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Conversion Issues: 5 Problems & Solutions


Is traffic to your online store booming, but sales are still flat? Here are five issues that could be stopping customers from making a purchase and ways to overcome these hurdles.

Issue #1: Visitors Aren’t Clicking on My Call to Actions (CTAs)

A Call to Action is a broad term covering any prompt that tells someone where to go, how to buy, or what to do next. Weak call to actions will never get visitors to convert.

Some common ecommerce CTAs are “Shop Now”, “Buy”, or “Add to Cart.”

The Solution

Here is a checklist of Call to Action best practices:

  • Above the fold – When a user lands on a page, they can see a CTA immediately, without needing to scroll down.
  • Unique color – Make a statement! Chose a unique color that the eye is immediately drawn to when glancing quickly at a page.
  • Utilize white space – Overcrowded call to actions are hard to see, and hard to click on when a user is on a mobile device.
  • Create urgency – Add terms that increase the urgency of acting now. Common examples include “Only 10 products remaining,” “Shop until midnight,” or “Act fast.”
  • Soft entry – Always have an option for users to sign up for a mailing list without needing to make a purchase. Email addresses are as valuable as gold in ecommerce – make it easy for a user to find your mailing list.

Issue #2: Shoppers are Abandoning Carts

Customers fail to pull the trigger on purchasing due to unexpected costs, a frustrating checkout process, or they leave with the intent to buy later. In 2015, Business Insider reported that $4 trillion worth of merchandise was left behind by customers with intent to buy. Here are some strategies to ensure customers don’t leave at the last minute.

The Solution

Avoid Hidden Costs

To minimize this last minute exodus, strive to keep costs transparent. A seven dollar shipping charge added last minute can be all of the added expense it takes for a customer to back out. Write an FAQ page that answers common shipping questions such as pricing, or keep a shipping calculator on your site so customers know what to expect in extra fees.

Remove Barriers

Simplify the checkout process as much as possible. Allow for guest checkout so customers don’t need to make an account to buy. Drop any information fields that aren’t absolutely necessary (like phone numbers) and provide visual clues as to where customers are in the checkout process.

Prompt a Return

Many customers use shopping carts as a virtual wish list or to save an item for later. Don’t leave their return up to chance, send an abandoned cart email within 24 hours. Always include a picture of the item with a link to pickup right where they left off.

72% of customers who go back to buy after abandoning their carts do so within 24 hours.”

Issue #3: Negative Reviews Are Scaring Customers Away

Reviews are the ultimate trust builder between your brand and your customer. They can also be a red flag for customers who are coming to your store and leaving. No ecommerce owner wants to see one or two star reviews pop up on their products. Fortunately, there are honorable ways to deal with negative reviews that can help minimize damage.

The Solution

First, respond in a timely, polite manner. Keep in mind your response is for two audiences — the initial reviewer and every future browser who will see how you handled the situation. A response can be as simple as, “Hi [First Name], thank you for bringing this to our attention! Can you send us an email at so we can help resolve this issue for you?”

This takes the negative feedback OFF of a public space and shows that you are engaged and committed to customer service.

Second, if a negative review is dampening sales of a product, take that product off of paid ads. Don’t pay money promoting a product that has a warning label all over it.

Third, focus on adding positive reviews to balance out the negative. This comes down to one word: ask! After a customer receives a product, send an email asking them to write a review. Offer a free shipping coupon on their next order or add them to special deals if they submit feedback. Run an email campaign with a beautifully curated collage of customer photos and ask them to post their own product photos on Instagram or Facebook.

There is no shame in being proactive about customer reviews. Your business shouldn’t be left to the fate of one or two bad experiences.

Issue #4: Traffic is Coming to My Site for the Wrong Reason

Do you have extra money to pay for traffic that has no intent to buy? I didn’t think so. When you run paid ads on any channel, make sure to minimize keywords that drive junk traffic. This is done through negative keywords.

The Solution

Negative keywords minimize unwanted traffic from searchers who are looking for a different product.

Let’s say you sell greeting cards online. You’ll want to add in negative keywords that will exclude your results from people searching for business cards, playing cards or e-cards.

Look through the search queries that brought people to your site. Weed out any keywords that are driving irrelevant traffic. It’s also smart to double-check in an incognito browser that the keywords you are bidding on are returning the results you intended for them to.

Google Adwords provides a guided tour to adding negative keywords, check it out from their website.

Issue #5: I Have a Ton of New Traffic But No Sales

The Solution

Bounce Rate

Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions during which the person left your site from the entrance page without navigating to a second page. A high Bounce Rate illuminates pages that need work.


Go to Google Analytics > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Bounce Rates can be improved by site layout and navigation. Ensure your site is mobile friendly and easy to click through. Think through where you would want a customer to go next if they first land on a page. If it’s not obvious to you, it will be completely unclear to customers.

Another way to diagnose a browsing problem is to see which channels are driving a large amount of new traffic with a low amount of conversions.

New vs Returning Visitors

In Google Analytics go to Audience > Behavior > New vs Returning > Click on New Visitor. This dashboard shows you a breakdown of New traffic vs Returning traffic.


Filter the table to show the Source or Medium of visitors by going to User Type > Acquisition > Source Medium.

Sort your table by clicking on Sessions and look at what your data is telling you. What channels are bringing in the majority of new un-converting browsers? Cut down on advertising in these channels or tweak strategy for more precise targeting.

Final Note

Let’s review how to encourage more visitors to convert: Use clear, bold call to actions. Be transparent about potential added fees. Proactively smooth over negative reviews. Pick quality traffic over a large quantity of traffic. Monitor Bounce Rate and New Visitors to find and solve potential problem areas.

Solve these major issues and watch conversion rates soar.


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