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E-Commerce: How do I get more sales out of my website?

Coming from IT, but with no experience of the retail industry, I bought an existing online only business 18 months ago. I have tried to make the site more user friendly and appealing on the eye and the natural rankings are very good for the type of product I sell.

For example, searching UK sites on Google, I am number seven for “Nike”, number three for “Sportswear”. However, being quite small at present, I don’t have the most extensive array of up to date stock lines, or have the buying power to buy direct from certain labels, but I am surprised that with the 1,000 or so unique visitors I get each day, that sales are virtually non-existent.

I have recently employed an Internet Marketing company to help with link building, and improving organic rankings, but any other tips as to why things are going wrong would be gratefully received.

Carl Davis, CEO of Dealgroupmedia UK Ltd:
I’m sure the company you’ve hired will do a great job of getting in more traffic, via referrals or higher rankings, but none of their work will get you a good return unless people are buying from your site. So, you need to look more at the reasons why people are not buying from your site at the same time, so the increase in visits to your site are not wasted.

Below are some tips on converting visitors to customers:

  • Make your home page the best marketing tool ever - have a clear purpose, tell them why they should purchase from you & how good your products are.

  • Tell visitors that other people think your site is great - use testimonials to persuade people to buy.

  • Become a buyer yourself - use your site as someone else would: is it easy to find the information that would persuade you to buy?

There are companies who, for a fee, invite users to come to your site and comment on it. They’ll tell you what they liked about the design, how they rated the content, what put them off, what turned them on, and whether your site would convince them to buy your product or service. However, the quickest, simplest and most effective thing you can do is to ask people - get friends, colleagues and family to give you their views & why they would or would not buy from your site.

On initial inspection, I suggest the following methods to give you information on I would look into:

  • You already have Google Analytics. You should try to find the drop off points by analysing the reports.

  • Natural search keyword analysis - does your site attract keywords from people who are looking to make a purchase rather than just browsing for information? Ensure converting keywords are tracked through to sale. This way you will know what type of copy production (for organic Google listings) you should focus on.

  • Usability & Customer Conversion - if your website is getting the visitors, but noone is buying, then there is either an issue with finding the right products and knowing how to buy them or giving the consumer a strong call to action to actually buy it.

  • Images - some of the images on your site (including your logo) need to be higher resolution to appear more professional & gain the trust of the consumer.

  • Shopping Basket - the Shopping Basket image on each page doesn’t clearly state in words that it is the shopping basket. Even something as simple as this might confuse a consumer.

Fadi Shumanis the E-Commerce Director & Co-Founder of Pod1:
I know this sounds like an obvious question, but have you checked that your checkout actually works? For exmaple, can an order actually be placed? Are payment methods all working?

Without being too harsh on your site designers, I also don’t think it’s glaringly obvious that the site actually sells stuff. The basket is not in the obvious place; nowhere on the home page does it say ‘shop now’ or equivalent; the product detail pages don’t actually have any “add to basket” text, just an icon and so on and so on.

If you are really serious about making your online shop work, I would absolutely recommend a complete overhaul of the creative, the site architecture and the quality of the product images you use.

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