In the world of ecommerce, lost sales are an unfortunate reality. Whether it’s due to cart abandonment, website glitches, or choice paralysis faced by the customer, every business experiences missed opportunities.
However, the key lies in how you recover from these setbacks. In this article, SaleCycle explores effective strategies to avoid and regain lost sales and turn them into valuable conversions for your ecommerce business.
What Is The Reason For A Drop In Sales?
There can be various reasons for a drop in sales for ecommerce businesses. Understanding these reasons is crucial in order to identify and address the underlying issues. By addressing the specific factors contributing to a drop in sales, ecommerce businesses can take proactive measures to reverse the trend and regain momentum.
Here are some common factors that can contribute to a decline in ecommerce sales.
Seasonal or Cyclical Trends: Ecommerce businesses may experience a drop in sales during specific seasons or cyclical periods. For example, there might be a natural decline in sales after peak holiday seasons or during traditionally slower periods in the industry. This occurs most significantly in the Fashion industry, when seasonality comes into play – which you can find more about in SaleCycle’s 2023 Fashion Ecommerce Stats & Trends Report.
It’s important to anticipate and plan for these fluctuations to minimise the impact on overall sales performance.
Changes in Consumer Behavior: Consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, and shifts in trends and preferences can lead to a drop in sales. This could be due to changing customer expectations, preferences for new products or brands, or shifts in purchasing habits. Ecommerce businesses need to practise behavioural segmentation to adapt their strategies and offerings accordingly to remain relevant and meet customer demands.
Competitive Landscape: Increased competition can impact sales for ecommerce businesses. Keeping a close eye on competitors’ strategies, pricing, and promotions can help businesses identify areas of improvement and implement strategies to regain their competitive edge.
Website Performance and User Experience: A poorly performing website or a bad user experience and customer journey can significantly impact sales. Slow page loading times, complicated navigation, or a lack of mobile ecommerce optimisation – like bad mobile form design – can frustrate customers and deter them from completing purchases. Regularly assess and optimise your website to ensure a smooth and intuitive user experience, enhancing the likelihood of conversions.
Marketing and Advertising Efforts: Ineffective marketing and advertising efforts can contribute to a decline in sales. If an ecommerce business fails to reach its target audience, has poor conversion messaging, or lacks a strong value proposition, it may struggle to generate sufficient traffic and conversions. It’s essential to review and refine marketing strategies, ensuring they align with the target market and effectively communicate the brand’s unique selling points.
Customer Service and Support: A decline in sales can be attributed to poor customer service experiences. If customers encounter difficulties in reaching customer support, resolving issues, or receiving timely assistance, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a loss of trust. Addressing inquiries promptly, and prioritising customer service and customer loyalty can help rebuild trust and improve sales performance.
Product or Pricing Issues: Changes in product offerings or pricing can impact sales. If the product selection becomes outdated, lacks innovation, or fails to meet customer needs, it can result in reduced demand. Similarly, pricing that is perceived as too high or not competitive compared to alternatives can lead to a drop in sales. Regularly evaluate and update product offerings and pricing strategies to align with market demands and customer expectations.
It’s important to recognise that with regular data analysis, market research, and customer feedback are vital in understanding the reasons behind the decline and implementing targeted strategies to improve sales performance.
What Causes Lost Sales?
Customers just browsing: some customers may just be browsing which means it’s up to the conversion rate optimisation team to make sticky pages, and add CRO features and conversion points to convert the traffic on the website.
Website or platform issues: If your e-commerce website or platform experiences technical problems such as slow loading times, frequent crashes, or checkout errors, it can frustrate customers and lead to abandoned purchases.
Poor user experience (UX): Difficult navigation, complex checkout processes, lack of clear product information, or confusing website design can all contribute to a negative user experience. Customers may abandon their shopping carts if they find it challenging to find the products they want or if the overall shopping process is frustrating.
High shipping costs: Excessive shipping fees or unexpected additional charges during the checkout process can discourage customers from completing their purchases. Many customers expect reasonable or free shipping options, and if these are not available, they may look for alternative sellers or abandon their carts.
Lack of trust and security concerns: Customers may be hesitant to provide their personal and financial information online if they perceive a lack of trustworthiness or security on your e-commerce platform. If your website does not have secure payment options, SSL certificates, or clear privacy policies, customers may choose to shop elsewhere.
Limited payment options: Offering only a limited range of payment methods can lead to lost sales. Customers have diverse preferences when it comes to paying for their purchases, so it’s important to offer a variety of payment options, including credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and alternative payment methods like PayPal or Apple Pay.
Insufficient product information: Customers rely on detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, customer reviews, and specifications to make informed purchasing decisions. If your product pages lack essential information or fail to showcase products effectively, customers may lose interest and abandon their carts.
Lack of customer support: Prompt and helpful customer support is crucial in e-commerce. If customers have questions, concerns, or encounter issues during the shopping process and there is no easy way to get assistance, they may abandon their purchases and seek alternatives.
Inadequate marketing and promotion: If potential customers are not aware of your e-commerce store or the products you offer, they won’t have the opportunity to make purchases. Insufficient marketing efforts, poor search engine optimization (SEO), or ineffective advertising can lead to low website traffic and, consequently, lost sales.
5 Ways To Recover Lost Sales
Utilise Abandoned Cart Recovery:
One of the most common reasons for lost sales is cart abandonment. Many customers add items to their cart but leave without completing the purchase. To recover these potential sales, implement an abandoned cart recovery strategy.
Start by sending personalised, automated emails to remind customers about their abandoned items. Offer incentives such as discounts or free shipping to incentivize them to return and complete their purchase. Monitor and analyse the results to optimise your recovery tactics and improve conversion rates. You can find out more about the best time to send abandoned cart emails here.
Optimise the Checkout Experience:
A complicated or lengthy checkout process can deter customers from finalising their purchases. Streamline your checkout experience to minimise friction and increase conversion rates. Implement guest checkout options to reduce the barrier for first-time buyers. Simplify the form-filling process by pre-filling information or using autofill features. Additionally, ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices, as mobile shopping continues to rise. A seamless and user-friendly checkout process can significantly reduce lost sales and improve customer satisfaction.
Personalised Retargeting Campaigns:
Retargeting is a powerful tool for recapturing lost sales. By utilising website cookies and tracking pixels, you can display targeted ads to customers who have shown interest in your products or visited specific pages on your site. Customise your retargeting campaigns based on customers’ browsing behaviour, abandoned items, or previous purchases. Personalised ads that remind customers about products they viewed or abandoned can reignite their interest and prompt them to return to your site to complete the purchase.
Learn more about remarketing vs retargeting.
Implement Live Chat and Customer Support:
In some cases, customers may abandon their carts due to unanswered questions or concerns. Offering live chat support, chatbots, or other forms of conversational marketing can help address these issues in real-time, increasing the chances of converting a lost sale. Implement a live chat feature on your website to assist customers, provide product recommendations, and resolve any queries promptly. Additionally, ensure your customer support channels, such as email or phone, are easily accessible. Responsive and helpful customer support can instil trust, encourage customer loyalty, and recover potentially lost sales.
Leverage Email Marketing:
Email marketing is a powerful tool for regaining lost sales. Craft engaging and personalised emails targeting customers who have shown interest in your products or abandoned their carts. Send follow-up emails with persuasive subject lines, showcasing the value of your products, offering limited-time discounts, or highlighting related items they may be interested in. Consider segmenting your email list based on customer preferences and behaviour to deliver highly targeted and relevant messages. Regularly analyse the performance of your email campaigns, experimenting with different tactics to optimise conversions.
Why It’s Important To Analyse Lost Sales
Lost sales are an inevitable part of running an ecommerce business, but they don’t have to be permanent losses. By implementing effective strategies such as abandoned cart recovery, optimising the checkout experience, personalising retargeting campaigns, providing excellent customer support, and leveraging email marketing, you can regain lost sales and turn them into valuable conversions.
Continuously analyse and refine your approaches to ensure you are effectively capturing missed opportunities and maximising your ecommerce business’s revenue potential. Remember, persistence and innovation are key in reclaiming those lost sales and nurturing long-term customer relationships.
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Brad Ward is the SEO & Content Manager at SaleCycle. Brad is a former magazine journalist with over 8 years experience in digital, including SEO, social media and copywriting. Brad has written thousands of articles for a range of different sectors including online gambling, travel, education, sports and ecommerce.