Over the recent years, eCommerce businesses have been taking over the market proving beneficial to customers, serving as an excellent alternative for starting and growing your business.
With a myriad of tools available online, running your business on the internet gives you access to multiple useful tools to grow and scale up.
However, like any other business, you are never short of challenges faced by eCommerce businesses.
With the ever-changing global environment, it’s not every day that you will enjoy smooth business running.
The good news is with every challenge comes a suitable and sustainable solution.
But first, let’s look at the common 10 challenges faced by eCommerce businesses this year.
Finding the Right Product
The number one challenge experienced by many eCommerce business founders and owners is the failure to identify the right product.
Some business owners choose to set up their own eCommerce site or opt for simplified routes through shopping cart platforms like pinnacle cart or Shopify.
Nonetheless, either option offers a pretty simplified way to set up your eCommerce business.
This means that more vendors have joined the platform, selling similar products. In turn, this has made it difficult to truly source and sell unique products.
Solution: The solution to finding the right product is exploring the factors that set you apart. For example, like many other vendors, you can sell merchandise, such as t-shirts and mugs. But, the golden factor should be how you make your merchandise stand out, whether you go for the cost, quality, style, or story factor.
In addition to standing out, you have to create a product that is objective. The easiest way to do so is to create a product that solves a problem you currently have.
Finding Right Customers
Even with a unique product on your hands, attracting the right customers can still be a significant problem.
After all, no matter how unique your product is, consumers will always have a myriad of options to choose and shop from, thanks to the extensive eCommerce ecosystem.
The problem of struggling to find the right customers comes in two ways. The first issue is identifying the right target market, while the second is getting adequate visibility.
Solution: When it comes to identifying the right customers, you have to think of several factors (sort of like your own mini-market research). Incorporate factors such as demographics, costs, and even shipping options when thinking of your target customers. You can even use existing tools built into your eCommerce platform.
For example, according to MailChimp, you can determine your target customers by gauging your site or page analytics or results of your social media campaigns.
These tools can help you fine-tune the efforts you put into your business so you can engage and target the right customers. However, finding the right customer and target audience goes hand in hand with increasing your visibility.
To find the perfect customers, you must integrate the use of digital marketing. You can take advantage of numerous tools, whether through email marketing campaigns, keyword searches on Google, or social media campaigns.
Through these services, you can make full use of tools like SEO on prominent search engines, marketing management, content development, and even get third-party marketers through blogger outreach and affiliate marketing.
With the right digital marketing skills, your products will be showing up on different platforms on the internet, helping you right your intended customers.
Converting Visitors into Customers
Enhancing the visibility of your eCommerce business site is one thing, while visitor conversion into customers is another.
Many eCommerce businesses struggle with low conversion rates due to poor lead generation. While marketing and traffic generation principles may be the same, many business owners still struggle to capture the right visitors.
After all, it’s not only about bringing people to the site but, ultimately, helping to increase your revenue. Therefore, in the end, you may end up with a lot of traffic, clicks, and impressions, only to end up with very low sales.
Solution: The easiest way to turn visitors into customers is through subscriber lists. This is where you will get your serious customers by communicating your message, your product, and reaching people who actually need the service.
In addition to reaching out, you must also evaluate your site and figure out why visitors don’t convert to customers.
Look at issues such as user-friendliness (including mobile viewing) of your site. Are there any technical challenges? What about the design – is it congruent and relatable to your target customers? Details as simple as a poorly navigable site can significantly impact the sales of an eCommerce business.
Customer retention is also an issue for many eCommerce businesses. While you may get an influx of new and first-time customers, many businesses struggle to offer a lifetime value to compel customers to stay.
According to analytics and internet guru, Neil Patel, some of the most common reasons for poor customer retention include bad customer service, lack of customer appreciation, ignoring of customer needs, and frequent inconveniencing issues arising.
Solution: There is a myriad of solutions for improving customer retention. The best part is you can do all that using tools available to you through the eCommerce platform you use for your business. The number one reason why most customers will continue to use any service is if they have a seamless experience without any issues arising.
So, the first focus of your business is to create an engaging site design with an intuitive, user-friendly interface. This makes it easy for the customer to look for and purchase whatever they want. On the other hand, the issues of poor customer service can be tackled by integrating automated tools, such as live chat support, elaborative FAQs pages to ensure your customer is always assisted.
You can also show customer appreciation without dipping too much into your business funds. For example, you can integrate services such as loyalty programs & points, sales or bonus programs, or free shipping services.
Sometimes, a simple “thank you” or “happy birthday” email extends a personal appreciation to your customer. Other tools to add to your platform include space for customer feedback and proactive customer support.
Unbeknownst to many business owners, content marketing is also a way to retain your customers. Neil Patel advises business owners to use in-depth blog posts, how-to guides, social media photos, and actionable content as a way to keep customers informed and engaged.
Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform
Sometimes, your business may experience challenges in pulling in customers and revenue due to the poor choice of eCommerce platform. Failure to choose the right eCommerce platform can limit what you can do.
For the most part, technological limitations can very easily stunt the growth of your business. For example, a platform like Amazon or Shopify can limit how you want your customers to interact with you.
Moreover, these platforms feature pre-designed pages that limit how you may integrate your brand identity. Similarly, you may not have access to sales & marketing tools such as email marketing or CRM.
Solution: Ecommerce service platforms such as Pinnacle Cart give you the ability to control the direction of your business. In addition to offering you tools to build, design, and customize your business site, they also feature additional tools for marketing, leads generation, sales generation, and customer retention.
A leading hosted eCommerce software platform, Pinnacle Cart is an all-in-one online store builder that offers tools to custom design your eCommerce store, manage product catalogs, create email campaigns, and even collect analytics.
Through these platforms, you can get your hands on SEO tools to increase your online visibility and email marketing tools to engage and retain your customers.
Opting for an all-in-one solution is a great way to save cash for your business while optimizing sales.
Managing Cart Abandonment
As an eCommerce business owner, cart abandonment is probably one of your biggest issues. Depending on your cart design, you will notice some or several shoppers add items to the shopping cart and proceed to checkout then leave.
There are several reasons why customers may abandon carts in your store.
Common ones include long checkout processes, delayed site speed, unexpected or high shipping costs, account creation requirements before checkout, and poor payment gateway security. Other reasons include product quantity restriction, limited payment options, lack of discounts or promos, and unclear delivery times.
Solution: To manage high cart abandonment rates, you first want to ensure your checkout process is seamless and smooth, with clear indicators throughout the checkout process.
Next, transparency is key.
To ensure your customer has a truly pleasant and seamless experience in your store, everything must be clear, including the price.
Therefore, things such as taxes and related shipping costs can be set to reflect on the order preview page before checkout. Other ways to improve purchase completion include optimizing your page speed, allowing guest checkout, and developing a flexible refund policy.
Lastly, always ensure your customer has support at their fingertips through the process. For example, you can incorporate live chat support so customers can easily cross-check in case of any issues. Moreover, your site platform alone may not offer all the tools you need.
In this case, opt for a hosted eCommerce platform that allows you to integrate with third-party apps for issues, such as large order fulfillment or multiple payment options. Furthermore, you can incorporate features to mitigate future increases in cart abandonment rates.
These include a feedback pop-up during cart abandonment (customers can help you understand why), retargeting ads, personalized email campaigns, using positive customer testimonials in product pages, and conducting A/B testing for designs and layouts.
Challenges in shipping occur mostly during order fulfillment and cost.
While many challenges experienced have been due to low sales, sometimes your business may experience issues with fulfilling bulk orders. Many businesses struggle with order fulfillment due to limited resources.
Additionally, you may experience challenges due to high shipping costs. In many cases, customers prefer to go for online businesses that offer free shipping. For example, Amazon (through its Amazon Prime) offers generous free shipping options which means customers are less likely to look elsewhere during deal hunting.
Solution: When it comes to ordering fulfillment, if you plan on scaling up your business, you are better off looking for alternatives.
In this case, you can integrate your online store with a third-party order fulfillment option, so you can take the headache out of your resource-limited operations.
As an online store, it may not be cost-effective to eliminate shipping costs altogether for your business.
You can, instead, look for options to help you do so. For example, you can introduce a subscription or loyalty program and offer free shipping to select members.
For example, a 6-month or indefinite subscription program guarantees revenue for a certain customer, meaning you can reduce rates without incurring any losses. Alternatively, you can find a reliable shipper for dedicated guaranteed business in return for cheaper shipping rates for your customers.
Handling Customer service
Poor customer service is the number one reason for losing customers, revenue, and ultimately, your ratings and reputation online.
In this case, it’s not only about how fast the service is and how polite you are to the customer, like in a brick-and-mortar establishment. So, issues such as poor customer support communication or lack of any or confusing user interface can very easily affect customer experience.
Solution: When choosing an eCommerce platform for your business, customer service should be the core requirement for tools on your site. In addition to improving your site design and usability, integrate reasonable customer support based on the products you offer.
This, in turn, offers a reliable and dependable space for your customers. A good live chat platform is one of the first things you should integrate into your website.
Furthermore, you want to try to be clear and transparent as possible, whether on shipping, product offerings, or certifications. As a general rule of thumb, for an eCommerce business, don’t think of customer service as an isolated branch.
Rather, think of it as the very foundation of your business and overall customer experience from the moment one visits your site to months after completing their purchase. This way, everything you do will incorporate the customer experience component, whether setting up prices or curating an email campaign.
Handling Returns & Refunds
Unreasonable product return and refund policies are a deadly combination for turning customers away. More than half of eCommerce customers look at the vendor’s return policy before purchasing products, according to ComScore.
Therefore, it is pretty easy to lose them if you have staunch policies such as no exchanges, returns, or refunds. These policies also make customers lose their trust in you.
Solution: The solution to staunch return and refund policies is pretty simple. All you have to do is make them a little flexible to gain trust among your customers.
You are more likely to get returning customers if you set up a flexible refund and return policy. You can even start by allowing exchanges or short return windows.
Like brick and mortar stores have risks of burglaries and break-ins, your eCommerce store may be under security breach risks too.
This is because the setup and running of your online store involve a lot of data.
Therefore, your business is always at risk of online attacks or damage to your daily operations or brand.
Solution: Don’t compromise when it comes to your business security. Always go for the best security solution and install security plugins. You also want to protect your customers who are deeply concerned about how to protect their privacy online. So guarantee your customers that they are on a secure site. To do so, use tools such as two-factor authentications, single sign-on, or AI.
The only solution to targeting and mitigating challenges faced by your eCommerce business is incorporating an all-in-one solution. Investing in the right eCommerce platform, such as Pinnacle Cart to help you build, design, customize, and run your site is the way to go.
After all, even with the best tools like email marketing, SEO, and other lead generation and customer retaining features, you will still face issues without the right platform. In addition to the convenience and all-around functionality offered by Pinnacle Cart, you will also enjoy incredible affordability.