7 Reasons Why Your E-Commerce Marketing Methods Aren’t Working


In 2020, the U.S. e-commerce market grew more than 30 percent, with researchers projecting e-commerce sales to account for over 19 percent of all sales by 2024. Although the prospect of so many shoppers is exciting, it's more important to remember that you’ll be competing for their attention with other e-commerce companies. The key to gaining market traction is ensuring your e-commerce marketing methods are effective.

But what if you've invested in marketing initiatives and your sales are stagnant? Continuing down the same path with the hope that sales will increase could leave your budget depleted and may cause your business to fall behind. To avoid these pitfalls, you need to figure out WHY your efforts aren't working and adjust accordingly. 

Below is a look at the most common reasons why your e-commerce marketing methods aren't working and how you can overcome mistakes to increase sales.

1) You Spend Marketing Dollars without a Plan

Famous French journalist and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” This famous phrase is still used frequently today, and it’s even the topic of many marketing articles that focus on the need to develop a strategic marketing plan before moving forward with the selection of specific initiatives.  

To win in the marketplace, you need a marketing strategy. It serves as the playbook for your e-commerce marketing methods, and it’s what lets you size up and identify your competition and quantify your niche. 

2) You Fail to Define Your Target Audience

 man moving groups of multicolored wooden people representing target audience

The path to a bulletproof marketing strategy begins with a clearly defined target audience. While this may seem basic to seasoned marketers, many newcomers to the e-commerce industry forge ahead with advertising and content marketing without knowing whom they are trying to influence. This can lead to you wasting money on e-commerce marketing methods without boosting revenue.

3) You Follow Every New Marketing Trend You See

“Every time new trends arise, the urge is there to jump on the bandwagon and make the best of it. There is a big problem with doing this… When you try to follow trends instead of focusing on your audience, your cost will be much higher than when you stick to your marketing plan.” – Eric Jan Huizer, Content Writer

It can be incredibly tempting to jump on the bandwagon and follow the latest marketing trend. Make no mistake—you should pay attention to what experts are recommending. But that doesn’t mean you should immediately apply it to your own business. 

Just because something works for office supply companies and home goods sellers doesn’t mean it will boost sales for your online medical supply business. Before you spend money on the latest new technique, do your homework to find out whether it's delivering results within your industry.

4) You Have Poor Product Descriptions

Although you may not consider product descriptions to be a part of your e-commerce marketing methods, they can have a huge impact on conversions. Without the opportunity to engage face-to-face and answer your shoppers' questions, you must make sure your product descriptions are clear, informative, and concise. Most of all, they should be relevant to the needs of your target audience. If key information is buried, missing, or difficult to interpret, you run the risk of your shoppers abandoning your site out of frustration. Even worse, your lack of information may drive prospective customers right into the arms of your competitors! 

Here are some tips for writing useful product descriptions:

5) Your Marketing Channels are Limited or Outdated

If you've invested in email marketing and content marketing initiatives, that's a great first step. But to really resonate with your audience, you need to expand your e-commerce marketing methods to include social media marketing, SEO, pay-per-click ads, and video marketing—provided they fit within your strategy, of course. Introducing video marketing to your strategy can be especially beneficial, as 72 percent of consumers prefer video marketing over text marketing. Finally, remember to consider the specific patterns and habits of your target audience as you expand your channels.

6) Your Website Isn’t Mobile Friendly

woman sitting outside with laptop while frowning at phone

Researchers predict that over half of all e-commerce purchases in 2021 will be made from a mobile device. And with mobile traffic now overtaking desktop traffic, you can hardly afford not to optimize your e-commerce website for mobile devices. Failure to make your e-commerce site mobile friendly can lead to frustrated customers, abandoned carts, and sluggish sales.

7) You've Ignored the Customer Experience

“Instead of focusing on key performance indicators (KPIs) like traffic volumes, cost per click and conversion rates, marketers should pay more attention to broader customer-focused success indicators such as level of engagement (time on site, sentiment), content consumption and lifetime value (churn, retention, product propensities).” – Phil Britt, CMS Wire

Ignoring the customer experience is not necessarily a marketing mistake. But it's a problem that can occur when e-commerce owners are so eager to promote and sell products that they fail to focus on the customer experience. This is a costly mistake that can negate all your fruitful marketing efforts. Trustpilot notes that “downplaying the importance of customer experience and customer service in difficult times is no longer an option,” reminding business owners that the customer's voice gets “louder every day.”

While it's important to focus on KPIs, it's vital to never stop viewing your business through the lens of your target audience. One of the best ways to stay focused on this is to schedule a customer experience audit at least twice each year. By auditing your channel-based campaigns and using more sophisticated testing methods, you can optimize the customer experience.

Future Directions

The future is bright for business owners who invest time and effort in their e-commerce marketing methods. To be successful moving forward, business owners must remember that strong marketing campaigns are not developed in a vacuum. You must continually reevaluate your strategy to determine which campaigns are working and which are merely eroding your budget dollars.

By remaining vigilant and looking for signs that your campaigns are underperforming, you can remain a step ahead of your competitors. Conducting a regular audit of your e-commerce site and marketing channels will also help identify opportunities for improvement. Through continuous monitoring and quality improvement, you will be well-positioned to capitalize on the rise in e-commerce shoppers.


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

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Filed Under: E-Commerce & Sales

About Lindsey Perron

As Thomas’ daughter, Lindsey was introduced to the world of sales and marketing at an early age. Curious about what her dad did, Lindsey would jump at every opportunity to help and ride along on sales calls. Always quick to take charge and lead the group—a trait that has only grown with time—Lindsey was frequently told by her parents that she was destined to be a manager or CEO of some sort. While working toward earning her bachelor’s degree in human services from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Lindsey interned with the UW Office of Equality and Affirmative Action and served on several councils, which gave her the opportunity to develop her persuasive writing skills, researching skills, problem-solving skills, project management skills, and more. After working as the lead teacher of the 4-year-old room at the local daycare center, Lindsey decided to switch gears and join the Viral Solutions team. In her position, Lindsey is able to help clients think through an end goal and reverse engineer it into the steps needed to achieve it.

When she’s not working, Lindsey loves spending time with family, be it traveling somewhere together or just hanging out at home.