My online shop doesn’t sell, what can I do? Practical advice to increase your eCommerce sales

Almost every online shop owner has said this sentence at one time or another:

My online shop doesn’t sell.

Due to the fact that so many people have launched their own eCommerce shops, this situation is becoming more and more common. The thing is, that with just €200, a WordPress template and an idea, anyone can start an online shop.

Still, why is my store not doing well while others are?

Many entrepreneurs take the plunge and start a digital business with no planning whatsoever and without considering the cost of starting an eCommerce from scratch.

Does this mean that all of the shops that don’t sell can be explained by their lack of good planning?

Of course not.

There are many other reasons and possible solutions to these problems as well. And that is exactly what we are going to talk today about: the 4 common problems why a shop doesn’t sell and how to solve them and sell online successfully.

👉 Do you have a well-defined digital marketing strategy?

The most common mistake when you first open up a shop is having no strategy.

A good idea does not guarantee success —or selling your product. That’s why the first step to having a profitable eCommerce is having a well-defined marketing strategy.

So here’s the big question: how do I get started?

By implementing the next two items below.

Who is your ideal customer?

Are you familiar with the concept of buyer persona?

It refers to a fictitious representation of the ideal customer your business targets.

And for your eCommerce to work well, you must know your customer in depth.

What are their needs? Why do they have such needs?

How is your product solving them?

What might they not find appealing?

You must put together a sketch of your perfect customer as completely as possible because the better you know them, the better you’ll be able to address their needs and, therefore, sell to them.

In addition to the questions we outlined for you above about your customer’s relation with the product, you must also know the following:

  • Demographics: sex, age range, place of residence, etc.
  • Values: what they empathize with/their concerns.
  • Where they go: any blogs they read, social media they use, content formats they prefer.

But what if you’re getting started? Where can you get these data from?

  • Social media statistics
  • Google Analytics
  • Surveys done to subscribers.
  • Blog comments or social media.
  • Customer service.
  • Competitors.
  • Etc.

Do some research and try to understand as best as you can who your ideal customer is. However, you must keep this in mind: this is not a one-time thing. You must always strive to better get to know your customer.

Define you value proposition

Your business’ value proposition is the message you use to explain why your business stands out from competitors. It should answer this question:

Why should you buy in my store and not elsewhere?

Let’s be honest. Competing against other eCommerces in price is a poor strategy because there will always be giants (such as Amazon) that’ll best your business offer. That’s why it’s so important to work on your value proposition.

You must add as much value as you can to your proposition so the client is interested in buying from you.

Here’s an example:

  • BEFORE: Best party shoes ever. Great quality and variety of designs.
  • AFTER: Party shoes made in Spain: eco-friendly and ever-lasting.

The first option is not really saying anything that’ll differentiate that eCommerce (which footwear store does not have a large variety of designs?. Instead, the second one explains what they do differently from that other store and why buying from there is best.

If you’d like to learn more about this, we suggest you read this post on copywriting.

👉 You think visitors come on their own

You’ve already set your buyer persona and value proposition. You know whom you’re addressing and the sales message you’ll use to stand out.

It’s time to get visitors to your web.

As we have mentioned before, there are very few obstacles in the way of creating an online shop.

You can use any eCommerce platform and create your online shop in just a day. However, that doesn’t mean that you are doing it well. This is why more and more people think that they can create an online shop and simply wait for the visitors roll in.

They do not know the effort and work required to find visitors and even less so how to get them to their shop.

So what is the solution to this problem? It is pretty obvious: to start generating sources of traffic to your shop .

Grab a pen and paper because these are the three main ways potential customers will come in.

Content marketing

Creating free content that responds to your ideal customer’s needs is a great way to attract customers to your store.

Keep two ideas in mind, though:

  • It’ll be less enthusiastic traffic due to its content.
  • It’ll be a mid/long-term strategy.

There are pros and cons to everything…

So let’s see what channels you can work on.

  • Blog: SEO-wise, it’s fundamental because it allows you to target informational keywords and draw traffic from the search engine.
  • YouTube: it’s the second largest search engine worldwide and therefore an opportunity to get many visitors. Besides, the video format is very important in eCommerce because it helps customers visualize a product and imagine themselves using it. Here’s a punctual example of how to use YouTube.
  • Podcast: it’s one of the most trendy communicative formats. Before you take the plunge, it’s best to verify whether your ideal customer likes it.

Is it possible to talk about content marketing and not mention social media?

No. In fact, we’re about to see how to optimize your Social Media strategy.

Social Media and the making of a community

By community we mean building a loyal audience around your brand.

It’s not only about your customers but your followers and subscribers too. All those who follow you and value what you do.

We mean loyalty.

How do you get this?

By establishing an ongoing dialogue with your community, interacting with them. And yes, a large part of that conversation will take place on social media.

Keep in mind this is all about establishing a dialogue.

That means you should not simply put your products on social media. You must share content that’s interesting for your target audience (establishing a relation between such contents and the products… that’s when the magic happens).

Here are some specific posts on social media:

[Marketing on Facebook] 7 keys to getting more followers (and customers) for your eCommerce

7 Strategies to sell on Instagram with your online store and generate more engagement

[TikTok for e commerce] Pros and cons and how to incorporate it into your strategy

8 tricks to selling more with Social Media

Paid advertising

Paid advertising is the third tool you can use to attract visitors to your eCommerce.

But, like everything else, it has both pros and cons:

  • Visitors show up immediately.
  • The second you stop paying, that traffic is gone.

That’s why, ideally, you should always strive to optimize both organic and paid traffic.

Besides, you’re in luck… In Doofinder we have several tutorials in which we teach various advertising strategies.

Google Adwords for eCommerce: what it is, how it works, and how to create a campaign step by step

Facebook Ads for online shops: 8 steps to create successful campaigns

7 steps to create Instagram Ads that will fill your ecommerce with customers

ECommerce and Facebook Ads: a lethal combination

How to increase sells with Google Shopping

👉 You have a lot of visits but you don’t sell anything

The other typical problem is that of the shops that, despite having thousands of visits, do not generate any sales.

Is this your case?

The conversion rate is less than 1% and every day the owner gets more desperate while thinking about all the lost sales.

The online shops with this problem are usually those that don’t portray confidence, are not well designed, or have a painfully difficult buying process that leads to more and more abandoned carts. ¿Y cuál es la solución?

To get customers to use the ‘buy now’ button and have your eCommerce sales skyrocket, you must pay attention to one of the following solutions.

Choose the appropriate eCommerce platform

How many products does my catalog have? What languages do I sell in? What payment methods do I want to admit? How do I want to handle my stock?

Do you know the answers to these questions?

One of the potential problems you might face is using a platform that doesn’t match your business or that doesn’t allow you to add options that increase your conversion rate.

So which are the best platforms to start an eCommerce? We suggest you take a look at these:

And if you don’t know what to look for when choosing one, read this post.

Add elements that build confidence

Not having a legal disclaimer, a clear return policy, FAQ section, or a live chat can generate a lack of confidence.

Some of these elements are compulsory by law, so adding them will not only help you comply with the law, but it will also help you to sell more.

Let’s go over them.

➡️ Return policy

There’s nothing like a convenient return policy to make a customer really trust a store.

  • How much time do I have to return a product?
  • What happens if I get a faulty product?
  • What’s the cost of returning or replacing a product?

Before making a purchase, your customer has considered these questions.

That’s why having a clear and trustworthy return policy generates trust and increases the conversion rate.

➡️ FAQ section

The acronym stands for Frequently Asked Questions.

Having a FAQ section will help you anticipate customers’ questions, which will:

  • Improve user experience.
  • Solve potential sale objections.

Therefore, sales will also increase.

➡️ Chatbot

A chatbot is like having an extra employee in your eCommerce.

This kind of software application helps you solve customers’ doubts 24/7. And you already know that offering fast, efficient and accessible customer service is paramount right now.

Here’s a series of recommendations to optimize the relation with your customer:

  • Make visible an operating phone number.
  • Specify your customer service hours.
  • Clarify how to get in touch with you at all times.

Clarity and a variety of options make customer service efficient.

Get buyers back to their abandoned carts

Picture the following scenario.

Karen lands on your eCommerce looking for a beanie.

She first chooses a gray one. She likes it, so she adds it to her cart to make up her mind later. There is also a black one and, next to it, a nice and warm fleece jacket. She likes it too and adds it to her cart.

She keeps seeing different kinds of beanies until she realizes she has to leave, so she abandons her cart.

Have you ever been about to close a sale only to miss it at the very last second?

What should you do then?

Check out our tutorial on how to get buyers back to their abandoned carts and recover all of those lost sales.

In addition, here’s a list of 3 posts with further advice.

And remember, be incisive enough so as to have your customers back, but not as incisive so as  to scare them away.

A smart search engine

Just as we mentioned above that a chatbot is an extra employee, we now claim a smart engine is the employee.

Why do we say so?

Because it’s as close as it gets to having a ‘person’ who can advise and recommend products to your customers online.

A user visits your store and starts typing on the search box… and what happens?

The search engine:

  • Predicts what they want: thanks to artificial intelligence we can read customers’ minds and offer them what they need more accurately.
  • Always suggests something: in case you don’t have in store what a customer wants, it offers a similar product.
  • Prioritizes stock products: you can choose which products to offer first.
  • Sells: you can show offers related to the products a user is searching.

And the best part is you get a 30-day free trial of a smart search engine such as Doofinder (no need to put in your credit card number, and it only takes 5 minutes to install).

👉 You are in a niche with too many competitors

Human beings have this amazing ability to believe that if something works well for others, it will also work for them.

This is why sometimes, without thinking, we get ourselves into market niches with cutthroat competition.

Your online shop being easy to set up does not mean that the market entry barriers will also be so easy to overcome.

So, is it impossible to compete against the eCommerce giants? 

Of course not, there are always options.

The problem is that in order to compete in an oversaturated sector (such as shoes, toys, t-shirts or video games) you need to differentiate yourself from the rest. You cannot just be “another shoe shop”.

You need to be “THE shoe shop”.

So how can you become that eCommerce that stands out from the crowd?

Specialization

The first thing is to specialize your store.

It is not the same thing to say “I am going to create an online shop for t-shirts ” as it is to say “I am going to create an online shop for animal face t-shirts ”.

You reduce the number of competitors (you are no longer selling t-shirts, you sell t-shirts with animal faces) and you also add that branding touch to your shop.

As we explained above, in order to specialize your eCommerce even more, you can add your own values to its value proposition.

For example, you don’t simply own a store that sells animal print tees; you own a sustainable company —when it comes to shirt printing, your production is cruelty-free, plastic-free and eco-friendly.

Branding

Another way of standing out is to optimize your brand image.

Here’s a very interesting example: Tony’s Chocolonely.

It’s a store that sells chocolate bars whose entire branding is based on the following slogan: “Crazy about chocolate. Serious about people.”

You can make good chocolate without condoning the slavery involved in this sector.

Their entire branding revolves around this:

  • Chocolate bars’ wrappers tell the story.
  • Bars don’t have the typical squared ounces but unequal ones (just like working conditions).

A smart example of differentiation based on the values that underpin the brand.

mi_tienda_no_vende

👉 What are you going to do to start selling?

Solving these 4 problems isn’t easy. You can’t just get traffic, increase the conversion rate and differentiate your brand in only a couple of days.

Improving your eCommerce sales is a long-term task demanding time, patience and investment.

But if you follow the advice we’ve outlined for you in this post, rest assured that sustained, hard work will return positive results (yes, your store will start selling alright).

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