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Spent the last few months trying to optimise the site for search engines etc and then last week moved into the PPC market with no success at all so am bewildered right now! Its weird - am getting a good CTR, the pages it links to are very relevant, fairy low bounce rate, decent time spent on the site and pages viewed but no one is buying!
Marketing is definately the hard part but now Im beginning to think that there is something wrong with the site itself as none of my paid clicks are converting and my unpaid clicks are very poor as well.
Anyway, am sure I will have millions of stupid questions but wanted to say a very quick hello before I start with my dumbass queries :)
decent time spent on the site and pages viewed but no one is buying!
You'll get a lot better advice on this, but a few questions that will help others reading:
- Do you have any tracking for the "checkout" page? That is, a way to determine if that's where they are dropping off - if they're not even going to checkout, you will know the problem exists before that.
- Related, have you got a way to see if people are even adding items to the cart and abandoning? All these little bits of info can add up to a specific point at which people are bailing.
- If yes, and people are going to the checkout page, what is your payment method? (merchant gateway, payPal, etc.)
- Also if yes, does the final checkout lead them off-site to the gateway, or is it completely managed on-site (I.E., they check out and never leave your site, posting silently to the gateway?)
- If the checkout is completely managed on-site, do you have your own SSL cert installed for checkout, and does it work properly?
- You'll get mixed responses on this, but does your site require captchas anywhere?
- Does it require creating an account before seeing total price including shipping? (Very very bad, apparently. The big dogs can get away with it, most can't.)
- User trust issues: Privacy/refund policy easily available? Is your company info plainly displayed on every page, and does it contain a real address and phone number, or does it appear as an anonymous company entity? Contact links plainly available, and verified they all work?
- How about your product offerings and product images? Are they all unique, professional looking, or are you getting these from a feed that might be a clone of many others in your niche selling the same item or items?
- Shipping is a big deal. How are you managing that for single items, multiple items?
- It seems like your niche might be highly competitive. With the current economy (and most times, anyway) people often do comparison shopping, having several windows open on different sites for the same item, and just choose the cheapest one. How competitive are you in pricing?
These are just a few starters, but the answers will help some of the readers here to hone in on the problem.
Just spent a few minutes going through these and, in the most, they are all a-ok!
- Verified and tested in multiple browsers by myself and other: YES
- Do you have any tracking for the "checkout" page or adding to cart? YES am using Adwords goals to track people reaching certain pages including shopping cart (cart is displayed after adding an item to it) and also each of the checkout pages.
- Payment method? Check/postal order plus Paypal so yes they leave the site but no one is even getting to the point of starting checkout via Adwords. I also have my own SSL even though Im using Paypal to try and increase confidence.
- Captchas? None
- Creating account: Yes but only to order, prices etc are fully available and visible without needing to create an account.
- User trust issues: All contact links etc work, address and phone number is on contact pages only at the minute as I cant take offline orders and this is currently a part time venture so the phone wouldnt always be manned.
- How about your product offerings and product images? Am using very high quality images and have multiple offerings including fronts, backs, colours etc. Descriptions are standard manufacturer provided descriptions but this is on a to do list.
- Shipping: Flat charge of £3.95 for orders under £50 then free shipping over £50. This seems to be fairly standard in this niche.
- How competitive are you in pricing? VERY! I can only find one company cheaper and even then they are £1 cheaper on a few items, most of my competitors (the bigger companies) are anything from 10 - 20% more expensive than me for the exact same things.
Thanks ever so much for replying - I did go through lots of guides and 101's on here a few months back and implemented most of them but still nothing! The only thing I havent done is to sign up to some of safe site seal programs yet though I am considering it but as Im only part time and dont have company reg number and VAT number etc I might struggle with that anyway!
Just to add to Rocknbil, few more questions/points.
The end user, mostly UK, EU or USA?, point i am making is there a currency conversion £$€ next to the RRP, helps for conversion into sales if most are outside the UK and the product is shown in pounds.
Shipping Times, is it next day, 48 hours etc, if not are the compo offering a better service? Next day i find in the UK if not worldwide improves conversion rates.
Is there a logo/tab stating shipping charges, over £50 FREE, shipping tab goes to a page displaying prices and companies used. If you do FREE P&P shout about it.
Are you stocking goods or using drop shipping?
Phone number displayed, contact details tab, shipping tab, all easy access on the eye for end user to see?
Not an affilaite are you?
Is your pay pal, credit card logo's, SSL logo displayed for the end use, either on the product page or header/footer?
Is your add to basket LOGO prominent?
Considering the theme you are in is your RETURNS tab easy to find, fully understandable and offering what the compo is offering? Do you have a full refund policy in place for X days if returned by the end user?
Are you displaying a "In Stock" Despatched in X days near the RRP or Enter Quantity?
Thanks Marley for taking the time to reply - am pretty sure I have covered most of these but will take them in order just in case :)
The end user, mostly UK, EU or USA? I only ship to the UK so only give prices in GBP.
Are you stocking goods or using drop shipping? Dropshipping but I only list products which are always stocked by my suppliers. Made the mistake when I first started of listing everything and lost quite a few customers due to the items not being in stock when they ordered.
Shipping Times, is it next day, 48 hours etc - Shipping is next day if an item is in stock (which 99.9% of them are now). Competition varies from offering next day from stock to 21 days and everything in between.
Is there a logo/tab stating shipping charges - There is on the category pages and the shopping cart highlights spend another £X to get free shipping, just realised the product page itself doesnt say it so will try to incorporate that in. Have debated long and hard about free shipping and still no closer to making a decision! We only use one company for delivery - Royal Mail post.
Phone number displayed, contact details tab, shipping tab, all easy access on the eye for end user to see? As I said before contact details are on the contact page esp as this is a part time business and I dont want customers to call too much as I wont be here to answer. There is a customer service page with FAQ and also links to shipping, returns, privacy etc pages.
Not an affilaite are you? Nope.
Is your pay pal, credit card logo's, SSL logo displayed for the end use, either on the product page or header/footer? Not really no, it is kinda in the header via a secure shopping picture but it doesnt link to anything. On the payment page there is a paypal logo and SSL etc but not as prominent as it could be really!
Is your add to basket LOGO prominent? I think so, its not massive and in your face but its quite well placed and does stand out.
Considering the theme you are in is your RETURNS tab easy to find, fully understandable and offering what the compo is offering? Do you have a full refund policy in place for X days if returned by the end user? Best not to talk about what competitors offer re returns - 95% blatantly break UK Consumer law when it comes to returnsby clearly stating that they wont accept returns due to the nature of the goods and/or if they have been worn. I abide fully with the Distance Selling Regulations and accept returns without question inside the 7 day window.
Are you displaying a "In Stock" Despatched in X days near the RRP or Enter Quantity? Right underneath, right beside the add to basket button.
So thats two things I need to improve - one is adding shipping details to the product page and the other is to highlight the payment/SSL more and link it to the payment page. Thanks again Marley :) :)
Next day shipping, i would definatly highlight this, on the header and next to the RRP if that's not done already.
Free shipping in my mind is essential for e-commerce if you want to to big turnover, most don't do it, the ones that do suffer in the beginning, but if you can improve your turnover by 20% and get 25% of orders outside the EU, no VAT due so that's 15% saving you are winning. Plus, your repeat sales % will go up and word of mouth will improve. I would do it, take the hit now, re-look at it for 2 quarters, compare the NET profit for those 2 quarters against the previous 2 and see were you are. Its the only way you will know if it works for you or not. If you repeat orders are 1 every 9 months for example, then you need to do 3 quarters.
Not sure on your average weight but i know a bit about your theme and £3.95 seems top heavy, maybe worth re-looking at this and see if that's a real number or is it lower. Seems to me your drop shipper is making a % on this, can't blame them but business is business so worth finding out. If they are get a deal on the table, if you spend X one month/quarter you get a discount, get to a place with them were they have the cost of P&P, the more turnover you do the better for them, the better for you, win win...2 way street, that's how i would pitch it. More than 2 drop shippers, same principle.
You want to get those credit card logos on the header or side bar or at worst on the footer. End user wants to see what cards you take, if you take pay pal and Amex show them as well.
If the returns are the issue and the drop shipper is happy to take them back i would use this on the site as well, separate myself from the compo, if the end user is used to buying this product online and have problems in the past, they will be looking for this on the site before they place an order. Twice bitten blah de blah.
Am adding the credit card logos now - just reworking them so it shows the SSL as well as cards and also links to my payment page.
The big issue on returns is none of my dropshippers accept returns other than on faulty items so each return is a hit in my pocket BUT the law is the law and there is nothing I can do about it! Quite how others get away with it is beyond me but I would rather be on the right side than the wrong side of this one :)
In the past I have made the mistake of thinking any traffic was good traffic so I have no doubt that some of the blog posts and links I made are driving exactly that sort of surfer. Having said that my Adwords campaigns are very specific and exclude the words pictures, free etc to try and keep it as targetted as possible but I dont think in this niche that you will ever completely do away with the pic hunters :)