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Why isn’t your online shop making any sales?

By Will Stevens - January 27, 2016

So you’ve got your online shop up and running and to your eyes it’s perfect. But for some reason sales aren’t as high as you expected. You may even be selling nothing at all. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the reasons why your online shop might not be performing as you’d hope, and look at how you can improve things. If we don’t cover your particular issue, then please leave a comment under the article and we’ll get back to you.

You’re not getting any visitors

Even the best-looking online shop will make zero sales if no one ever visits it. And sadly having a great online shop on its own isn’t enough to attract customers. You need to spend time on promotion to ensure people who might want to buy from you know you exist. Here are the areas you need to focus on.

Search engine optimisation (SEO): Good SEO means ensuring your online shop shows up near the top of search results for terms potential customers are searching for. If you haven’t given any thought to SEO, then check out this guide to first steps in SEO.

Pay per click advertising: Another way to attract potential customers is through PPC advertising. Done well, PPC is a great way to drive potential customers to your site. We’ve put together a beginner’s guide to PPC here.

Social media: Used properly, social media can be a great way to draw attention to your online shop. You can get more information on getting social media traffic to your online shop in this guide. We also have a guide to running paid social advertising on Facebook  and Twitter here.

Finally, if you’re not sure how many visitors you’re getting, then make sure you install Google Analytics. It really is a must-have for any website. You can learn how to get started with Google Analytics here.


You’re getting the wrong kind of visitors

If you are getting a significant number of your visitors to your website and you’re still not making any sales, then there’s a chance you’re attracting the wrong kind of visitor. But before we look into why you might be getting the wrong kind of visitor, it’s important to remember that not everyone who visits your site is going to buy from you anyway. If your conversion rate is around 2-3%, then you shouldn’t worry too much.

However, if your conversion rate is lower than that, it could be a sign that you’re attracting the wrong kind of visitor. Here are a few things to look out for.

Bad paid advertising – PPC advertising and social media ads can be a great way to attract relevant traffic, but if they’re done badly you’ll waste money paying for visitors who are never going to buy from you.

Ranking for irrelevant keywords – If you’re attracting visitors from organic search and they’re not buying from you, then it’s possible that you’re ranking for the wrong keywords. If you’re concerned that you might be ranking for the wrong keywords, you can check out this guide to keyword research. Once you’ve established what you should be ranking for, you can see how that compares with what you actually are ranking for.

There may be other reasons you’re attracting the wrong kind of visitor, but as long as you’re not spending time and/or money on getting that traffic you don’t have to be too worried about it. Just make sure you shift your focus so you’re spending your valuable resources on getting potential customers to your site.

You offer a bad checkout experience

Getting people to put products in their basket is one thing, but getting them to complete the checkout process is another matter entirely. A range of issues can cause people to abandon their purchase before they finish checking out. These include hidden costs, the wrong payment options and too many steps. To learn more about building a checkout customers will love, watch this video.


You have a confusing site

How easy is it for people to navigate your site? Is there a clear path from the first page they land on to the purchase confirmation page? If not, the chances are you’re missing out on customers. If your site is confusing, then people will get frustrated and head off to find a site that is easier to navigate. You can learn more about how to provide potential customers with a logical journey in this guide.

Your site is missing trust signals

Would you buy from someone you didn’t trust? Of course you wouldn’t. The same goes for your website. If you don’t show potential customers that you can be trusted, then they’re unlikely to do business with you. There are several ways you can boost trust levels. Here’s a brief overview of what you can do.

Show you’re real – A physical address and phone number boost trust no end as they let people know they’ll be someone to contact if things go wrong. The more customers know about you can your business, the more they’ll trust you.

Reviews and testimonials – If you’ve got happy customers, let people know about it. Reviews and testimonials help showcase your virtues as a business.

Just these two tips alone can help increase trust in your site. But if you want to go deeper you can check out this video covering the most important trust signals, or this expert guide on building trust in your site.

Your site is broken

If your site doesn’t work the way it should, don’t expect people to hang around and try to puzzle out how they can use it. And don’t expect them to report issues to you either. They’ll be off to buy from one of your competitors. Use tools like Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) to monitor your site. You can learn how to do that in this guide.


Your site has spelling/grammar errors

Your website copy is one of your biggest selling tools and if there are mistakes on it, then you’re likely to put people off buying. There are even claims that spelling errors cost small businesses millions of pounds in lost sales.. So make sure you check, double check and triple check all copy on your website. If you’re not comfortable writing yourself, it’s worth hiring a professional. It can make a real difference to how people perceive your site and your business.

Still having problems? Leave us a comment and we’ll help as best we can.