on February 1, 2022 (last modified on November 24, 2022) • 28 minute read
Is your online store stuck in a high traffic no sales situation?
Chances are you’re driving poor-quality traffic to your store. Or, your site isn’t easy to use. It’s also possible that an elaborate checkout process or an additional, hidden fee is the reason behind the poor sales.
In reality, there can be one too many reasons behind a low conversion rate despite the high traffic. So, in this guide, we’ll explore each one of these reasons while giving you the expert answer to solve the problem.
So who’s ready to grow their sales?
Before we begin, let’s introduce you to folks who’ve shared their experiences.
As is fit, we talked to folks from the eCommerce industry only. Of these 53.5% are agencies or consultants working for online stores and 46.5% are eCommerce owners.
Among these contributors, the majority (45.1%) run eCommerce businesses for more than five years ago while others (25.4% and 23.9%) have had their online stores for less than 5 years.
The majority have occasionally seen problems like increased drop-offs, pages with high bounce rates, a lot of abandoned carts, and bad quality traffic (in that order).
The top three problems that these people “often” see are a lot of abandoned carts, pages with high bounce rate, and bad quality traffic.
Related: Add-to-Cart Conversion Rate: 31 Proven Ways for Improving Yours Now
With that, let’s look at the causes behind the high traffic no sales problem and their solutions:
“In this modern era, generating customers through digital marketing is one of the most popular ways to promote your brand in the market,” observes Jonathan Tian from Mobitrix.com.
“I know as a site owner, you are willing to drive traffic for it & make your conversion rate higher,” Tian continues.
The problem? “Often, it happens that your campaign has high CTRs but still gets low conversion rates.” That’s where the classic high traffic no sales conundrum comes into the picture.
According to Tian though, there’s a solution to this since there’s a common cause at the root of this problem. Explaining it, Tian writes, “At that point, first, you need to ask yourself a question ‘is there any disconnection between your landing page & ad copy’ because this is the most common reason behind getting high CTRs but still not having a higher conversion rate.”
Credit Summit’s Carter Seuthe also thinks the disconnect between ads and landing pages is a serious cause for concern. “Probably one of the most obvious reasons this might happen (but one that is often missed by the company), is that there is a disconnect between the ads and their landing pages,”
“When a customer is intrigued by an ad, clicks on it, and arrives on a page that is irrelevant to what that ad was offering, they will almost always exit out of the website instead of attempting to navigate throughout the website to look for the offer,” Seuthe observes.
Dan Skaggs from One Thing Marketing agrees. “Generally, conversion rates from ads are already low so you need to make sure someone who clicks an ad lands somewhere that is very relevant to that ad and follows a really good design for conversion practices.”
“To get out of this scenario, you need to check the redirect page because it often happens when you are accidentally redirecting users clicking through your ad to the wrong page, e.g., to your home page,” elaborates Tian.
“When your company creates ads, make sure that the landing page users arrive on immediately connects them with that specific ad’s offer – not just the website’s home page or another irrelevant page,” recommends Seuthe. “Always check and double-check that clicking on your ads takes you to the place it’s supposed to.”
“If this isn’t the case, then it is undoubtedly because your ads aren’t ranking for the right keywords & you need to make them sync with the keyword that is most suitable for your ad,” Tian writes, explaining an alternate solution.
Related: Clicks but no Conversions? 19 Tips on How to Convert Paid Traffic into Qualified Leads
That said, keep the following heads-up that Skaggs shares in mind: “When you write a new ad with a higher CTR, your quality score will rise, and platforms will give you more impressions (after all this is how they make money when your ads get clicked). However, you may see your conversion rate drop as the original ad may have been capturing all of the visitors who are interested in your product.”
Related: 26 Different Ways for Writing Search Ad Copy That Gets Clicks
Mother’s Family Rings’ Jeff Moriarty faced a similar problem. “One common reason is that most of your traffic could be landing on a content-type page instead of an eCommerce product page.”
“Our #1 traffic landing page is an educational page,” Moriarty outlines. To drive sales from it, Moriarty writes, “we made sure to add an interstitial to grab the visitors’ email address. This has allowed us to remarket to them, especially if they don’t purchase on their first visit.
PRO TIP: Not sure how effective your landing pages are? Here is how to properly track how effective your landing page and the CTAs are at converting visitors to contacts.
“Your store’s navigation could be one of the reasons why your visitors aren’t converting,” says Twibi’s Brenton Thomas.
“You need to make sure that your store’s design is clean and easy to navigate for the customers. Check that your products are correctly sorted into categories, and get some testimonials on hand for them to see. Trust is everything when it comes to sales.”
SEO Hacker’s Ira Katherine Gapasangra agrees. “The most common reason why a shop has high traffic but makes no sales is because of its poor user experience or UX.”
Elaborating, Gapasangra comments: “the goal of UX in eCommerce is to bring a positive experience to every customer who visits your online store. That includes your site speed, easy navigation of the website, the photo quality of your products, the description of product or service is SEO optimized, easy checkout, excellent customer service, and keeping the website up to date.”
Put simply, add these tasks to your to-do list for a high-converting eStore:
That said, Thomas also notes, “If your shop is landing clicks but not sales, the first thing you must do is to consider where you’re landing your potential customers.”
Says Thomas: “If they’re landing on a product page, that’s good. If not, you must check back your sales funnel and pinpoint where’s the deviation. This will help you change course and direct your customers towards your products.”
While most think design is a leading aspect of the experience your site offers, Bob Scott from Sell Land says another factor that hampers user experience: untimely popups.
“No matter how good your ads are, once a potential customer visits your page and is greeted with spammy content, then your chance of converting a sale is significantly reduced,” Scott pinpoints.
“This is a huge turnoff especially in today’s age wherein attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Online consumers simply don’t have the patience to click all of the ‘x’ buttons on pop-ups anymore so be careful on how you present your website as it will make or break your e-commerce.”
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use popups at all. Instead, time them carefully and make sure they offer a relevant offer for driving conversions with popups.
For example, encourage a first-time visitor to buy from you with a popup on the product page that shows up after the visitor has scrolled to a certain extent. Plus, make your offer uber-useful. In this case, for instance, offer 10% off on the first purchase.
FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out is a science-backed way of getting people to take action right away. The idea? Tell people to buy immediately or risk losing the limited-time deal or missing the exclusive collection.
It’s when people fear losing something that they take action quickly.
Keeping this in mind, Summer Romasco from Ad Hoc Labs notes, “If your CTAs aren’t connecting with common pain points and creating a sense of urgency, they won’t drive conversions.”
“So, in our social media posts, we communicate to our audience why they must perform that action and the immediate difference our products will make in their lives,” Romasco writes. Put another way, they leverage FOMO to drive conversions and you should too.
Not only do your calls to action need to tap into FOMO, but they need to be clear too according to Ad Hoc Labs’ Romasco.
“Our call-to-actions (CTAs) are highly visible and straightforward. And they answer the questions our visitors are seeking answers to when they come to our social media channels.”
“Creating a striking CTA that stands out in the post with contrasting colors and large text typically works best,” Romasco advises.
“And we ensure that the CTA clearly states what action we want the user to take next in our sales process. Whether it’s ‘Protect Your Expensive Smartphone’ or ‘Redirect Spam Messages,’ the direction for what to do next is large, legible, and transparent.
It also connects emotionally with customers’ pain points and communicates the benefits they’ll soon receive. A strategized call to action generates more leads and guides prospects further into the conversion funnel.”
In short, ensure all your CTAs:
Related: How to Write a Call to Action: Increase Your Conversions with 16 Proven Tips for Crafting CTAs
Vladimir Gvozdic from Hawkeye Digital agrees that “an unclear or hidden call to action on the landing page” is a common cause for high traffic no sales problem.
To this end, Gvozdic blames the landing page design.
“Landing page design should have a very clear, simple goal you’re looking to accomplish by driving traffic to it,” Gvozdic advises. “This can be a free trial, form submission, phone call etc.”
“A landing page that is filled with numbers, words, and pictures, with the call to action being lost in the clutter will inevitably struggle with conversions. Visitors are overwhelmed with information, images, and links, and the simplest choice for them is to leave (bounce) and find another option.”
“In contrast, the landing page I use for my Amazon Marketing agency, hawkeyedigital.ca has simple and consistent messaging,” Gvozdic writes.
“Visitors have 3 different (prominent) ways to contact us: Booking a call on the integrated calendar, clicking the ‘Book a Call’ button (which also leads them to a calendar), as well as a ‘Call Us Now’ button that is a ‘tel:’ link which immediately starts a phone call on mobile devices.”
Speaking of the high traffic no sales situation, Jon Bennion from Online Marketing Gurus USA observes: “That may happen when a lot of traffic goes not to your product pages but your blog.”
“Online customers often read blog articles when researching products, but you don’t put enough effort into convincing your visitors to navigate from your blog to the online store. Consumers like to compare different brands or items before settling on a final product.”
The solution? Reduce friction. Meaning: if buyers don’t want to put the effort to visit your product, bring your product to them.
Discussing this, Bennion writes, “Use your blog to provide your users with tips, user guides, and comparison articles that point out the strengths of your products. You should add featured products to your blog pages and beautiful banners with links to collections relevant to the content of blog articles.”
“It’s also essential to optimize your blog posts for relevant keywords and subtly promote your products in your blog articles,” continues Bennion. “Try to explain why your visitors should consider buying from you but avoid being too salesy.”
“A common issue that may cause high traffic but little sales is the quality of the traffic,” notes Citadel’s Sasha Matviienko.
Brian Nagele from Restaurant Clicks agrees. “The traffic isn’t coming from the target audience. If a website is getting traffic from visitors who don’t fit the target audience based on age, demographics, or income, the store won’t make sales.”
For a solution, Matviienko suggests you “check your Google Analytics account to understand where the traffic is coming from, how consumers interact with the site, and even the countries you get traffic from.” Then, optimize your site and content accordingly.
Matviienko isn’t alone in recommending using Google Analytics. Of the tools that contributors use, Google Analytics is the most used tool for monitoring eShop performance with about 85% using it.
Other tools include Shopify, WooCommerce, centralized dashboards, and BigCommerce.
Nagele also shares their take on the matter. “To solve it, make sure the store is getting backlinks from relevant sites in the niche and that keywords used have search intent from the target audience.”
Citadel’s Sasha Matviienko opines that lack of conversion rate optimization is also possibly leading to a poor conversion rate.
“One thing that we see happen often is a lack of Conversion Optimization on the site,” Matviienko shares. “Having a good-looking eCommerce store is great, but it’s a little to no use if it can’t close the sales. There is a number of CRO best practices to follow to help consumers get to purchase faster. “
Lee Wilson from Vertical Leap is on the same page when it comes to an eStore’s CRO.
“There can be many reasons such as ineffective eCommerce tracking, through to a lack of trust signals, overly lengthy conversion funnel, and poor CRO,” Wilson starts.
“The solution typically involves a thoroughly professional analysis of the situation, using all available and relevant data sets, followed by an evidence-led strategy being put in place thereafter.”
“You will also want to put in place ongoing conversion rate optimization to iteratively refine and maximize each and every visit and user landing on your site moving forward,” recommends Wilson.
Summarizing, “CRO should never stop, and any business should see this as an always active part of making the most out of potentially new, and repeat business online.”
The takeaway here is simple: while you can manage a lot of things for your eCommerce site, it’s best to learn conversion rate optimization from professionals. This is a surefire way to grow your sales.
Like a CRO professional, you need a website design and development professional too. “For an eCommerce store, your website is your storefront,” says ViscoSoft’s Gabriel Dungan.
“You want it to be attractive, welcoming, and most importantly, easy to navigate. No matter the size of your company, you need to properly invest in good web development and design.”
If you’re still doubtful, picture this: “If a user enters your store, and they don’t immediately understand how to look at products or go to the checkout, they won’t waste their time.”
Summarizing Dungan shares, “With markets across all industries becoming oversaturated, you need to make sure there is nothing on your site that could turn people away.”
To improve the performance of your online store, it’s vital to have access to useful and actionable data. But, with so many metrics available to track, it may be hard to determine which ones will actually help you move the needle.
That’s why we have created a concise dashboard template that only tracks the most important metrics for analyzing the core elements of your ecommerce businesses, such as:
Now you can benefit from the experience of our Google Analytics experts, who have put together a plug-and-play Databox template showing the most important KPIs for monitoring your online store’s performance. It’s simple to implement and start using as a standalone dashboard or in ecommerce reports, and best of all, it’s free!
You can easily set it up in just a few clicks – no coding required.
To set up the dashboard, follow these 3 simple sps:
Step 1: Get the template
Step 2: Connect your Google Analytics account with Databox.
Step 3: Watch your dashboard populate in seconds.
Sophie Bowman from convertyourfollowers.com comments on the need for a simple checkout process. “The main reason why a campaign gets high click-through rates (CTRs) but low conversion rates is due to a simple yet common mistake by a huge number of business owners: you’re making the buying process too complicated.”
Related: Google Ads Click-Through Rate (CTR): What’s Considered “Good” and How Can You Increase It?
“Customers don’t want to scroll through an essay of ‘salesy’ copy with clashing colors, and crammed text,” Bowman observes.
“Keep it clean and simple to increase conversions and add value. You can’t go wrong with a limited time offer on pricing or an alternative added value such as a free gift, buy one get one free, or similar.”
Bowman continues, “To increase conversions, you must have a simple conversion strategy in place that pushes visitors through a user-friendly sales funnel in as few clicks as possible, presented in an eye-pleasing way. Earn extra brownie points by adding a positive review or two, clear CTA buttons, and value for money.”
Kathryn Schwab of Kathryn Schwab LLC. also blames the same reason for a high traffic no sales situation.
“The longer it takes to checkout (and the more the guest has to think about it) the less likely you will make a sale.”
Says Schwab: “For instance, I streamlined an art studio’s checkout process by allowing visitors to checkout as a guest and by providing a fast and easy way to pay (PayPal, Google Pay). I made sure to keep everything clear and simple to navigate on both desktop and mobile. This business saw an increase in sales following this redesign.”
In short, prune as many steps in the checkout process as possible.
“Long loading time frustrates customers,” Natalia Brzezińska from PhotoAiD notes. “Numerous studies show that time really matters.”
“Yahoo’s examples show that reducing page loading by 0.4 seconds increased traffic by 9%! Another study revealed that the average bounce rate for pages that load in five seconds is 38%, but for pages that load within two seconds, it drops to 9%.”
“With every passing second, customers become irritated and more likely to exit the website,” Brzezińska explains.
So to up your sales alongside your traffic, make sure you optimize page load speed. “Well, optimizing page performance is an effective and often overlooked solution to increase sales,” Brzezińska says.
Want a quick and effective tip to improve page load speed? Use a plugin to reduce image size. This helps them load faster, improving your visitors’ experience.
This happens when you pitch your product in a content piece without taking the search intent into the picture.
Euroflorist’s Edyta Garcia explains this best. “Users at the beginning of the buying process might use an informational query, and they are not looking to make a commercial transaction just yet.
They want to answer a question or learn more about a product, but they are not yet ready to convert. Especially if the product is more complex, or its price is a serious investment.”
“Your landing page must provide all necessary information to help the user move down the funnel and vice versa,” Garcia goes on.
“If the user is ready to purchase, a relevant product or a category page with an easy check-out will be what he is looking for, rather than a lengthy blog post with no clear path to the right product.”
So every time you plan content and optimize it for SEO, ask yourself: “Does the content you provide match the user’s search intent.”
Want a better idea? Map out your buyer’s journey. Then, create content for each stage of their funnel.
Related: What’s the Right Content for Each Stage of Your Content Marketing Funnel? 40 Marketers Share Their Advice
“What I have found as a web designer is that a lack of sales is often a result of not providing the consumer with the information they need to make a purchase,” outlines Kathryn Schwab of Kathryn Schwab LLC.
“For example, a visitor to your online store will want to see images of the product from many angles, a description of the product’s benefits, and customer reviews. If any one of these three aspects is lacking then it may be difficult to make a sale.”
So every time you write product copy, make sure you put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. This way, you can ensure all details that a buyer might be looking for when shopping are available.
“The most obvious answer is that the traffic is unqualified, but let’s focus on a situation where the traffic is potentially interested in the products,” Perrill’s Nate Tower points out.
“The main reason we’ve seen high traffic with no sales is when the prices don’t align with the perceived value of the product. For example, we were working with a client who sold very expensive fire pits, but they looked exactly like what you would buy at a big box store for half the price.”
“The value of the products simply wasn’t being communicated effectively,” Tower notes.
“The solve here was relatively simple in principle but difficult to actually implement. We had to build up the value of the brand and showcase the true worth of the products so that price no longer felt like an obstacle. Obviously, this wasn’t an overnight fix.”
Another effective way to build your product’s worth is by collaborating with influencers that your target buyers trust. This way, potential customers trust your products better – thanks to the social proof. Featuring customer ratings and reviews is another way to do the same.
Speaking of visitor expectations, product value, and prices, Nick Leffler of Loclweb makes a noteworthy observation. “Visitor expectations are out of line with what’s actually on the website.”
“That means visitors are likely being surprised with additional costs that they weren’t expecting or can’t find enough information about the product/service,” Leffler comments.
“The biggest surprise costs are shipping costs that are either too expensive for the price of the product ($10 shipping on a $10 product!?) or there are additional costs that are required for the product (handling charges, subscription costs, etc.).”
So here’s the to-do list:
Speaking of social proof, Matt Allen from Eastside Co, comments, “With so many eCommerce websites available to choose from, trust factors on a site are more important than ever to help persuade people to buy from you.”
As per Allen, these can include:
Says Allen: “All of these elements build a picture of a real company and will increase levels of trust with potential customers, helping to turn the traffic into sales.”
Once you’ve gathered social proof, make sure you display it on not just your home page but also product pages.
ServisBOT’s Leslie Gilmour makes two points on this:
Talking about the high traffic no sales situation, Gilmour observes “this happens when stores optimize their campaigns only for traffic.”
“Traffic-optimized campaigns are a waste of money if you are trying to sell anything, so it’s best to turn them off,” suggests Gilmour.
“These are cheap clicks coming from visitors who don’t have any intention of purchasing [so] it’s better to do purchasing optimization in the prospecting stage,” Gilmour advises.
“As for SEO, it is important to focus on keywords with the right intent. Choose keywords that target relevant paying audiences (visitors that are close to making a purchase).”
“For instance, people who are ready to complete action will use the ‘buy’ modifier in their query,” notes Gilmour. “I suggest trying long-tail keywords.”
“Ideally, your site has to cover all types of search intent to attract visitors at any stage of the buyer’s journey. So, your site should feature listicles, reviews, and various guides in addition to product pages.”
Put another way, you need content that’s tailored to entertain buyers throughout the journey. From awareness to nurturing to conversion, create content optimized using the right keyword matching.
As Gilmour puts it, “The site needs to keep users within the stages of the conversion funnel. These stages are informational > investigational product > transactional. On an e-commerce site, it should look something like this: Guide > review > product. Or, Guide > listicle > product.”
Bear in mind: there’s no shortcut to this. And this is the only way to nurture buys to purchase from you. Plus, the more value your buyers get from your site’s educational content, the better your odds of converting them into loyal buyers.
It’s also possible that a high traffic and no sales problem is because your product doesn’t have a demand.
Chances are your marketing is good enough to drive people to your site (read: high traffic). But, it can’t do anything in terms of converting the traffic because the product isn’t something they’re looking for.
In the words of Alex Alexakis from PixelChefs who talks about it: “I think that a really common reason why a shop would have high traffic and no sales is that they have a great marketing campaign to get people to click into the website, but the product is not what customers are looking for.”
The solution? Alexakis recommends: “Before you do any kind of marketing for your business, you have to be sure that your product is something that people want because if this is not true, you will not get any sales.”
“To help remedy this, I would suggest doing a customer survey on the products, which could be placed as they click away from the website, so you know what it is that they do not like about the product of the company,” Alexakis writes.
“You can make some key actionable nuggets from here, without the need to have to start from scratch. Sometimes, it is just the little things that people need to be changed before they consider a sale.”
As a golden rule for business success, it’s also helpful to launch a product only after learning its market demand. A lot of products see the light of the day because of the founder’s assumption that it’s what is needed.
Rather than wasting your time and resources this way, consider going into the field for some research work. Ask real people if this product is something they’d use. Learn their struggles and refine your product idea from there.
Want a pro tip? Go into research mode with a hypothesis – not a conclusion nor an assumption. And, be open to getting their hypothesis proven wrong.
“Mostly, businesses do not narrow down their audience,” outlines Dan Shepherd of VEI Communication.
“They just take a very large market and hope that the product will attract people from all walks of life. It gets high traffic but since it is not the ideal audience the shop fails to resonate with the audience.”
The solution? Here’s one way to resolve this issue: “To solve this I suggested my client sending out a personalized and friendly questionnaire to the target market,” Shepherd writes.
“The customer would take note of any objections, suggestions for improvement, or specific design that will convince them to purchase the product.
This gave us detailed information as to what we needed to do to attract the ideal customer. It was easier to pull in a specific type of customer through their wants instead of needs, needs are harder to figure out.”
Another way to build a target buyer persona is to jump on one-on-one calls with who you think is the best person for your product. From there, understand your target audience based on research.
And C S Sultan of WPFunnels’ agrees, “One wrong concept that many amateur marketers have is ‘More traffic will get more sales’. What they don’t know yet is that this statement is only true if the traffic arrives from the right audience.”
“We all have to be aware of our niche and customer personas. Simply bringing in traffic from just anywhere will only pile up more server costs with a low conversion rate,” Sultan highlights.
“Let me give an example with my own experience. Back when I was a relatively new digital marketer, I was working on promoting a WordPress plugin for Virtual Reality (VR). Initially, I tried to promote the plugin in the VR niche all over the internet.
But what I faced next was just frustrating. Our site would get tons of traffic, almost 3 times as expected, whereas, the conversion rate kept on falling. I really had no answer what went wrong, until I learned the concept of targeted niche marketing.”
“The fact is, our plugin was limited to WordPress, whereas, VR was a broad global topic,” Sultan notes,” Sultan continues. “So, anyone who is interested in VR would come to the site, whether he had WordPress or not. And the latter was the most common case as normally people expected to use SaaS tools to create VR environments.”
“The moment I switched to targeting the WordPress niche along with the type of users, such as Realtors or Event organizers, our traffic dropped significantly, but the conversion rate went up,” Sultan explains. “This lead to an increase total sales increase by almost 4 times.”
“Taking this lesson, we also implemented it on our new funnel builder software, and it’s going really well.”
The bottom line? “First do your industry analysis, and then run marketing campaigns on a targeted, niche-specific audience. This will bring in more traffic that will convert.”
“Stop wasting time and money on a broad market, Sultan writes giving you a heads-up.
All in all, this means the high traffic that you’re attracting can be the culprit for many reasons including:
A common theme and solution for all the problems mentioned is to always keep talking to your target audience and customers. This helps you learn not just their pain point and the language they use but also product expectations, their experience on your site and with your checkout process, and a lot more.
Another smart thing to do is to keep tabs on your traffic – where it’s coming from, how well does it match your ideal buyer persona, where the traffic is dropping, and similar. All this helps you identify barriers on your site and the quality of the traffic you’re driving.
Finding it challenging to track so many things? Simply create visually engaging dashboards with Databox that feature all these essential metrics on one dashboard.
This way, you’ll never miss the important details and stay on top of all of the essential metrics, monitoring your site traffic, and more. So what’s the delay? Sign up for Databox for free today and start converting your traffic like a pro.
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