Low Ecommerce Conversion Rates? Here Are the 5 Big Problems

Here are a variety of things that might be contributing to a low ecommerce conversion rate.

Your conversion rate, in ecommerce-speak, is the percentage of website visitors that make a purchase and convert into customers. If you’ve taken my advice to look at your conversion rate, you might be feeling a bit discouraged if it isn’t above 3% or so. Maybe you feel like your website is no good. That’s not necessarily the case! Let’s talk about the wide variety of things that might be contributing to a low conversion rate.

Low ecommerce conversion rate: when the problem is your product

Maybe your website is great, but your product is just plain hard to sell. Here are some reasons that might be:

Products that take work on the customer’s end. For instance, if you sell a personalized product based on your customer’s photo, you’re asking them to do a lot of work to place the order. They may put it off or decide not to do it at all. Can you think of some ways to make the customization process easier for your customers?

Products that appeal to the other senses. Do you have a product that people need to touch, smell, or taste to know if they want it? You need to work hard to get past those barriers online. Samples, testimonials, videos, a satisfaction guarantee, beautiful photography – all these things could help.

Non-impulse buy products. Maybe you sell a luxury item with a high price point. Or an enormous item that is complicated to ship. If the purchase feels daunting to your customer, you’ll need to work harder than a business that sells products that are easily purchased on a whim.

There isn’t a large enough market for your product. Perhaps your product is so niche that you aren’t able to find enough of the right people to want to buy it. In-person sales at markets or fairs can be a great way to validate the market for your product.

Low ecommerce conversion rate: when the problem is your checkout process

Here are some choices you can make about checkout that can affect how easily your customers make it to the other side.

Shipping options & cost. Shipping that customers perceive as being too much is one of the top reasons people will abandon their shopping carts online. If you have any way to get shipping costs down, it can be a huge help. They decide how much they want to pay for your product when you set the value on the product detail page. Then, when it suddenly costs more at checkout, it can feel like too much.

Payment options. You want to be sure you offer payment options that your customers really use. For instance, if you only offer PayPal, you could be losing a lot of people who don’t use that service.

Ease of checkout. If you require customers to create an account, have a complex checkout process, or there is anything on the path to purchase that could confuse or distract your customers, you are losing some people.

Low ecommerce conversion rate: when the problem is your website content

Maybe your website design and layout is fine, but your content is not doing its job. Your photography and all the text on your site needs to interest people, draw them in, and be the next best thing to seeing your product in person and trying it out. Consider the quality and desirability of your:

  • Product photography
  • Product descriptions
  • The story you’re telling about your business
  • Home page text
  • Video content

Low ecommerce conversion rate: when the problem is your marketing strategy & traffic sources

When driving traffic to your site, you can be broad or you can be targeted. Being targeted is generally regarded as a smart method, and if you’re talking just to your perfect niche of people, your conversion rate will be high. Those people already get it, and need less convincing.

Getting a small amount of targeted traffic can give you more sales than getting a medium amount of less targeted traffic. But! Getting a high amount of less targeted traffic can also be great for your business.

For instance, search engine traffic to my site, aeolidia.com, has a terrible conversion rate (compared to my other traffic streams), because many of those people aren’t in my niche of just-right people. If you get a lot of search engine traffic, you might be seeing a low conversion rate, too.

But Google sends me so much traffic that it’s okay that the conversion rate is low, because the overall number of people who convert is good. Even if Google is your lowest converting stream of traffic, it could make you the most money. And since search engine traffic (once you’ve built it up) doesn’t really cost anything or take any maintenance, you may be very happy with your low conversion rate.

Low ecommerce conversion rate: when your problem is your website itself

Of course, it will be harder to sell even the most amazing products from a website that’s not user-friendly. If people don’t immediately get what’s going on when they see your site, if it’s not mobile-friendly, if the layout is confusing–these are all things that could be losing you sales.

You know we would love to help out! Aeolidia designs Shopify ecommerce websites that tell a creative business’s story in a way that is engaging and compelling to visitors. Our work consistently raises conversion rate for our clients, and we can help you tackle the problems listed above and get on the right track for steady online sales. Get in touch to tell us about your business.

Want to get to know us a bit better before diving in? Our newsletter is the perfect place. I’ll explain it all bit by bit over a few weeks, right to your email:

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Still doing it yourself?

If you’re interested in making some tweaks yourself to get more sales, here’s our post on ways you could try to boost your conversion rate: Improving Website Conversion to Increase Sales