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4 Challenges Entrepreneurs Face With Their Ecommerce Store

Hardly a decade ago, the go-to way to get your hands on something you needed was to get out of the house, travel to the outlet that sold the thing you wanted, pay for it, and bring it back home. Simple. Though doing so required time and effort on the part of the consumer, it also meant that the person would get the benefit of first-hand witnessing the product they were paying for before the transaction occurred. Knowing what you were buying meant fewer chances of you having to return it, getting the exact thing that you ordered, and no shipping costs. All in all, the shopping experience was easy with minimal complications.

Today ecommerce dominates the shopping landscape, with millions of people across the world buying many of their goods online. This has led to a huge increase in digital entrepreneurs but it hasn’t come without challenges for ecommerce store owners. In this article, I first provide a bit of backstory before explaining the four main challenges entrepreneurs face with their ecommerce store.

Shopping trends are changing

The fast-paced lifestyle of today doesn’t gel well with the idea of going out and seeing what they like to buy. This factor and the advancement in information technology collaborated to a new trend of online shopping. The number one reason why people opted for online shopping is that they can shop at any time of the day! This allowed people to order, pay for, and have their products shipped to their doorstep, all at the expense of a few clicks on the keyboard. Life became much easier for the consumer.

The fiery growth of ecommerce

In 2017, 1.66 billion people shopped online at least once. By 2021, the number is expected to exceed 2.14 billion. The online shopping trend bloomed to such an extent that today, there are hundreds of new businesses being introduced every day. It does not matter how unusual or rare the product of your need is – in the massive world of ecommerce; you are sure to find at least a few different companies that sell what you need. These days if you have an internet connection, a device to access it, and the means to pay for the commodity you want, there is nothing that stands in the way of what you want. This is a direct result of the ease there is in setting up an online business today. Without investing a hefty capital, you can now set up a store online and start doing business in no time.

The numerous opportunities are accompanied with as many challenges

Though setting up the business became easier than ever, running an online store did not come without a plethora of challenges. As of today, 90% of new online startups fail before it has been 120 days since they started. Entrepreneurs enter the business thinking that now that they have accomplished setting up a store, the rest will be a joyride. However, the fact remains that the true challenges of owning a business start after its conception. Let us explore a few challenges that you should expect should you plan to start your own ecommerce store.

1st Challenge: Leaving the page with a full cart without making the purchase

This is something we all are guilty of. More often than we make a purchase, we surf online stores and pick out what we like just to close the tab without paying for it in the end. It usually happens when even though we are attracted to the commodities they offer, we have second thoughts about them or find that their policies are not up to our alley. However, if an ecommerce store is facing regular cart abandonment, it is wise that they review their checkout process. To maximize the number of purchases, a business should make the checkout process as easy and quick as possible, before the customer has time to rethink about his purchase.

2nd Challenge: The low number of visitors on your website

With the increase in the intensity of competition, many small and medium-sized businesses get pushed down and ignored because they lack the capital for adequate advertising. This substantially reduces the website traffic for these unfortunate entities and hence result in low revenues. Soon after, the business begins to generate insufficient profit to keep itself afloat and starts edging towards bankruptcy. It is not long that an ecommerce store will die out after being ignored by the consumers. To overcome this problem, it is important to invest in a marketing team that comes up with creative and inexpensive ways to get the word out about your website. This can be achieved with SEO, pay-per-click, or social media marketing.

3rd Challenge: Making personal connections with customers without face-to-face contact

The importance of a good customer-client relationship to succeed at your business is not hidden from anyone. Unsurprisingly, it is more difficult to build a relationship with your customer being an online entity than it is being a physical outlet. After all, how much of interaction can you have while being separated by a screen? However, this does not mean that you can ignore this aspect of running a business. In fact, good customer service can prove to be an excellent marketing technique.

For an online entity, a good relationship starts with being perfectly honest in your dealings. It is wise to put up accurate and real-life pictures of your product, with as little edition as possible. Accompany these pictures with an accurate description of the product to win the trust of your potential customers. Ensure that your policies are clearly mentioned on your website. Offering customizable goods can also bode well for business. For example, if you have an online leather jacket store, offering customized designs help your customers feel closer to you.

4th Challenge: The potential for internet fraud and identity theft

It goes without saying that with online transactions, comes the risk of financial scams. One of the most popular ways to cheat you out of your money is by hackers stealing another person’s identity and placing an order on their behalf. A quick way to reduce the chances of this happening is by asking your customer to provide a valid identity proof. Asking for a valid email address and sending out a verification email to ensure the person who placed the order is real works very well to minimize the occurrence of these situations.

Ecommerce is a trillion-dollar industry and one that has lots of entry points for entrepreneurs. While there are plenty of challenges faced by online business owners, if you can overcome them, and make improvements to your ecommerce site, you can create a profitable company with the potential for global appeal.

Author Bio: About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well.  She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her on twitter: @ashrosa2.

 

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5 Techniques to Get Repeat Customers For Your Business

Repeat customers are the most profitable customers. They spend more per sale and offer the best ROI on advertising spend. However, the stats show a meagre 27% of initial sales develop into repeat customers.

Businesses need to focus on building brand loyalty.

Consumers remember the feelings they associate with a company, even if they forget the logo or brand name. Apart from the basics of providing a quality product, the right marketing and branding can help you develop a strong base of loyal customers for your business.

By following the 5 tips below, you can cut down on churn and turn casual buyers into loyal customers that connect with your brand and keep coming back for more.

1. Engage and Interact

Customers that feel listened to are happy customers happy customers are loyal customers.

Interacting with your customers is a great way to stay in their thinking and build a relationship. A good old fashioned thank you, holiday wishes, and birthday greetings can go a long way.

The problem for the majority of businesses when interacting with their customers? Poor customer service.

Improving customer service is one of the most critical areas for increasing customer retention, especially on social media. Despite 65% of Twitter users expecting a company to respond to them within 2 hours, 70% of people that reach out to a business on social media don’t receive any response at all.

Make sure your customer service is responsive and on point, particularly on social media.

2. Be Consistent

Your customers want your brand to feel the same to them throughout every interaction. Consistency is crucial in building brand loyalty.

Fast food chain McDonald’s is one of the most successful brands ever. This success has been built on consistency –  going to a McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur feels the same as a McDonald’s in Kentucky.

Your brand should have a solid consistency too. Your logo, tone of voice, and design choices should be the same on all digital and social media platforms.

3. Make Your Business Easy to Identity

Pick the product or service you do best and promote that to your customers – what kind of company are you?

The more easily identifiable you are, the more likely people are to remember you and your product. Trying to please everyone and promoting a mass of products and services can leave you making little impression at all.

You need your customers to understand what you do and the problems you can solve for them. That means focusing in on the thing you do best. Nike produces a lot of different sportswear products and clothing. But when you hear the name Nike, you think of trainers. They’re the company that makes trainers. What does your company do?

4. Referral Programs

One of the most rewarding benefits of repeat customers is that they can become great word of mouth ambassadors for your company. While it’s fantastic when this happens without any of your input, you can encourage it by creating a referral program.

Uber has seen great success with their program that rewards original customers with credit for providing a referral and the new customer with a discount. Uber’s strategy encourages new customers, rewards loyal existing customers, and provides everyone an incentive to use their service. Reward your loyal customers and you’ll increase your chances of retaining them for as long as possible.

5. Give Away Freebies

Staying in the minds of your customers is crucial to gaining repeat business. That’s why it’s so important to be easily identifiable and also why companies invest so much in promotional materials that they give away to customers.

This can mean both a physical gift or through the free valuable content that you post on your blog or send in your newsletter. Providing content that is useful and interesting to your customers positions your company as knowledgeable and trustworthy, while also keeping you at the top of the mind of your customers. The note-taking App Evernote has seen great customer retention through posting blog content that is valuable to their customers and aligns with the product they sell.

Conclusion

While offering freebies can help keep you in the mind of customers and a referral program can actively encourage customers to promote your business, creating a loyal customer base doesn’t happen overnight. Engaging with your customers, being consistent with your branding, and being easily identifiable are the building blocks for creating a community of loyal customers around your business.

By applying the above tips, you’ll be on your way to gaining a loyal customer base that consistently chooses you over your competition.

Author bio: George Drennan is a writer on all things e-commerce and the founder of Eagle Content, a UK based copywriting company that helps brands and businesses connect with their clients.

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7 Strategies to Improve Your eCommerce UX

a couple of months ago

Starting an online store is a lot more than just standing up a site that sells things. Just like a brick and mortar shop, there are many functional and aesthetic considerations that make purchasing an attractive idea.

When creating your eCommerce storefront, it is important to think about how your ideal customers will be interacting with it. Enter UX (or user experience, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing). As the name suggests, it is all about thinking of the user’s experience of your site.

So, let’s just get into it. These are the top UX tips for improving your eCommerce store.

Make your product easy to find and easy to buy

The number one rule of selling things—make purchasing easy.

From searching for a particular product to perusing a category, removing obstacles from the process is key to driving users to conversion.

Search

For shoppers that know exactly what they want, a robust site search function is a must. While a lot of eCommerce platforms come with this functionality built-in, you want to make sure that it doesn’t get hung up on little syntactical variations and misspellings.

Find a great site search plugin or have a great development company customize a solution. It will be worth the investment. Visitors can then easily find exactly what they want and buy it.

Navigation

The navigation menu is one of the first things that a user looks at to get acquainted with a website. When someone knows generally what they want, they can shop around by category to narrow their search to the specific.

Clear navigation menus can deliver users from the homepage to exactly where they need to be in the least amount of clicks. Fewer clicks mean less frustration and more sales. Include the most important things in the navigation menu for easy locating. Leave the less important links to the footer.

Categorization

The structure and naming of categories are also important. Again, clarity reigns. Too many categories will confuse your audience. Too few will have them digging through page after page of somewhat related products.

Create clear hierarchies that can push shoppers closer to the products they want. Breadcrumbs help keep this hierarchical system easy to navigate too. Just as a brick and mortar store will have clear signs and sections for each type of product, so should your store.

For example—Men > Tops > Button-ups. See? Easy.

Know your audience

If you don’t know who you are selling to, how can you be effective? Taking the time to identify who your ideal customer is can help drive the rest of your UX strategy. Enter personas.

Personas

These are your archetypal customers. By laying out each sort of person you expect to frequent your brand, you can understand how best to target them. Who makes up your audience decides how you construct your site to serve them.

Persona breakdowns include gender, age, economics, device preference, etc. With a clear understanding of these audience factors, your site can serve your customers in the best way possible.

Function above all else

Fancy and fun is nice, but if it isn’t functional, forget it. While great design is important for grabbing attention, superfluous features like parallax scrolling and image carousels only serve as distractions to the shopping experience.

What a shopper wants above all else when they have found a site is that the site is easy to use. The thing they are interested in is the product, and the product is not your site. The site exists to highlight the awesome things you sell.

Form without function is art, not eCommerce.

Product photos matter

What do your customers want to see? Your products. Don’t skimp on making them look great.

The rest of a site can be beautiful but if the product isn’t looking its best, customers won’t be engaged to buy. As was mentioned in the last section, great design is important as long as it serves to highlight the product.

If possible, have multiple photos available so the customer has the opportunity to really visualize it in their home, at the office, or on their person. We are visual creatures and decisions are often made, in part, with our eyes.

Mobile on the rise

As our phones have gotten more and more advanced, an ever-expanding percentage of sales have occurred on them. On buses and trains and runways and at home, people are increasingly using their mobile phones to make purchases.

Google has gone as far as to consider a site’s mobile version as its main site with regard to search indexing and visibility.

So, obviously, your site should be properly optimized to best serve this ever-rising contingent of customer. Make your site mobile-friendly and mobile responsive ASAP or else lose a significant revenue source. This is most important in menu navigation and easy checkout.

Be consistent

A brand has a unitary voice and style. This develops a unique and consistent experience for the customer. Every brand should create a style guide and abide by it.

When visiting a site, shoppers expect a consistent experience from page to page, from homepage to product pages to cart and eventually check-out. Be certain that you are providing an experience that is clean and consistent throughout.

Be yourself

The reason that you enjoy running your shop is that it reflects your own passion and personality. Create a brand and experience that follows through with who you are and who you aim to serve.

Your passion will extend out to the user’s overall experience of your site, engaging them to continue a relationship with your brand. Because, ultimately, you are fostering a relationship.

Obviously, UX is a big deal for your business. No time like the present to start improving your users’ experiences. Make them want to come back!

Sean Flannigan is the Digital Marketing Specialist at coolblueweb. coolblueweb is an eCommerce web development company based in Seattle, WA. Sean delivers SEO improvements to online stores large and small.

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5 Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Company Needs Digital Feedback

a few months ago

According to Statista, global B2C ecommerce sales are set to hit well over $3.4 trillion this year; a projection which is driving many ecommerce companies to revamp their digital strategies in an effort to remain competitive.

One of the more popular ways of doing this is by adopting a data-informed decision-making strategy. In other words, leveraging the insights derived from data to improve and build upon a digital strategy. Many organizations achieve this by embracing digital tools and technologies that supply them with the data they need to move forward.

In ecommerce, one of the most critical factors for achieving success is a happy customer. In turn, many organizations in this industry put a heavy focus on the customer. This is where digital feedback comes into play. Digital feedback can help ecommerce organizations obtain both a holistic understanding of how to engage their customers, as well as valuable insights needed to meet their needs. But there’s a whole lot more to it than that…

In this article, we will examine 5 reasons why your ecommerce company needs digital feedback.

1. Online journeys are becoming more and more complex

Today’s customer journeys are – without a doubt – much longer and more complex than ever. In the past, online retailers were focused primarily on a simplified customer journey that brought their customers to a singular purchase point. Sounds fairly straightforward, right? Well, a lot has changed since then. Nowadays, they must monitor multiple touchpoints and purchase points at once. To do this effectively, it is important to have a strategy in place that helps these retailers find ways to maximize the value of each of these stages (or touchpoints) as well as build up meaningful relationships with their customers.

This is where digital feedback comes into play.

There are three stages (or parts of the funnel) in which you can collect and analyze feedback: the beginning of the funnel (e.g. measuring the quality of your product content), the actual purchase within the funnel (e.g. capturing exit insights, such as reasons behind shopping cart abandonment), and lastly the confirmation page at the end of the funnel (e.g. measuring how your customers experienced the ordering process through the level of effort it cost them to achieve their goal – Customer Effort Score).

Focusing on these these funnels will not only help grease the wheels for your feedback programme, but also put you on the path towards a better customer experience.

2. You need to better serve your mobile shoppers

Mobile shopping has exploded in the last few years. And this rise in popularity has since redefined the customer journey for retail customers in big ways. In addition to performing research on their mobile devices, consumers are now also making more purchases on their mobiles devices too.

Take it from Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Thomas Husson,

“Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations – it will transform your entire business.”

In fact, according to Google, thirty-four percent of online retail purchases are now taking place on mobile devices. And while this figure serves as a clear sign that consumers are becoming more comfortable making purchases on their mobile devices, it also puts a bit of pressure on online retailers and how their mobile experience comes across for consumers. So how can you optimize the mobile experience to keep your customers coming back?

In-app feedback can greatly enhance the user experience for mobile users. Mobile apps are still somewhat new for a lot of companies, which means there’s a lot of room for improvement in terms of usability. Should something go wrong, you’re going to need a way of finding out where and how.

Your customers are often the first to find technical errors and flaws on your mobile app so having a feedback option available will help you capture valuable insights (in real-time) and quickly resolve any issues that sprout up.

3. Your customers are demanding personalized experiences

Ecommerce companies nowadays are dealing with modern, tech-savvy consumers whose expectations are through the roof. One of the most common of these expectations is a personalized customer journey. Whether this is helping visitors navigate the shopping experience in a way that suits them best, or simply knowing their preferences and past experiences with your brand, it is something we must all incorporate into our digital strategies – especially in the ecommerce industry.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”  – Jeff Bezos

So how can you meet these expectations and put yourself in a strong position to personalize online journeys?

The integration of customer data/profiles and digital feedback can provide your business with rich insights into the customer journey, and thus equip you with the means to provide them with memorable and desirable customer experiences. Combining your feedback with customer data, such as segmentation data & AB test sessions, which are usually stored in cookies and Javascript objects (such as Google Tag Management layers) serve up insights such as loyalty levels (e.g. NPS) across different age distributions or struggles to achieve goals (e.g. CES or GCR) in certain regions of the world.

Not only will this data help you contextualize your feedback and allow you to pinpoint which customers are struggling to reach their online goals and which customers are most likely to churn (less loyal), but it will also guide you in providing your customers with a more relevant and personalized user experience in both the short and long-run.

4. You’re struggling to differentiate from the competition

As a smaller webshop, you do everything possible to steal market share from the “big dogs”. Competing with price is an option, but competing with service and experience is a smarter long-term strategy. By gathering feedback at key moments in the customer journey it becomes clear how your customers experience important online processes. It also shows that you value the opinion of your customers.

Asking your customers for feedback provides useful and actionable insights. It allows you to make structural improvements that make it easier for your customers to order. The easier it is for customers to get something done via your digital touchpoints, the more likely they are to come back. This ensures a higher level of customer loyalty, leading to more sales and better experiences for your customers.

5. The industry is continuously evolving

Customer satisfaction often stems from continuous improvements made to online funnels and web pages, which means your website or app should not be a static medium but rather something that is changing all the time. In other words, analyzing and acting on your feedback is an ongoing process.

Companies are constantly innovating and consumer behavior is constantly shifting. Habits will continue to evolve along with technology and where will we be? We’ll be forced to adapt to the circumstances we are given or lose relevance.

Keeping up with the competition

As you can see, the struggle is real. But every ecommerce company has the same chance of achieving success. The key is recognizing that listening to the voice of the customer is what will put you on that path. Digital feedback provides you with the opportunity to enhance your offerings online, from the customer journey as a whole to each and every individual touchpoint that your customers are wrestling with.

Author Bio: Erin Gilliam, Content Marketer at Mopinion, has a background in international business and digital marketing. Mopinion is an all-in-one user feedback software that helps digital enterprises listen, understand and act across all digital touchpoints (web, mobile and email). It is now one of the fastest growing companies in the digital customer experience space.

 

 

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