The eCommerce business has come to stay – to make things more interesting, it is even on the increase. Gone are the days when people only depended on going to a market, stores, or malls to buy the products or goods they want. Well, this is all thanks to the internet and logistics company, you can now purchase pretty much everything you need at the comfort of your home and have them shipped to you without sweating a muscle.
In fact, more people now prefer to shop online from the comfort of their homes than going to the nearest shopping mall. The make things worse, Covid19’s also restricted mobility in 2019 causing online shopping and e-stores to have a huge increase making it the ideal market for both buyers and sellers alike. This is why having an eCommerce business (in this era) has become a must for lots of businesses as it guarantees great success. However, it poses lots of challenges along the way.
eCommerce is a Fast-Growing Industry
According to recent stats, it’s estimated that there are about 2.3 billion global digital buyers in just 2021 and the sales of eCommerce products account for 18.1% of retail sales all over the world. These stats show the amazing growth and potential of the eCommerce business as an industry. With this, you should understand that eCommerce business is the future of business, and for you to succeed online, either you are running a small business or a big company, you need to adapt to the new trends in this thriving industry and surmount the obstacles that come with it.
Even though there is a huge potential and great success in the eCommerce business, there are several issues that you need to deal with to pave your way in today’s globally competitive eCommerce business. Below, I have listed most of the important issues you could face as an eCommerce business owner and also provided the possible ways to overcome those challenges.
1. Enhance Customers’ Experience with Personalization Approach in eCommerce Business
A great way to establishing a loyal brand for your eCommerce business is by providing a smooth and friendly digital experience for your customers. Although creating a memorable experience for your customers can be a bit challenging; especially now that most shoppers search for products across so many different channels. It is now a must to make your eCommerce platform user-friendly on all platforms. In fact, it is important to note that a large portion of online users use their phones for shopping and searching for items; that’s why your website must offer a consistent and user-friendly experience across all online channels.
Making your platform user-friendly is not just all, personalization is another key factor responsible for a good customer experience. Some people get carried away with providing their customers with a personalized experience and in the end, their customers get annoyed by these behaviors. A case study would be the excessive amount of targeted online ads that may keep popping up to one customer always.
Most eCommerce businesses also miss out on developing a one-on-one relationship with their customers, and this becomes a major challenge for them. 90% of customers world prefer to be treated like a person and not just a number as an integral part of winning their business.
To ensure your customers have a great experience with your platform, you need to use an omnichannel approach that gives the best digital experience for online shoppers across all your channels and outlets ranging from desktops, tablets, and smartphones to social media platforms. also check your website loading speed, navigation, usability and mobile responsiveness. See if there are improvements that you can make.
Also, as an eCommerce business owner, you must focus on developing a 1:1 relationship with your customers. This will increase their loyalty to you and your brand and make them trust you more.
Consistency in an eCommerce business is one the most critical element while building a successful omnichannel eCommerce platform. For every beginner, starting your eCommerce business and being consistent is usually an issue especially when you have limited resources.
You should know that customers use multiple platforms to search for items before making a purchase decision. This is why as a business provider, being consistent and making it seamless for your customers to purchase any product or service offered to them on your eCommerce store is very crucial.
Analyzing and understanding customer interactions across all platform and using it to build consistency and seamless customer experience is one of the major eCommerce business challenges for retailers especially beginners.
As an eCommerce business owner, you need to be consistent in every aspect of your business. You need to optimize your online platforms to deliver complete consistency between search options, display ads, shopping pages, and if possible, shipping details. This will help your customers have a seamless shopping experience on your platform. More also, when they go from page to page; in this case, landing page to sales page, they won’t be thrown off by looks and feel.
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3. Customer Retention
This has always been a big challenge even some of the big players in the eCommerce business struggle to retain their customer base. The reason for poor customer retention in eCommerce can be attributed to lots of factors such as the presence of several similar options, the evolving expectation of the consumer, failure to provide a pleasant shopping experience, and sometimes even the offers and discounts on your competitors’ platforms. We all know that customer loyalty is indeed a determining factor in any business’s success, and even a minor glitch from an eCommerce store can ruin your entire brand reputation for a consumer. Most eCommerce businesses fail to understand that trying to retain a customer involves building and investing in a steady and rewarding relationship with them over time. To do this, you need to employ every channel of communication at your disposal.
As an eCommerce business owner, you need to engage your customers in different ways. Go beyond the transactional correspondence and make them respect, value and have a sense of belonging. In as much as you want to offer a great experience on your website, you must nurture your customers by focusing on personalized communication. Send them emails from time to time, not just about your product or services, give them valuable tips in your email and make them feel you love them, that’s why you are doing all this for them.
Remember, customer loyalty is built from an emotional bonding with the brand, this is why as a business owner, you should align your marketing effort towards building a personal relationship with your customers. A smart customer retention strategy can further improve your brand because even your consumers can become your brand advocates and help further spread the brand reach.
4. Customer Competition
The eCommerce business is full of competition. This is because everyone has equal space and equal rights on the internet hence an equal opportunity is presented to all. This is why the environment is highly competitive. Do you know that you are not the only one offering the product or services you are selling? There may be hundreds if not thousands of other businesses offering the same products or services as you on the internet and to the same space and target audience is presented to them. Even the most specific niche or influencer brands have to fight hard to carve a place for themselves. Not only that, every segment in the eCommerce business is set to get increasingly congested and highly competitive as the years go by.
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You can reduce this challenge through proper and in-depth research with detailed competitive analysis. To do this effectively, you need to categorize your competitors, closely and frequently observe and assess the components of their websites and what makes them unique. This may include pricing, UI design, products, shipping methods, or even the marketing tools and techniques they use. There is so much you can learn from the strengths of your competitors as well as the weaknesses of the competition.
You can take this analysis further with the right tools, by looking into their social media, blogs, websites, and emails, this can provide a lot of insightful information for you to help you understand the eCommerce landscape. Analyzing your competitors will guide and help you decide the best approach to success.
5. Pricing, Shipping & Order Fulfilment in eCommerce Business
Another major challenge with the eCommerce business is, pricing your products & services, shipping your products, and fulfilling orders. The eCommerce business is highly competitive and so pricing may be paramount. You need to use a competitive pricing strategy that suits your target market, industry, and the perceived value of your products. But how do you do that when even your competitors are giving mouth-watering prices.
Aside from pricing, eCommerce businesses most times struggle with shipping and order fulfillment, and this is common with small businesses. For example, when shipping products to customers, you might run into problems in terms of packaging and shipping costs or even customs. And in some cases, the products may arrive damaged there adding to your loss. Finding a way to overcome all of this and have a smooth-running eCommerce business is what will truly make you successful.
To overcome all of this, try to find packaging materials that are durable to guarantee products are safely shipped without affecting their quality, it will help keep your products intact. If one shipping company is not working for you, try different shipping services until you find a good low-cost provider.
For pricing, there are many pricing methods to choose from. This includes ‘Cost-Based Pricing’ or ‘Market/Competition-Based Pricing’; you do your research and pick a pricing strategy that best fits your online business.
You shouldn’t rely on buyers to pay shipping fees as most of them hate it, and it’s considered one of the main reasons behind cart abandonment. Rather, include the shipping cost with the product price & offer free delivery!
This will help your eCommerce business in the long run.
To overcome all of these eCommerce challenges, as an eCommerce businesses owner, you should try operating your business as a modern omnichannel retailer. Focus on turning data into insights, knowledge, and great tools for market leadership. Inspire shoppers and drive customer loyalty with great user experience and personal relationships.
Note for your eCommerce business to succeed, you need to use smart digital retail practices to address the eCommerce challenges facing online businesses with the right set of tools. Finally, this must be supported by strong digital leadership, providing clarity and support with the right resources to help you become a market leader.