Running an e-commerce business might sound like a dream. Many people work from home. They don’t have to leave their house, commute for hours, or dance to someone else’s tune.
The fact is, running your own e-commerce business can be an amazing experience, but you do need to put the work in. Here are just some of the common e-commerce business problems you’ll probably face:
1. Stiff competition
No matter which niche you’re in, there will be competition. Do a quick search on any online business site like Etsy or Amazon Prime and you’ll likely find hundreds, if not thousands of e-commerce retailers selling what you do.
That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it may mean you might struggle to grow your business. The fact that there is competition shows you that other people are successful in doing what you want to do. What’s important is to do your research and find a way to differentiate yourself.
One other advantage of having competition is that you have a ready-made pool of places to research. Dig into your closest competitor’s e-commerce website and look at what they sell and how much it costs. Find out what their return policies are, how they deliver, if they charge for shipping, and look at how you can do better.
You can also use competitor research to find good keywords and phrases for SEO, generate new blog ideas, and new product ideas-without copying, of course.
2. Hard to Get Visibility
With so much competition out there, not only do you have to have something to make your e-commerce business stand out, but you also need visibility. People need to know that you exist before they can buy from you.
That’s where having a good e-commerce digital marketing plan comes in. People now expect to find, interact with, and buy from businesses everywhere online. You can build trust and attract your target audience with targeted social media, SEO, content marketing, and possibly paid ads.
3. Staying Safe with Cybersecurity
E-commerce business problems aren’t just internal. In fact, only 14% of small businesses are prepared to defend themselves against cyber-attacks. That’s a frightening statistic, especially as the cost of suffering a cyber attack can be enormous. Many businesses never recover from an attack.
A cyber attack can insert malware and viruses into your website, steal your sensitive customer data, and take your site down. It can also ruin your reputation, lower your customer satisfaction, and cost a lot of money to put right.
The best thing to do is to protect your business as much as possible. Use HTTPS protocol, firewalls, strong passwords, SSL certificates, and other means to keep your business safe from hackers. What’s also important is to educate your staff and ensure they know what to look out for and how to protect themselves.
4. Actually Converting Leads
It’s not enough to drive traffic. You also need a way to convert that online shopper into an actual customer.
A well-designed sales funnel with a solid customer experience can guide your target audience through making the decision to buy. With the right content in place at every stage, you can build trust. You can also show off the quality of your products and your customer service.
It’s also important to build your email list. If Facebook went down tomorrow and you got all your leads from that platform, you’d be in trouble. With a responsive email list, you can continue marketing, no matter what else happens.
Keep an eye on your conversion rate and do everything you can to increase it as you grow. Your bottom line will thank you.
5. Keeping Your Customers Loyal
It costs far more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Ideally, for a successful e-commerce business, you need decent customer retention, with loyal customers returning again and again.
We’ve already mentioned how much competition there is, so it doesn’t take much to lose customer loyalty and for them to go elsewhere. They might have trouble with your checkout process, struggle with your customer support, find a bundle deal that’s better value, and so on.
While you can’t manage what your competitors do, you can manage what you do. You need to put your best foot forward constantly to keep that customer loyalty. Keep looking to improve everything from your products to your sales process and your customer service to improve that customer retention.
6. Returns and Refunds Processes
Speaking of returns, another one of the many e-commerce business problems is the issue of dealing with returns and refunds. Also known as reverse logistics management, it’s something you’ll want a defined process around.
Implement a clear returns and refunds policy in plain English. Don’t try to hide what you offer. Make it clear, because this can be a selling point.
People love to see a clear and simple returns policy and it really can be a convincing factor in buying.
7. Shopping Cart Abandonment
So many e-commerce businesses have to deal with this issue. It may be that your customer found your checkout process too complicated or maybe they didn’t like how much you charged for shipping. Whatever it is, you can do something about it.
Do some research and find out why people are abandoning their cart. Consider offering a discount or other incentive if they’ll fill in a survey. You can then take informed steps to fix the problem.
You can also use automation to send an abandoned cart reminder to customers, perhaps offering a discount if they continue with their purchase.
8. Competing on Price
There’s nothing more soul-destroying than trying to compete on price. You can end up in a price spiral of doom where you’re constantly having to lower your prices to compete against businesses with bigger pockets.
The only solution? Never compete on price. You do have to look at what others are charging for the same product, but you can use that to see how you can be different.
How can you add more value? How can you change what you’re offering so it isn’t the same as your competitors?
9. Choosing the Right Partners
So many companies offer e-commerce solutions for warehousing, fulfillment, and the other services you need to run your business.
This is one of the biggest e-commerce business issues. If you don’t find the right e-commerce platform to work with, you could find that your shipping is too slow or too expensive and that your customer service standards are slipping. This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as an e-commerce business owner.
Carefully choose partners you’re going to work with, whether it’s for your shopping cart, your payment provider, or your 3PL provider.
Handling The E-commerce Business Problems That Come Your Way
There are many e-commerce business issues to tackle on the road to success, but with the right partner by your side, you can have the e-commerce business you really want. Whether that’s solo, in your PJs at home, or with a large e-commerce organization employing hundreds of staff.
Take a look at Tradefull for all your e-commerce business needs, from warehousing, fulfillment, and shipping, to a complete e-commerce platform solution. We’re confident that we provide a quality, complete e-commerce solution. Why not contact us now?