Why your online store is not selling

screenshot from a danish rockabilly store

I am active in a lot of Facebook ecommerce groups, and a lot of people post links to their shops in these groups, asking for feedback, trying to fix whatever is holding them back from making sales.

Now here’s something I’ve noticed: A lot of shops don’t do anything wrong technically, but they still don’t sell. And I think it’s often because they don’t have A COMPELLING REASON TO BUY.

Find your Value Proposition

In marketer’s terms, such a reason is called a value proposition. It’s the answer to the question “if I am your ideal customer, why should I buy your product, and why should I buy it from you rather than from your competitor?” (Thanks to Flint McLaughlin of MecLabs for this brilliant definition.)

Anybody looking to make money needs to have an answer to this question.

The most usual answers are that your products are better or cheaper than the competition. If you’re dropshipping from AliExpress or similar, neither of these will be possible. If you do print on demand (POD), you can make unique designs that can put you in the “better” category, which might be why some people say POD is easier to succeed with than Ali Express dropshipping.

If you can’t be better or cheaper, you need to be more creative. You need to have a value proposition, and it needs to be immediately apparent to your prospective customer on his first visit.

Shops with attitude

Now, one approach to this is to have a specific attitude. I’d like to proffer this danish rockabilly retro store as an example: https://www.mondokaos.dk (I know most of you can’t read the text, but I’m willing to bet that you still get the point.)

screenshot from a danish rockabilly store

The advantage of such a shop is that it can be marketed very specifically to an audience that appreciates that attitude.

This translates very well to the selection of search words for Google ads (maybe “rockabilly dress”, “fifties dress” etc.)

For Facebook targeting I would perhaps try to target towards fans of Imelda May (rockabilly musician) or Dita von Teese (burlesque dancer) and/or layered with demographics (maybe women 20-50).

Product specific shops

Another way to go is to go by product selection. That means focusing your store on a specific niche. Just remember: Having a shop full of similar products is not enough. You still need to sell the whole specialist shopping experience, complete with lots of topical info and a brand styled environment.

One good example is this shop: http://www.groominglounge.com 

screenshot from groominglounge.com

Shops like this get good targeting on Google by simply selecting product categories (“shaving kits”, “shaving cream” etc.).

On Facebook they may find good targeting by choosing interests (for instance, a dog accessories shop can target dog lovers by interest), but if the products are more general that might not be possible. The men’s grooming niche would be an example of this.

In this case, you can try going by media interests (maybe Mens Health or GQ could work for Grooming Lounge). Look at magazines, major blogs, movies or relevant TV shows. And you would of course layer with demographics (men over 25 perhaps).

Lifestyle shops

A third approach to finding a niche is to go by lifestyle. Here’s one example: http://www.dharmacrafts.com

Just remember that you need to have credibility within that niche. You should truly live your brand and support it with a relevant Facebook page, Instagram etc., as well as connecting with relevant influencers in the niche.

Targeting for such a shop can be done by interest, media, heroes/influencers and also by major competing shops, if there are some big players in the field.

Creating desire

The whole point of the value proposition is to create DESIRE. Unless the customer really wants to buy, sales are going to be few and far between. But by providing a solid value proposition, customers are actually going to WANT to come to your shop and to spend their money there, because you really add value to their lives. And that is going to make a very big difference to your earnings!

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