14 Reasons Why eCommerce Sites Fail

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Customers increasingly expect brands to have an online presence. They want to schedule appointments and buy products through your digital interface. However, many eCommerce sites fail to attract new customers and convert them into buyers. Does this sound familiar?

There could be any number of reasons why your website is struggling to bring in customers – and you may have multiple factors working against you.

Be proactive to your improvement. Here are 14 of the most common reasons why eCommerce sites fail and what you can do to help your website succeed.

1. Poor Branding

Ecommerce sites need to have a strong brand in order to succeed. This means that the site’s design, logo, and overall look and feel should be consistent across all channels. You want your branding to be appropriate for the niche but different enough to be memorable. A strong name can also help you stand out.  

Solution: Make sure your branding is professional and consistent across all channels.

2. Poor Website Usability

If your website is difficult to navigate then customers will be less likely to buy from you. Web users are easily frustrated by sites that are hard to figure out and challenging to use.

Even if your customers buy from your now, they will be less likely to visit your website in the future because they had such a poor experience. 

Solution: Use A/B testing, focus groups, and user mouse-tracking tools to make sure your website is easy to navigate. Whenever you make any changes to the layout, design, or plug-ins, test your site on different browsers and devices to make sure it works correctly across all platforms.

3. Unprofessional Design

If your site looks dated or unprofessional, customers will be less likely to trust you. With eCommerce sites, your customers have to trust your website enough to give you their address, email, and credit card information. You want your eCommerce site to reflect your brand without isolating shoppers. 

Solution: Hire a professional designer to create a polished and professional look for your eCommerce site and associated marketing creative.

4. Lack of Product Information

Customers want to know as much about your products as possible before buying them. It makes them feel confident in their purchase because they know the products will meet their quality and size needs.

If you don’t provide enough information, customers will be reluctant to buy from you or your return rate will remain high as buyers won’t be happy with their items. 

Solution: To provide quality information, make sure each product page has detailed descriptions, images, and videos. The depth and quality of your content is the key factor to improve your ecommerce SEO and longtail search terms. Consider adding a Frequently Asked Questions section to your product pages to address customer concerns.

5. Bad Website Copy

If your website copy is poorly written or full of errors, customers will be less likely to buy from you. Your eCommerce website copy includes your product descriptions, but also information about your brand, return policies, and customer service. Incomplete copy (missing information and pages) can be just as bad as poorly-written text. 

Solution: Hire a professional writer to create high-quality website copy for your eCommerce site. Refresh your evergreen website copy periodically to reflect your branding.

6. Missing Trust Seals and Credentials

Customers look for specific trust seals when they buy from eCommerce sites. They may not trust your brand, but they trust reputable organizations that you likely work with.

Examples of trust seals include the BBB Accredited Business seal, Norton Secured seal, and PayPal Verified seal. Google also offers a Trusted Store badge for reputable eCommerce companies.   

Solution: Add trust seals and credible badges to your site to show customers that you’re trustworthy. Show off the positive relationships you have with major tech, security, and finance companies!

7. Unclear Return Policy

Buying online is always a risk for customers. Even with clear images and videos, they are buying items without actually holding them or seeing them in real life.

A clear return policy can assure customers that your website is safe to buy from because they can recoup their money if the items they buy don’t meet their expectations.

Solution: Make sure your return policy is easy to understand and clearly communicated on your website. Highlight your return abilities on your product pages and in your cart.

8. Lack of Customer Service

Your return policy is one part of your greater customer service efforts. Customer service options assure customers that they can get help if they need it. If an order gets lost or an item arrives broken, your customers want to feel confident that you will be there to help them.

Solution: Offer a variety of customer service options such as email support, phone support, and live chat. This will give customers a way to get in touch with you if they have any questions or problems. Advertise these communication channels across your eCommerce website.

9. Prices Are Too High or Too Low

Even the best websites can drive away customers if the product pricing is not aligned to the market and to Amazon. Prices that are too high will isolate customers who aren’t willing to pay for certain products. Prices that are too low will leave customers suspicious about the quality. 

Solution: Research your competition to see what they’re charging for similar products. Use this information to price your products accordingly.

10. Lack of Product Variety

Along with challenges to product pricing, a lack of product variety can cause customers to abandon their carts. It could be that you aren’t providing the right products to appeal to buyers. 

Solution: Expand your product selection to include a wider variety of items. This will give customers more options and increase the chances that they’ll find something they like.

11. Poor Social Proof

Social proof refers to reviews, photos, and comments shared by customers. These are often found on the website product pages and show how certain items look and are used.

Social proof provides validation to customers because they can see that real people who aren’t affiliated with the company have positive experiences buying from it. 

Solution: Add testimonials, reviews, and ratings to your site to show customers that you’re a reputable company. Set up an automatic email after customers receive their products asking them to share reviews and photos.

12. Slow Loading Times

Simply put, your website customers won’t stick around if your website takes too long to load. Even if you make your customers wait a few extra seconds, they will bounce and shop elsewhere. 

Solution: Optimize your website for faster loading times. This can be done by reducing the size of your images, using a caching plugin, and minifying your CSS and JavaScript files.

13. Difficult Checkout Processes

The harder it is to buy your products, the likelier it is that customers won’t buy from you. They will get frustrated by the process or will stop trusting your website. Plus, the longer customers have to think about the purchase, the more likely they are to bounce before buying. 

Solution: Simplify your checkout process by using clear instructions and a one-page layout. Remember to highlight the cost of shipping before customers add items to their carts.

14. Ineffective Search Functions

Your search bar is part of your site’s usability. You can expect your customers to search for keywords related to the products they want to find. A functioning search bar will make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for and increase the chances that they’ll make a purchase. 

Solution: Make sure your search bar works well, review performance datapoints associated with site search along with expanding filtering options on your results and category pages.

Improving your eCommerce website can seem daunting, but we are here to help. We have the experience and expertise to help you increase your traffic, conversion rate, and rankings – all of which can help your eCommerce business to succeed. Schedule a free 30-minute strategy session to get started.

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