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Why aren't customers buying from my site?



10:31 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hello everyone,
I am new to the WebmasterWorld and need your help with my recently launched ecommerce site. Here's my story:

Business: I've been running a local gallery, and now I am putting up a site to sell my paintings. What I am selling are replicas of classical oil paintings (those in public domain of course). The business is verified as I can see there are a lot of similar sites on the Internet.

Site: With the help of someone, I have the site up and running with Magento, a slightly redesigned layout (from modern theme), 20000+ paintings, all with photos and difference sizes for customers to choose from. My terms are quite typical: paintings are delivered within 2 weeks, free shipping worldwide, 7 days money back guarantee... Current instant payment method is Paypal (wire transfer, checks... are available too).

Traffic: At the moment I am advertising on Adwords exclusively. My keywords and ads text are highly targeted and clear. For example my keyword is painting name PLUS artist name, and my ads look like this:

Mona Lisa replica
Get a replica of "Mona Lisa"
by da Vinci for $150. Free S&H

I am advertising to my target market (US, EU)

Old customers: I want a completely separate business and is not advertising this to my local customers due to different pricing structure.

Result: After one week, I still haven't got any order! I sent almost 1000 visitors to the site after spending the amount of adversing money which can only be covered by 10 sales.

Help me please: As far as I understand, as my traffic is highly targeted and the business is verified (that's what I am thinking at least, please correct me if I am wrong), the problem must be at MY SITE. 1000 visits without a conversion is killing me. Of course it's only 1 week and customer may return, but the rate is still too bad.

I am a complete newbie to ecommerce so all ideas are highly appreciated.

[edited by: lorax at 11:23 am (utc) on May 4, 2012]
[edit reason] no URLs please [/edit]


10:36 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just want to make it clear that I am not looking for profit immediately or complaining about advertising cost or Adwords. I am willing to pay much more to test the conversion rate and find out about my customers (before going for other traffic sources such as SEO or viral). I am just thinking that if 1000 potential customers visited the site without buying, then there are something wrong and the next 1000 or 10000 visitors won't buy either, so I am looking to fix it.


11:15 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

When looking at your website the first thing that struck me that I did not know what I would be getting. A poster, a painted replica? Canvas, paper, wood? Hand painted, printed?

You provide information about the original work, but I could not find any information in the product description that would tell me what I would have to expect when I would buy.

After much looking I found a little information hidden in the "About Us" section of the website.


11:17 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

In the start: you have many usability issues. If you use Magento than you are connected to technical issues and usability issues.

This is just technical part.

You have quoted:
1000 potential customers visited the site without buying.

1. You need different location ads (EU, USA). As EU has many languages, please start soon as possible many languages. If you persist on AdWords campaign, than you should target to specific country and measure results.

2. Your shop website is actually basic shop website. Try to improve marketing ads to specific population.

3. Many clients ask if we have 1 million visits, will this count (sales)?
Actually 1 million visits will not work if you do not improve marketing efforts. Some of the best web marketing teams create 40.000 monthly leads. You are talking about 1000 visits. Do you have these leads (name, e-mail, demographics, industry, search queries) in your system (Magento, CRM) or it is just Google Analytics.

4. Try to define exact goals. You will see some interesting things that you did not know.

Let us know if this is better. You see it is not so simple reply.


6:44 pm on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Make sure the buying process makes sense. At a book site the other day I wanted to add a couple of items to a wish list to keep track of them but was faced with having to complete a full registration -- including credit card info -- before deciding to buy. I quickly left.

So, go through the process yourself and see if there are any problem areas from a visitor's point of view.


7:23 pm on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

and also... when you're selling high price stuff, people like to shop around and think about it.

just because they came, saw, and didn't buy straight away doesn't mean they won't come back after they've had time to mull it over. artwork is not something that people "need" straight away. and $150 is too high to be an impulse purchase.


9:25 pm on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The world and their dog have been selling Chinese ( there is a whole town "Dafen" devoted to producing this, it is actually a huge suburb of Shenzhen ..there are other towns, ) painted pictures for 20 years or more on the internet..

90% of the "order your wedding/graduation/pet/child etc portraits" are actually sent as jpegs to there and shipped back within 21 days or sooner..and are very very good and cheap..

I have friends who have been running "art" businesses there since before I left the UK in the late 80's..( I used to sell some of their stuff at the same time as mine )..I still see their works all over France with genuine "French "sounding names in the signatures ..sold as painted by French artists or art students..

You are really going to have to stand out and have the best copies there are..and they are not $150.00 per "Mona Lisa" copy..that is towards the bottom end of the market as regards quality..

The cheaper ones in China are even selling direct with free shipping and less than 2 weeks delivery worldwide..and throwing in the frames..

If your ads are sending you visitors who are "price/ quality" shopping..you may very well be throwing your adspend money down a bottomless hole..


2:33 am on May 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Once your adwords costs are 5x your profit without a sale you are 95% sure its a failure.

Once your adwords costs are 6x your profit without a sale you are 99% sure its a failure.

Stop advertising, and wait 30 days. If you don't have at least 2-3 sales. It's a failure.

You can try match type, geographic areas, negative keywords, etc, etc. Adwords have more layers of complexity than an onion.

But you are starting from a pretty deep hole.


2:52 am on May 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

.. are actually sent as jpegs to there and shipped back within 21 days or sooner..and are very very good and cheap

Could you restate your comment in simpler terms? What does 21 days imply?


4:42 am on May 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Simple..you email a jpeg to one of various companies( any subject , usually portraiture, weddings, children, pets etc )..they paint a picture /portrait in acrylics ( although always with enough "impasto" so as to mimic " ) oils"..and it is shipped back to you by air parcel..same service is available for pastels and other art media..

Usually with in 21 days of your customer placing the order..very many "portrait" artists working in the west, over/ via the internet, and offering "portrait services" do very little, if any of their own "work"..most is "farmed out" to China..

You can get landscapes, seascapes etc done from photos this way, western subjects, tourist subjects, still life, production line "Bob Ross" et al techniques, taken to the Nth level in China..by some skilled artists there..You can also "bulk order" like the supermarkets and the big box DIY outlets do for their "real genuine paintings" sections ..choose from 1000's of repro's of "old masters" or "abstract" or "impressionists" etc, choose your town, subject, period, style or artist..or send your own images for "production"..in the west the paint and canvas alone would cost you more than the price of a finished painting from a photo shipping included from these companies..

They ship millions out worldwide every year ..and hundreds of thousands are passed off as "painted by a local artist" or "all my own work", or "done by students",or "send me your portrait photo and I'll send you a picture that I painted from it" etc on the net or in galleries in Western countries..

Which is why, unless the OP has an "in" to the very best ones, or buys 2 or 3 container loads of them ( containers cost remarkably little to move by sea, you can pay more for clearing by the customs agent and shipping to you from the port of arrival, than for the entire sea voyage and the handling at each end on the docks )..the adspend (s)he has is likely to be burned away by "lookie lous" who can get one bigger from walmart etc ..frame included..for less than the OP is selling them..

The train on selling paintings on the internet left the station many years ago..although I do know of a French guy who sells "sheets of paper that he drips/ splashes wine onto" via a website who started on ebay..last time I heard he is still making around $100,000.00 or so per year from a small ( about 100 page ) site ..

Ships a single sheet of paper with the wine drips on ( charges about $5.00 to $10.00 a pop ) rolled up in a lightweight card board tube ( like in the middle of a roll of cooking foil ) or flat in an envelope..postage is about another $1.00 or $2.00 worldwide ( under 20gms most times )..

People buy them because they are from France,because it was French wine ( he says "vintage"..usually supermarket "filth" ) and then they give them away as presents "all the way from Paris France" or they frame them and put them in their kitchens etc..and impress their friends, with their "unique" item of "decor"..

Good business, no paid ads, WOMA, and a few articles in paper press, and on sites ( he made TV here at least twice )..a coupe of hours a day ( max ) dripping wine onto xerox paper..a hand written message on it..signature..and a trip to the post office once a week..all expenses are paypal and a $5.00 per month hosting account..and a ream of paper and envelopes..you get a lot of drips out of a .75 litre wine bottle ..even more out of a 5 litre plastic barrel of "house filth"..

Pays for the "good stuff" :)

That is one way of selling "art" on the web with very very low overheads..took him about 2 years to get it to a steady level..

There are other ways..be inventive..think outside the box..and avoid playing in the same sandpit where there are already established players..unless you can do it better or cheaper or faster..and we all know that you only get any two from three :)..

If your business is primarily driven via a site..it needs to be really good..not complex..but really good at attracting, enticing, presenting and selling ..and different in what it sells or how it does it from all the other ones out there..

That isn't explaining it in a "simpler" way ..but the details may be of use to the OP..:)

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