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My online store is failing - how to turn around your online store 

Written by Russell Cragun on June 2, 2016 in Strategies & Tips
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It happens all too often in the ecommerce and dropshipping world, someone jumps on the idea to open an online store. Afterall, an online store is easy and a great way to make a lot of money. After a frustrating month or two with very little to no sales they give up and quit with their arms in the air. It’s important to note that running your own ecommerce store isn’t easy, and takes a lot of time and perseverance. If you’re in the game for a quick buck here and there, then you won’t see that much success. However, if you’re in it for the long haul, willing to put in the late nights, weekends, slow months, and many other challenges, you’ll have a lot higher chance of seeing success.

One of the biggest problems retailers experience is getting the first sale, even after months of hard work and dedication. Regardless of all the hard work put forth, the customers just aren’t buying. If this is you then you are not alone. Plenty of retailers have experienced exactly what you are going through.

We’re going to give you a couple ideas on how to turn around your online business and hopefully generate some sales. You might want to visit our previous post on driving traffic to your site. There you will find ways to get more traffic via social media, content marketing, and SEO.

Get Feedback

Regardless how successful your business may be, it’s always a good idea get feedback about your site. Even giant websites are constantly running surveys to get feedback on their store. You may have seen that email in your inbox that ask for 5 minutes of your time, or that popup on sites asking if you’ll fill out a quick survey. These are great ways to get valuable feedback about your site to see what needs improvement.

A couple ways that you can get feedback from your customers are:

  • Popup surveys
  • Post checkout emails
  • Reaching out directly through email
  • Monitoring user activity
  • User testing.

You might be saying “I can’t get feedback when I don’t have any customers”. Even if you are struggling in driving traffic to your site, or have a lack of customers, there are still ways to get valuable insight about your store. There are sites like criticue.com and usertesting.com that can help you get some insight on your store. If you’re not looking to spend any money, then you can ask your friends and family members to shop on your site. While they are shopping tell them to take very detailed notes on anything that confused or frustrated them. By getting these notes you can gather some ideas on changes you need to consider for your website.

Technical Issues

You will most likely run into technical issues on your site. For example, there’s a possibility that the shopping cart platform you use has an unexpected update that breaks a function of your site. It’s important that you run a website diagnosis and checkout test on a regular basis. Make sure that you clear your cache and cookies first while using incognito mode. You want to be able to experience and see the same things that a first time customer might see. By doing this you can find any broken links, busted buttons, and maybe a faulty checkout process.

If you still can’t find any issues wrong with your store, then try to actually place an order on your site. There could be a possibility that something on the backend is broken. If people are placing orders, but your site isn’t processing the payment then you are missing out on a lot of potential sales. Remember, you need to do everything you can to make your site look as trustworthy as possible. If anyone gets concerned or confused while on your site, then they will most likely leave to shop elsewhere.

Here are some great resources for testing your ecommerce site.

Cross Promote Products

If you are only selling at one place such as your store, eBay, or Amazon, it might be difficult to cross promote your products. However, if you have multiple selling platforms, you have an opportunity to cross promote your products on your various stores. Retail giants like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy cross promote their products.

There are great benefits to selling on your own store including not having to pay seller fees, like you have to pay for eBay and Amazon. However, if you are a newer retailer and don’t have a customer base then you might want to consider taking advantage of these other platforms. By doing this you can start generating sales and money which can be used to improve your own domain, hire consultants, or promote your store via social media.

Trust Issues/Red Flags?

As I mentioned earlier it is so important to have a trustworthy site. If customers don’t trust your store, then you will have a very hard time getting any sales. Actually, security could be one of the biggest reasons you’re not getting any sales.

Security is a big problem that a lot of new retailers have. Personally, I have a very hard time buying from a site that isn’t an established retailer. I check their social channels to ensure that they are a real company that I can trust. If the site has an idle social media presence, then there is a good chance I’m not shopping there. You need to work on building a natural fan base for your site. This will help you get traffic, feedback, and reviews naturally.

Other common red flags you could face is payment options. If you are only accepting PayPal because it’s easy customers may react negatively to it. Plus, people like to have options and use credit cards to rack up their rewards. Try to offer more than one payment option. You should also spend the time and effort to make people feel comfortable browsing your site. Customers like seeing little blurbs that you take their information seriously, and that you’re not going to share it with anyone else. You can also invest in 3rd party security platforms like McAfee to secure your shopping cart even more. Buyers and potential buyers will appreciate your effort in making your site secure, in fact they expect it.

Hang in there! 

Running an ecommerce store is extremely frustrating and time consuming at times, but very rewarding. Regardless of whether your site is brand new or years old, there will always be something to fix or optimize. If you’re a newer retailer, remember that running an ecommerce store is a marathon, not a sprint!


Best of luck out there and don’t forget to subscribe to the Doba blog for all the latest and greatest on ecommerce and dropshipping.

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