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.