Ecommerce

10 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Isn't Making Any Sales

10 Reasons Your Ecommerce Store Isn't Making Any Sales
Image credit: 314 | Getty Images

An ecommerce store is a fantastic way to build revenue with very little overhead: You can generate sales around-the-clock at a global level without the expenses or staff required to operate a brick-and-mortar business.

Related: Website Builder Squarespace Launches New Ecommerce Tools for Business Owners

Yet, despite the fact that more than 205 million consumers in the United States shop online, and spend a per-person average of nearly $3,000 per year, plenty of ecommerce business are still struggling to become profitable.

If you count yours among them, here are 10 things that could be the root cause of your revenue problems.

1. Poor quality images and product descriptions

When customers shop online, they don’t have the ability to pick up a product up and inspect it. They’re forced to rely on the images you provide, along with whatever description you have.

Images and descriptions should be designed to attract buyers to the item. If you have shoddy photos or rely solely on technical descriptions, you’ll lose a lot of sales because you'll fail to generate interest in your products.

Showcase your products from multiple angles, with quality images, and create unique descriptions that show buyers the value of the products and how consumers can benefit from them.

“The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about . . . is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about,” writes Seth Godin, author of All Markets are Liars.

2. Missing contact information

Contact information may seem like a small detail, but limiting it on your website is a huge red flag for consumers. They want to know they can reach you if there’s a problem. If you’re not displaying your location information (even without a retail store) and phone number, you’ll have a hard time establishing trust with your customers.

3. A complex checkout process

A complex, multi-step checkout process is a frustrating experience for customers. It’s like going to Walmart for a single product, only to find the store has only two registers running and lines that are enormous.

Eliminate the frustration by creating a very short checkout process. Likewise, never require registration for a checkout. Let customers go through the process and choose the option to register and save their info at the end, in case they want to come back again.

Related: 10 Emerging eCommerce Trends Worth Checking Out

4. Hidden shipping rates

I have personally abandoned countless carts online because shipping costs were hidden until the very end of the checkout process, and it was only then that I discovered high shipping rates I wasn’t willing to pay.

Some customers don’t even make it that far. Shipping rates are one of the biggest reasons for shopping cart abandonment, but it’s an easy issue to fix.

Provide your customers with a shipping calculator that works based on the items they’re interested in and their zip code. Most ecommerce platforms offer plugins that make it easy to add a calculator like this.

5. Poor navigation (small-tap targets)

According to SmartInsights, 80 percent of shoppers search the web using their smartphones. If your online store has tiny buttons, small product images or a cluttered design, navigation can be incredibly difficult.

Small-tap targets make it difficult to hit the target link or button on a shrunken mobile screen, which can sour the shopping experience and send a consumer elsewhere. Make sure your mobile design is responsive, with large images and properly sized buttons.

Google recommends tap targets and buttons that are at least 48 pixels tall/wide.

6. Customers don’t know what to do.

Even with an ecommerce website, you need to make it very clear what you want the customer to do on your site. Non-product pages should direct the customer using a blatant and obvious call to action. The most successful ecommerce sites tell customers exactly what to do; never leave them to guess what the next step is.

7. You’re not promoting properly.

Without targeted traffic, your store isn’t going to generate any revenue. You need to create an inbound marketing strategy that uses social, content marketing and even paid marketing. Once you begin building your customer base, let user-generated content and testimonials build further social proof and promote your store.

When you have enough customers, use tools like Rewardstream to build and manage a referral program.

“You can’t wait for customers to come to you,” writes Paul Graham of Y Combinator. “You have to figure out where they are, go there and drag them back to your store.”

8. You’re not engaging your customers.

No acknowledgement at all from a salesperson is just as bad as a pushy salesperson. Engage your customers and followers on social media to keep your brand front and center. Get involved in industry-related discussions to turn heads of prospective customers.

Most importantly, use content marketing to engage past and current customers to keep them coming back, as you promote your content to new prospects.

9. You’re targeting the wrong audience.

You may be pouring time and money into content marketing or ad spends that aren’t generating any business. If that’s the case, are you targeting the right people? Make sure you do your audience research so that your marketing is targeting the right crowd.

Related: Ecommerce Is Growing, But Customers Still Prefer Shopping in Stores

10. The price is (not) right.

Pricing products can be difficult: if your prices are too low, customers may think your products are lower quality. Price too high, and they'll shop elsewhere. When you factor in tax and shipping costs, it’s even more challenging. Market research and trial and error can help you find the pricing sweet spot you need, to gain (and keep) customers.