Building an ecommerce business is easy. Making it successful is not.
As we go into 2022, companies in this arena face profound challenges, but none that they can’t overcome. What’s more, the world is currently working in their favor. Total online sales are rising due to the pandemic, and consumers are changing their habits every day, shopping online instead of going to the store.
In this post, we take a look at some of the stumbling blocks that all ecommerce businesses face right now (and how to overcome them). Check them out below.
Refund Policies And Product Returns
Ecommerce businesses are discovering the hard way that consumers aren’t always happy with the products that they receive. According to data, more than 60 percent of shoppers consider returning items they buy online every year.
For this reason, your store’s refund policies and product returns matter. You need to put procedures in place that can reassure nervous customers that they will be able to send items back to you if they don’t work as intended.
Remember, as a retailer, customer satisfaction is your biggest priority. If there are other stores in your niche offering superior returns, that will give them a competitive edge.
The solution here is to do the following:
- Implement a flexible return policy
- Reassure customers throughout the buying process that they can send goods back to you for refund or replacement
- Clearly state the conditions that you apply to returns (such as “products must be undamaged and fit for resale”)
Problematic Pricing And Shipping Policies
Getting pricing and shipping right is currently a major challenge in the ecommerce sector. It’s such a major hurdle that many players in the industry dedicate large chunks of their research and development budgets to solving it. For instance, Amazon invested millions of dollars into developing one-click purchases and its Prime membership offer.
Most consumers don’t want to pay extra for shipping. Asking for more money on top of the regular sale price feels like a bit of a steal. Yes, the nominal price of the goods might be lower than your competitors, but when you add shipping to the mix, the overall cost is higher. That’s not what customers want.
There’s no way to totally eliminate shipping costs as a business expense. You still need to pay for warehousing, couriers and so on. However, there are ways to combine it with the price that you charge.
For instance, you might consider offering a subscription service. This fee could cover all orders within a given period, say a month. You could also include the price of shipping in all your prices across the board and then offer discounts for customers who order $50 or more worth of goods. This way, you’re not charging extra for shipping, just offering better value when customers buy more.
Of course, there’s no easy solution to this problem. Most ecommerce companies are simply offering free shipping or following the market leader in this area.
Difficulty Standing Out
Somebody sitting in their bedroom now has the ability to set up an ecommerce store. All they do is log onto one of the major platforms, play around with the tools for a while, create a website and list their products. They can then connect with dropshippers who will deliver them for them.
In a marketplace like this, it can be challenging to stand out. There are just so many people out there looking for a quick buck.
The trick here is to thoroughly analyse your competitors – the successful ones. See what they’re doing and figure out whether you can emulate it.
Try using analysis tools to see where they are getting their leads, how they’re generating backlinks, and the number of visitors they’re getting to their site. See where and how they’re advertising and try to work out whether it is working for them or not.
If that sounds too technical, get a professional marketing agency to do it for you. By conducting analysis on your behalf, they can often provide insights that you wouldn’t be able to generate yourself.
Many people might be arriving at your site, perhaps attracted by the prospect of low prices, but if they’re not buying, they might as well not be there.
Ecommerce sites that get a lot of traffic but relatively few purchases are more common than you might think. Web users like their sites, but when it comes to actually making a purchase, they’re wary.
There are several things that you can do about this.
- Target the right audience. Make sure that you’re actually attracting the kind of buyer likely to purchase from you
- Check that your mobile site is working correctly. Are people able to buy seamlessly, as they can on a desktop?
- Find out whether your payment process is secure and functional. If visitors are finding it hard to checkout, then they may go elsewhere for an easier service.
Lack Of Customer Loyalty
These days, the term “customer loyalty” seems a little old-fashioned. Sure, it was a thing in the past: every grocery store had “clients.” But these days, everyone is looking for the lowest price and the best deals. It’s just so hard to get people to stick around.
Customer loyalty is critical, though. It turns out that it is far easier to sell to a customer that you’ve already acquired than it is to a new one. For instance, you might successfully sell to 20 percent of new customers, but 70 percent of existing ones.
So what’s the solution here? The first place to look is your customer service. Make sure that you stay in regular contact with the people who buy from you. This will create a sense of community that many other ecommerce sites don’t offer.
Avoid spamming their inboxes with the latest deals and products on your website. Instead, try to communicate personally with them via interesting and informative emails. Think about the type of information that your audience would find interesting and then give it to them.
Difficulty Integrating New Software To Existing Technology
Ecommerce relies on a lot of technology. When it works, it’s fantastic because it allows you to automate a stream of income. However, when it doesn’t, it blows. Resolving technical problems is a massive challenge.
To succeed in this area, you’ll need to work with professionals to integrate your entire stack. All the technology you use should be complementary and work as a cohesive whole. If it doesn’t, then you’ll add to your administration and support expenses.
Start with eCommerce ERP integration. Connecting your enterprise resource planning to the rest of your system provides immense advantages, including the ability to tell consumers how much stock you have left in real time.
You’ll also want to blend your data with logistics solutions as well. This way, you can give your partners a heads-up on your volumes without having to do any pesky manual reporting.
Of course, this process is complicated, so you’ll need to partner with agencies that understand how to implement it in your business context.
Enhancing The Customer Experience
For an ecommerce website to be successful, the customer experience must be good. Visitors should feel delighted after having made a purchase, not frustrated.
The key here is to build a system that guides users through every stage of the transaction process and accommodates all options. So, for instance, if they haven’t logged in, there should be no requirement to do so. Instead, there should be the option to check out as a guest. Likewise, you should provide them with the ability to log into your site with Google, Facebook or any other platform that offers a generic security service.
Your website should also try to mimic the physical format of great stores in digital form. For instance, you want it to be clean, uncluttered, and arranged according to shopper preferences. It should be easy to navigate with each product in its proper place. There should also be plenty of sign posts (CTAs) telling users what they should be doing next.
Don’t forget to offer bonuses or extras at the checkout. Surprise customers in small ways with a little bit of money off the price of their order, or free shipping to their location.
Difficulty Identifying Customers
Lastly, many ecommerce sites struggle with identifying the person shopping with them. Thanks to the fact that many modern browsers actually save passwords and allow people to simply enter them whenever they like, this is a real problem. Anyone could pick up a customers’ laptop and pretend to be them.
The key here is to conduct multiple security checks for each transaction. For instance, parents don’t want their children logging onto their ecommerce accounts and buying thousands of dollars worth of toys. That’s not a pleasant experience, particularly when it comes to sending them all back for a refund.
To identify customers, always offer two-factor authentication. Also, send any receipts to their inbox so that they can see when somebody makes a purchase via their account. You can also ask for a debit card security code every time a person checks out, just in case.