11 Reasons eCommerce Websites Fail and are Unsuccessful

Author Justin Smith
by Justin Smith, CEO

Often potential clients ask, "What are the main reasons eCommerce websites do not succeed?".

There are many variables, some which we (an eCommerce design company) can affect and some that are up to you, the client. So, let's dive in!

Below we've outlined reasons why eCommerce websites fails:

1) Selling The Wrong Products

One of the main reasons websites fail is because the product fails. If you're selling a product no one wants, than you're in a tough position from the beginning. This is the biggest decision of all when starting an online store. What should you sell? Even if there are many other websites selling the product (like a name brand shoe), there is still a place for you if you market your website correctly and have a value proposition. Make sure online users want to buy the products you're selling!


2) Pricing Is Way Off

We've all heard the stories and seen the websites making millions and they look very amateur. Although though their look isn't good, these people succeed when offering the best prices. Of course these sites would do even better if they had better design and a solid marketing strategy, but the idea is low prices will attract customers. This is the case in the retail market outside of the web, but even more important on the web when the next store is only a click away. Be sure you're researched your competitors and that your prices are competitive.


3) There Isn't a Marketing Plan

Be sure you've planned how you're going to market your website. Without a strategy developed, you'll never make it. Map it out and take time to execute the plan. And remember, if it does not work the first time, tweak it and continue to grow your ROI. Since most online sales start with a search, have a search engine optimization and paid search marketing strategy (and budget).


4) The Website Isn't Ranking in Google

A big part of your marketing plan and business model should be eCommerce search engine optimization. The basic idea is moving you to the top of the search engines which allows search engine users to find your website when searching keywords related to your website. 36% of customers start their search for a product on Amazon, while 35% start on Google. So ranking on Google for your product keywords is still one of the best ways to be found.


5) The Design Is Just Plain Bad

Of course the look of your website is probably one of the biggest factors in whether or not you'll be successful. We've all pulled up a website and as soon as it loaded hit the back arrow. Why? Because the website looked sketchy. Like they'll steal your credit card number and you'll never get what your purchased. Even though they may be a legitimate company, we all get worried when shopping online. The goal needs to be to build a big, strong, trusting brand and look for your online business.


6) Lack of Calls to Action

If you're trying to get someone to add an item to their cart, make sure the button stands out. If you want them to call in, make sure your number is visible. Be sure you're always telling the user where to go, what to do next and of course, pushing them towards a sale.


7) No Quality Content

A good amount of content will allow users to learn more about you and feel more comfortable shopping with you. Build out quality content around your products by developing buying guides and unique product detail pages. Content also include videos and images. It's important to not only sell your visitors, but inform your visitors. This will also help with your search engine rankings.


8 ) Shipping Cost Is Too High

Shipping is tough to pay for. We all hate it. Who wants to buy a $35 item that cost $20 to ship? Even if $35 is a great price, it seems like you're paying another $20 for nothing! Try your best to lower shipping prices and offer free shipping as much as possible. Let me stress that again, FREE shipping. You'll sell WAY more!


9) No Promotions or Urgency

Run promotions! Give someone a reason to buy today! I know many websites who always have a 15% off sale. That's because the set their price 15% higher and now always make their items seem like they are on sale. Easy enough. And when you run great promotions, make sure they are visible on the website. Use a timer to countdown the sale.


10) Bad Product Photos

As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words". If a visitor does not want to read multiple paragraphs (who does?), they can learn about your product by looking at photos. Be sure your users can zoom and see the details. If your product warrants multiple angles or a shot of the back, show it!


11) No Value Proposition

Be unique. Something must make your company different. Whether your products are organic or you're connected to a charity, let people know. If you can't think of a reason why someone should by from you instead of a competitor, than your visitors won't be able to either.

Get a free eCommerce website estimate

For more than 14 years we've been an award winning design, development and web marketing agency. Talk with us and see how we can help your business.