Help! I have an online shop but no orders, what now?
Setting up your own online shop just the way you want takes plenty of time and hard work. You’ve chosen the best products with great prices and seen to every last detail. And yet, although your online shop is finally up and running, it’s just not going anywhere. Don’t give up yet. There’s only one solution: to start looking for clues as to why.
In our multi-part blog series, we’re going to play detective and go step-by-step through possible areas for improvement and tips for dealing with them in order to get your online store off the ground. In part one, we’ll look at how to increase the number of visitors.
No visitors, no sales!
If that sounds like common sense, that’s because it is! If you’re not attracting visitors to your online shop, then you’ll also struggle to sell products. Let’s take a look at a few basic questions in the following checklist to narrow down problem areas.
1. Can the shop be found easily?
- Does your shop have its own domain? If your shop doesn’t have its own domain, then it won’t stand out in search engines.
- Is your domain name easy to understand? Stay away from long or over complicated domain names. A URL like www.the-best-handmade-furniture-in-Wycombe.com may make clear what your business is all about, but it’s much too long. A better idea is something like www.furniturewycombe.com as it’s easier to remember and find.
2. Does the shop look good visually?
- Do you have professional photos for your shop and products? A picture tells a thousand words – therefore choose your pictures carefully.
- Do the colours and fonts used match the products you have available? Classic or modern, playful or basic. Think about what impression you want to leave and the style which suits your product range.
- Do you have clearly structured headings and categories? Test how visitors view your shop and make sure that you use headlines and text that are easy to understand.
- Does your shop appear trustworthy?A clean professional design generates trust making visitors more likely to place an order.
3. Are my specials clear and understandable?
- Does your shop name and logo reflect the products you sell?
- Are visitors able to purchase products from your homepage?
- Are there products or specials on your homepage which encourage visitors to continue shopping?
4. Are the prices competitive?
- Have you compared your shop and prices with competitors?
If your price structure is completely different from those of your competitors, there’s a fair chance you won‘t have a high rank on price comparison websites.
Tip: If you’re looking to optimise your online store, friends and colleagues can be a great source of honest opinions. Why not invite people over to a cosy evening where they can share their thoughts on your shop in a relaxed atmosphere. Just don’t forget to take notes!
In addition to how your online shop looks and performs, a key focus should be on improving your search engine optimisation. This has become a key area as the vast majority of visitors now look for products or phrases through search engines. One possible way to increase your ranking on Google is through the use of keywords in texts and headlines on your store. Lots of online shops get help in achieving this however there are also simple tools available so you can do it yourself.
Advertising increases awareness!
Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments and think your store is ready to go, it might be time to raise awareness through targeted online advertisements. Search engine advertising (SEA) helps place keywords on advertisements that show results from search engines like Google. The best part of this is that unlike print ads in newspapers and magazines, you only pay for the SEA if someone has actually clicked on the ad, proving that they have read it. You have the flexibility to decide how much you want to spend. If you feel this is way above your head, there are a number of service providers that can help you plan, prepare and implement the process.
In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly send newsletters to loyal and potential customers, detailing your latest deals.
Convert customers to fans!
Customers trust customers – Buyers who leave a positive review about a product purchased in your shop are seen as a reliable reference for potentially new customers. A positive comment about a products quality or previous experiences have the potential to drive sales. It’s therefore important that as an owner, you should be looking to encourage customer reviews and display any feedback received on your page. If you have a Facebook page for your store, you can also integrate a Like button so that satisfied customers can recommend your shop to friends and colleagues.
Tip: Reward those customers who recommend you with a gift voucher, increasing the likelihood of further business from them.
The most important point to remember is to not give up too soon! Like any business, it may take a while until you’ve made a ‘name’ for yourself. Stay on the ball and work your way carefully through the individual points above – in the end you’ll see that it was worth it!
That’s all for now. In the next part of this series we‘ll look at how you can optimise the purchasing process and how to encourage customers to buy your products, increasing your sales in the process.