“Why is my ecommerce site not making money?”
This is a complicated question. Rarely does it have one single answer. If you spent all last year in the ecommerce dumps, then there’s likely a combination of things that aren’t quite clicking. Every day they go unaddressed is costing you money.
So, like a doctor checking for symptoms, let’s run through some potential issues spanning marketing, your backend operations, visibility, and more. Do any of these sound like what’s making your store sick?
Skimping on Content Marketing
I recently got to speak with a fashion e-tailer who couldn’t figure out why he’d only done about $150 in sales during his first month in business despite spending so much on paid advertising on Google and Facebook. I asked him what kind of content marketing he was doing and he looked at me confused.
“Isn’t Facebook/Google content marketing?” he asked.
I don’t say this to make fun of him, but to point out how costly it is to not be knowledgeable about content marketing. Blogs, guides, how-tos, and tutorials that live on your website all help to drive first time visitors from search engines to your site.
Don’t write about your brand or your sales. Write about the interests of your ideal buyer. If you sell pet accessories, write up an article about the dangers of low quality pet food. If you sell jewelry, write a guide for husbands to pick the perfect anniversary gift for their wives.
Create valuable content for your potential customers and your new audience will eventually open up their wallets to buy.
No Videos to Wow Your Customers
I love online shopping, but I still have a place in my heart for traditional shopping. It’s because the one edge brick-and-mortars have over ecommerce is customers being able to interact with a physical sample. I can’t try on a pair of jeans from Amazon the same way I can if I went to H&M.
You can make up this gap with videos. Videos allow customers to see your product in action. It’s a sort of digital sampling. It inspires trust, showing customers exactly what they will get. There’s tons of different ways to use videos.
- Tutorials showing how to use your product
- Guides relevant to the lifestyle of your ideal buyer
- Crowdsourced reviews
- Behind-the-scenes at your business
Too Many Stockouts Make It Hard to Buy
The backend of your business is not the most exciting thing in the world. It’s so boring that entire websites and industries are founded upon making ecommerce operations as easy as possible. But if you ignore your supply chain, you’re going to pay for it in the loss of sales.
Are you sure your supplier has enough stock? If you suddenly tripled your sales expectations, would you have deep pockets or deep trouble? Can you afford to go without your listings for days due to an unexpected stockout, or even get suspended from Amazon due to overselling?
The best thing you can do to dramatically reduce your stockouts is to automate your backend with an inventory management solution. The benefits of ecommerce inventory management are almost too numerous to list. You’ll sleep better at night knowing the odds of human error have been lessened, your inventory is safe, and your sales are processing clean as a whistle.
Avoiding Real-World Selling Opportunities
Your mom always said spending too much time on the internet wasn’t good for you. When you became an ecommerce seller, I bet you thought you’d proven her wrong. But as the saying goes, mama’s always right.
What if the key to increasing your ecommerce sales was actually offline? Meatspace (aka, the “real” world) offers tons of different options for increasing your visibility and your chance to boost ecommerce sales.
- Operate a pop-up store
- Find a related festival, fair, or block party and become a vendor
- Do live demos of your product (maybe even film them and put them on your website)
- Rent a truck and become a business-on-wheels
- Giveaway free samples of your product as a publicity stunt
No Deals, Discounts, or Promo Codes
If you’re having trouble breaking out of the rut, opening this year with a killer sale is a great way to drum up some quick attention and get the year started off right.
The numbers don’t lie: 71% of customers say incentives have influenced their decision to buy. 54% will return to abandoned shopping carts if they see the price has dropped. 68% say coupons on the first purchase would make them a loyal customer.
Percent-off discounts, exclusive social media flash sales, email coupons, and even mailers are awesome ways to deliver attractive discounts to your customers. Whatever type of promotion you choose, make sure it’s one your customers use.
Not Enough Product Diversity
My favorite place to buy shoes is Journeys. But when you walk into that store, you see tons more stuff beside just shoes. They also sell socks, shoe strings, t shirts, backpacks, watches, and more.
Your online store should do the same. Selling related products gives customers a lower priced option than your main products and gives you the chance to create attractive bundles that raise average purchase value and boost your ecommerce sales.
A great way to quickly list products is to build direct integrations to your suppliers. That way you don’t have to spend as much time playing email tag and creating listings from scratch. Using an ecommerce API will allow you to connect your store to suppliers, marketplaces, seller channels, and other third-party tools. Adding new products and adding them fast will give your customers more chances to fall in love with something you offer, thereby increasing your ecommerce sales.