Cognitive Reasons Why Customers Are Not Buying From You

You’ve launched your eCommerce store, you’re ready to sell, but what the Hell… Why aren’t your customers buying from you?

why customers aren't buying from you


You’ve set up your e-shop on as many channels as possible, sourced the best products and cannot wait to make a sale!


A sale that, somehow, just doesn’t happen.


There are many reasons why customers turn away from your web stores, and their own perceptions are a very important reason why. Let’s talk about some subtle ways in which your stores are giving off the wrong message to your potential customers, causing them to avoid you.


1. Lack Of Information

When a customer chooses to buy from you, he is trusting you to provide accurate information about the product. Several online retailers ignore their online product catalogs, falling back on photographs alone to do the job.


Good pictures are an essential tool for selling online, but they are only the first step. The information that goes along with the pictures – the product name, details of size in metric and imperial units, and a short but informative product description are all important for the customer to get a better picture of the product.

product page

If it is the product catalog that is stopping sales, you will be able to spot it by measuring the bounce rate of your product pages. How many customers get to the product page, and then leave your site without taking further action?


If your product page’s bounce rate is too high, consider revamping the catalog information. Hire an agency if you need to, but measure, describe and depict each of your products more accurately. Make it an internal best practice to do this with each new product you stock.


2. ‘Not Sophisticated Enough’

A 2017 marketing research paper identified sophisticated buyers using three of their own attributes, and how your offering could either trigger or go against these attributes. Sophisticated consumers have high self-esteem, high self-image and value satisfaction above all else when it comes to making a purchase.


If you are a retailer with a niche offering that aims to cater to these people, your web store layout has a significant role to play. This CXL article puts it best- the most important things are not things at all.

easy navigation

A simple web store with a site map, easy navigation and a linear flow from exploring a product to buying it, has a better chance of making a sale than a complex, cluttered web presence where the consumer is left to figure everything out. When in doubt, observe how much time people spend on different parts of your web store, and the point at which they quit.


Oftentimes, this indicates frustration with the layout itself, because the experience is not satisfactory enough.


When you set out to design a web store, give priority to the way it flows to a logical end, followed by design elements that are helpful instead of confusing and jarring.


3. Always Out Of Stock

Not having products in stock may seem like a logistical issue, and it is, but it has very unpleasant dimensions from a consumer standpoint.

out of stock

Several mathematical models have been devised to measure the cost of overstocking, and ways to avoid that. However, we still have little to no accurate data about the impact of a lost sale due to stocks not being enough. Consumers can choose to take their business elsewhere forever, and it is hard to estimate how much of a loss that would be to you, over time.


This is exactly why it is very important to never turn a customer away from your web store due to a lack of products. No one wants to see a banner ad, like the product and click on a link, only to discover that the product they liked is now out of stock.


Using a good retail management software can help you keep track of inventory across channels, and it can help prevent stock outs by alerting you when levels fall too low. Having products in stock is one way by which consumers build trust in your brand.


4. Level Of Needs Not Enough

This is especially applicable to retailers selling a product that is relatively new in the market. As a businessperson, you understand the product’s value proposition. However, for all you know, your potential customer doesn’t realize that this product can solve their problem, or they are disengaged with the product because they think they don’t need it.


At this point, it isn’t your web store layout or design that is the problem – convincing a customer that they need your product is.


Good images and long descriptions alone cannot help you. You need to exhibit the knowledge you have about your product, and the multiple ways in which it can solve problems.


For example, no one knew they needed a smartphone, an internet connection or a wireless headset until they got one.


Maintaining a product blog and updating it regularly with new features, explaining the product’s design and subtly pointing out why you are the best retailer in the market for that product are your best bets for making consistent sales.


It isn’t an easy job- getting into the consumer’s head to see what they think about you. But using a few of their behaviors as pointers, you can put a finger on the problem and correct it.


5. Login Walls

Perhaps the best example of good intent that translates negatively is the experience of signing up on websites to buy from them. As a customer, you would not be inclined to sign up on ten different sites and remember their login credentials, all for a discount that may or may not be significant to you.


Yet, this is exactly the firewall that many retailers set up, that prevents customers from finishing a purchase. You have set it up with good intent- to know your customer, promote the products that are right for them and increase brand recall.


Instead, this comes across as a pushy attempt at getting to know them. The worst form of expressing this intent as a retailer is when your consumers are blocked from accessing the site and its offering until they sign up, one way or another. Known as login walls, they are the surest way to drive customers away.


Consider weighing the cost of not gaining customer data as compared to losing the customer entirely. For example, electronics retailers will be able to offer add-on services, insurance and after sales service by having customers sign up with them. Apparel retailers can make do with a guest checkout, and give customers the option of writing to them for order updates.


Remember, the minute you make signing up optional, more people will prefer the guest checkout option. Depending on the products you sell, it may be more beneficial to make signing up mandatory.


Almost all of the problems you encounter with retail sales can be solved by putting yourself in your consumer’s shoes. If you were a consumer buying from your web store, what would stop you?