How to Get More Customers to Your Online Store

19 min. read
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Why am I not getting sales on my eCommerce website?

💡 Quick Answer: If you're struggling to generate sales, one of the following issues could be the reason. First, review your website. If your store is hard to use or slow, people will leave before buying anything. Second, make sure you inspire trust in potential customers. Use customer reviews, testimonials, and clear information about refunds and returns to boost your trustworthiness. Lastly, you might need better marketing. If you're not using social media, emails, or SEO to reach people, they might not know your store exists. Fixing these issues could help you start getting more sales.

So, you've set up your online store and sourced some great products to sell. You're ready for the sales to start rolling in.

But then…

Nothing happens.

Setting up an online store is just the first step. You need a steady stream of customers visiting your site, browsing, and clicking that 'buy' button.

And that’s what we’re going to explore in this guide. You’ll learn how to get more potential customers to your online store. From web design tips and promotions to SEO and social media, we're going to share a ton of tricks and tactics to boost sales.

Ready to dive in? Let's get started!

Website optimization

Your online store needs to be engaging, easy to navigate, and showcase your products in the best possible light. Here are the key elements you should focus on.

User-friendly design and navigation

Your design and navigation choices have a huge impact on whether shoppers can easily find what they're looking for and explore what you have to offer. According to a recent survey, poor navigation and design were ranked as one of the main website elements that can annoy buyers and cause them to leave.

Try to keep your product and landing pages clean and clutter-free. Don't overwhelm potential customers with too many elements on the page.

When it comes to navigation, your menus and layouts need to be clear and easy to understand. Think about your main product categories and make sure they are listed in your menus. If you need some inspiration, check out Amazon. The eCommerce giant lists products in main categories and subcategories to help shoppers find what they are looking for.

Mobile optimization and responsive design

Mobile optimization is super important. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and the percentage of retail sales on mobile is increasing every year. So, making sure your online store works perfectly on mobile devices is a must.

First, make sure you use a responsive theme when creating your site. A responsive theme automatically adjusts to fit the screen it's being viewed on. That means it looks great and works well on desktops, tablets, and smartphones.

You also need to think about how people use their phones. Big, expansive dropdown menus don't work well on smaller screens. Keep your site navigation simple and easy to use with tap-friendly buttons. It should be easy for customers to browse and buy with just a few taps.

Fast loading times and performance optimization

Loading times can make or break your conversion rate. In fact, a Semrush study found that the probability of a user leaving a website increases by 90% if the page takes up to 5 seconds to load.

Page speed is also a confirmed Google ranking factor. The faster your website loads, the more likely it will appear near the top of search results.

The most common cause of slow loading times is big files like images. That can be a problem if you have a lot of images for each product you sell. The best way to overcome this issue is to compress your large files. You can use a tool like TinyPNG to reduce image file size without sacrificing too much quality.

If you're selling to international markets, it's worth investing in a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN stores copies of your site on multiple servers around the world. When someone visits your store, they download files from the server that is closest to them. That can make a big difference to loading times.

You can also use a plugin or app to enable browser caching. This lets users store some of your site files on their browser cache. So, the next time they visit your site, the page loads faster.

Clear and compelling product descriptions and images

Shoppers buying online can't touch or try out your products before they make a purchase. That's why product descriptions and images are vital. According to Think with Google, 85% of online shoppers say product information and images are important when deciding which store or brand to buy from.

Your product descriptions need to accurately depict what your product is and what it does. Be as specific as possible, and include important information like sizes, materials, and colors.

Don't just list features. Your product description is an opportunity to explain how those features benefit the customer. For example, if you're selling a backpack, don't just say it has a lot of pockets. Explain what can be stored in each pocket and how it will help the buyer keep their things organized and accessible.

Product images are also super important. Use clear, high-resolution images that show off the features of your product.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of improving your website so that it ranks higher in search engine results. The higher you rank, the more people will find you and visit your store.

Importance of organic search traffic

Organic traffic refers to the people who visit your website from unpaid search results. It's when someone types a query into Google and then clicks on your website in the list of results. According to a study by Conductor, organic search accounts for 47% of website traffic on average.

Unlike paid advertising, organic traffic is free. Once you've established a strong SEO foundation, you can continue attracting visitors from search results without spending big on ads.

Organic search traffic also tends to convert more than other channels. This is because users are actively searching for your products. They didn't just see an ad and click. They are already interested in what you have to offer.

Keyword research and implementation

Keywords are the phrases people type into search engines when looking for something. Your goal is to identify which relevant keywords your potential customers are using and then integrate them into your product descriptions and content.

You can use tools like Semrush and Ahrefs to find keywords related to your products. These tools will give you a breakdown of the monthly search volume and how competitive the keywords are. You'll also get a list of related keywords to help you find more terms to target.

Once you've created a list of relevant keywords, use them in your product descriptions and titles. Make sure they fit naturally into the flow of your content. You can also add your target keywords to your URLs and meta descriptions.

On-page and off-page SEO strategies

There are two main pillars of SEO - on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is what you do on your website. Off-page SEO is what you do outside your website to drive traffic and improve your site's authority and credibility. 

On-page SEO

The big thing here is content. Make sure your product descriptions and web copy are high-quality and include your target keywords. You can also use internal linking to help search engines discover and index your pages.

There's a lot more that goes into on-page SEO. Search Engine Journal has a helpful guide you can use to make sure you're ticking all the boxes for on-page optimization.

Off-page SEO

For off-page SEO, you want to focus on backlinks. These are links from other websites to yours. When a relevant, high-quality website links to your store, search engines view the link as an endorsement of your site.

Backlinks have a significant impact on search engine rankings. According to Backlinko, the top result in Google search results has 3.8x more backlinks than positions 2-10 on average.

Your goal should be to get high-quality backlinks from reputable sites related to your products and niche. One of the best ways to do that is through guest posting. You can contribute a guest post to a relevant website to get your brand in front of a new audience and earn a valuable backlink.

Getting your online store listed in online directories is also a good idea. They can be a good source of backlinks, and it makes it easier for potential customers to find you.

Utilizing meta descriptions, alt tags, and quality content

Let's quickly dive into some of the most important SEO elements. These elements are crucial for improving your website's SEO and making your online store more visible.

Meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short descriptions in search results under a web page title. They give a brief overview of what the page is about. While they don't directly impact search rankings, they're super important for getting people to click on your link.

If you need some inspiration for your meta descriptions, you can use a tool like SEO Meta in 1 Click to spy on your competitors' descriptions.

You should keep your descriptions to less than 155 characters. This means your description will be shown in full and not shortened by Google. It's also important to make your meta descriptions engaging. Include your main keyword and a call to action, like "Discover our exclusive range" or "Learn more."

Alt tags

Alt tags are descriptions you add to images on your website. They describe what the image is showing. This helps search engines and visually impaired users understand what your images are about.

Every image on your site should have an alt tag. Be descriptive, but also include relevant keywords where it makes sense.

Quality content

Quality content isn't just about cramming in your target keywords. Your goal should be to provide value to your visitors. Your content should answer potential customers' questions, solve problems, and offer valuable information about your products.

You can increase the readability of your content by breaking up text with headings, bullet points, and images. This can make your content more visually appealing and easier to digest.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

If you want to get more customers fast, PPC is a tool you'll want to use. It's a type of advertising where you pay a fee each time someone clicks on one of your ads. This means you're only paying when a potential customer visits your site.

Overview of Google Ads and Bing Ads

Google Ads is the big player in PPC advertising. It allows you to create ads that show up in Google's search results and on third-party partner websites.

You can choose which keywords will trigger your ads in search results. This makes it easy to target searchers most likely to be interested in your products.

Bing Ads works similarly to Google Ads but targets users on the Bing search engine. While Bing has a smaller reach than Google, it can be less competitive and offer a lower cost per click.

Targeting the right audience with ad campaigns

When you're paying for every click, it's really important that you get your targeting right. The first thing you want to do is set a location. This will restrict your ads to users based in the markets where you sell your products.

Next, you'll want to choose your target keywords. These are the terms that will trigger your ads. If you've already performed SEO keyword research, you should know which terms you want to target.

You can also create a list of negative keywords. These are terms that you don't want your ads to be displayed for. This is a good way to reduce wasted clicks and maximize your ad spend.

Monitoring and optimizing ad spend for ROI

Return on investment (ROI) is how much you earn compared to how much you spend on ads. You can calculate it by subtracting the cost of the ads from the sales they generated and then dividing that number by the ad cost. You want to earn more from your ads than you spend on them.

Both Google Ads and Bing Ads have built-in analytics tools to help you measure performance and calculate ROI. These tools show you detailed data about your campaigns.

You should adjust your ad budgets based on campaign performance. If a campaign does well, consider increasing its budget to maximize the return. But if an ad isn't performing, it might be time to reduce its budget or pause it to reevaluate your strategy.

Social media marketing

Social media can be a powerful channel for attracting customers to your eCommerce site. You can build your brand, connect with customers, and drive sales with the right tactics.

Choosing the right platforms for your target audience

Choosing the right platforms is super important for social media marketing. You want to be where your potential customers are already hanging out online.

Different social platforms attract different demographics. For example, if your target audience is in the 18-29 age range, Instagram and TikTok might be your best bet. For an audience over 30, Facebook could be more appropriate. Twitter could be a good platform if you're targeting a male audience.

Don't spread yourself too thin. It's better to have a strong presence on a few platforms than to be everywhere without really connecting with your audience.

Engaging content strategies: posts, stories, and live sessions

Your social media content needs to grab attention and encourage interaction. It's best to have a mix of promotional, educational, and entertaining content.

Use promotional posts to show your product in action and highlight the features and benefits. For educational posts, you can share tips and how-tos related to your products.

And don't neglect user-generated content (UGC). You can share photos and reviews from your customers on your social profiles. This is a great form of social proof and encourages other users to engage with your brand.

Live sessions can be a great way to engage your audience. Consider hosting live Q&A sessions where you answer questions from your audience about your products and niche. You can also use live product demos to show how your products work.

Influencer partnerships and collaborations

Teaming up with influencers can be an excellent way to get your products in front of a larger audience and attract customers. This type of marketing tends to work best on Instagram and YouTube.

The key is to find influencers with a following that contains your target audience. If you sell fitness gear, an influencer who posts about health and wellness would be a perfect match.

It's not just about the size of the influencer's following. Sometimes, a smaller influencer with a highly engaged audience can be more effective than someone with a huge but less engaged following.

Paid social media advertising

Here's the thing. Social media platforms have made it harder and harder for brands to reach users organically. Sometimes, you need a little extra push to get your products seen by a larger audience. That's where paid ads come in.

You can use social media advertising platforms like Facebook Ads to get your products and content in front of your target audience. These platforms allow you to target users based on age, interests, behavior, location, etc.

Eye-catching visuals are super important for social ads. You need to grab the attention of social media users as they scroll with high-quality images or videos that stand out.

Once you've got their attention, your ad copy needs to get people to take action. Be clear, concise, and direct about what you're offering. Include a call-to-action that tells viewers exactly what to do next, like "Shop Now" or "Learn More."

Email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to connect with customers. It allows for much more personalization than other marketing channels.

Building and segmenting an email list

If you haven't already, start building an email list. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up. Place your email opt-in forms in prominent places on your website. Many stores include a section on their homepage and blog posts.

You can encourage more sign-ups by offering incentives. That could be gated content, early product access, or an exclusive discount.

One of the best ways to capture emails is during the checkout process. When people make a purchase, ask if they'd like to sign up for your newsletter.

After you've collected some emails, you can segment your list. This will allow you to send more personalized and relevant emails. That will increase the chances of your emails being opened and help you build a stronger relationship with your customers. You can segment your list according to demographics, engagement level, purchase history, and more.

Crafting compelling newsletters and promotions

The last thing you want to do is bombard your subscribers with boring promotional emails. That's a surefire way to get people to unsubscribe. Focus on providing value in your emails. That could be a link to your latest article, a special offer, or relevant product recommendations.

For the email itself, make sure it looks appealing with an attractive design that reflects your brand. Include images, but don't go overboard. In most cases, it's best to use a single, high-quality image.

Most people read emails on their phones, so make sure your emails look good on mobile devices, too.

Abandoned cart recovery strategies

Most people who add a product to their shopping cart won't complete the purchase. That's the same for every online store. However, you can recover some of those lost sales with abandoned cart recovery emails. You can email the customer a friendly message reminding them about the product and encouraging them to return.

Timing is really important here. You want to send the email a few hours after a cart is abandoned. The product is still fresh in the customer's memory, and a friendly reminder is often the nudge they need to complete the purchase.

You can make your cart abandonment emails more effective by including pictures and details of the products. If your margins are big enough, you can offer a small discount or free shipping to encourage them to complete the purchase.

Personalized recommendations and retargeting

Personalized recommendations can be a powerful way to use email marketing. You can use customer data on browsing and purchase history to determine which other products they might be interested in.

Then, you send emails with personalized product recommendations. For example, if someone bought a camera from your store, they might be interested in a camera bag or lens cleaning kit.

Make sure that your recommendations are based on recent customer activity. If someone has already bought an item, they won't want to receive an email promoting the same product.

Loyalty programs and promotions

You're making a mistake if you only focus on attracting new customers. According to a study by Bain & Company, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. That's why loyalty programs and promotions should be a key part of your marketing strategy.

Implementing reward systems for repeat customers

The simplest loyalty program to set up is points-based. You can let your customers earn points for every dollar they spend. Then, allow customers to redeem their points for discounts, free products, or exclusive deals. For example, 100 points could equal a $10 discount.

This can have a big impact on customer loyalty. A recent study found that over 75% of consumers are likely to make another purchase after receiving a reward.

You can also keep customers engaged by offering a special discount or free gift on birthdays or the anniversary of their first purchase with you.

Offering time-limited discounts or flash sales

Time-limited discounts and flash sales are a great way to create a sense of urgency and boost sales. You can promote the flash sale on your social profiles and email newsletters to build excitement and attract more customers to your store.

This tactic tends to work best around the holiday season when people are looking to buy gifts. It's also a good way to clear out excess stock and seasonal products.

The key to a successful flash sale is keeping it time-limited. You want to create a sense of urgency that encourages customers to act fast.

Bundling products for special deals

Bundling products together is an effective way to increase average order value and drive sales. You can sell more products, and your customers get a good deal.

Think about the products that naturally go together. For example, Harry's creates bundles with shower gel, face wash, and moisturizer. The products in the bundles complement each other.

It's also important to offer value for money. The deal should be cheaper than buying the products separately. You can motivate customers by highlighting how much they will save by buying the bundle versus buying items individually.

Affiliate and referral marketing

Affiliate marketing and referrals can be a cost-effective way to increase sales and reach new audiences. You only pay a fee or provide a reward when you get a new customer.

Partnering with bloggers and influencers for product reviews

Most people check out reviews before they make a purchase online. In fact, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions.

Partnering with bloggers and influencers for product reviews is a smart way to get your products in front of a new audience. You can leverage their reach and credibility to build trust and awareness.

The key to a successful collaboration is to choose influencers and bloggers with an audience that matches your target demographic. Once you've found a potential partner, reach out and offer a free product in exchange for a review.

You can also offer payment for each sale that your partner generates. Provide your partner with an affiliate link or unique promo codes to track the sales and see how effective the reviews are for your online store.

Setting up a referral program with incentives

You can also leverage your existing customers to boost sales by setting up a referral program. For every new customer who signs up through a referral, you can provide an exclusive discount, store credit, or another reward.

Make it easy for your customers to refer people with a simple form or a referral code they can share with friends. And don't forget to promote your program. Spread the word on your social channels, add a section to your website, and launch an email campaign.

Engaging content creation

Good content attracts people to your store and encourages them to buy your products. You drive more traffic from search engines and keep your followers engaged on your social media channels.

Starting a blog related to your niche

Starting a blog is a great way to connect with your customers and boost SEO performance. You can create content that answers common questions or solves problems related to your niche. This can help you build trust with potential customers and promote your products.

Make sure you share your blog posts on social media and in your email newsletters. This can drive more web traffic to your blog and introduce your content to a wider audience.

Creating how-to guides, tutorials, or product demonstrations

For your content to drive sales, it needs to be actionable. That's why how-to guides, tutorials, and product demonstrations are so effective for eCommerce. You can show people how to do something or achieve a goal using your products. For example, if you sell cooking tools, you could create a tutorial on unique cooking techniques.

Product demonstrations can also work really well. You can show the features of your products and explain how they can improve your customers' lives.

Video marketing on platforms like YouTube

Videos are the most engaging type of content. They're a visual and entertaining way to share information. That's why they are so popular with marketers. In 2023, 91% of brands used video in their marketing strategies.

You can use videos to show your products in action. It's a much more engaging way to demonstrate the value of your products and give them a real-life feel. This helps customers visualize how they would use them.

If you're sharing your video content on YouTube, make sure you optimize for search. That means using relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags to make them more discoverable on the platform.

Customer reviews and testimonials

Customer reviews and testimonials can make a huge impact on conversions. When customers see positive feedback from other buyers, they are much more likely to trust and buy from your store.

Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews

When a customer has made a purchase, reach out with a friendly email asking them to leave a review. The timing of your email is key. You want to leave enough time for the customer to receive and use the product. Shoppers are much more likely to leave detailed feedback when the experience is fresh in their minds.

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave a review. Include a direct link to the product page and keep the process straightforward. A simple star rating with an optional comment box can work well.

Showcasing testimonials on the website

If you sell unique or private-label products, you should consider adding a testimonial page to your eCommerce store. It can be a great way to build trust and show off the good things people are saying about your products.

Try to use a range of relatable testimonials. If a customer shares a story about how your product solved a specific problem, that can be a powerful form of social proof. And if possible, include photos of the customers and the product they purchased. This can add authenticity to the testimonials.

Addressing and resolving negative feedback promptly

You will receive negative feedback at some point - it's the same for every business. However, how you handle negative feedback can significantly impact customer satisfaction and your reputation.

If you get a bad review, contact the customer as soon as possible to show that you care and want to address the issue. A recent survey found that over 40% of people are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.

Apologize for the customer's negative experience and try to offer a solution. Ask the customer what you can do to make it right. That could be a refund, a replacement product, or a discount on future purchases.

Partnerships and collaborations

Partnering with other businesses is an opportunity that many eCommerce brands overlook. But these collaborations can be a super effective way to reach a broader audience and expand your range of products.

Collaborating with complementary brands and influencers for giveaways or joint promotions

You can create buzz and boost brand awareness with a joint promotion or giveaway. These collaborations encourage interaction and often get a ton of exposure on social media.

The key is to find partners with an audience or customer base similar to your target market. If you sell eco-friendly cosmetics, teaming up with an eco-conscious beauty influencer or a sustainable fashion brand makes sense.

Participating in online marketplaces or pop-up events

You need to sell on more than one channel to build a thriving business. That's why many brands sell on online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. These platforms have a huge audience of potential customers that you can tap into.

Just like on your own website, invest time in creating compelling product listings. Use high-quality images, detailed descriptions, and competitive pricing to stand out. It's also important to keep track of inventory and synch your stock levels to avoid overselling.

You can also take your business offline by participating in pop-up events. Look for events that cater to your niche or target audience.

Your goal is to make sales, but you should also try to build relationships at these events. Consider offering a discount or freebie in exchange for customer email addresses.

Driving eCommerce sales in 2024

We've covered a lot of different strategies you can use to attract more customers to your online store. But these tactics alone are not enough. You also need to offer top-notch products and excellentl customer service.

That's where SaleHoo can help. If you need help sourcing products for your store, check out the SaleHoo Directory. You'll find millions of products from over 8,000 vetted suppliers, so you can be sure you'll find great products in your niche.

If you have any questions about the strategies in this guide or need help with anything related to eCommerce, our 24/7 customer support team is here to help.


About the author
Alice Delore

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  • Yaacov gatenio 27th of August
    Great for new e-commerence owners. first steps - explanations how to optimize your srore for SEO. open my eyes Thanks
  • Pauline Fredrickson 27th of August
    Thanks so much for this information. I did know some of this stuff but did not understand meta descriptions so this will certainly help there. I think perhaps there is a slight typo in the section on "keywords in your url" where you suggest that selling cameras is better suited to a garden furniture url. I guess you actually that selling garden furniture would be better suited to such a url. Thanks for a great and informative article.
  • LKH 28th of August
    Fantastic Help! I will start implementing these ideas into my new website today.
  • budakboy 28th of August
    Good info, really help. Looking forward to join saleeho...
  • Alice Delore 28th of August
    It's great to hear from all you website owners!

    @ TravelingBuffalo, my point is that domains (URLs) which contain keywords that your buyers will enter into a search engine will rank better than domains that do not.

    This is simply because buyers are not likely to search using the keywords 'Colorado + gardens' but are much more likely to use 'garden + furniture' - and this is one of the things that search engines look at when ranking websites.

    I hope that's clear :)
  • Anita 28th of August
    Great info, Thanks for sharing!
  • Patricia 30th of August
    Thanks heaps. Great info for a new website owner like me. Thks again!!
  • Jose 30th of August
    Thanks a lot... very important info for us...
  • Claudette 30th of August
    Great stuff. Info came just at the right time and has put an end to most of my worries. You guys are great. Thanks.
  • John 8th of September
    Great info. I just don't know how to do it. I am working on a gbbo site and need info on Buttons and linking. The difference between types of pages such as URL. I am very interested and will learn. Thankyou for your free information. It is good reading.
  • adele gockenbach 12th of September
    Super info for us newbies. I find i am havig a tendency to use one word keywords so now I need to get more specific keywords . You want to target specific keywords to get the buyers not the browsers . How do you make a you tube video ? Please let me know how I can make a you tube video . Adele G
  • Richelle Monfort 13th of September
    Hi arcollectables, May I suggest checking out one of our products, Traffic Travis, a desktop software designed to help online businesses boost their website traffic. It is an all-in-one tool for keyword research, search engine optimization, pay-per-click research and monitoring, and general website analysis. To learn more and download your free copy please go to: Also, here are couple to links to help you create and upload a video on youtube: Hope this helps. All the best!
  • Gregory Cox 26th of September
    The statement that I found most interesting was, “when most buyers go looking for an item they want to buy online, they do a quick Google search, and click on one of the first 3 websites that are generated in the search results.” I found myself asking... Really? Are most buyers really that dumb? I started buying online before Google existed have never have done anything like this to make a purchase. I might do it to establish a starting point or baseline. I think it is safe to say that I always check at least 4 or 5 different sites before I buy anything.
  • Jennifer Cook 14th of October
    This is a very informative article. I am currently using some of these tactics to get traffic to my sites, and they do work extremely well.
  • Evan Davis 15th of January
    This is excellent information. I would add, as well, that mass article directory and blog submission can drive large amounts of traffic almost immediately and allow for the steady increase in traffic over time. There are many popular submission tools such as spin distribute, iSnare, and Content Spooler. I personally have been using Unique Article Wizard (UAW) with good results. The point, though, is not which tool or software, but the large scale distribution of content over as many publishing sources as possible. Combined with rss feed distribution, social bookmarking, and social news sites such as Digg, Propeller, and Reddit, (to name a few examples), and skillful use of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you can really develop a powerful flow of traffic. In addition, there are now a number of software tools available that effectively leverage the potential of profile links. The key, here, is to take action on as large a scale as possible over as long a period of time as possible.
  • Miguel Cebrian 17th of May
    Great! Excellent Info... now ill start with the right steps... ;)
  • breezy808 27th of October
    Good information, since I am a newbie, it's just way high above me... I don't really understand how to do it.
  • Irene Vallejo 31st of October
    @breezy808: As Alice has mentioned, you just need to keep researching, and keep on working towards creating a long-term plan for getting more traffic to your site. :) Have a read on Affilorama's free lessons about meta-keywords tag and meta-description tag at
  • michelle johnson 18th of December
    Great information especially about the keywords for your Homepage and Title and also about keyword research. This will come in very handy as I have an ecommerce website myself and I am also looking for ways to increase traffic.