E-commerce challenges are bound to come up, so why bother with online selling? (Keep reading!)
For one thing, there will be challenges in any and every industry. So if you decide on a different approach to business you shouldn’t be too surprised to be confronted with obstacles.
But the other and perhaps more important reason to not give up when faced with e-commerce challenges is that the industry is still running strong. In fact, global e-commerce sales are projected to continue growing through 2023 at rates exceeding 15%. In contrast, an estimated 12,000 American brick and mortar retailers are expected to close in 2020, up from 9,300 closures in 2019.
E-commerce sales will continue growing through 2023, while 12,000 American brick and mortar retailers are expected to close by the end of 2020. Clearly, claiming your slice of the #ecommerce pie is worth the effort! Click To Tweet
E-commerce inventory & management
E-commerce inventory management challenges rank high on this list since they’re so common in the online commerce industry. Don’t believe us? Consider the fact that 34% of e-commerce businesses have mistakenly sold a product that they’ve already run out of which led to late shipping (and dissatisfied customers).
For physical storefront owners, tracking inventory can be significantly easier simply because their stock can be seen right in front of them. In contrast, e-commerce business owners very often use warehouses that can be a few hours’ drive away, or even in another state, or (gasp) another country! The convenience of storing inventory in big warehouses at cheap rates is usually balanced with challenges in maintaining accurate inventory counts, managing the handling of inventory, and so on.
The solution: Choose an online inventory management system that updates the inventory status for each of your products in real-time. Having up-to-date inventory data can help you cut back on delays in your order processing & shipping times, along with the number of orders you fail to complete.
International e-commerce expansion
Here are some of the e-commerce challenges related to international expansion:
- Supply chain management
- Delayed response times from suppliers
- Payment solutions (including merchant service providers
The solution: Conduct in-depth research into the countries where you’d like to expand into or which countries are easiest to expand into. Then, get familiar with the different rules that apply abroad and study how other e-commerce businesses have handled the challenges in those countries to understand how you can best approach your expansion efforts.
E-commerce trust signals
Gaining trust from online shoppers is crucial, particularly when you come to understand how dangerous online shopping can potentially be. Most of you can probably recall a news report (or two) of a big-name business falling prey to cyber hackers. Of course, many of those attacks have left customer information vulnerable as well. Despite the risks, people have continued to shop online, albeit cautiously.
Successful e-commerce business owners recognize the valid concerns customers have over online small business cyber security. In response, they’ve taken actionable measures to help reinforce a sense of reliability and responsibility for their customers. More specifically, online sellers use signals (aptly called trust signals) that encourage e-commerce customers to trust the security of their online store.
Trust signals come in a variety of forms including:
- Having a URL starting with ‘https’ (secure website)
- Presenting customer reviews
- Highlighting time in business
- Showing trust logos (McAfee, Verisign, PayPal, BBB, etc.)
The solution: To overcome e-commerce challenges related to trustability, display trust signals in various forms and in multiple spots on your website! Data shows that customers shopping at unfamiliar sites are more likely to trust them if they see trust logos (48% of respondents), if there’s clear contact and address details (46.3%), if the site appears professional (32.2%), if the site loads quickly (23.5%), and so on.
Bonus tip: To improve your website’s load speed and overall appearance, be sure to consider the e-commerce platforms best for SEO. Operating on a platform that makes it easier to optimize your content means a better customer experience and higher conversion rates.
E-commerce customer service & return policies
When it comes to customer service, offline businesses have an advantage since they’re oftentimes expected to provide that service during working hours. Yes, bigger companies will sometimes have a 24/7 customer service hotline – but your average mom and pop businesses aren’t normally expected to have a call center working round the clock.
Typically, the opposite is true of the e-commerce industry; since services are available at all hours, customers often expect to have customer service available at all hours as well. After all, if your business is able to process their purchase (i.e. accept their money), then why shouldn’t your business also be there to answer questions throughout that process?
If you’re thinking “well, I’ll just set up a chatbot to cover those hours that I’m not available for customer service”, you should think again. In a survey researching consumer preferences for , approximately 70% of respondents said they prefer to speak with a human representative. On top of that, 75% of customers said they’d stop spending their money at a business if they got bad customer support or had a bad experience.
Apart from establishing clear lines of communication with customers looking for support from your business, your customer service strategy should also consider how to handle returns (yes, dreaded returns!) in an efficient manner. And it’s not the returns that you need to pay mind to, but the other expenses of processing those returns such as restocking expenses, inventory losses, and so on.
Side note: If you’re a Shopify seller and you’ve been looking for a way to track your expenses easily, BeProfit – Profit Tracker is the Shopify calculator you need.
BeProfit is a cutting-edge Shopify profit calculator that makes it effortless to track and monitor your store’s expenses and profit margins. The app gives you a full breakdown of all of your expenses so you can spot where to make improvements to your store’s budget.
Optimize your profit with the BeProfit expense and profit margin calculator, here.
The solution: There are several ways you can reduce returns for your e-commerce business, some a bit more common sense than others.
1. Optimize images – be sure that your website shows images of products in as clear a format as possible and are labeled with detailed descriptions that specify sizes, materials used, etc.
2. Optimize your customer service – if there are questions or concerns you can address head-on, you can cut down on the number of people who are returning as a result of bad . Also, make the return process quick and painless. Complicating the return process will only serve as another reason people will avoid giving you their business.
3. Fill orders correctly the first time, every time – it should come as no surprise to you to see customers making returns if you accidentally shipped them the wrong item. Keep accuracy at the top of your priority list when filling orders – but also don’t forget about speed. If you exceed an estimated time of delivery, customers will get disgruntled and may ‘return’ the favor with a request for a refund.
Of all e-commerce challenges, establishing a genuine sense of personalization for the customer definitely ranks high on the difficulty scale. Without the possibility of face-to-face interaction, you’ll have to rely on high-quality content to keep your customers feeling engaged and appreciated while shopping on your e-commerce website.
Why should you care about personalization in your e-commerce store? Because 33% of all customers who stopped shopping at a business did so because they felt there wasn’t enough personalization. Plus, personalization can lead to increases in revenue growth of up to 15% – sounds good!
All-in-all, personalization is key to long-term customer satisfaction. So how do you go about personalizing the experience for first-time customers as well as returning ones?
The solution: Welcome customers back to your online store with a customized homepage. Show customers items that may interest them, display items they’ve recently looked at, make sure that the system recognizes their location and lists prices in their native currency, refer to them by first name, and so on.
Beyond that, you can also use quick surveys to better understand what their preferences are and then use that information to present relevant items (and avoid wasting the customer’s screen space on items they don’t want).
E-commerce challenges aren’t always unique to the e-commerce industry. Figuring out the best pricing strategy is a challenge that’s relevant to every business regardless of whether they operate online or offline.
For new online business owners though, it can be a real challenge to outprice established competitors (though not impossible). A business that’s been around for a while and sees you stepping in to compete will likely take action to keep you from stealing away their customers.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that e-commerce pricing isn’t only a matter of how much your products cost, but also the additional value your business brings to the table through other services (e.g. fast shipping, great customer service, etc.). Do other businesses in your industry include those sorts of services as a standard? Do they charge extra? How much do they charge?
Do your due diligence to understand how you can best organize your e-commerce pricing strategy so as to beat the competition.
The solution: Come up with creative ways to demonstrate your business’s greater value in comparison to your competitors. For example, you can mark up the price and offer limited-time coupons that bring the price down as an incentive to drive sales. Another e-commerce pricing strategy could be to include the price of shipping and handling directly in the item cost so as to appear that the shipping is included for free.
The possibilities are endless – the important thing is that your customers feel that they’re getting more bang for their buck when they shop through your e-commerce store. If customers believe they’re getting a better deal through your online store, they’ll be more likely to give you their business.
Clearing e-commerce hurdles
With the solutions here, you’ll have an easier time meeting these top 6 e-commerce challenges head-on. It’s true that there will be other challenges that arise along the way and occasionally they can be a real drag on your business. But don’t feel defeated!
The e-commerce industry is growing every year, meaning the opportunity for you to meet success is out there. To claim your slice of the pie, you’ll need to be ready to face and overcome e-commerce obstacles as they arise. Are you ready?
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter and should not be relied upon as such. The author accepts no responsibility for any consequences whatsoever arising from the use of such information.
You are here: The 10 Most Common Challenges Faced by eCommerce Businesses
I’ve been involved in eCommerce since 2001 and I can truly say, A LOT has changed.
Back in the day, you can sell just about anything and make crazy money. Competition was minimal, technology wasn’t as affordable as it is now and access to product was limited.
Now, Amazon is a major competitor to everyone. China is opening up to the world and technology is now affordable.
Here are the top 10 most common challenges faced by eCommerce businesses of all sizes.
Finding the right products to sell
Shopping cart platforms like Shopify have eliminated many barriers of entry. Anyone can launch an online store within days and start selling all sorts of products.
Amazon is taking over the eCommerce world with their massive online product catalog. Their marketplace and fulfillment services have enabled sellers from all over the world to easily reach paying customers.
Let’s not forget about Aliexpress. They’ve simplified product sourcing by giving access to Chinese manufacturers within a couple of clicks.
All of this has made it very difficult for retailers to source unique products unless you they decide to manufacture your own.
Attracting the perfect customer
Online shoppers don’t shop the same way as they used to back in the day. They use Amazon to search for products (not just Google). They ask for recommendations on Social Media. They use their smartphones to read product reviews while in-store and pay for purchases using all sorts of payment methods.
Lots has changed including the way they consume content and communicate online. They get easily distracted with technology and social media.
Retailers must figure out where their audience is and how to attract them efficiently without killing their marketing budget.
Generating targeted traffic
Digital marketing channels are evolving. Retailers can no longer rely one type of channel to drive traffic to their online store.
They must effectively leverage SEO, PPC, email, social, display ads, retargeting, mobile, shopping engines and affiliates to help drive qualified traffic to their online store. They must be visible where their audience is paying attention.
Capturing quality leads
Online retailers are spending a significant amount of money driving traffic to their online store. With conversion rates ranging between 1% to 3%, they must put a lot of effort in generating leads in order to get the most out of their marketing efforts.
Not all leads are created equally. Retailers must craft the right message for the right audience in order to convert them into leads with hopes of turning them into customers.
Nurturing the ideal prospects
Having a large email list is worthless if you’re not actively engaging with subscribers.
A small percentage of your email list will actually convert into paying customers. Nonetheless, retailers must always deliver value with their email marketing efforts.
Online retailers put a lot of focus on communicating product offering as well as promotions, but prospects need more than that. Value and entertainment goes a long way but that requires more work.
Converting shoppers into paying customers
Driving quality traffic and nurturing leads is key if you want to close the sale. At a certain point, you need to convert those leads in order to pay for your marketing campaigns.
Retailers must constantly optimize their efforts in converting both email leads as well as website visitors into customers. Conversion optimization is a continuous process.
Attracting new customers is more expensive than retaining the current ones you already have.
Retailers must implement tactics to help them get the most out of their customer base in increase customer lifetime value.
Achieving profitable long-term growth
Increasing sales is one way to grow the business but in the end, what matters most is profitability.
Online retailers must always find ways to cut inventory costs, improve marketing efficiency, reduce overhead, reduce shipping costs and control order returns.
Choosing the right technology & partners
Retailers wanting to achieve growth must be built on a good technology foundation. They must choose the right shopping cart solution, inventory management software, email software, CRM systems, analytics and so much more.
In addition, hiring the wrong partners or agencies to help you implement projects or oversee marketing campaigns may also limit your growth. Online retailers must choose carefully who to work with.
Attracting and hiring the right people to make it all happen
Let’s face it, online retailers may have visions and aspirations but one true fact remains, they need the right people to help them carry out their desires.
Attracting the right talent is key in order to achieve desirable online growth. Also, having the right leader plays an even bigger role.
Retailers should be out there getting their name out within the online community by attending eCommerce conferences, speaking at events and networking. Employees want to work for companies that care about them and their future. Having a sense of purpose is key.
What’s your biggest eCommerce challenge? Comment below.
Inventory management is a term used to describe the system through which a business handles its inventory; this includes processing orders, inventory storage, and inventory usage.
E-commerce businesses rely heavily on inventory management for knowing when to order more stock, how much to order, where they can store it, and so on.
With so many moving pieces, how can your business avoid inventory management problems? We answer that question in detail below – read on!
Inventory visibility for e-commerce
Due to the nature of online business, there are several inventory management challenges that e-commerce business owners are likely to encounter. Yes, it’s true that running a business online can help by making processes faster and data easier to view and track (see the BeProfit – Profit Tracker app for proof!). But when operations begin moving faster than you can keep up with and you don’t have the time to sift through tons of data, you can quickly start feeling overwhelmed. Don’t underestimate the importance of inventory management!
Note: Inventory management problems can have an impact on other related aspects of your business including supply chain management. Keep in mind that when you work on solving inventory management issues you’re helping the overall health & stability of your business.
Here are the top four inventory management problems and solutions to help you overcome them:
Handling multiple channels & warehouses
At the outset of your e-commerce business, you’ll likely start with a single channel for sales and a single warehouse to store your inventory. As your business grows so will the number of channels you sell through and so will the number of warehouses you’ll need to store an increasing amount of inventory.
If you’re not using warehouse inventory management or more general inventory management software, don’t be surprised if you have some difficulties keeping track of what you’ve sold through multiple channels (Shopify, eBay, Amazon, etc.), how much inventory you have left, when to restock, and so on.
Likewise, without a proper online inventory management system, it will be challenging to keep track of multiple warehouses processing orders, how much inventory you’ve got left at each one, and so on.
Solution: Utilize inventory management software and put the power of technology to good use. You’ll save yourself time, energy, and stress by letting an online inventory management system do the number-crunching for you.
Overselling and overstocking
Inventory management problems come in many shapes, but overselling and overstocking are two of the most commonly experienced inventory management challenges faced by e-commerce business owners.
Overselling is when you sell the last of a certain item to more than one customer, and overstocking is when you’ve bought too much of a certain item. The first (overselling) is more of a risk to your and satisfaction. The second (overstocking) is more of a risk to your bottom line since it costs money to store products.
Side Note: Overselling and overstocking are always good to avoid, but particularly during times of the year when sales are seeing annual highs or lows. Think about how your Black Friday strategy could be undermined by not having enough items to sell – or how your bottom line could drop lower by overstocking during a slow season.
Solution: You can overcome this inventory management challenge as well by using either warehouse inventory management or a more general inventory management software. Online inventory management systems provide a host of functions to help you avoid overstocking or overselling. You can get reminders for when item quantities fall below a certain threshold, you can automatically replenish certain items when they run low, and much more.
Lacking data insights
Having access to your inventory data is one thing – understanding and making the fullest use of that data is something else altogether.
For instance, it can be helpful to know how much of a particular item you have at any given time, but it’s immensely more helpful to know how that item’s availability fluctuates over time, across channels, between warehouses, and so on. Being able to spot or capitalize on time-sensitive opportunities are just a couple of ways you can benefit from understanding deep insights into your business’s data.
Solution: Once again, inventory management software will help you avoid this inventory management problem and also make it easier for you to grow a profitable business
Managing sales manually
Managing sales in-and-of-itself isn’t necessarily going to be a big inventory management problem. But if you’re keeping track of your sales with a pen and paper, let’s just say that it’s time for you to upgrade. We’re living in the age of the internet, why are you wasting time, energy, and paper when you can use technology to do the work easier, faster, and eco-friendly?
When you’re running a small e-commerce business, you can probably get away with managing sales manually. As you start to scale up business though, you’ll quickly realize that doing all of that work by hand simply isn’t feasible if you want to grow.
Solution: As with many other inventory management challenges, this one can also be overcome by using inventory management software to do the heavy lifting for you. But, perhaps more importantly, you’ll want to choose an online inventory management system that can integrate with other tracking tools you’re using and can give you real-time updates automatically.
Own or rent a warehouse
It’s quite common for e-commerce businesses to pay for inventory storage at a warehouse, but have absolutely no say in how the operations at that warehouse are conducted. In that situation, if there are any problems, the online seller’s ability to resolve the issues will be severely limited.
On the other hand, if you were to rent or even own a warehouse of your own, you’d have complete oversight of your warehouse inventory management. You know how the saying goes – if you want something done right, do it yourself!
For those online sellers who can’t (or prefer not to) own their own warehouses, is the ideal inventory management solution. In fact, the global dropshipping market was valued at $102.2 billion in 2018 – a testament to the sheer volume of business being conducted through dropshipping.
The dropshipping e-commerce model is simple – the dropshipper markets the products, processes orders, and handles customer service while the supplier deals with the production, storage, packing, and shipping.
Who needs inventory management best practices when you can avoid keeping the inventory altogether?
Work with the seasons, not against them
When you think about , oftentimes you may imagine something like pool cleaning, landscaping, food trucks, and so on. But despite the fact that they’re not reliant on the weather to operate, e-commerce businesses also go through their own seasonal fluctuations. Fortunately, online retailers have more flexibility in handling their inventory management challenges than some offline businesses.
There’s no need to keep shelves stocked for appearance’s sake when you work in e-commerce. That means that during slower seasons you can keep your inventory smaller and during busier months you can stock back up to meet rising demand fairly quickly.
You can also make changes to the types of products you offer to meet seasonal demands. For example, if you sell home goods, in the summer you would want to stock up on things like grills, hammocks, and outdoor furniture. In the winter months, you could then stock up on area heaters, weighted blankets, shovels, and so on.
Use the ‘first in first out’ strategy
The first in first out inventory management strategy is when you focus on selling the older items in your inventory first. If you’re selling anything perishable, then you definitely want to employ this technique. If you’re not selling perishables, you still have a lot to benefit from using this tactic.
If you’re selling clothing, for instance, changes in seasons will impact what customers are buying. It would be in your interest to push winter apparel while the weather is still cold since very few people will be looking to buy a heavy winter coat in May. Likewise, not many people will be buying swimming suits in December. Push goods that are relevant while they’re still relevant!
This will help you avoid dead stock and the consequences that come along with it: cost for storage, wear and tear from aging, the strain on your online inventory management system, etc.
Online inventory management systems
As we highlighted above, the e-commerce industry can see trends develop and change quickly. If you’re not keeping an eye on how your inventory levels change in real-time, you may find yourself struggling to keep up with your competitors.
Our advice: use an online inventory management system so you can get real-time updates and insights and stay honed-in on inventory management best practices.
When shopping for an online inventory management system, here are some of the most useful tools and features you should look for:
- Multi-channel inventory management
- Barcoding scanner capability
- Shipment tracking integration
- Automatic purchasing for products with low stock levels
- Mobile app to track inventory management on-the-go
Disconnection between online offer and inventory
Using an online inventory management system to get real-time e-commerce performance data does much more than just save you the time of gathering that data on your own (though that is one example of the importance of inventory management!).
The deep insights that you’ll get from using inventory management software can help you calibrate your inventory planning with the marketing strategy for your e-commerce business in order to continue meeting the ever-shifting market demands.
Which is worse: producing #ecommerce advertisements for a product you no longer have in stock or not marketing for a product you have a ton of? Click To Tweet
Don’t forget that e-commerce marketing can cost thousands of dollars per month. That being the case, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’re spending your money wisely. Producing advertisements and content to boost sales of a product that simply doesn’t have a high demand would be wasteful. Likewise, not advertising for products that do have a high demand would be a missed opportunity.
Simply put, inventory management software can keep you poised to make quick adjustments in your marketing strategy so that your offers continue meeting real market demands.
Side note: If you’re a Shopify seller and you’ve been looking for a way to easily track your expenses including marketing, shipping, production, and more – BeProfit – Profit Tracker is the Shopify calculator of your dreams.
BeProfit is a cutting-edge Shopify profit calculator that gives you a simple way to track and monitor your store’s expenses and profit margins. The app gives you insights of all of your expenses so you can make data-driven decisions for your business.
Clear integrations and real-time updates
Are you ensuring that what your customers are seeing online accurately reflects your real inventory? This is an incredibly important question to ask, particularly when you consider that one of the major factors for online shoppers not making a purchase is if they can’t find what they’re looking for.
So, how can you make sure your customers are seeing accurate inventory information on your e-commerce website?
Start by choosing an online inventory management system that can integrate with your content management system (CMS) and automatically update the inventory status for each of your products. Having real-time inventory updates can help you dramatically reduce delays and inconsistencies in orders & shipping and, ultimately, the number of orders that go unfilled as a result of poor inventory management.
As with other inventory management problems and solutions, the effects stretch beyond inventory and into other areas of the business. In the case of providing an updated count of inventory on your website, any problems can easily lead to issues in customer experience and retention.
By-and-large, solving inventory management problems can save you from a lot of headaches that could easily snowball into major dilemmas in your business. Employ inventory management best practices today and watch as your business starts running more smoothly!
there’s one thing that all eCommerce businesses have in common, it’s the challenges they face. From increasing competition to dealing with payment processing issues, eCommerce business owners have their work cut out for them.
But don’t worry — we’re here to help!
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the biggest eCommerce challenges and provide solutions to help you overcome them. So read on and get ready to take your business to the next level!
In the age of digital commerce, it’s never been easier for businesses to reach a global audience. However, with this increased connectivity comes increased risk. And since online stores deal with sensitive customer data, they are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. That’s why cybersecurity has become one of the biggest challenges facing these businesses today.
- Ensure that your website runs on a secure server: Relying on third-party providers creates vulnerabilities. Thus, it’s safer to manage your own servers. But if it’s not an option for you, try your best to find a trustworthy web hosting service.
- Encrypt all customer data: SSL Certificates are one of the easiest ways to encrypt customer data. SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a protocol that provides security for communications between a web browser and a web server. SSL uses encryption to protect data during transit, ensuring that only the intended recipient can access the information.
🤼 Intense competition
Anyone who’s ever tried to sell anything online knows that competition is fierce. No matter what you’re selling, chances are good that someone else is selling something similar. And if they’re not, they will be soon. This can make it very difficult to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by potential customers.
- Make sure your product is the best it can be: Poor quality is a major point of disappointment for any consumer, and nothing will make you lose more of them to competition than your inability to deliver a great good or service.
- Focus on efficiency: Efficiency is the use of resources in the most effective way possible. And when applied to business, it means reducing waste and maximizing productivity or doing more with less. This allows you to save money and reinvest it in the business or pass it on to customers in the form of lower prices. And at a time when consumers are more price-conscious than ever, low prices can be a deciding factor in whether they choose one business over another.
Pro tip: Looking for some workable methods to make your business more efficient? Try actiTIME — this time tracking software has plenty of features to help your business improve productivity and be more competitive.
Besides, actiTIME has built-in automation that streamlines workflows and lets you get that necessary efficiency boost you’re aiming for. So, if you want to save some time and money while running your eCommerce business, give actiTIME a shot! Sign up for a free online trial and explore all of its efficiency-boosting features firsthand.
In the vast and ever-expanding world of eCommerce, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to finding your target audience. With so many potential customers out there, how can you be sure you’re reaching the right people? And even if you do find your target audience, how can you be sure they’ll actually buy from you? These are just a few of the challenges faced by businesses when trying to find their perfect match.
💜 Excellent customer experience
To understand why providing customers with an excellent experience is a huge challenge for many eCommerce businesses, let’s consider the process of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store:
When you walk into a store, you are greeted by a salesperson who can answer any questions you have about the products. If you need help finding something, they can guide you to the right aisle. And when you’re ready to check out, they can provide personalized service and ensure that your transaction is quick and easy.
Now let’s compare that to the typical eCommerce experience:
When you visit an online store, there’s no salesperson to greet you or answer your questions. You’re on your own to find what you’re looking for, and when it’s time to check out, you’re often just a name and a credit card number to the business.
Yet this lack of personal connection is only one thing that makes it difficult to provide an excellent customer experience in an eCommerce setting. Complicated website navigation, inconvenient support channels, and slow product delivery can also easily bring your customers down.
So, what can you do about that?
- Provide omnichannel support: By definition, omnichannel support means being present and accessible across different web and mobile platforms, which allows customers to shop how they want, when they want, and get the support they need, when they need it. Therefore, your eCommerce business should have a strong online presence, with a well-designed website and active social media accounts. Besides, you need to offer multiple ways to contact customer service, including live chat, email, and phone.
- Ensure an easy buying process: First, make sure that your website is easy to navigate. Customers should be able to find what they’re looking for without difficulty. Second, provide clear and concise product descriptions. We all know that fine print can be a pain, but when it comes to making a purchase, customers need to know exactly what they’re getting. Lastly, offer multiple payment options. The more options you provide, the more likely it is that customers will find a method that works for them.
🤝 Customer retention and loyalty
In the world of online shopping, customer loyalty is hard to come by. With so many options and so little transparency, it’s no wonder that shoppers are constantly on the lookout for a better deal.
Here’s what you can do to boost customer loyalty in your own business:
- Stay in regular communication with your customers: Whether you’re sending out a newsletter or just connecting on social media, staying top of mind and listening to customers’ feedback is essential for keeping them loyal and making sure they feel valued.
- Implement a personalized recommendation system: By understanding the preferences of individual customers, you can make tailored recommendations that are likely to be of interest. This can help to increase customer engagement and boost sales.
🤖 The impact of disruptive technologies
Disruptive technologies are those that have the potential to change the way we live and work. They are often game-changers, and eCommerce businesses must always be on the lookout for them.
As AR technology becomes more sophisticated, we can expect to see it used in more and more creative ways by eCommerce businesses.
- Keep up with the latest trends (and get ready to invest in them): A good understanding of the newest innovations and all the ways they can be implemented in eCommerce helps you to stay ahead of the curve.
- Keep an eye on competitors: As history shows, disruptive technologies tend to create new competition. This was the case with Amazon, which transformed the retail industry dramatically. eCommerce businesses must be able to identify these new competitors early on and respond accordingly.
There’s a lot more to shipping than just sticking a label on a package and sending it off. In order to succeed, eCommerce businesses need to carefully consider everything from the type of packaging they use to the route their shipments take.
Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go awry, and delays are all too common. This is why logistics is often referred to as the “last mile” of eCommerce — it’s the final step in getting products to customers, and it’s also the most challenging. But with careful planning and some effort, even the most daunting logistics challenges can be overcome.
- Invest in a good warehouse management system: It will help you keep track of your stock and make sure that your products are being shipped out on time.
- Use a reliable shipping company that offers parcel tracking: This way, you can keep an eye on where your products are and confirm they’re being delivered as promised.
🔙 Product returns and refunds
In eCommerce, the process of returning or refunding a product can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly. And it’s a pain for everyone involved — the customer is disappointed that the product wasn’t what they wanted, the business has to go through the hassle and expense of processing the return, and it often takes weeks for the customer to get their refund.
That’s why eCommerce businesses may be tempted to avoid offering returns and refunds altogether. But while returns may be a headache, they’re also an important part of doing business online. And in fact, you can use the product return process as a means to build customer loyalty.
- Create a policy: Make it easy for customers to return items. Provide clear instructions on how to return them, and consider providing pre-paid shipping labels to make it even quicker for customers.
- Offer refunds + exchange: Most customers just want their money back when they return an item, so it makes sense to use refunds as the default option. Yet if you’re unable to issue a refund, offer an exchange instead. This will show customers that you’re willing to cooperate with them to find a resolution.
- Use data from returns to improve your business: Returns can actually provide valuable insights into what customers want and don’t want. So, use the collected data to inform your product development decisions and make changes to improve the overall quality of your products.
👩💻 Resource management
Any business that deals in physical goods knows that resource management can be a challenge. But for eCommerce businesses, it can be even more complicated.
First of all, there’s the issue of inventory. Keeping track of what you have in stock, what needs to be reordered, and what’s selling quickly can be a full-time job in itself. Then, there’s the need to manage your team well. And when your employees are spread out around the globe, it can be tough to keep everyone on the same page — not to mention ensure that they’re working efficiently.
- Establish an effective inventory management system: This involves a good understanding of your sales cycles, which is important for forecasting product demand, and avoiding overstocking or running out of popular items. Moreover, you need to track your inventory levels closely and set up reordering thresholds so that you can restock quickly and efficiently.
- Control your budget: Have a clear understanding of your sales volume and margins — this will help you to know how much money you need to bring in to cover your expenses and turn a profit. Track your spending carefully and set aside a portion of your revenue to cover unexpected expenses. Besides, don’t be afraid to invest in tools and resources that can help you save money in the long run.
- Hire the right talents and track staff availability: People are the most important asset in an eCommerce business. After all, without employees, there would be no one to run the website, fill orders, or provide customer service. That’s why it’s pivotal not only to hire the right people for the critical roles in your company but also to make sure they are present at the workplace when needed and do their jobs well.
Pro tip: Using actiTIME’s progress tracking functionality, you can always be confident that your team members are doing what they’re supposed to do, even if you have no chance to supervise them offline.
In addition, the software lets you keep tabs on employees’ work statuses and time off. And by integrating it with actiPLANS — an intuitive resource scheduling solution — you can track different kinds of employee leave and get an in-depth insight into team availability and absences.
Pricing is a delicate balancing act. If you set your prices too low, you may struggle to cover your costs. But if you set them too high, you risk chasing away potential customers and losing them to the competition. So, how can you find the sweet spot?
- Know your costing inside out: If you don’t know how much it costs to make or source your product, then you can’t accurately price it for sale. Thus, before you proceed to price your goods or services, take the time to calculate your all-in costs for each unit of inventory. Include everything from the cost of goods to shipping and packaging costs, as well as any overhead costs associated with running your business.
- Understand what customers are willing to pay: Use competitor analysis and customer surveys to get a sense of the going rate for similar products in your industry. Remember that price is not always the only factor that influences customer behavior — in some cases, customers may be willing to pay more for a product that offers better quality or features than its competitors.
Sign up for a free actiTIME trial and start to improve productivity in your eCommerce business today.
When Jeff Bezos launched Amazon in 1995, the same year eCommerce registered its first-ever retail transaction. This happened more than two decades ago and today Amazon is among the most efficient eCommerce marketplaces registering a record $96.14 billion in revenue in the third quarter alone.
Ecommerce operational efficiency is a reliable medium to evaluate marketplace success. While brands like Amazon have the resources and expertise to address eCommerce challenges that may affect operational efficiency, many small medium-sized enterprises and startups aren’t that fortunate. They lack funding, sound business planning, and access to key technology solutions for marketplace success. This is the reason why so many SMBs fail to register revenues similar to Amazon. Addressing eCommerce challenges is a fundamental step towards ensuring eCommerce business success.
Empowering 1000s of marketplaces worldwide — Yo!Kart
With this approach, Yo!Kart is addressing many eCommerce challenges that may affect your business efficiency. Below I’ve highlighted the top 10 eCommerce challenges and how Yo!Kart addresses them.
ECommerce Challenge #1
Vendors are the backbone of an eCommerce marketplace — emerging or established. Consider this, Amazon has over 2.5 million registered sellers out of which 25k sellers have nearly $1 million in sales according to Marketplace Pulse research. This success of Amazon is largely attributed to its seamless vendor onboarding process.
To build a successful business venture, the marketplace owner needs to ensure a seamless onboarding process is in place to attract maximum vendors that are equally excited to partner with them. For instance, offering a simplified seller registration form, the freedom and flexibility to create a vendor subscription plan (paid and free), and allowing vendors to easily customize individual storefronts. Unfortunately, many existing marketplace software restricts business owners from attracting new vendors to register and sell on a new marketplace.
Yo!Kart with its customizable individual storefronts, manageable vendor subscription plans, and omnichannel inventory management solutions (by partnering with EasyEcom) is ensuring a hassle-free vendor onboarding process.
Inconsistent product information
Poorly constructed or inconsistent product information in an eCommerce marketplace is a huge setback to its operational efficiency. Each product listing must always be structured in a consistent format to ensure an impeccable consumer experience. Maintaining consistency on all retail channels is the key to retaining your consumers, especially in an omnichannel retail world.
Yo!Kart with its efficient product catalog management provides a consistent and well-structured approach to keep a check on products data quality. The platform ensures:
- All product tags are well-defined and can be easily managed
- Products can have niche-specific attributes and are not limited to the same set of attributes
- Cross-selling or up-selling of related products to increase AOV (average order value) and more
Integrating customer’s payment preferences
In 2019, digital/mobile wallets accounted for almost 42% of all eCommerce transactions worldwide according to Statista. Still, there are many regions where COD or bank transfer is the only mode for online payment. Understanding the consumer’s payment preferences and offering local payment solutions is an optimal way to increase sales and drive international success. But, this isn’t possible with eCommerce multivendor software that does not support new integrations or is limited to a few basic customizations.
Yo!Kart provides support for multiple payment options including debit/credit cards, COD, bank transfer, and 15 payment gateways pre-integrated. Moreover, you can always customize and integrate your preferred payment solution. This improves operational efficiency and reduces the chances of cart abandonment.
15 Payment Gateways Offered by Yo!Kart
ECommerce Challenge #5
All successful eCommerce marketplaces facilitate hundreds of thousands of online transactions each day. Take a look at Amazon where millions of transactions take place every day. This wouldn’t have been possible without the availability of multiple payment transfer options and not just bank transfers. An efficient fund transfer mechanism for timely payments to sellers is integral for smooth business operations. Unfortunately, several marketplace solutions are limited to minimal customization or scalability which restricts their growth and affects marketplace efficiency.
Consider this, an online marketplace of 50 registered sellers has Paypal payout as the only payment gateway for vendors. Now, assume 10 out of 50 sellers demand they need their payments through bank transfer but the system doesn’t support this method. Therefore, to ensure seamless business operations, the marketplace eCommerce solution must support both automated and manual payout options like Yo!Kart does.
Yo!Kart is pre-integrated with both manual and split payment options such as Stripe Connect, Paypal Payouts, & bank transfer to seamlessly transfer funds to thousands of sellers in a marketplace.
Tax Management & Accounting
45 US states collect statewide sales taxes while 38 states collect local sales taxes on the majority of transactions. And, this is just in the US. Product taxes differ around the world and to accommodate these taxes proper tax management & accounting system is required. This is why a marketplace platform must allow integrations with tax management APIs for automated accounting solutions.
Setting up product taxes in a streamlined manner is critical for an effortless business operation and eCommerce marketplace success. Yo!Kart’s in-built tax management and accounting system allow easy set up of product taxes depending upon the product category. Just enter the tax category information and the cost is adjusted accordingly. For advanced tax management solutions, Intuit’s QuickBooks and TaxJar APIs are pre-integrated into Yo!Kart.
ECommerce Challenge #7
Managing shipments, creating shipping labels, or retrieving shipping rates — eCommerce shipping hassles are plenty. To ensure timely delivery and increase profit margins strategic shipping solutions are required. Take a look at Amazon with its free two-hour or same-day delivery.
Deploying a similar strategy is a hassle for many eCommerce marketplaces due to poor inventory visibility, inadequate returns management, and many other shipping management challenges. Yo!Kart offers a reliable shipping management system to streamline the delivery process. The platform comes pre-integrated with Shipstation API that automates tasks like creating shipping labels, retrieving shipping rates or even order tracking in real-time. Moreover, you can easily integrate your preferred shipping API to minimize cart abandonment.
ECommerce Challenge #8
eCommerce Marketplace Solution with In-built Abandoned Cart Recovery Feature
ECommerce Challenge #9
Unfortunately, several marketplace software do not completely allow businesses to leverage the benefits of an SEO-optimized structure. Yo!Kart is a comprehensively designed platform that delivers SEO-optimized eCommerce marketplaces. From basic SEO settings to advanced optimization tools, the platform is integrated with all essential SEO-friendly features.