Marketing an Online Store – Why You’re Selling But Nobody is Buying

So you’ve done all the hard work, you’ve spent your hard-earned cash and spent countless hours adding all of your products to your storefront. For some reason though your traffic is low and you can’t understand why people aren’t buying when they visit? Selling online sounds easy in theory but it’s one of the more complicated types of websites and to gain traction, you’ll need to hustle. It’s often said that if you build it they will come but that’s not always the case, in fact rarely the case online, and instead you need to look at pull marketing methods where you physically go out and drag your visitors back to your store rather than wait for them to come to you.

How To Drive Organic Traffic to Your Online Store

Create an Effective URL Structure

I’m starting to sound like a broken record but creating effective URLs and website structure is critical to driving more traffic to your online store.  Online stores can quickly turn into an SEO nightmare if the proper forethought hasn’t been put into designing an SEO and user-friendly design. Consider our last post on creating an SEO friendly website structure and work through a design on paper for your website before you dive into development.

Apply the 3 click rule and try to ensure that your deepest content is no further than three clicks for a user to navigate. At the same time ensure that you create human readable URLs that make sense. Take the following as an example of URLs that work well for humans and are also SEO friendly.

  • Category Page:
  • Sub Category Page:
  • Product Page:

SEO Tip #1: When building your new online store ensure your web designer and SEO agency work together. You’ll develop a far more effective website that is optimised for customers and search engines.

Use Internal Linking to Spread the Juice

Internal link helps with SEO and rankings. Internal linking can be used to spread your Domain Authority or link juice throughout your website. It also allows you to use your anchor text to inform Google about your site architecture and also improve ranking on your keyword terms. Internal linking should be used sparingly however and always be optimised for humans, don’t fill your pages with only links as it’s spammy and easy to detect.

Internal linking also has the advantage of linking other services, products and articles of interest to your customers which may help gain additional clicks and reduce your overall bounce rate.

Types of Internal Links You Should Consider

  • Category and Sub Category Level Navigation Items
  • Linking to Recommended Products in the same categories
  • Using breadcrumbs within page navigation
  • Footer links to important areas of your website
  • Use internal linking through blogging and content marketing to link to category pages or other articles

Eliminate Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is a common issue that occurs for a variety of reasons in online stores. The obvious type of duplicate content is using product descriptions from manufacturers or other websites. As mentioned you should always try to write your own unique product descriptions for the products on your page. This can become increasingly difficult depending on the number and frequency of new products to your website.

More typically going unnoticed is a complex range of duplicate content issues that are often generated by your content management system and applying an ineffective url structure and system configuration. Things such as the use of:

  • URL parameters
  • Session IDs
  • Pagination
  • Multiple store views

are common methods for introducing duplicated content. If you aren’t technical minded and prefer to stay away from that then the best thing you can do is identify an SEO agency that can conduct an SEO audit for your website to see if you’re currently dealing with issues such as this. Most content management systems have the features to deal with these issues however many of them aren’t configured by default.

Enhance Product Pages with User Generated Content

Another way to reduce the burden or creating unique content for each product is to introduce product reviews and testimonials from your customers. Build a community that loves your products and services and encourage each of your customers to provide your site with reviews. Not only does this improvement the uniqueness of your page content it also improves the freshness which is another advantage for SEO.

Combining your user generated content with Rich Snippets and you can then use reviews and ratings to better highlight your pages within Google search results. We wrote about this previously and some plugins that can assist you when using WordPress and implementing rich snippets to make your results stand out in SERPs.

Ongoing Content Marketing

Just because you’re an online store doesn’t mean that you’re void of your on-going content marketing. Every website on the web today needs to be producing content of some form to compete and typically when it comes to online stores, in competitive industries, you need to be doing it just to keep up with your competition. Your blog is the primary location for your content which allows your website to start pulling more organic traffic to your website. Think about how you can entertaining your visitors and use emotion to sell. Types of content that works really well for online stores might be:

  • Product reviews – features, unboxing, user reviews etc.
  • Market Trends – current fashions, up and coming products, soon to be released
  • Technical videos – how to use products, how to get the most of products etc.

Think less about generic high competition keywords such as “online clothing store” and look more at generating content that can answer less competitive phrases and questions that potential customers are searching for in Google i.e. “what is the best case for an apple iphone”

How to Convert More Traffic

Recently we wrote an article on ways to improve conversions through your website and these tips and advice apply to your online store as well. Rather than rehash what we’ve said previously we wanted to highlight some issues that typically relate specifically towards issues that might affect customers getting through the purchase process of your online store.

What business owners know is how much money they’re making per month but what they don’t always understand is how much money they’re losing through their online store. It’s critical for online stores to track user activity and understand if there are bottle necks in your website, especially your checkout process, where there is a significant user drop off within the sales funnel. Rather than worrying about traffic some simple changes with the traffic you’re already receiving might make significant impacts on your monthly revenue.

Simplify Your Checkout Process

Below is a great video that shows the human side of a poor checkout process. This experience easily translates to the digital world and you need optimise your store so you only capture what you need to make the sale. Test it and try it yourself ensuring it’s fast and efficient for your customers. Have a friend or colleague o the same and be your own harshest judges so that customers won’t have any hesitation in buying from you in the future. Things you might want to think about are:

  • Does the customer need an account or can they checkout as a guest?
  • What is the exact information you need to process the sale?
  • What can you use to reduce the burden of false transactions? i.e. spammers/bots.
  • Do you send your traffic to a third party payment gateway?
  • Are your forms complicated?

Implement Goal Tracking in Google Analytics

It’s a no brainer these days to have Google Analytics configured and running on your website. What you want to do though is ensure that you’re tracking conversions by configuring Google Analytic goals. You can configure thank you pages for customers that have completed the full purchase and track exactly where your conversions are coming from.

In regards to Google Analytics you’ll also what to turn on eCommerce tracking and ensure that you update your Google analytics script to ensure the data is collected correctly.

Security and being Trustyworthy

If you’re taking payments online and you’re not a big brand then you need to convince your visitors why they should give you their money and provide you with confidential payment details. The last hassle someone needs is to buy through an online store and then find their credit card has overseas charges on it. You’ll need to convince visitors that your store is safe and they can purchase with confidence, some of the ways to do this are:

  • Highlight security through secure images and standards your website applies.
  • Discuss security and other frequently asked questions in your FAQs section.
  • Use SSL on your website.
  • Use reviews and testimonials from your current customers to talk about safety and their great purchasing experience.
  • Use high quality images and ensure your website feels polished. Don’t use stretched or pixelated images as it reduces customer confidence.

Use Email Marketing & Newsletters

Email marketing is continuing to grow so it makes sense that your online store should be encouraging customers and browsing visitors to sign up to your newsletter so you can inform them about products and sales. Email marketing is a great way to encourage visitors to return to your site and provide you with an opportunity to sell to them again.

Email marketing isn’t about hard selling but developing a warm relationship with your customers. Think about how you can create content on the latest trends and products in your industry encouraging your visitors to come to your site to find out the latest news. Once they’re on your site you have the opportunity to offer your products again in the hope that you’ll gain additional sales.

 What is working for your online store?

0 comments on “Marketing an Online Store – Why You’re Selling But Nobody is Buying

  1. Fiona on

    Hi Byron
    Just wanted to say how great I think your site is. The information it contains is so useful and the YouTube click in this one is hilarious.
    Thank you

  2. Deborah on

    Clear, concise and common sense tips for all online store owners! I’ll be going through your tips carefully and implementing your suggestions in my own store soon.


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