High Website Traffic But No Sales? 10 Things That Are Driving Profits Away

Guest post 18.10.2022. Reading Time: 8 minutes

Marketing for an eCommerce website is all about optimization.

Over 75% of marketers swear by A/B testing to get the most conversions out of their website traffic, as they want to squeeze the most return out of their ad spend.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is you funnel potential customers through all that, and then they fall at the last hurdle. They bounce off your web pages and abandon their shopping carts. What’s going on?

If you know how to increase your referral traffic, you might think that you need to double down on this. More shots = more hits. But if you go down that route you could end up with no increase in conversions, and your cost per acquisition will have shot up because of the money you’re investing into efforts that are underperforming.

There are a number of reasons your customers might be failing to convert, from a high-level strategy to one line of text on your checkout page. Let’s go over ten possible issues to investigate on your own eCommerce effort, from the top of the funnel all the way to the bottom.

1. Incorrect targeting

In an ideal world, your products would appeal to everyone, but in practice, you need to focus on the demographics which will get you the best return on investment.

That’s why marketing is all about narrowing down to the smallest niche possible. You want to find an ideal customer and learn everything you can about them, iterating on your campaigns until you look like the perfect fit for them and their needs.

So if you’re getting high website traffic, you’re doing something right. But if you’re not getting conversions, it can mean one of two things. Either your marketing isn’t targeting your ideal customer, or your website isn’t making enough of an appeal to them.

Online audiences are low-intent and fickle, often clicking away from a site if it doesn’t load within seconds. If your site isn’t making a well-targeted value proposition up front, why would they read further down?

If you know your ad targeting is good, you need to A/B test your landing page to refine your pitch. If you’re making a case management app for small-medium law firms, say that on the first fold. Lawyers at big firms will know right away this isn’t something they need, while your actual target audience will see that you’re addressing their problems, specifically.

And if you’ve whittled down your copy to a fine point, you need to rethink your audience targeting for online ad campaigns, maybe even your organic SEO.

Strategies for audience targeting will vary by industry. Someone looking to boost SEO website traffic for hotels will be thinking about pricing in a completely different way to someone in designer fashion, where customers are much less price-sensitive. 

As with the copy, it’s all about understanding your specific target audience better than anyone else in your field. When your competitors are all using the same Google ad software you are, this is the only trick you can have up your sleeve.

quality traffic
Image source

2. Low-quality traffic

It might be that you’re getting high traffic, but that traffic isn’t actually relevant.

Take a close look at your analytics data. Is there a match between the biggest sources of traffic and the places you’re spending the most of your ad budget? Is your traffic coming from the countries in which you’re actually doing business?

A low conversion rate could be caused by any number of factors, but a high bounce rate on your site might specifically suggest that your site traffic is in some large part irrelevant.

Fixing this might involve a rethink of your strategy. If you’re getting a lot of traffic from your Instagram adverts, it might be that you’re just attracting low-intent window shoppers. Instead, look for sites and blogs related to your niche and try guest posts, affiliate links, and sponsored content there to find the more high-intent customers who are looking for a solution now.

3. Your pages lack the right info

If your traffic is dropping off on product pages, it might be that you’re not providing the information they need to hear.

If you’re in a B2C sector, it might be that you don’t have enough product photography or videos. Maybe you just need to A/B test the product copy until you get better conversions. In B2B, especially in tech, you might need to relay some more complex information.

In either case, it’s a good idea to look at your competitors’ product pages and see how they’re describing their own wares. You need to be clearly different from them to compete at all, but this might give you some ideas as to the points you’re missing.

4. The pages are slow

You might have read about how user attention spans are shrinking. The usual stat is that 53% of customers click away from a site that doesn’t load in three seconds. But that stat from Google’s own research back in 2016 is likely understating it.

However, the problem might be more specific. Users just expect fast load times, and if you don’t live up to that expectation then that doesn’t suggest a good product or service.

There are countless reasons your website could be lagging behind, and most of them are nitty-gritty things like poor image compression or big JavaScript resources. Luckily, web app testing tools like Google Pagespeed can help you diagnose these issues and offer helpful suggestions for fixing them. 

If you have access to your site’s HTML, CSS, and JS files then you’ll often be able to make these changes yourself. If you’re using a popular site-building tool like Squarespace or Shopify, you’ll find that a lot of the optimization has been done already. 

Third-party plugins like Yoast or analytics software might help you understand how your site performs, but every one of them is a burden on your load time. Be very selective with these, only using the plugins which give you the most high-value data you need to increase conversions.

the price isn't right
Image source

5. The price isn’t right

If you know your audience and what they’re looking for, you’ll know how important pricing is to them.

If you’re selling a B2B commodity like warehouse packaging, you’re dealing with totally rational customers who are only looking at your price. If you’re a B2C brand like Apple or Tiffany’s, you can charge just about whatever you like regardless of how much your product costs to make.

There are a few ways to think about your pricing as a factor in conversions. One, you could look at your competitors’ pricing or browse Google Shopping to get a sense of what other people are charging for similar products.

But that’s only going to tell you about their customers. On your own site, you could try A/B testing different prices, discounts, and limited-time offers until you get a sense of what your ideal customer is happy to pay.

6. You need to refine UI/UX

One of the most common reasons people don’t convert on an eCommerce site is poor UI/UX.

A poor user interface will get you customers who don’t know where to go to get what they need. That could be contact information, FAQs, or your actual product page. If they have your competitor’s site open in another tab, they’ll just give up after a few seconds and hop over there.

You could have the best user interface design around and still have a poor user experience. Maybe your elaborate design makes a complicated checkout process even slower to load, or maybe your high-quality photography causes jumping and lag on older mobile devices.

The only way around UI/UX is testing, testing, and testing your site across every device you can get your hands on. This is the quickest way to spot critical issues that might be causing people to abandon your site.

Of course, you can always go more in-depth by mapping buyer personas, user journeys, and A/B testing into a dedicated UX effort. This is a lot of work, but in the long term, it’ll create a site that works perfectly for the specific ideal customer you’re trying to appeal to.

7. You need more content

How many times have you updated your blog in the last three months?

It may not seem like a direct source of revenue but think about this from the customer’s point of view. With online shopping you can’t just see the product for yourself, you’re relying on expert reviews like Wirecutter and customer feedback sites like TrustPilot to figure out which product is the best value for money.

This means your customers are doing research. They’re searching on Google for detailed information about your product and your competitors.

If you can figure out the keywords they’re searching with using tools like Google Trends or Keyword Sheeter, you should be writing blogs relevant to your ideal customer’s problems to catch their interest and educate them on your product.

Whether your content is spreading organically, through syndication, or affiliate networks, it’s one of the most high-value ways to reach out to the right customers. Either way this enables you to get educated high-intent leads to come to your site and stay there. The perfect example of this strategy can be found in Amerisleep’s memory foam mattress article which is full of the technical details that high-intent leads are looking for.

By helping your ideal customer understand their problem better, whether that’s refining their marketing efforts or achieving café-quality coffee at home, you provide some value for free while demonstrating your own expertise. In the long term this builds up positive associations around your brand in the minds of your ideal customers, but in the short term, it’ll help you turn ready-to-buy visitors into satisfied customers.

8. You need to build trust

One reason that first-time visitors aren’t converting into customers is that you’re not quickly building trust in your site.

The most important thing you can do here is to make sure you have an HTTPS certificate set up for your domain. This shows visitors you’re taking steps to protect their data, but it’s also becoming essential if you want to show up on Google search results.

If you’re taking payment, you should make sure your site’s checkout page has some security and trading certifications. That might be Cyber Essentials for security, or a PayPal Verified badge showing that PayPal trusts you’re legit. 

Just seeing contact information like a virtual fax number can increase visitor trust in your company, but Google will reward sites for meeting more specific requirements.

The Google Merchant Center embeds your site’s products into Google’s Shopping tab as well as relevant search results. To earn a place in those results, you’ll need at least two forms of accurate contact info, maybe a phone number and an email, as well as a clearly-placed returns policy.

Having a customer support line on the site needn’t be a burden either. With an ACD phone system, you can route customers to the right team member first-time.

Another way to make yourself more trustworthy to visitors is with customer reviews. Embedding social proof like screenshots of tweets is a fine way to do this, but depending on your industry you might prefer embedding a TrustPilot score in the global footer of your site.

rethink your SEO
Image source

9. You need to rethink your SEO

Targeting isn’t just about ad campaigns and demographics. It’s also about organic SEO which, over time, will have the right customer coming to you without you pursuing them.

As we’ve covered, traffic means nothing if it’s not people coming to buy. So if you’re seeing low conversions from your SEO blogs, consider redirecting your SEO efforts to more high-intent keywords.

That might mean search terms with money-related words like “buy” or “cheap”. It could also include keywords with specific countries in them, from customers who are either looking to buy locally or aiming for quick delivery for something they need now.

10. Your shipping fees are driving people away

A surprise shipping charge is one of the most common reasons customers abandon their shopping carts.

If your missed conversions are actually abandoned carts, that might be good news. As the last step in the customer journey, it means you’re doing everything else right.

You can mitigate this by making your shipping costs clear on the product page, and by offering multiple options for delivery at different price points. You could also soften the upfront costs for the customer by implementing a “buy now, pay later” service in your store’s checkout.

And finally…

As with pricing in general, the best solution for your shipping costs will depend on your ideal customer and how they think about it.

Use this buyer persona as your guide during all changes to your site, and disregard pretty much everyone else. If you focus on what’s good for your best customers, you may lose some low-quality website traffic in exchange for a conversion rate that keeps going upward.


Grace Lau
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered phone systems for small business for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace Lau also published articles for domains such as Tapfiliate and Easy Affiliate. Here is her LinkedIn.