|Advice - Started Up An Ecommerce Site?|
I've launched my website and I've been getting a couple orders here and there, but I was expecting to be getting a lot more. I need to increase sales just to be able to pay back the money I invested on this.
I don't understand:
- My products are priced the same as my competitors or even lower on some products
- I offer great shipping rates for domestic and international shipping.
- I've advertised on Adwords, Yahoo, MSN, MySpace, and Facebook. I've been receiving clicks to my websites, but no sales.
- I've uploaded products to Google Base (Froogle).
- My website is easy to navigate, searching is easy, the layout is very user friendly, the checkout process is quick and easy.
For people who have successful ecommerce sites now, I'm sure some of you can recall when you first started your ecommerce venture and maybe you had the same issues as me with sales when first starting out.
Is there any advice you can share to point me in the right direction?
I feel like I'm doing everything right, but I'm not happy with the results after spending so much time developing this ecommerce site; it almost feels like a waste of time now. :-(
time ... it takes time.
How long has your site been up?
We started off with a sale here and there. It slowy grew and now 2.5 years later we are hitting just over 80k a month in sales.
It simply takes time.
ssgumby has it right. If you've done your homework and launched a good, solid and interesting site then all you can do now is keep doing your chores. Talk it up. Market it (you know the drill - links, content, etc.) and keep the customers happy. Word will pass along and you will be rewarded. Don't lose faith but don't give up your day job either. Patience.
Thanks for the replies!
Congrats, ssgumby! It's always good hearing stories where ecommerce websites grow and become successful! :-) It gives me more hope to keep on doing what I'm doing...
I've been developing the website for a 1 1/2 years, but only been live for 2-3 months. Right now I'm just concentrating on advertising and trying to get the website name out there.
I know the economy is down and not the greatest time to be starting a business, but I'm hoping since I'm selling low priced ticket items and not high priced ticket items; it won't have a great effect on future sales. But I'm still keeping my day job until one day I hopefully don't have too. :-)
Side note: I have found facebook advertising to only be effective for "free" things (like message boards).
How is your site performing organically?
I know that 2-3 months isn't enough time to rank #1 in most markets but you should hopefully be ranking somewhere by now - and most or all of your pages should be indexed.
Are you using SSL? Is it safe for them to make a purchase?
Do you use any sort of traffic analytic software?
It might be helpful to see where customers are leaving your page most often and work on that. You may be having high cart abandonment rates due to factors other than the economy. I know that you said you have an easy checkout process but do you accept all major credit cards or are you a paypal only business? I know that still scares a lot of customers off.
There are so many variables involved, it's so hard to say these days.
Yes, I think a lot of pages are indexed; I always see Googlebot and Cuil crawling my website.
Yes, I have an SSL setup and I accept Visa, MC, Discover, and Amex cards. I don't have Google checkout or Paypal as forms of payments on the website.
In my Cpanel, I see I have Webalizer installed but it looks like a lot of the traffic generated is coming from bots crawling my website.
Is there a better traffic analytic software I can use instead of using Webalizer?
I like Google Analytics. The price is right (free) and it stores a lot of data. You can even run E-Commerce conversion rates, etc.
|- My products are priced the same as my competitors or even lower on some products |
If you have the same (or slightly lower) price as your competitors, then why would people want to buy from you instead of the site where they have always shopped? What value (perceived or otherwise) are you providing to customers of your competitors?
For me, I rarely shop at a different place just to save a couple of bucks. I (and many other people) usually need a large price difference, or much better customer service, or some other compelling reason to shop elsewhere. Think of it as "consumer inertia."
|- I offer great shipping rates for domestic and international shipping. |
How obvious is that to potential customers? Do any of your competitors offer free shipping?
In addition to these questions, it sounds like you need to do more analysis of your traffic. If most of your site visitors are bots, then you apparently have a problem with getting actual customers to your site. (Bots tend to not buy very much...) Definitely go with Google Analytics or some other program to observe the traffic of your visitors. Perhaps there is a huge cart abandonment rate because your checkout process is not as easy as you think? You'll have to analyze the data to find where the problems are.
Ok, thank you...
I'll give Google Analytics a try. What type of webpages do I need to insert the Google Analytics code to?
Can I just insert it on my "index.php" page? Or do I need to insert this code on all my pages?
I'm using a modified basec Oscommerce website; could I just insert this Google Analytics code to the "/public_html/includes/header.php" page?
If a customer has 100 sites to choose from which look exactly alike and have identical pricing, why would he chose yours? Why would they prefer one lazy template design over another? Link color maybe, but probably not. Sure it's easy to order, they have learned this by visiting other boring sites. Why would they remember your site after an hour?
If you can't tell it's time to make something that sets it apart. Many customers comparison shop and Google product names or SKU's and end up with pages of the same product for sale. Many will pay more for an item from a site which looks legit and quality then from a plain site with lower prices. A business which puts more effort into their site is more often legit because they care about what they are doing.
Analytics must be inserted into everypage you want to monitor (probably every one.) It needs to go just before the closing body tags, so maybe you have a footer include which you could put it in.