Why You're Not Making Sales on Shopify

You created a great product, launched your e-commerce store and waited for the sales to start rolling in. But… they didn’t. Why?

It’s difficult to determine the cause for your lack of sales, especially if your store is pretty new. It’s like you’ve just learned how to drive, then suddenly your car doesn’t start. There could be multiple, complex reasons why your car broke.

Lucky for you, you’re parked in the right place. Let’s troubleshoot and find out which aspect needs fixing for your store to start getting sales.

You have a bad design

First impressions matter, especially on your Shopify store. Your storefront should work to capture the attention of visitors and invite them to browse around.

Having design mistakes isn’t just having the wrong aesthetic choices. It’s about the purpose of your design elements. Every element should be explicitly designed to entice visitors and turn them into customers.

You neglected speed or design, or both.

Balancing loading speed and great design is a challenge. You can’t choose one over the other. A beautiful design that takes forever to load will turn customers off. Similarly, a website that loads in an instant but has a confusing, cluttered or outdated design won’t establish trust with your customers.

If you lean too much one way, buyers will leave your store. Most consumers looking to buy on the internet expect to have a smooth experience.

Imagine this: A man was walking around town after eating at a restaurant, when a stunning window display caught his eye. It turned out to be a guitar store. It had a big window and the guitars looked awesome from outside. The man didn’t have any plans to buy a guitar, but the door of the store was wide open, he browsed, someone immediately answered his question about a specific guitar, and he eventually purchased a guitar.

Now, imagine if the store’s layout was different. Our window shopper still saw the amazing guitars through the big window, but this time the doors were closed. He still became curious, but due to the door being closed, he didn’t bother to go inside the store.

Removing as many obstacles as you can to accessing your online store highly increases the chances of onlookers buying something.

Also, notice that without the big window, the man in our story wouldn’t have noticed the guitar store at all. Design and display are important in capturing people’s attention.

If you're looking for the best ways to customize your theme at every budget level, read this guide provided by our friends at Taskhusky.

You don’t have high quality media, or you have too little media

The only way for buyers to interact with your products is by having media on your store. Pictures sometimes are enough. However, the more options your buyer has for experiencing your product on your store, the more likely they will buy.

website media content

Shopify recently announced native 3D and video support at their yearly partner and developer conference, Shopify Unite 2019. Get creative and use all the available tools in your arsenal.

Plus, having interactive and captivating media such as video and 3D renderings encourage customers to stay on your store longer, which could make them more likely to buy something and increase your SEO stats. Two birds, one stone.

You don’t have clear calls to action

Calls to action (known as CTAs) are very important to integrate into the design of your store. It’s a way to point your buyer to the right direction and tell them what steps to take next without taking away their control.

Customers don’t want to be told what to do, but they like suggestions on what to do next. This little nudge is really powerful at controlling the behavior of the visitors on your site.

Here are some examples you can explore:
50 Call To Action Examples (and How to Write the Perfect One)

You don’t have a marketing strategy

Marketing is a requirement to start making sales. One of the factors that contribute to lack of sales is the lack of a marketing budget. We don’t just mean a budget of money, but also a budget of time. To start making sales, you should expect to invest a significant amount of time on your marketing strategy.

The law of diminishing returns applies to marketing but before reaching that point, the more you focus on marketing, the more sales you’ll have.

You don’t leverage email marketing

Email marketing may be the simplest form of marketing, but it’s one of the most effective when it comes to ROI and reaching out to new audiences.

Not only that, it has so many more benefits, such as:

  • Being more intimate. Emails are a more private means of communication.

  • Personalization. Each different segment of your customers can have different emails that are tailored to their needs.

  • It leaves a long-lasting reminder of your presence. Most people aren’t cleaning their inboxes regularly. As long as your email hasn’t been deleted, they will remember your store.

If you’re not sure how to start, here’s a link to one of our videos about Email Marketing that can help you:
Electric Eye Email Marketing Youtube Videos

You don’t have enough content

As the ancient saying goes, “The more you give, the more you’ll receive.” This is the main tenet of content marketing, aka inbound marketing or inbound methodology.

Basically, it’s about providing helpful content that addresses your target audience’s questions, which draws them into your store. If they get value through your content, they will be most likely to give something back by being your customer. This is a very fascinating mindset for your store and we recommend you read more of it as it will change the way you run your marketing campaigns.

Your products might need better marketing… or you need different products

The market is saturated. There are too many similar products, and it’s hard to cut through all the noise with just your products on display. That’s when you differentiate yourself from the competition through marketing.

Or, you can offer a different product entirely. What you are selling and how you sell it directly affects your sales.

You have the wrong target audience, or worse, you have none

You can’t just stock a certain set of products and assume people will buy. No, you need to identify your niche. If you’re selling outdoor gear, you can target either senior citizens OR younger millennials. By doing this, you know what to sell. If you don’t specify a target audience or if you don’t get to know them, you might stock wrong.

group of teens

For example, millennials are famously stingy, but they’d gladly pay good money for sustainable gear. Senior citizens don’t mind slapping down big bucks for established brands. A millennial won’t buy a Coleman just because it’s a Coleman, but a senior would.

And a senior certainly won’t buy a newfangled brand they don’t recognize, even if it’s awesome, but a millennial would if that brand has great eco-consciousness.

If you have the best fishing rod in the world, and you’re targeting a software engineer who has the money to pay, your product photos and descriptions would be tailored to attract that software engineernot too much jargon, but plenty of features to prove it’s a great fishing rod.

If your target for that fishing rod is a fishing expert, you’d use jargon in your descriptions, because your target audience would understand and would look for it. They’ll trust you as an expert if you use that jargon.

This is why it’s very important that in the earliest stages of planning for your store, one of the first things to establish is your target audience. Your target audience should be the basis for your product, your branding and your marketing campaigns.

Another tip to keep in mind is to explore overlapping niches to have a more unique customer community. Like working moms. That’s already three types of target audiences all in one niche: Working moms, employed women and moms themselves. It’s spreading the net wider, without alienating your core niche.

The more types of people you appeal to without deviating from your niche, the more potential loyal customers you’ll get.

Here are some niches you can cover this 2019:

15 Niche Ecommerce Business Ideas You Can Bank On

You give too many options

Options are essential for consumers in a free market. That’s the reason why there are laws preventing monopolies. Choices should be free and available for all consumers.

However, too many choices can lead to a consumer being paralyzed by having too many options. This is bad for your store because instead of inviting a buyer through your expansive collection, they will just leave your store undecided.

One thing you can do to have more options on your store without creating decision paralysis is to do a three tier product or service system: The basic/teaser product, the recommended product and the premium/halo product. This system has multiple benefits:

  • The basic/teaser product appeals to people who are on a budget.

This also could appeal to people who just want to try what you are offering and are planning to come back for more if they have a good experience.

  • The recommended product is the one that will sell the most and should be your main product. This is the one you’ll advertise as having the best “bang for your buck.”

  • The main purpose of the premium product is to amplify the perceived value of the bang for the buck product. This is the most expensive product, with the most features.

However, the features are just bonuses and the consumers can still have the best experience using the recommended product.

This could also appeal to the people who want the top of the line, best of the best products that they could have.

Another thing you could do to give more options are personalizations. The more they can make the product custom to their wants and needs, the more likely they will be to buy more and more. It gives them uniqueness and a sense of exclusivity.

You don’t upsell or cross-sell

Upselling and cross selling is a great way to get the most out of each customer. However, most buyers don’t need it, or even like it. But if you approach it properly, it could make customers feel happier that they got more value and in the end, you get more sales.

One technique that stands out is the one implemented by Amazon. If you scroll down on a specific product page, you will see “Frequently bought together” and “What other items do customers buy after viewing this item.

products viewed online

This is upselling and cross selling in one fell swoop. Also, this one of the best cases of using data to their advantage.

You let your leads abandon their cart and you do nothing

This is one of the most painful parts about running an e-commerce store: The buyers are almost finished but stopped without checking out or making the payment.

On a survey made by Moosend, 69% of buyers abandon their cart. That is a lot of lost sales. It could be due to multiple reasons, but most of them are due to the experience they had during checkout.

Here are some changes you could make on your checkout to avoid abandoned carts:

  • Be transparent with the costs. Buyers don’t like to be surprised with added costs on checkout.

  • Remove hindrances as much as possible. The checkout is for the buyer’s payment. It might be tempting to offer more to a buyer, but it poses the risk of turning off the consumer.

  • Offer different payment options and security. Buyers should have different options to pay and they should be shown that it’s safe.

Even with these changes, buyers can have the tendency to leave their cart. The only option then is to remind them by email. Here are some automated abandoned cart recovery apps on Shopify:

Abandoned Cart Recovery by Marsello

Abandoned Cart Recovery Email by Care Cart

Abandoned Cart Email Recovery by Chated.io

Your product descriptions are confusing

A buyer would want to know what they are buying. Some buyers get confused about what your products really are. Your description can be too vague or too complex and it will make them leave your store.

The rule of thumb is if they click on your product, they have to know the important details within five secondswithout scrolling.

Basically, all that they need to know to make them buy the product should be there at a glance. That includes the simple but understandable details, and, as much as possible, bullet points that explain the features. If they want to know more, that’s the only time that they should scroll.

Having all the necessary details up front is a one-two punch that has a higher chance to make a customer buy as fast as possible, before any doubt kicks in about their purchase.

Of course, you can be playful with your product descriptions. It could appeal to a broader audience, but it would only work if humor is already part of your brand and your tone.

Here are other ways to write product details:
9 Simple Ways to Write Product Descriptions that Sell

People don’t trust you yet

Every sale is an act of trust. First, the buyer trusts that you will give a value equal to what they’re paying. Second, you trust that the payment is legitimate. If one of these trusts isn’t there, a sale wouldn’t happen.

They haven’t seen you anywhere

One trust building exercise is to be where your customers are. Most people are already on social media. Be visible there and make a little noise (social media marketing). If they are already familiar with you, they will most likely trust you. If you give them content they can share to their own circle, all the better.

Being on social means being visible and aiming to be seen. What you post should attract your niche audience. This is the essential first step to brand awareness.

At the very least, you should HAVE a page on social, where your customers can post feedback and reviews, and where your leads can see what you’re up to.

Here are other things you can do on social media:
Shopify Social Selling: Using Social Media to Drive More Sales

You don’t have perks for your customers

Another way to build trust is to show that you are willing to give your buyers perks when they purchase something at your store. It shows that your store values the customers first.

man checking ecommerce stores

Contests, rewards, freebies and loyalty programs should be highlighted on your store. This not only builds customer trust, it also gives them incentives to purchase more to get more rewards.

Here are Shopify apps that gives benefits to your customers to entice sales:

Smile: Rewards & Loyalty by Smile.io

Loyalty, Referrals & Rewards by Swell (a Yotpo Company)

Bold Loyalty Points & Rewards by Bold

You don’t have a conversion rate optimization plan

It may not be individual parts that are not working, it might be the whole system. Conversion powers all of the components we talked about earlier. It’s the battery that powers your sales. This could be the main reason that your store hasn’t started getting sales.

You ditch your customers on the funnel

Your business model should not be a funnel anymore, it’s should be a flywheel. This strategy and mindset has been formulated and popularized by the trusted marketing giant Hubspot.

The funnel system has worked for years and is at the core of many successful companies. However, we’re in the age of disruption. Standards and conventions are being challenged everyday, and rightly so. Most of the things that should be invented have been invented and the best thing that we can do is to make improvements or change the status quo.

The funnel system has the right core concepts, but the biggest thing that got left out of the picture is growth and sustainability. Once prospects go down the funnel and you get your customers, you’ll basically just wait for them to drop out.

Conversely, the flywheel system is a well-planned cycle. It’s a self-sustaining model, in which each step aims to power each segment of the cycle.

It’s about turning an individual to a paying customer, turning a paying customer into a repeat customer, and turning a paying customer into an evangelist of your brand which turns individuals into paying customers.

If you’d like to learn more about the marketing flywheel, here is a video from Hubspot illustrating the idea:

Business Strategy: Transforming Funnels to Flywheels to Grow Better

You focus too much on getting sales immediately

It might seem like a gamble but we urge you to spend more on your existing customers, rather than inviting new customers. Growth is a long game, and it requires you to have initial losses.

Focusing on taking care of existing customers and giving each customer an awesome experience every time, no matter how few your customers are, can be painful on your budget if you’re starting out. But each time you’re doing that, you’re pulling the catapult back and back. Once you’ve reached your launching point, growth is inescapable and extremely fast!

We also urge you to plan for the future when that happens. It’s inevitable, so make sure that your store is well equipped if sudden, gigantic growth propels your store.

Here are more Shopify apps to help you with conversion rate optimization:
Conversio Marketing Automation by Conversio

OptinMonster Email Popup by Retyp, LLC

Nudgify ‑ Social Proof & More by Convertize

Bonus reason: You don’t check your competitors

Having a store is a constant learning process. You can learn from reading articles like this, watching tutorials and more, but it’s not a bad idea to learn from your direct competitors, too. It’s actually a great idea!

So, we’ll leave you with this resource on how to learn from the competition:
Want to Know How to Spy on Competitors? 12 Tools & Hacks

If you input the strategies we’ve outlined here, you should start seeing sales rolling in over time. But remember that patience is key–few sustainable companies achieve wild success overnight.