Since the pandemic, many companies have pivoted to online-only sales, and eCommerce sales have been growing at a rapid rate. However, with running any online business, there are several challenges that you may face. With technology constantly evolving, and new businesses being created, staying up to date with the latest digital strategies is a must to have a successful eCommerce business.
Read on to discover the most difficult aspects of an eCommerce business, and some solutions from business experts that you can use to help with these challenges.
Having Flexible Refund Policies
Eymel Daniel, Co-Founder ForChics
With most eCommerce businesses, having a flexible refund policy is something that many shoppers look at. For online retailers, customer satisfaction should be of utmost importance, which means that having a flexible return and refund policy will help your customers to feel confident and secure when making an online purchase from your business. Typically, websites with a strict refund policy have more problems building customer trust, which is something your business definitely needs to be successful. To make your return and refund policies as smooth as possible for your customers, make sure that you publish web content specifically about your return process, as well as providing pre-printed return labels to customers.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
Derin Oyekan, Co-Founder Reel Paper
If you have an online retail business, there is a high probability that your company has dealt with problems surrounding shopping cart abandonment, when shoppers add products to their shopping cart, and then exit the website without completing their purchase. One of the main reasons why this happens is that shoppers feel a lack of confidence about their purchase, causing them to back out at the last minute. Using abandoned cart recovery methods such as sending a reminder email 24 hours after a checkout is abandoned is one simple way to keep your business fresh in your customer’s mind, without being too pushy.
Acquiring New Customers
Amanda E. Johnson, CEO and Chief Marketing Officer HIDE
By far the most difficult aspect of an eCommerce business is acquiring new customers. Indeed, whether your strategy is digital ads, social media growth marketing, or influencer partnerships, customer acquisition is expensive, time intensive, and a continuous uphill climb. To increase the likelihood of acquisition, consider creating an incentive-based popup on your home page in exchange for the client’s email address. This will create an immediate call to action. Plus, as email marketing has the highest conversion rate of all marketing channels, capturing their email will allow you to target that same customer for future campaigns.
Retaining Existing Customers
Ben Thompson, CEO Hardwood Bargains
One of the biggest costs that online companies have is acquiring new customers, so instead, try focusing on retaining your existing customers. This can also be a difficult task, but it is much easier and most cost-effective to sell products to a returning customer than to a new customer. In order to retain your customers, make sure that your company is overall delivering excellent customer service. You should also establish ways to create customer loyalty by staying in contact with your customers through periodic email blasts, text messages, and through engaging social media posts. Sometimes using special rewards, sales, and alerts about new products may also help.
Preventing Cyber Security Issues
Ashwin Sokke, Co-Founder WOW Skin Science
With your company’s data all online, and hacking becoming more common, one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce businesses face is dealing with cyber security breaches. Cyber security issues can take away time spent on daily operations, and may even negatively impact your business’s brand image, depending on the reach of the issues. Be sure to always back up your business’s data and to install security plug-ins on your website to keep it from being hacked.
Finding the Right Audience
Ben Teicher, President and CEO Healthy Directions
When it comes to marketing your product in an eCommerce business, finding the right target audience is critical to reach success. While this can be challenging at first, start by conducting market research and analyzing the characteristics of your existing customers. This will help to jump start your marketing efforts. Look at things like social media analytics, Google Analytics, and Facebook Insights to learn more about your customers. By analyzing the qualities that make up your customer base, you will be able to determine your target market.
Crafting Your Shipping Costs
Dan Potter, Managing Director and CEO CRAFTD
One of the most difficult aspects of any eCommerce business that deals with selling is calculating and crafting your shipping costs. While many big-box stores and online retail giants have the luxury of offering their customers free shipping, this is impossible for many small businesses. Therefore, finding ways to get shipping costs down as low as possible is a great way to save you and your customers money. Search for a reliable carrier that will work with your business to find a low rate, or experiment with subscription models and offer deals on shipping throughout the year.
Make Your Products Accessible
Ted Toledano, Founder Modloft
If your eCommerce business sells products such as clothing, or accessories, finding ways to stand out from the crowd is essential to growing your business. You can do this by analyzing your competition, and making your products as accessible to people as possible. Try offering in-home trials and selling quality goods at an affordable price.
Online Identity Verification
Rym Selmi, Founder MiiRO
Investing in online identity verification is a must for any eCommerce business. This helps to ensure that your customers are entering accurate information and are genuinely interested in your products. If you do not have accurate shopper information, this could lead to many problems going forward. Using biometrics, single sign on, and two-factor authentication are some of the ways that you can incorporate online identity verification into your online business. This will help to eliminate chances of fraud and will help to prevent scammers from creating false identities on your site.
Marketing Your eCommerce Business
William Schumacher, Founder and CEO Uprising Food
Marketing plays a huge role in determining the fate of your eCommerce business. Using strategies like cause marketing or relationship marketing will help to drive sales, while also tying your business to a social cause that will connect you with a wider audience. Make sure you are also upselling your products, improving your email campaigns, and capturing more subscribers along the way through your marketing efforts. Using effective marketing techniques will help you to sell more products over time, and will also make a name for your brand.
Incorporating Technology of the Future
Andrew Youderian, Founder eCommerceFuel
I believe VR will still play a major role in the future and will eventually be one of the primary ways people shop, enjoy sporting events and consume entertainment. The problem? People expected the technology to mature practically overnight. Any technology is expensive, buggy and over-hyped in the beginning. But I’d be shocked if at least 50% of computer users don’t own a VR headset by 2027.
Making Your Business the “Point of Decision”
Markus Linder, Founder and CEO Inoqo
In the long run, discounts will come to a plateau, bargain hunting will tire down and choice overload will further hurt sales. The only strategy that will prevail, is providing an excellent customer experience. The focus of any successful business strategy should hence be, to make your store the Point of Decision – the preferred place that customers come (back) to, to complete the purchase or seal the deal.
So whether you are an existing eCommerce business or a startup, competing in today’s digital landscapes can sometimes feel like a daunting task. But remember, with the right marketing and technical skills, you will be able to find your target audience and can work on retaining those customers. This will in turn help to grow your brand, while establishing customer loyalty along the way. Make sure that you use technology to your advantage, and learn to adapt to current digital trends, and your eCommerce business will be well on its way to success.