Why Aren’t People Buying From My Online Store?

My site is awesome!!! Why the HELL aren’t people buying from my online store? This post has some cognitive reasons why they might not be.

why customers aren't buying from you


Why Aren’t People Buying From Your Online Store?

You’re in the business of selling e-commerce products online, and if you’re wondering, why aren’t people buying from my store? You can start by checking a few very common things. More often than not, it has something to do with your checkout process. Make sure your payment processors are functional. You might want to offer payment methods that your customers can use. You should also offer guest checkout, especially if you’re selling gifts.

Look at that! The first paragraph of this post just gave you 3 of the most common issues to check. We’re already making progress :)

We’re going deeper!

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.

We’re going to move through this in order of importance, so we are going to touch on the items mentioned in the first paragraph in just a little more detail. Then we’re going to move on to trouble-shooting other potential reasons that could be preventing people from buying on your site.


10 Reasons why people aren’t buying from your online store:


1. Payment methods that are familiar to customers

Online shoppers are bombarded with options and can compare them in a matter of seconds. When they find a deal on an item they’re interested in, they may add it to their cart, but end up purchasing from a competitor. While it’s understandable that a shopper would be tempted to purchase from one site before moving on to another, many shoppers want to pay for their purchases via a method that is most convenient to them. When an ecommerce store doesn’t have payment methods that customers are familiar with, shoppers will quickly leave the site and look elsewhere.

2. Check if all your payment processors work

This happens all the time! Make sure that you check to make sure all your payment processors work before you launch. Then check to make sure they still work after you launch!

While most payment processors offer a wide range of payment methods, you may find yourself limited to a few options. Check if your processor offers a variety of payment methods and the processing fees they charge before you start selling online. Many processors offer buy now, pay later options, and even social media options such as Twitter and Facebook. Buy now-pay-later and other financing options can be a huge conversion booster for higher ticket items.

3. Identifying steps in the e-commerce purchase funnel that can be improved

The first two points are the easiest and most common. After that you’re going to need to check your purchase funnel.

When you think about the e-commerce purchase funnel, the first hurdle is the product pages.

You have nearly 50% of website visitors that will look at your products, but only 15% will make a purchase.

A little over three percent of visitors will actually complete the transaction. That leaves a pretty big opportunity for improvement in your product pages and checkout process. Below, we’ll discuss a few key steps that you can take to improve the funnel.

First, map out your ideal buying process.

If you’re unsure what type of buyer you want to reach, it’s a good idea to map out the optimum funnel for your product. This way, you can identify areas that need improvement. Next, make notes on the steps in the funnel that are converting. By tracking these key metrics, you can make decisions based on this information.

Next, identify the weakest steps in the e-commerce purchase funnel.

If you’re struggling to convert website visitors, you’ll want to improve web traffic. If it’s low, you’ll lose customers during the checkout process. To increase web traffic, consider adding additional traffic sources to the top of the funnel. This will increase the number of entrants and final purchases.

4. Lack Of Information

When a customer chooses to buy from you, they are 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.

Other Product Options to Check

People hate road blocks. Instead, they look for ease of transactions, such as self-pickup, so they can quickly and easily get their hands on the couch they want. Likewise, it may be difficult to get a customer to purchase your couch if you’re not clear on the logistics. For this reason, you should consider using the buy-or-bale step in your product description.

When you’re writing product descriptions, make sure to include details that create an emotional connection with customers. For example, a couch is more than just a frame with cushions. It can conjure up images of comfort and relaxation, but it can also represent status and wealth. By using sensory details to convey a sense of the product’s benefits, shoppers are more likely to want to buy it.

When writing a product description, use comparisons to your competitors. People often compare different products to make the final decision. They don’t always like to spend a lot of time evaluating the competition, so make use of comparisons to close deals. And don’t forget to put a link to other relevant product pages if you want to boost sales. It may take a few attempts to get the desired results, but the effort will be worth it.


5. Lack of Sophistication

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.


6. 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.


7. Product Doesn’t Meet Customers’ Need

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.


8. 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.


9. Site Security

Since we’re on the topic of login walls, we can’t neglect to look at the overall site security.

The reason for this is that many consumers are concerned about site security. Whether a website accepts credit cards or collects personal information, consumers don’t want to doubt their security. In addition, more companies are integrating trust badges into their websites. These badges are designed to reassure visitors that they are dealing with a legitimate website, and the data they collect is processed through secure third-party services.

When was the last time you bought from a site that didn’t proudly display trust badges?

To help combat identity theft, it is important to ensure that your site is secure. If your website is secure, the URL will begin with “https” instead of “http”. This will indicate that the website is secure and that the data that customers submit is encrypted. Also, look for a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, which is a common symbol for an SSL. Also, ensure that you have detailed information about the website’s security to give users peace of mind.


10. Shipping Options

Lastly, if you’ve checked all the previous items and you’re still experiencing issues, you might be wondering why your customers still aren’t buying from your online store?

One reason may be the cost of shipping. Shipping is a HUGE conversion issue. You can offer free shipping if you have a minimum order amount. Some websites allow free shipping only after purchasing $25, $35, or $50. If your shipping rates are too high, many users will abandon their carts and go to a competitor that offers cheaper shipping.

Free shipping is a psychological trick to increase sales. The dollar sign can be intimidating to customers. And, it can act as a friction in the sales funnel, which can lead to less spending.

While offering free shipping is a great way to increase your sales, there are a few other ways to make free shipping work for you. Try shipping products in bulk and bundling items for free. In this way, you can cut shipping costs by a third. Another option is to randomly offer free shipping for specific customers or groups of people. You could also offer free shipping for new subscribers.


Be Your Customer

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?