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Starting an ecommerce business can be crazy hard and there a ton of challenges to getting your customers to buy from you. What areas do you wish you had more help with, what are the biggest challenges you face, what questions do you find yourself asking time and time again?

  • JD

    Jason Dea

    almost 5 years ago #

    We're a Shopify Expert partner and the biggest issue we see isn't conversion per se. It's getting to customer #1! And continuing your momentum from there.

    And really that's the hardest part of any online business. SEO/inbound takes time and a lot of effort, paid advertising costs money. To really get any momentum you need to do both to a certain extent. Accepting that just getting to sale #1 takes time, effort, and money is the hardest part IMO.

    • TD

      Tiffany Dasilva

      almost 5 years ago #

      Yay Shopify! :) Awesome! Nice to meet you!
      I have questions! When you start PPC - are you going for generic terms "x" or are you specifically focused on keywords that show intent like "buy x" or "brand name x"?

      And for SEO, that does seem like it would take time especially starting from scratch. Do you consider that a long term strategy?

      Also, how long do you typically find it takes your clients to get that first few customers? I know it depends on industry and product, but what's your best case / worst case scenario - especially when they are hiring you to help them?

      • JD

        Jason Dea

        almost 5 years ago #

        When it comes to keyword strategy, I talked about our methodology a bit in this post I made as a guest blogger http://blog.lemonstand.com/ecommerce-seo-strategy-for-beginners-the-first-2-steps/

        In my own experience SEO takes a long time. Getting indexed by Google in my own experience is not fast, and usually takes several weeks if not up 2 months in some cases. (and I mean not just indexed but within even the top 200 placings in any given keyword)

        In terms of when clients engage us, we're all across the spectrum. From an idea on a piece of paper through to value add
        with some of the apps we develop. For example our referral marketing app Forewards is currently one of your featured apps on the app store


        I noticed you're in Toronto, we'd love to meet you (we actually already know quite of few of the folks on the Toronto team already) and perhaps we can pick each other's brains.

  • KW

    Kevin Waugh

    almost 5 years ago #

    The biggest challenge I have seen in conversion is doing testing, many times companies seem to be afraid to do a test and see if something helps. It's complacency of the status quo. The biggest question I ask is "is the content being written influencing the conversion?" Could the same product with the same pricing still convert?

  • VV

    Visakan Veerasamy

    almost 5 years ago #

    I run a local t-shirt business on the side. What's my biggest challenge? For me, honestly, it's coming up with new, better products. Everything else is a relative non-issue. People were offering money for my t-shirts even before they were officially for sale.

    What would be interesting/helpful would be brainstorming sessions and interesting conversations with really smart, creative people about what they might be interested in seeing or doing.

    I realize this might be completely irrelevant to the topic, lol. Maybe if I were running a larger operation, I would have different challenges. I rely almost entirely on word-of-mouth through social media.

    • MF

      Murray Finlayson

      over 2 years ago #

      I think this illustrates are really good point. Cool products will convert. Crap products won't.

      I see so many small sites launch on the back of someone's hobby or 'pet idea', without any product/market fit analysis. Then they wonder why nobody is buying.

      Here's a classic example: someone who combined their love of travel photography with their love of interior design, so launched a site selling THEIR photos printed on cushion covers!

      Just because you CAN launch an ecommerce website doesn't mean you SHOULD. Do the due diligence first to establish if there is any market or demand for what you are selling.

      Clearly Visakan did this - top marks!

  • CV

    Conny Verner

    almost 5 years ago #

    Good one

  • RM

    ricardo martinez

    over 2 years ago #

    The biggest challenge in getting users to convert is making sure the value is being delivered. There are too many issues you cant control such as Shipping Price, Product Price, Shipping Speed, Product control etc, if you are not the owner.

    Therefore, if you are not the owner it is much more complicated as these factors play a tremendous role. However, what are not converting, your top sellers, category pages or some product pages have way too high exit rates and bounce rates?

    Also, the speed of the website plays a huge role on ecomm. Have seen pages increase their conversion rate by 50% just by increasing page speed by over 2 seconds. It might not sound meaningful, but that is usually a couple hundred thousand dollars per month with multi million dollar websites.

  • AP

    Alex Pyatetsky

    over 2 years ago #

    I am both a CRO consultant and CEO of an established ecomm company. And yet, we don't do a ton of CRO.

    The biggest challenge of CRO in an established ecom setting (100s-1000s of products, not <20 products) is that the conversion funnels are way more complicated than the average SaaS product. As your ecomm operation expands, you likely take orders on phone, via multiple payment processors, etc. etc. The plus side is it's a better experience for the customers and helps you close more business (ostensibly). The downside is that it makes tracking and the production of statistically significant data a nightmare. Likewise, out of the box products do a very crappy job of tracking the value of conversions instead of the quantity of conversions, which in ecom is equally important or moreso.

    So, in short, the biggest CRO challenge is fully inclusive & statistically valid setup of tests and rendering of all necessary data. There are many more moving pieces, which means CRO costs more time and money.

  • RB

    Robert Bausmert

    about 2 years ago #

    I've worked at and with a couple of stores, all of them had an average conversion rate of 1% or lower when I started, however my own store converted visitors at over 2% right from the beginning. My store is by no means perfectly optimized for conversions (not even close) but I found that getting the basics right (best practices, e.g. use social proof, customer reviews, etc) and polling customers on product pages (I use Hotjar) to learn what concerns they have and what information they think is missing usually does enough to get to an acceptable conversion rate (around 2%).
    From there, it's really about tracking the right metrics and extracting actionable insights from data.

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