12 Reasons Your Online Shop Is Failing (And What You Can Do About It)

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You’ve set up your online shop and now you’re just kicking back and waiting for the orders to come rolling in.

But if you’re still waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Maybe it’s time you stopped hoping for customers to magically appear and did something about it.

And in this case, that means taking a good, hard look at what YOU might have been doing wrong that has affected your ability to turn a profit.

Check out 12 reasons below that will prevent any online shop from making sales.

1. Your Product Photos Are Terrible

If you’ve ever taken a product photo that you know isn’t good and thought, “Well, this will do for now” — you’re making a dangerous mistake.

Think about it: Who wants to buy something they can’t clearly see? I wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. And your customers surely wouldn’t either.

Always take your sweet time when it comes to product photography. And don’t forget to get multiple views.

2. Your Product Descriptions Aren’t Descriptive

Say you’re selling a green T-shirt and in the product description you write, “Green T-shirt.” Well, first of all, kudos on originality.

But now let’s figure out what else you can say about that green T-shirt to help persuade someone to buy it.

Is it made of the finest silk known to man? Did you hand-sew it? Did an artist design the logo on it? Was it made in the U.S.? Does it run large or small? Does it come embellished with rare jewels? You get the idea.

These details are what your customers want to know and can mean the difference between a sale and well, no sale.

3. You Aren’t Optimizing Your Product Titles

Search engine optimization (SEO) might sound scary or intimidating, but it’s truly not as complicated as you might think.

Especially since all you need to do is the most basic of keyword research to optimize both your product titles and your descriptions.

Basically, by using the right words (the words people are actually typing into Google to find products like yours), you’ll be more likely to come up in search results, increasing your traffic and hopefully your sales. Use Google’s Keyword Planner or SEMrush’s ‘Keyword Magic’ tool to get this information.

4. You’ve Priced Your Products Too Damn High (Or Too Damn Low)

Did you conduct enough competitive intelligence on your products before pricing them? Be honest.

If not, you might want to take a look at your competitors to see what they’re selling similar products for.

If someone can get something for the same quality at a lower price elsewhere, well, they’re probably going to do that.

And if you think rock-bottom prices are the way to combat that, well, don’t do that either. If something is priced strangely low, it makes people wonder what’s wrong with it and you’ll probably end up losing that sale anyway.

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Instead, come up with a fair middle ground, or, if you are pricing hiring than your competitors, make sure your customers know why. (Better quality, warranty, etc.)

5. Your Online Shop Is Riddled With Typos

Basic grammar is a must for your online shop. You need to run all of the copy you write through a spell-check program before setting it live. Yes, this includes everything from your banner to your product descriptions.

And if it’s already live, for the love of Grammar Girl, run it through a spell-check program now. If you have a nice friend who also is good (or at least decent) at proofreading, ask them to give your store a quick run-through to see if they spot any typos.

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Typos can make your store lose credibility and seem both unprofessional and untrustworthy. If you can’t take the time to put forth your best work, what kind of message do you think that’s sending to your prospective customers?

6. You Put Up a Crappy Banner

If your banner photo looks unprofessional, your store probably will too. And when this happens, you lose credibility. This could mean customers doubt the quality of your products, think your shipping process might be sketchy, and so on. Don’t lose sales because a crappy banner is overshadowing your products.

Make a nice one yourself using PicMonkey or hire a graphic designer to do it for you. This is a small project and shouldn’t cost you too much to have done.

7. You’ve Forgotten All About Promotion

Even if the marketplace where you have your online shop promotes your products for you, doing your own marketing is still essential to your store’s success.

There are so many things you can be doing to help boost your profit, from email marketing to social media. If you’re new to all of it, tackle one at a time so you can get the hang of it fully before adding more to your plate.

8. You Don’t Take Advantage of Holidays/Seasons

Not great at marketing? Every holiday and season is a built-in marketing opportunity for you and it’s one of the easiest ways to drum up more sales for your store.

Highlight seasonal items. Offer discounts before every holiday. Promote your products as perfect for ‘back to school,’ ‘Easter brunch,’ ‘fall weather,’ ‘summer nights,’ and so on.

The words you use and the way you present your products can be made to fit almost any occasion. Don’t miss out on this easy, and effective, marketing tactic.

9. You Don’t Offer Sales or Discounts

While holidays and seasons are great, you shouldn’t limit your sales and discounts to them exclusively.

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Hold ‘just because’ and ‘why not’ sales to keep shoppers interested. Capitalize on that sense of urgency a ‘today-only flash sale’ will cause. Give out promo codes for customers to use on their birthdays for 10% off. Offer 25% off to seniors and veterans. Hold 2-for-1 deals on Tuesdays.

With a little bit of creativity, there truly is an unlimited amount of promotions to come up with that will encourage more sales.

10. You’re a Slow-Ass Shipper

When it comes to shipping, “When I get around to it.” just isn’t going to cut it. And, “I got really busy,” isn’t going to fly with customers when they send an angry email asking where their product is.

Come up with a shipping policy that is realistic for you — and stick to it. If certain items take longer to make, pad a couple extra days in there to ensure you have time to properly make the product, while getting it to the customer in the promised timeframe.

Even if your products aren’t handmade, add a buffer to your timeframe to help compensate for those times when you’re extra busy or just feeling overwhelmed. And if you end up being able to ship the product faster? Even better.

11. You Never Add New Products

Diversity is how you keep customers coming back for more. If you only offer a couple products, you’re probably not going to get much repeat business.

Work on adding more to your product line to keep customers interested — and purchasing — throughout the year. Then, make sure you’re emailing customers to let them know of your new products. (And tweeting. Facebooking. Instagramming. etc.)

12. You Have Unrealistic Expectations

You just opened your online store and haven’t had 100 sales yet? You haven’t “gotten around” to putting your store’s URL on your business cards, email signature, and flyers? You forget to respond to customer questions and then wonder why people aren’t buying?

All of these scenarios, and many more, add up to unrealistic expectations. As with any business, selling online — and being successful at it — won’t happen overnight.

But if you work hard to offer quality products, outstanding customer service, and competitive prices, while promoting the heck out of your store, you’ll be much more likely to see the amount of traffic and revenue you’ve been hoping for.

Are you guilty of any of these issues with your online shop?

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