eCommerce Strategies

3 Reasons You're Struggling to Sell Online

Zachary Long
May 14, 2019

Having worked with over 60 eCommerce brands, we've learned some lessons on what makes selling online easy and what makes it nearly impossible. Here are the top 3 reasons you may be having a hard time getting people to buy from your site...

1) Can they get it locally for less?

If someone can grab what you're selling or something similar at Target for half the price, you're going to have a hard time selling online.

People value convenience, and everyone is out to get the best bang for their buck. No matter how wealthy they are.

So if they can find your product or something similar at a local store on their weekly run, it'll be harder to get them to buy from your store. This applies to every niche and product type.

Every brand has what we call 'gateway' products, or 'tripwires'. These are the products that get people in the door.

2) Your Reviews Suck

You’ll be surprised how many brands don’t have reviews on their site. Which always does more harm than good. Reviews are your gateway to a better converting site. If you don’t have reviews on your website, you’re probably converting 30% less than you should be. Okay, I made that percentage up, but you I have seen the lift in conversions running ads without reviews vs. with and it’s crazy how much better ads perform.

Do you value reviews before you make a purchase online? Yes, everyone does.

So now the question is, how do I get reviews?

The New Business

If you’re a fresh new brand, the struggle is real. I would send 100+ products out to friends, family and people in your network in exchange for a review on your website. If you don’t have that many people close to you, run an ad online to collect leads that want a free product in exchange for a website review. It’s an investment that will pay for itself.

The Established Business

If your business has already had over 100 orders, use an app that helps you send review requests to past buyers. YotPo is a more expensive app, but does the trick for brands not on Shopify. However if you are on Shopify (The best eCommerce platform in the WORLD), you must use the app Review App. It’s way less expensive than YotPo and does pretty much everything YP does. My favorite feature is the ability for the customer to leave a review directly in the email through a review form. The app posts it right to the product.

Get more reviews by including incentive for them to leave one! 10% off usually does the trick. This can all be automated right in the app.

Lastly, let the app automate review gathering for you. Set it to send a review request 15 - 30 days after their purchase, and watch the reviews roll right in. Boo ya!

3) Your Marketing is Lame AF

I can talk forever on ads, this is our lifeblood. But at the end of the day if your advertising strategy is horrible, you’re going to lose.

Step 1: Invest in Advertising/Marketing

Organic sales are long gone. The businesses that hit the jackpot with Instagram organic sales back in 2015 learned pretty quick if they want to grow, they need to invest. A hard lesson, that killed off some of the best brands. So start small and invest wisely, you will grow. The growth path of business isn’t always up, in fact, it’s down year over year unless you are doing something to move the brand forward.

Step 2: Don’t Overthink Creative

If your ads look and feel like ads, few people will buy. Push the corporate mindset aside, and let your true gut instincts take over. Your ads should feel like a page post, so they are less of an interruption to the feed. The reason Instagram used to convert well organically is because brands weren’t thinking about how to craft an ad, they were just posting and sharing. People loved getting that stuff in their feed, and they bought. Do the same thing with your ads, make them feel like a page post, not a refined piece of creative your boss told you to write.

Step 3: Create TONS of Content

When social media got its start, content was KING. Well, the king is back for every business sector. Apparel, Health, Beauty, you name it. Create as much content as you can. Educate your customer with information on your brand & product. What makes you unique? Why should they buy from you and not a competitor? How will your product impact their life in a positive way? How can you showcase your product & its unique features through great photography? Answer these questions and win.

At the end of the day, selling products online is really hard. You go into it thinking everyone wants it, and it’ll be super easy. But every business owner quickly learns what they thought would sell isn’t and what they didn’t think would sell is. And that’s okay! The scrappy owners who move with the flow and listen to the customer will come out on top, every time.