Lots of traffic but no sales? Do your ABC!

I see a lot of «lots of traffic, no sales – what’s wrong?» posts in ecom Facebook groups, and thought I’d write a few words based on working with ecommerce for over 20 years.

Firstly I think you are asking the question the wrong way around. The good question isn’t «why aren’t they buying?» – it’s «why should they buy?». The default isn’t that if you show the right product to the right people they will automatically buy it. The default is NOT buying, NOT caring, NOT bothering. If you want the prospective customer to buy from you, you have to convince him that your product is good/cool/useful/fun and will add value to his life. So how do you convince him of that?

The ABC formula

That’s where what I call the ABC-formula comes in:

A is for Attractive. Because firstly, you have to have an ad that makes the product look attractive. A video of somebody using the product and finding great benefits in it – or a video of somebody demonstrating the many features of the product – will work infinitely better than a static image with bad lighting from Ali Express. If you have no way of making such a video, at least look into apps like Ripl for creating videos from stills. But don’t just show the product. Show the product IN USE so the prospective customer can envision himself having and using something similar. Quality of creative really counts at this point.

B is for Benefits. Because once you have captured the customer’s attention and he has clicked through, you need to show off all the benefits of the product and the value it can bring to the customer’s life. You do this by having product pages that offer several product images from various angles, close up and overview etc. and maybe even 360 view and demo videos. In addition you should have product copy that offers a compelling value proposition, and you should have bullet points listing every relevant fact of the product. Colours, size, measurement, weight, raw materials, country of origin, technical specs etc etc all need to be listed so that the customer can find an answer to whatever question he is pondering («will it fit in my shelf?» «will it hook up to my existing equipment?» «will the size fit over my hips?» etc etc.)

C is for Credibility. Because once the prospective customer is convinced that the product is good and will fit his needs, he will check out your credentials before buying. This means that you need to have a physical contact address somewhere on your site, a proper phone number and an email address. In several countries this is required by law (I don’t know about the US), but regardless of legal requirements, it is always a good idea to do it. A lot of customers are quite online shopping savvy and will not buy unless they know the legal entity they are buying from. This is doubly important when you trade internationally. You should also have clear return policies, info about freight charges and delivery times etc., as again this helps establish your credibility.

When ABC is in place, you have the potential to show the customer that the product is good, will be beneficial to him and is safe to buy. If ABC is not in place, you may get traffic, but in all likelyhood you will get no actual sales.

Bottom line is, you can not blame the customer for not buying from you. Instead you have to ask whether you yourself have done a good enough job of convincing him that he should. If you haven’t, then do better. It requires a bit of work, but is totally doable by anybody who apply themselves.

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