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5 Reasons Your Competitors are Stealing Your Online Sales

Stealing Your Online Sales

This article was updated on 12/9/14.

There are very few things that are more frustrating for a business than to see your potential customers get stolen by a competitor. Many businesses know this is happening to them, but can’t identify precisely why they are losing sales to their competition.

More often than not, online businesses surrender potential customers to competitors because they don’t have an optimized conversion funnel that seamlessly leads users from the initial discovery of their brand all the way to an actual conversion goal. As a result, users look for other websites that have better online marketing visibility, a better understanding of what kind of content they are looking for, and a clearer navigation path to purchase a product or service.

While the specifics of addressing these issues on your website might sound too complicated to easily solve, more often than not, 1 of 5 issues is effecting your brand’s site in one way or another, and needs to be addressed to keep your competition from stealing away a piece of your online revenue.

1) Lack of Promotion Across Multiple Digital Marketing Channels

When it comes to properly promoting your brand online, using different digital marketing channels is an absolute necessity. While an online business should obviously take the time to identify which channels are going to provide the best ROI from their budget, effectively using a variety of different digital marketing channels can take an online marketing campaign from decent to truly great. This is particularly true if you are an ecommmerce brand, as there are many options that can get you great results:

The power of multiple digital marketing channels
One of the best examples of multiple online channels coming together to help a business achieve better results is the advantages pay-per-click marketing can provide when coupled together with search engine optimization. Both channels are extremely effective on their own, but when a business is able to lock down the #1 position for a keyword on both organic and paid channels, studies have found that organic click through rate go up substantially.

If your competitors have both the top paid and organic positions for a keyword you’re trying to rank for, potential customers are being siphoned away from your business. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward - users feel more comfortable converting with a competitor who has the brand legitimacy to rank well organically, but also has the budget to advertise. When combined, users see a brand with high paid and organic positions as an industry leader. Even if you rank in the first position for an organic keyword and a competitor ranks second, if they have paid ads and you don’t they could be stealing substantial amounts of potential customers from you.

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2) Limited Content Optimization

In a time where content is playing an increasingly large role in SEO success, many businesses are getting their sales stolen because they are missing high quality content on their website that provides value to customers and builds loyalty. With 71% of marketers actively increasing their investment in content marketing during 2014, not creating effective content is no longer acceptable for an online business.

Content Marketing Investment 2014
There was a time when it was acceptable to have a blog on a website that featured 250-word posts that provided little practical value to users, but helped SEO rankings. All that was required was a good understanding of what search engines were looking for, and the technical SEO knowledge to create posts that specifically targeted the keywords a business wanted. These tactics have become increasingly ineffective as Google has grown its algorithms to better understand and rank content like a real user would.

Content should be high quality, and should build lasting customer loyalty at the top of any conversion funnel so that users come back and eventually purchase a product or service after many interactions with your brand. For businesses that still aren't doing this, traffic (as well as SEO rankings) are being squandered to competition that is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to create content users love. Don't let your competition steal your customers. If you provide your users with content that keeps them engaged with your business, your can make sure that online sales aren't being squandered.

3) Failure to Include Personalization

A trend that is quickly becoming common for online businesses is the idea of personalizing content for specific users based on their needs. Marketing personalization requires a better understanding of your customer's wants and needs through demographics. Once you have a good idea of what they are looking for, you can tailor content to specifically for them.

With more than 32% of online retailers not using any sort of website personalization at all in 2014, there is a huge opportunity for brands to get ahead of the competition and win new customers at a competitor’s expense. Some great tools that can be used to do this are remarketing display and search ads, email newsletters, and even building out segments of your website that have specific segments of your audience in mind with unique customer names or welcome messages included, and then driving a target demographic to those pages. This makes it easier for your business to engage users and bring them content at all parts of your conversion funnel that is more tailored to the specific product or service that they might be looking to purchase.

Lack of website personalization
If you aren’t personalizing content for your users you vould be giving them content they find uninteresting. This leaves the door wide open for competitors to more effectively get a user’s attention with content that is specifically tailored for them. This gives your competition an opportunity to come in and steal a potential customer from you.

4) Poor Mobile Presence

One of the most widely publicized ways that businesses are getting traffic and potential customers stolen from them by competitors is by not having an optimized mobile presence. 74% of marketers that are on mobile already are planning on scaling up their spending in the next two years, and if your business isn’t on mobile already not starting now will leave your brand even further behind the competition.

Businesses Are Increasing Mobile Spending
87% of US millennial smartphone users claim that: “My smartphone never leaves my side, night or day,” so it is little wonder that businesses need to take steps to optimize their brand on the devices their customers frequent. Particularly with Google’s recent mobile update that shows users in their mobile search results which websites will perform poorly on mobile devices, businesses need to take a serious look at optimizing their websites for mobile devices or risk losing large swathes of potential customers in both the short and long term.

If that isn’t enough of a reason to take mobile seriously, Google ranks websites for key search engine queries based on whether or not they are responsive. So even if your business doesn’t get many (or even any) sales from mobile devices, not having a mobile presence could still be hurting the amount of sales you’re closing by effectively gifting keywords you should be ranking for to competitors who have a website that can more effectively cater to mobile users.

5) Website Designs that Don’t Convert Traffic

One of the best ways to make sure that your competitors aren't stealing your online sales is to make your online point of sale convert as much traffic as possible. This means creating a website that is visually stimulating to a user, but is primarily built to convert them into customers.

A great way to make sure users can convert easily is to map out your website’s navigation in a way that is logical to users and gets them from the initial point of entry on your website to your website’s conversion pages quickly and efficiently. This means that there should be a clear structure to your website that never leaves users stranded on pages they aren't interested in. A great way to make sure everything is working as it should is to keep a close eye on your website’s analytics – particularly on metrics like bounce rate, exit rate, and time on page.

Straightforward navigation is important, but in order to make sure you’re converting as much traffic as possible, your business should always be testing new elements on your website to understand what gets people converting at the highest rate possible. They might seem like small, relatively innocuous pieces of a website, but things like color, size, CTA copy, and page layout can play huge roles in your website's conversion rate, and only through testing can you find the right combination to get the highest possible amount of users converting.

AB Testing Usage Data
Only 41% of digital marketing decision makers are currently using A/B testing tools to do this, so taking advantage of the benefits conversion rate optimization now is a great way to get ahead of your competition and pry some of your competitors’ customers towards your business.

Don’t Let Your Competition Rob You Blind

When you feel like your businesses is losing online sales to a competitor it is easy to think that your business is offering a product or service that isn’t measuring up to your competition. However, a lot of the time it has less to do with the quality of the product, and more to do with making sure that your online conversion funnel is set up to capture as much of your target customer base as possible.

Working Conversion Funnel
The common issues that we’ve covered that lead to a competitor stealing your potential customers are often easily taken care of as long as your business has the proper time, knowledge, and resources to make sure that they are properly addressed. If you’ve seen your online revenue take a nosedive because a competitor is hijacking your potential customers, let our website design and online marketing experts take care of everything and get your business the sales and brand recognition it deserves.

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Comments on this post

  1. Hi Austin,

    I agree with your all of points. Thanks for such informative article

  2. David Brett said:

    Very productive article! We can stop our competitors from stealing our customers by making sure when our customer thinks of the types of products and services that we sell, they immediately think of us. We can do it simply by contacting our customers regularly and sharing information that they will find valuable and relevant.

  3. A multi channel attack and responsive design for mobiles are the 2 most important things I believe. Anyone just relying on SEO is at the mercy of Google (which is scary!) and mobile use is increasing massively

  4. Mal Milligan said:

    Nicely written. A lot of people forget about personalization and advertising. Shoppers are attracted when they can personally identify with a spokesperson. They are driven by conscious and subconscious decisions. I’m also reminded by your article to push my social media links. Even if I don’t convert a sale now, I might snag someone for my social media stream.

  5. Great points all across, mobile friendly websites are something that I’ve been really educating my clients about recently. It seems a lot of small business owners fall into the trap of “just having a website” without taking some of the somewhat easy and non time extensive steps to give themselves an edge over their competition such as simply having an effective, easy-to-use responsive website.

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