3 Gut-Wrenching Truths About E-Commerce

By January 21, 2013eCommerce

The Best Design (Alone) Will Not Make You Sales

It has long been said that good design will not bring you sales. I’m here to tell you that the sad truth of the matter is that whoever said that was right. Design doesn’t make sales. There are a lot of terribly designed sites out there that make gobs of money.


Craigslist is a great example. It’s an ocean of standard blue text links. The logo isn’t really even a logo. It’s just a serif family font in barney purple. The same purple that shows up on a visited text link. There are no fancy images or calls to action enticing you to post your item there. In fact, there isn’t really any marketing copy on the site at all (with the exception of user generated content).

Yet, Craigslist makes over $122 Million dollars a year.


In the signage industry, esigns is a good example. The homepage looks like a unicorn vomited that morning’s rainbow cereal all over the page. Their testimonials look like they are in 6 point Arial font and they have banner ads beckoning you to leave to other sites. Oh, and go ahead and try to get to their banner product page from the homepage. It ain’t pretty.

Yet esigns is a major competitor in the sign industry.

There are plenty of other examples, but the fact of the matter is, you don’t need good design to make you sales. A good product, or good marketing can easily make up for bad design.

The Best Conversion Optimization (Alone) Will Not Make You Sales

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is all the hype. If it’s not part of your online marketing strategy, you might as well call GoDaddy right now and tell them to shut down your account. CRO definitely has its place in a marketing strategy. I’m not contesting that. However, CRO alone will not make you sales. I know. I know. That’s holy marketing blasphemy. But let me give you an example:

Let’s say you own a Hawaiian clothing store called Coconuts Clothing and you somehow manage to secure the domain name coconuts.com to sell your clothing through. Because of your premier domain name, you already receive 1,000 visits per month of direct type in traffic or from organic traffic from the keyword “coconuts”. You could hire the best team of CRO gurus in the entire world, but I bet that all the design and copy changes they could dream up wouldn’t be able to convert much more than the people that were already converting before you put your last $50k into their pockets.

No. Conversion optimization alone will not make you sales. It’s gut-wrenching e-commerce truth number two.

The Most Traffic (Alone) Will Not Make You Sales

By now, you should already know where I’m going. You could get a million unique visits to your Coconut Clothing site, but if they’re the wrong type of visitor, or if the conversion rate of your site is zilch, you won’t make a single sale.

A Single Marketing Focus is Next to Impossible, And Probably a Bad Strategy!

Ultimately, the last gut-wrenching truth about e-commerce marketing, or any marketing for that matter, is that you can’t just do one thing right and make it. You have to do a lot of things right. That’s why having a solid team with various skill sets is essential to your company’s success.

About The Author

Nelson James is an internet marketing professional and entrepreneur. He co-founded SEO.com and is currently running the start-up Signs.com which sells custom banners and signs online.

About Greg Shuey

Greg is a member of the executive team at Stryde and a seasoned digital marketer who has worked with thousands of businesses, large and small, to generate more revenue via online marketing strategy and execution. Greg has written hundreds of blog posts as well as spoken at many events about online marketing strategy. You can follow Greg on Twitter. Circle him on Google+, and connect with him on LinkedIn

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