Two of the biggest challenges you might be facing as an online store owners (and you're not alone) is getting a regular flow of traffic AND converting that traffic into paying customers. It's tricky right?
However, if you're successfully attracting traffic but they're not purchasing from you, there could be something fundamentally wrong with the design or layout of your e-commerce store (product and services aside).
There are heaps of reasons why someone doesn't buy from us.
If you're a new kid on the block, it's usually because visitors don't know us or trust our brand, so the first job we need to do, is fix that.
However, let's park that for today and I want you to check that you have some some fundamental retail and marketing elements in place. It's a bit like, walking into a shop and seeing that they've got the shelves laid out properly, good lighting and welcoming staff.
Retail is detail and it's in my blood whether it's online or in store. You must ensure, that your store looks the part. If we not, your visitors won't want to hang around and get to know you, right?
So, in this post, I want to share with you some of the key reasons why your visitors might be leaving without making a purchase and what you can do to fix it easily and cheaply.
A Visitor Arrives at your website...
When a visitor arrives at your website, do they instantly know what you're offering? It takes a few seconds to make a first and lasting impression.
During that time, your visitor will decide to stay or leave. They may scroll down (do you do this? I do!) to gain further clarity on what you offer. However, if they are dissatisfied by what they see and experience, they'll "check out" and not in the way we want them to! In other words, they'll leave.
All your hard work in getting them to your site is wasted and you won't get the sale.
Having your visitors leave your website within seconds is not good for SEO and your search engine rankings. The algorithms within the search engines (Google, Bing etc) are designed to reward website owners who manage to keep visitors on their site for as long as possible. How the algorithms work exactly, remains to be clear, but it's measured by the "bounce rate". An above average bounce rate (e.g. over 55%) is not good for rankings.
Well there are a few tactics you can employ but before I share these, I'd love to show you a few websites that I've visited recently and "checked out" because they didn't deliver a good experience for me.
8 Reasons why Visitors might be checking out too early!
1. Lack Of Identity
Sometimes I'll passover a website (might be mentioned in a social media post, or, in a related search) and upon landing on it, I'm confused by what they're offering. The site is beautiful and laid out well but I'm confused about the product the service.
Here's one I came across recently (I love my organic products) but I really wasn't sure what they were offering when I landed on it.
Even when I scrolled down, the only way I could identify this was by squinting at the packaging. Needless to say, I packed up and left, after 30 seconds.
FIX IT : Make sure your logo and what you offer is clearly displayed above the fold. Above the fold means it appears in the top part of the screen so the visitor doesn't have to scroll down to find out.
Use the space to clearly communicate the what and if possible the why you're selling.
2. Poor Design
On the face of it, this eye catching colour design might appeal but when you arrive at the page, it flashes rapidly in your eyes (ouch!)! It's not a good look or a page you want to spend any time on.
When selecting your design, make sure it has broad appeal and its visual cues are not offensive or damaging!
FIX IT : No flashing images pleased. Avoid too many clashing colours. Use a colour wheel or Pinterest to look for colour palettes where colours compliment and harmonise.
3. Poor Layout
Whilst Heatherhills isn't a terrible website (although it's not secure), there's a lot of information crammed into a tight space. This makes the landing page copy, look cluttered and difficult to read. As a visitor, I'm immediately drawn into the copy. I'm distracted, feeling lost, when I should be navigating to the shop.
The 'shop' button is tucked away in the top of the menu in small print. Some visitors may miss this.
As online website owners, our objective is to make shopping easy for our visitors. We must aim to help visitors navigate to the shop as quickly as possible. We need to make their purchase decisions easy. If they get lost in the copy and become distracted the chances are you've lost the sale.
Natural Honey Skincare, whilst a different product, has created a beautiful site, displaying the products amongst its natural ingredients with high quality images that fill the space.
There's clear navigation to the product categories down the left hand side.
The brand colours evoke warmth, the photography appeals and the site navigation is clear. It is a dream to shop!
FIX IT : A hero image works well (the main image as shown above). If you take this approach ensure it's great quality and not pixelated. Stick to your brand colours and try to keep all images in the same colour palette.
Ensure product categories are laid out clearly and consider using images and less copy to guide visitors around your site.
4. Insecure Protocol
If you have not made your website secure for taking payments with an SSL Certificate you will lose visitors. If you see Mot Secure in the web browser, it means that the website is not set up securely for taking payments securely over the internet.
Contact your web developer or host provider and ask about getting your SSL certificate and a HTTPS protocol added to your website if your are taking payments. If you're not taking payments then ensure your web address is prefixed with HTTP. Again contact your web developer.
Not having these protocols can be brand damaging for you and your online business.
FIX IT : If you're taking any kind of payment on your website, you need to make the process secure. Invest in a SSL certificate. If you run a self hosted website, start by asking your host provider for help.
SiteGround (my host provider) offer them for free.
5. Too Many Ads
If you want to generate an income from Google Ads, be careful how they appear on your website.
Personally, I'm not a fan of sites that constantly jump out on the screen at me. Not only are they obtrusive but they can slow down the loading of the page. There's nothing more frustrating.
You need to get 100's if not 1000's of click throughs and traffic to your site, to make any kind of reasonable income, so it's not a strategy I recommend!
It's a shame as I was interested in finding out more about https://www.lovefromtheoven.com/homemade-dog-treats/ as I have dogs, but the ads really put off staying for a look around!
FIX IT : Do you really need these ads? Are they making you tons of money? If not, look for other ways to monetise your site.
If you're selling products or even a service, I recommend cleaning up your site and focussing on making your products look amazing and marketing activities to sell them.
6. 404 Page / Page Not Found!
How many times have you experienced this? Not a great experience right? Chances are you promptly left the site.
A 404 Not Found can occur if the visitor hasn't typed the correct address into the browser, or the website owner has removed the page and not redirected it somewhere else. If you're accessing the site from a search engine, it might be a broken link. which essentially means that the page cannot be found on the server.
As a website owner, check all your links are working. You can do this using a free tool like Drink Check or Dead Link Checker. Type in your website address and all your links will be checked. It takes about 3-4 minutes to run the check and it's FREE, so do it today, you will be surprised!
I run this check every 4 - 6 weeks depending on how much I've published and referenced to other websites. There maybe a situation where the website owner of the referred site, moves the page.
FIX IT : Run a check every 4 - 6 weeks. Put it in your diary to do and use one of the sites I mention above. You will be surprised how many you encounter. On my first check I had 38 broken links on my website!
7. Lack Of Inspiration!
Enlightenment Wines is selling small batches of mead. Its product is sold on taste. Their website needs to tell me a story and capture my imagination. Sadly the site is flat, one dimensional and lacks inspiration. Furthermore, the design lacks consistency and branding.
What do you think? If you're selling food and drink, try to evoke the senses into getting excited about your product.
There's appears to be a number of stories which would be better laid out in clear, easy to read sections or blocks.
Quay Wines on the other hand is beautifully laid out, elegant and well presented, reflecting everything you'd want in a wine. Branding is clear and imagery is high quality.
FIX IT : Your product needs to be the hero, so invest in some professional photography or enrol in a photography course for product imagery. If you don't have the skills to build your website, contact us and we'll create a beautiful layout or teach you how to do it yourself.
8. No Incentive To Buy / Introductory Offer
Like it or not, as shoppers we love a bargain.
The tricky thing is, trying to convince your new visitor that they can part with their hard earned cash and trust that your brand will deliver value and quality.
It's for that reason I recommend every new online shop selling a physical product offers some kind of introductory promotion.
In my corporate days as a supermarket buyer, I would insist new brands promote their product at a small discount to encourage trial.
Chances are you don't have the benefit of a large fan base. Therefore, you will need to work extra hard to convince your visitor to try your product. Promotional discounts work well as an incentive to buy.
Money off coupons and free delivery also help convert that initial sale.
At Ethical Pets, there are no offers. Although mosts of their products consist of well known brands, as a new customer I'm looking for an incentive to shop with them. I did actually leave this site in favour of another because of the lack or rather there were no offers available - not even free delivery over a specified order value.
Over at Zooplus on the other hand (I know they're a larger company), I am offered 5% off my first purchase and Free Delivery on orders over £29!
It's actually offers galore over there. And here's the thing. Their product prices might even be more expensive, but I feel as though I'm being rewarded.
Value perception is key, perhaps more so, with first time visitors.
FIX IT : Your product needs to be the hero, so invest in some professional photography or take a course. If you don't have the skills to build your website, contact us and we'll create a beautiful layout or teach you how to do it yourself.
So now you know what to look out for. Working out how to keep your visitors is easy! Do the opposite of what I've observed above! Go the extra mile if you can.
In short here's a summary or checklist of the basics you need on your website to keep visitors engaged and spending money:-
Now it's your turn. Review your website against the metrics above. What do you need to tweak / change / update?
Are you a service based business struggling to attract traffic or convert? let me know Below! There's a post heading your way soon...
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