Why Are Your Ecommerce Customers Not Buying?

Getting people to your ecommerce store is one thing; getting them to make a purchase is something else altogether. The first is the realm of advertising, search engine optimization and social media marketing; the second falls within the scope of conversion rate optimization (CRO).

The factors that compel a customer to buy are complex and numerous, and so are the factors that influence a decision to buy elsewhere or not at all. It doesn't take much in the way of frustration or doubt to cause a shopper's intent to buy to dissolve. Ecommerce CRO is largely about removing as many potential annoyances and confusions as possible so that potential buyers slide through the purchase funnel with minimum friction.

Here are six reasons visitors to your Magento ecommerce store are failing to convert and what you can do about it.

An Overly Complex Checkout Process

The Problem

There are some customers who want what you're selling and will jump through any number of hoops to get it. Those customers are few and far between; the majority will have a tenuous intent to buy or be buying on impulse. Any annoyance will be enough to dissuade them. One of the most frequently encountered annoyances is a checkout process that contains unnecessary steps or asks for more information than is strictly required.

The Solution

Simplify! By implementing a one-page checkout process and using social login (both are plugins found on the Magento Connect), you can radically reduce the amount of time it takes for customers to complete their purchase, giving them fewer opportunities to change their mind.

Lack Of Information

(Photo by Stefan Baudy, Flickr)

The Problem

Shoppers are prone to developing doubts and questions: "How easily can I exchange these pants if they don't fit?"; "Will my purchase arrive before my partner's birthday?"; "How do I talk to a representative on the phone?", and so on.

Any one of these is enough to miss out on a potential purchase.

The Solution

There's no quick and simple solution to this problem. You have to know your customers and know the doubts that they may develop. That's dependent on the sort of product you are selling and who you are selling it to. There are various methods for discovering what's bothering customers, including analytics, surveys and user testing.

Once you have a good grasp of the issues that are causing customers to feel negative about a potential purpose, you can provide on-page content that addresses their concerns.

There's no substitute for knowing your customers, but there are services that attempt to analyze customer behavior, predict their likely stumbling blocks and intervene to provide the information they need. Granify is one such service, and it integrates quite nicely with Magento.

Uncompetitive Pricing

(Photo by 401(K) 2012, Flickr)

The Problem

Ecommerce pricing is highly competitive. It's unlikely that your store is the only one selling a particular product, and if you're not constantly aware of the competitive landscape, it's entirely possible you'll be undercut.

The Solution

If your product range and niche are small enough, you can probably track competitor's pricing manually. But that can be time-consuming and prone to errors and missed opportunities, so you might want to think about using a service like WisePricer.

A Slow Site

(Photo by JasonOzur, Flickr) 

The Problem

Nothing is an annoying for a shopper as an unresponsive interface. There have been numerous studies that show the slower a site is, the fewer conversions it makes.

The Solution

The easiest way to solve the problem of a slow site is to use a hosting provider that understands how to properly optimize their platform for Magento. Without solid and responsive hosting, a site will be slow no matter what else you do.

Lack of Social Proof

(By Jason A. Howie, Flickr)

The Problem

We're social animals and the approval of our peers is important. If your shopping site displays no indication at all that another buyer has purchased and approved of a product, it's less likely that you'll make the sale.

The Solution

There are many ways to integrate social proof onto a Magento site, including:

- Testimonials

- Reviews

- Ratings

- Social media widgets

Poor Discoverability

(By joncandy, flickr) 

The Problem

If customers can't find what they want, even if they don't know they want it, then they aren't going to make a purchase.

The Solution

Magento is already quite good when it comes to search and surfacing products, but there are various tweaks and improvements to be made.

Advanced Search Suggest is one plugin that will help customers find what they are looking for, with relevant product suggestions.

Automatic Related Products by aheadWorks is another very useful plugin for Magento that helps to implement powerful cross-selling and cross-promoting of products by automatically surfacing product categories that are likely to be of interest to a buyer.

Where to Go From Here

Ecommerce conversion rate optimization is an ongoing job requiring constant monitoring of analytics and customer research, but, once you have the basics we've discussed in this article in place, you'll be able to reduce lost sales by a significant margin.

Graeme Caldwell works as an inbound marketer for Nexcess, a leading provider of Magento and WordPress hosting. Follow Nexcess on Twitter at @nexcess, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog at https://blog.nexcess.net.