e-commerce, and imply that there’s something wrong with this business.

Brand example: Fabletics

For instance, Fabletics has an entire page dedicated to customer experiences with their products. It’s literally an endless list of pictures from happy Instagram users in Fabletics sportswear.

This allows visitors to read some feedback on the items they're interested in, see how they look on a "real person", and you can even shop for a specific product directly by clicking on the picture you like.

5. Your site loading speed is too slow

Slow website loading times are actually so frustrating that 40% of consumers will abandon the site that doesn’t load in 3 seconds, Forrester has found.

Therefore, the performance of your store can be another reason why you make no sales. The conversion from visitors to customers becomes impossible as people leave your website even before you have the chance to grab their attention.

Make it a routine to test your store. Consider all elements imaginable – from the server your page is hosted on to the size of visuals. See if there’s anything that can be optimized for a better experience, and improve. Then try it yourself, and ask others to do it for you.

To be absolutely sure, you can also try using tools like GTmetrix to find out how fast your website loads.

6. You don’t use email and/or SMS marketing

Email and SMS marketing are essential for keeping shoppers in the loop. These are the tools to keep them engaged, promote your store, remind people that you exist, provide subscribers with some valuable content, and build stronger relationships that will sooner or later bring you the desired results.

As both of these marketing channels are similar, they still differ, so for the best results, it's recommended to use them together. For instance, send an SMS to remind about the latest newsletter, or introduce subscribers to the contest via email that can be entered by texting a keyword to your short code.

7. Your product descriptions are confusing or not detailed enough

The main disadvantage when shopping online is that you can’t touch the product physically or learn more details quickly enough. Therefore, as an e-commerce store owner, you should provide all the necessary details on your product pages and organize them well so that they won't hurt the user experience.

Careless, not detailed enough, full of grammatical and other errors, product descriptions will make you look unprofessional, not to mention drive many of your potential customers away. Besides, it can be the reason behind many returns and chargebacks as incomplete, not clear descriptions puts you at risk of disappointing your customers.

Brand example: Hatch

Product description on Hatch website

Hatch is a brand that focuses on maternity clothing and other things related. Even though they’re just describing a sweater, for instance, their product descriptions are full of details and very visual.

They also provide more “technical details”, like materials, how to take care of a specific item of clothing, etc., and accurate measurements, which are basically all you need to know when deciding whether or not it’s something that’ll fit your needs.

8. You don’t put enough effort into product pages overall

Product descriptions are just a part of product pages, and they will rarely convert alone.

All other elements on your product pages are equally important for increasing the chances of making a sale. If you’re struggling, consider revisiting the following:

  • The product title should be simple, but clear and descriptive enough. For SEO purposes, use the H1 tag to help search engines to index your product page, thus helping more visitors discover your site.
  • Images. Pay exceptional attention to the quality of the images as they’re vital to making purchase decisions. Also, 3-4 pictures are considered the minimum, but it really depends on the product you're trying to sell.
  • Videos can help to create a richer experience and show more details about more complex products.
  • A size guide is a must for clothing stores and will help to reduce the number of returns.
  • Price – make sure it’s clear and no one has to look for it for too long.
  • Availability. Imagine purchasing something and finding out that it’s out of stock…
  • Buttons. Make sure they’re all clear and easily accessible.
  • Returns and shipping policy. One of the keys as well – it describes how easy it is to return the item and how long it will take, which is crucial when shopping online.

These should all be combined to convey the value of a product you’re trying to sell and create a great overall experience that’ll convince a visitor to buy.

Brand example: Nike

Nike's product pages are a good example of a well-crafted product page. They're visually appealing, stuffed with high-quality photos (close-ups included) and videos that enable a shopper to examine a product in detail.

They also include customer testimonials from social media, enrich the page with quotes by authoritative figures (e. g. Chris Bennett, the Nike Run Club Head Coach or Mike Pak, Co-founder of Koreatown Run Club), contain some good copy and other crucial elements, like sizes and size guide, shipping/pickup information, product details, returns, and reviews.

9. You ignore SEO

…meaning that you’re very difficult to discover on search engines. Neglecting SEO while your competitors don’t can mean that they rank higher, providing better solutions for shoppers' search intent.

To put it simply, SEO helps you get more traffic to your site, and those are the visitors who actually look for what you have to offer, therefore, are more likely to convert.

10. You do nothing when visitors abandon their carts

The average cart abandonment rate in e-commerce is nearly 70%, and this sounds… well, like too many potential sales to lose.

The reasons behind this can be very different. Maybe some unexpected shipping costs at the checkout, the lack of common payment options… Or just a bad WIFI connection.

Whatever it is, make sure to reach out to those who abandoned their carts (of course, also look into why it might have happened and fix it). Some already mentioned email and SMS marketing tools have this option to set specific workflows and send abandoned cart reminders, encouraging shoppers to come back after a chosen time.

Sometimes people just forget, and it’s a great opportunity to win them back.

Abandoned cart email reminder
Source: Really Good Emails

11. You don’t analyze your bounce rates

Bounce rate can tell you a lot about where you gain and, even more importantly, lose people's interest because of some issues on your e-commerce store.

Those might be anything really, for instance, a bad copy, confusing navigation, flashy pop-ups, or some other user experience problem.

Actually, if you’re not achieving the results you desire, evaluating your website’s user experience should be one of the TOP priorities on your list.

12. You don’t run remarketing ads

The vast majority of shoppers visiting your website for the first time are not there to buy. And it’s totally okay since most likely, they’re just exploring and comparing different options, also, they might have just discovered your brand.

Using remarketing, you can reach out to these visitors and try to convince them to buy from you. They've already shown their interest in your brand, and they might just need a little nudge that hey, remember checking this out? It’s the best you can find!

Great product – no sales? Observe and improve

Although the main reason why people buy one product or another is the product itself, there are plenty of options to find something similar elsewhere. That’s why many other factors come into consideration when making a purchase decision, and that's why sometimes you lose to your competitors if anything goes wrong.

So focusing only on sales might be the wrong approach if you want to make any. Before you do that, make sure that you provide a great shopping experience and put your products in the best possible light. Evaluating all the factors mentioned above can help you answer the question of why am I not getting sales and start fixing what needs to be fixed, thus making a change.

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