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The 10 Reasons Your eCommerce Site is Struggling

Did you know that your Local Enterprise Office offers a grant of up to €2500 called an Online Trading Voucher that you can use to pay for up to half of a new eCommerce build? Did you know that there are currently 2.9 million eShoppers in Ireland, with a further 1/2 million users expected by 2022? Four years from now, these 3.35 million shoppers will spend an average of ~€1500 online. How much of that spend will you get?

It’s undeniable that we need to find our customers online. Even if we can’t directly sell them our product or service on a website, we can get them in the door, or on the phone to talk to us. For those businesses that can sell online, we see the same mistakes time and time again.

1. Insufficient Hard Work

Unfortunately, this is by far the most common mistake. You need to keep your website fresh. You need to add content, build links, promote, promote, promote. “Build it and they will come” no longer works on the internet. The new adage is “The squeaky wheel gets the oil”.

2. Failing at Basic SEO/Promotion

With modern content management systems, there’s little excuse for getting onsite SEO wrong. You can set titles, meta descriptions, add alt tags to images, link to related items, etc. The platform will automatically keep your sitemap up to date and generate schema.org compliant snippets so that search engines can use the structured date to completely understand your products.

For offsite SEO, there are many opportunities for businesses. Google My Business, Social Networks & Forums. The websites of Professional Associations, Partners, Suppliers and Customers all present opportunities for link building. There’s also content marketing to consider. Can you write about your industry? Submit an article to a high-authority industry website in return for a high-value link back to your site.

Most new eCommerce stores don’t allow any budget for promotion. While we would always suggest allowing a site to bed in and take its first orders before promoting extensively, a digital marketing spend is necessary. You can try to do it all manually and organically if you’re time rich. I don’t think I ever met anyone running a business who was time rich. The key to digital advertising is spend smart. Figure out what platform(s) best mirror your demographic. Do research on keywords and negative keywords. Run a preliminary campaign to determine effective keywords, cost per click, and conversion rates. The do the maths. The cost to make one conversion needs to be substantially higher than the net profit from the sale.

3. Making it Difficult For Customers to Purchase

You’ve gone to all the effort of building a store, and driving traffic to it, only for them to leave less than a minute after arriving. High bounce rates often indicate a usability problem with the website. It could be lack of a mobile friendly design, no search or poor search feature, bad navigation, poor contrast/difficult to read content, or a “funky” non standard interface that users struggle with.

Many shop operators, overwhelmed by the job of populating their site, use poor imagery and short, unhelpful content for their products. Rarely do they think of leveraging their suppliers. With import tools, we’ve helped clients import ~20,000 products to a new eCommerce site in 2 weeks.

4. Lack of Trust

Thankfully, customers are getting more savvy. They expect to see extensive contact details, including phone number and physical address that they can validate outside the site. They will be looking for a valid SSL cert. They want full product specifications, delivery information, returns policy, terms and conditions and GDPR policy to show how their data is protected. If you fail on one or more of these points, expect abysmal conversion rates and higher than usual return rates.

5. Not Following Up

There’s nothing worse than losing a customer on the checkout page. Sometimes they may only have been tire kicking to get a price, but sometimes they truly intended to buy and the phone rang, or a child started crying.

Web technology allows shop operators to retarget abandoned carts. If they were logged in or supplied their email address before abandoning a cart, follow-up emails can be automated. Similarly, tracking pixels can be used to follow the users through the internet and show them advertising targeted to the cart they abandoned. Is it a little invasive? Sure – you need to ensure you stay on the right side of GDPR and privacy rules, but all the research shows that these initiatives successfully convert a portion of carts

6. Poor Logistics

When you have a customer, it’s far easier to make them a repeat customer than to win a new customer. When that order comes in, it’s your time to shine. You need to deliver it promptly through a reputable provider. It needs to be perfectly packaged. You should send them a tracking number – a process which can be automated. Maybe you can add a little freebie in the package, as a treat. Perhaps you should implement automation to email the customer a few days after the expected delivery date, thank them for their purchase, and invite them to provide feedback?

7. Thinking Too Small

Selling into Ireland, your market is likely capped. You may be happy to maintain a modest business, but most successful entrepreneurs would rather “go big or go home”. eCommerces scales far more easily than traditional bricks and mortar. With scale comes savings – bulk buying power, better courier prices, better digital ad rates – the list goes on.

8. The Wrong Product

If you’re selling the same product as Amazon, it’s going to be very difficult to beat them in search engine rankings, or on price for that matter. You’ll be losing before you even begin.

9. The Wrong Time

Fidget spinners are soooo yesterday. Do your market research carefully and avoid investing in a waning fad or product range.

10. The Wrong Place

This takes a little more thought. You would make a killing selling high THC cannabis oil in Ireland, but I suspect you would promptly be receiving a visit from the local constabulary. Snowshoes.ie? Let’s see how global warming plays out first. For a more tangible example, we recently spoke to a client looking at selling electric bikes. Looking at the laws on eBikes in the EU, we soon realised the legislation was a mess, and that new legislation, with far reaching repercussions, was likely imminent. The idea was “parked”.


The barrier to eCommerce has never been lower, but that means you’ll need to shine in every department to succeed. About to launch an eShop, or need to fix a failing eShop? Get in touch for a free consultation today.