Five Reasons Why Your Business Isn’t Converting Online Customers

George Ioannou, Partner at Foolproof, identifies the top five reasons why businesses struggle to convert clicks into business value, and what you can do about it…

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but attracting new ones, engaging with existing and enticing old ones back can be difficult in a competitive ecommerce landscape. The smartest businesses will already be evolving, or are planning to evolve, their market-leading products, services and propositions to serve genuine customer needs by using insight-led design and engineering. These businesses will continue to do so as the world and expectations shift around them.

On the flip side, there are businesses allocating considerable marketing spend towards digital advertising, as a means to securing conversions. This is while the EU plans to pass laws which make data acquisition much harder for advertisers. Often, the businesses with big digital advertising spends find themselves with a high number of clicks in comparison to sales. That’s because, without an overarching strategy and the right human insight, digital ad spend alone doesn’t work.

That said, with the right focus, optimisation works for everyone. Businesses should prioritise their customer’s goals, as well as their own. The sweet spot is somewhere between raising Profit and Loss (PNL) and customer satisfaction levels.

To help you and your team, I’ve compiled some pointers based on the clients I’ve worked with and their secrets to optimisation success:

1. Use Data to Form Customer-Focussed Journeys

First off, it’s wrong to focus on “clicks” or assume they’re meaningful in their own right. They’re a vanity metric at best and usually bought. To make clicks more valuable, you’ll want to take a step back, assess the purchase journey and think, how do we get customers from point a, to point b.

Many businesses already have access to the data required to power more meaningful journeys. Sometimes, it’s knowing what to do with the wealth of data at your disposal. Data is simply information and though it can be daunting to interpret and apply, your business, offering(s) and customers are all going to benefit from its use.

Think about hiring data scientists and researchers to make sense of the information you’ve got, and put an optimisation strategy in place, which complements the overarching experience you wish to deliver and fuels a journey worth taking, one that’s rich in customer value. Be prepared to harvest even more insight, or abandon what you have and start afresh.

2. Investments Aren’t Being Made in the Right Places

With 53% of UK businesses allocating 5% of their budget to optimisation, and far more to digital ad spend, it’s clear why brands are failing to convert. Investing in the means to unearth insight is the single most important thing you could do as a brand today. As mentioned, the EU plan to revise data regulations and Safari and Google are phasing out Third-Party cookies which, for advertisers, is bad news with limited access to data sparking a need for genuine innovation.

There’s never been a more important time to invest in testing and customer research. Lots of businesses might garner attention from customers but with paid ad spend, that attention isn’t always focused enough. It usually comprises multiple customer types who might then struggle to navigate a user journey built for someone else entirely.

With customer insight and a focus on serving their needs, this is easily avoided. The ads and experiences you put out will speak to each other as well as the right people, and once that happens, you’ve a much greater chance of raising conversion rates and improving customer retention.

3. Quality Insight Is Not Being Captured or Applied Correctly

In an increasingly digital world, data is a valuable commodity. A few years ago, The Economist and other business publications were quoted as saying it was the “new oil”. Like oil, its inherent value is exposed and realised only once it’s applied to the right context.

With data and, more specifically, insight, you gain a more complete understanding of what your customers are doing and why, given you’ve used the correct blend of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Once you know why, it’s far easier to revisit and improve your offering.

Insight doesn’t lie and, in our world, is used to inform design and technology choices that power experiences that better reflect what your customers want to achieve, guiding them from campaign to basket. The same kind of insight can be used to create engaging ads that encourage customers to buy and look into your brand.

4. Lack of Testing & Experimentation

Businesses don’t have to get it right straight off the bat. Be prepared to experiment, especially when it comes to advertising. One of the main reasons your clicks aren’t converting is usually because what you’re putting out isn’t engaging enough. To gain a better idea of whether or not your ads are working against your intentions as a brand, put them in front of real people.

Within business, there’s a glaring dependency on quantitative research which is helpful but won’t shed light or much detail on why your customers aren’t drawn in by your tagline let’s say. With deep, qualitative insight, you can be much more targeted in your advertising. Once you’ve nailed your audience and formed a view of what they want from your brand, it’s far easier to focus your experimentation.

5. There’s No Joined-Up Conversion Strategy in Place

Combining knockout ads which complement a first-rate experience is going to work wonders for conversion. With everything aligned, you can expect to deliver a connected ecosystem that builds loyalty, encouraging customers to purchase time and time again.

The brands that do this best are those with a view of all the actors that play a part in the orchestration of an experience and how everything fits together. To achieve this yourself, conventional and siloed ways of working must be replaced with a human-centred culture and a strong focus on experimentation.


Shoot for Success with Your Conversion Strategy

There are a multitude of reasons why your business isn’t converting clicks. Without the right organisational structure, an ambition to serve real people, and engaging campaigns, your conversion rate will remain stagnant.

To make sure your output and efforts aren’t put to waste, and instead convert, delight and inspire customers, you’ll want to prioritise their needs. Needs you unlock by having open and honest conversations with your customers.

About Our Guest Writer

George Ioannou
Managing Partner, Foolproof

George is the Managing Partner of Foolproof, an experience design company that deliver digital products and services worldwide as part of Zensar. He is responsible for ensuring Foolproof’s clients are aware of and ultimately leverage the breadth and strength of digital services offered by the company. George has spent 25 years working in the digital space, specialising in large-scale digital transformation and ecommerce engagements. His experience spans most industries and business size, ranging from small business to Fortune 100 Companies. George previously worked at Wipro Digital.