How to Overcome Prominent E-commerce Challenges
The E commerce industry continues to make leaps and bounds as more and more shoppers prefer to purchase goods and services online.
Covid-19 also made an impact since brick-and-mortar stores had to close down indefinitely because of the pandemic.
The time to start an eCommerce venture night is as good as it gets. However, if you decide to try your luck, prepare to come up against certain challenges that might be difficult to overcome.
Let’s take a look at some of the examples of what will likely hurt your chances of succeeding in the eCommerce industry and how to turn the odds in your favor.
Reliance on Suppliers
Most newcomers are unlikely to invest in their own manufacturing equipment. Instead, they go with the dropshipping business model and rely on suppliers. The problem is that finding a supplier you can trust is not that easy.
For example, if you wish to make your own t-shirt store where you sell custom t-shirts, you will already have to spend money on hiring a designer and promoting the store. Extra resources for a supplier that can produce and deliver quality t-shirts will put even more of a toll on the business.
When looking for a supplier, make sure you end up collaborating with the best you can get. Ask them for examples, research little details, and seek feedback from prior or current partners.
Over 2 billion people purchased goods and services online in 2020. Given how popular ecommerce is, it is natural to expect competition even in markets that have pretty low interest.
When you are researching the available markets to pick a niche for yourself, try to pick an idea that is not too competitive. Newcomers that lack the experience and funds to promote their ecommerce business will struggle to find a place in a market that has plenty of established brands.
Security breaches are another thing that causes online business owners a headache. It is true those small-time online stores are unlikely to be targeted by malicious people, but you cannot predict when and if someone might strike.
Ecommerce deals with a lot of data, including personal customer information. Make sure to keep up with the latest cyber security threats and use the necessary tools, such as security plugins to protect your business from potential cyber-attacks.
Customer Experience and Loyalty
Since customers have so many shops to choose from, retaining customers might prove to be harder than one might expect.
Loyalty is not that common when it comes to shopping online. Unless a store offers exceptional customer support and flexibility while shopping, it should not expect too much loyalty.
If you are looking for that perfect customer, it would probably be better to discard the idea and take a different approach.
Think of ways to improve customer experience in general. Even if you lack the resources, you can start slow. Implementing simple features, such as multiple payment options or writing an in-depth FAQ page to provide customers with answers to questions they might have. If you have a social media page that receives many queries, have someone who can respond to these queries.
Publishing feedback from previous shoppers is also something an online store should have. When someone is browsing products, they are more likely to base their decision after reading customer reviews below a product’s description. A plethora of positive reviews is a good sign, and it should encourage future shoppers to spend their money.
Later on, you should look to hire enough customer support reps to fill the time slots and have it running 24/7.
The bottom line is that each little thing that improves the overall customer experience will help a business to attract new customers and retain the regulars.
Price and Shipping
Some argue that traditional retail stores are doomed because shopping online is more convenient. The prices seem to be lower as well, and you get the goods delivered to your door.
However, the problem with price and shipping is that newcomers might struggle to determine their prices in a way that is fair for the customers but also not low enough for the business profits.
Shipping is also not as easy as one might think. You need to keep constant tabs and stay in touch with your shipping company to solve various delivery issues. More often than not, you will likely need to hire a dedicated person who will manage product shipping from your end.
Returns and Refunds
Returns and refunds are annoying, but they are a part of the ecommerce business. Some customers will be unhappy with the products they receive; others will get goods that do not fit and ask for a replacement.
As someone who owns an online business, you need to make peace with the fact that you will encounter customers demanding refunds and returning the goods.