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Why Visitors Are Leaving Your eCommerce Website

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 7 min read
Why Visitors Are Leaving Your eCommerce Website


The rise of eCommerce businesses is undeniable. Thanks to the ever-evolving pandemic, eCommerce businesses are flourishing beyond their horizons. Because the eCommerce outlook looks promising, as evident in the figures shown in Statista, the competition becomes tighter as the eCommerce space expands.

There are many similar eCommerce business owners like you out there. Hence, your visitors are spoilt for choice. What sets you apart from the rest? What makes your visitors stay and shop at your online store? What encourages them not to bounce off your store?

As an eCommerce business owner, you work hard to build your eCommerce store and look forward to increased traffic. After several days of enjoying good traffic and sales, you face a drop in traffic. You notice a surge in the bounce rate. You start to panic and feel lost. Don’t despair. The purpose of this article is to help you identify what went wrong and help you rectify the problem(s).

If people leave your eCommerce website, there is a gap between your eCommerce store and the visitors that you must promptly fix. Sometimes, it could be the choice of eCommerce platform that you use. Whatever it is, you must stand in your visitors’ shoes and see from their perspective. Doing so helps identify what pains them. Then you will know how to rectify the issues, a key to growing your eCommerce business.

1. Poor Navigation

Your eCommerce website’s interface is what your visitors see when they shop. They want to browse things without having to wreck their brains. After all, shopping is an emotional experience that should be enjoyable. Like entering a physical store with products and clothes all strewn everywhere (a turnoff), the same applies when your online store sports lousy and poor navigation.

Your visitors have busy routines. Hence, they want to gain instant access to what they want. If you create unnecessary confusion or present many irrelevant and broken links to them, they will not think twice about shopping elsewhere. Also, they leave your store with a bad taste in their mouths. You wouldn’t want this, would you?

What You Can Do

A bad search function wrecks sales A bad search function wrecks sales (Source: Marketing Charts).

Your online store needs to sport a straightforward and easy-to-access menu on the main landing page. The menu should contain essential points of your business, with product categories displayed and correctly categorized offerings. Have your sub-menus as minimal as possible. Your customers should not need to dig deep to find what they want to buy.

Pave a convenient path for a good user experience when visitors shop at your store. Provide clear Call-to-Actions (CTAs) at the right places to help guide them. Also, ensure the search function works as it should. Do not experiment with your buyers’ patience by making it difficult for them.

Include a filter option that works. People give up if you make them browse through various product grids. Hence, incorporate a layered and filtered navigation approach for easy navigation. Keep your pages short to avoid endless scrolling down; this only turns off your customers. Avoid using too much technical jargon. Ensure simple words, self-explanatory menus, and effortless navigation to increase conversions.

2. Complex Checkout

Your buyers happily shop and add several items to their carts. They have decided to make the purchase and proceed to the checkout page. However, they still need to key in more lengthy and unnecessary information. Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes. Do you think they'll be happy?

A complicated checkout process is one of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment. Although you have done an excellent job convincing them to buy, you have to see them leave because of the poorly designed checkout process. Isn't that a shame?

What You Can Do

Imagine you are the customer and go through the whole checkout process. Identify the pain points and take the necessary measures to resolve them. Design your checkout process to be straightforward and hassle-free. Obtain only mandatory information from the buyer. The rest should be optional. Even better, design your checkout page so that your buyers need not key in anything.

Information such as delivery addresses, and contact information, can be keyed in beforehand and saved. There’s no need for your customers to keep inputting the same information for each purchase. Also, all pricing and fees must be clearly and accurately displayed. No last-minute hidden fees. Your buyers may think you are trying to deceive them.

That said, even if you have a straightforward checkout process, many can still abandon their carts if the process could be smoother. Look into your web hosting, as you may need an upgrade.

3. Delivery too Slow

Merchants often need to focus on the pre-sales rather than the post-sales. While it is understandable that your concern is to increase conversions, you must ensure that your buyers are happy with your products and service. To do that, they must receive their products speedily.

Can you imagine the excitement burning within while anticipating the arrival of your purchases? What happens if your buyers wait too long to receive their highly-anticipated merchandise? Their joy turns into frustration. They get upset and turn to complain and seek refunds. They believe they are better off buying from somewhere else.

What You Can Do

Speedy delivery is of utmost importance in the eCommerce business; this is a discerning factor that pushes a buyer to shop with you rather than your competitor. Same-day delivery or two-day shipping promises make merchants stand out among the ocean of sellers for increased sales.

Never adopt the mentality that you ignore the rest once you get the money. No, your job is far from over. You must ensure that the product is securely packaged and shipped out within the specified time. If there’s any delay, ensure to inform your buyers beforehand. Setting the right expectations earlier on at least helps put your customers at ease.

4. Unclear or No Refund Policy

Remember, when your buyers shop online, they cannot feel and test the product beforehand; this is one of the biggest obstacles to online purchases. You have to incorporate various methods to help give assurance to your visitors for them to convert.

Ask yourself. Would you part with your money on an eCommerce website that paints a picture of ‘river of no return’?

What You Can Do

Including a return and refund policy is highly essential for every eCommerce business. You’d only annoy and drive your visitors away if you don’t have one. If you have a return and refund policy, ensure it is reasonably fair to both parties. Also, publish all necessary policies on your online store and make them easily accessible.

If one of your products is unavailable, be proactive and contact the customer to arrange an exchange with another similar product. It is about adopting a customer-centric and customer-friendly approach to gain loyal customers.

5. Lack of Relevant Security

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise. The worst thing that can happen to any eCommerce business is to be hacked by cybercriminals. The repercussions are disastrous and enough to sink many. Remember that numerous money transactions and personal details are transacted in your online store.

Hence, it is understandable that people only go for credible and trusted stores. It is not easy to earn a visitor’s trust, but it is easy to lose it. Visitors usually leave eCommerce websites because of what they don’t see rather than what they do see.

What You Can Do

Your eCommerce website's credibility impacts a buyer's decision. As such, you must secure your online store. Use HTTPS connections for your store through SSL-enabling your website (tiny padlock at the side of your store’s URL); this is a security need to encrypt the communication channel. Some of you may have multiple domains. Hence, you can consider multi-domain SSL.

Deploy only trusted and reputable payment gateways. Your visitors will flee once they notice anything dubious about your website, especially payment options. Ensure your web host is trustworthy with relevant security policies and practices, including proactive monitoring to prevent unwanted incidents, malware scanning, firewalls, and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection.

Use military-grade encryption to safeguard your customers’ information. Abide by GDPR and prominently display trust symbols and security badges. Do right by your customers by taking all the correct measures to protect them.

6. Your Website is Too Slow

You have built a seamless eCommerce website with beautiful images and easy navigation. On top of this, your products are top-notch, and you have a straightforward checkout with the relevant security measures in place. However, your visitors are still leaving your online store. Why?

Generally speaking, people do not wait more than two seconds for a website to load. There are many selling similar products. As such, people will not hesitate to leave for somewhere else where they can efficiently get what they want. It also won’t do your business good if your store is often down. Your visitors equate your brand to a website that doesn't work, which is bad.

What You Can Do

Google PageSpeed Insights helps check your website’s performance Google PageSpeed Insights helps check your website’s performance (Source: Google PageSpeedInsights).

Meet your buyers’ expectations and ensure your eCommerce website gives them top-notch speeds and performance. Several ways help:

  • Oversized images/videos - determine the optimum size and scale for them.
  • Bloated code - minimize code and scripts, and reduce JavaScript usage.
  • Huge files - compress them.
  • Outgrown web hosting - look into your web hosting and upgrade accordingly.
  • No Caching - adopt the necessary client and server-end caching.
  • No Content Distribution Network (CDN) - Using a CDN helps with speeds and performance, especially if you have global buyers.

It is best to perform regular performance checking of your eCommerce website to help maintain quality speeds and performance. After all, your goal is to afford your visitors a positive user experience.

Wrapping Up

It is the goal of every eCommerce website owner to retain their visitors. Many have tried but scratch their heads when still facing the issue of visitors clicking the ‘Back’ button. Remember, your eCommerce website is not about you but your audience. Hence, always look from their perspective and cater to them.

Peruse the above and see if any applies to you. If yes, don’t worry. Be swift to take the necessary steps to resolve them to convince more to stay.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience . He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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