As you establish and grow your eCommerce store, you will face challenges that require your creativity and business acumen. If you monitor the current trends and learn from the mistakes of other entrepreneurs, you will be prepared.
Of course, it is not possible to resolve all issues. However, introspection and planning can help you deal with some of the common challenges that eCommerce store owners face. The following steps can help you create a more robust plan to meet the challenges.
1. Opt for Flexible Technology
Today’s eCommerce requires adapting to the changing landscape of technology. It is always a difficult decision to let go of restrictive or legacy based systems. As a business manager, you have to determine the cost and benefit of transitioning to a new technology.
In order to stay relevant in your field, you need the latest tool that will provide the best value to your business. Open-source enterprise level platform like Magento, cost-free WooCommerce for WordPress store, and the cloud platform Shopify are some of the market leaders. These technologies have proven records of providing ROI for eCommerce stores. You have to determine the tool or platform that is a good fit for your particular circumstance.
You can analyze your business requirements to make sure that the technology you invest in will be agile, dependable, scalable, and robust. Flexible technology can help you respond to market trends quicker than your competitors.
2. Support Cross-border and Global Sales
Competing in today’s market requires a global presence. Concentrating only on local potentials can leave your business vulnerable to the whims of local economies. Diversifying your goals with sales targets for different regions can create a more robust ecosystem.
When planning your sales agenda, you can look into the rising economies that are dominating the eCommerce market. Countries like China and India are getting connected to the internet at breathtaking speed. These new online shoppers can provide large expansion opportunities.
Corporate giants like Amazon and Walmart are already expanding to these markets and trying to define their turfs. Following the footsteps of these giants, you can ramp up your online business across borders and increase its reach and profitability.
3. Adopt a Mobile-First Approach
The desktop is no longer the primary online shopping portal. In addition to building a website, you should strongly consider going mobile.
Customers have grown comfortable with their mobile phones for online transactions. Still, there are enterprise-level merchants who haven’t moved to mobile optimized stores. They must consider developing a mobile platform so that they don’t lose a large chunk of their customers due to this oversight.
Retailers need to realize the importance of using a mobile-first design approach. It gives a better cross-platform customer experience. It can better capture the imagination of the audience through a mobile-friendly user interface. It removes any hurdles that might spring up due to slow loading pages or unwanted error messages. It ensures that the store is always fast and responsive. It makes your store feel reliable.
With US consumers spending 5 hours a day on their mobile devices, eCommerce entrepreneurs can keep their customers engaged with a good design. A mobile-first design ensures that your customers feel comfortable with eCommerce transactions.
4. Create a Seamless Brand Experience
Trust is one of the important factors that will determine your position in the market. It creates loyalty. You need to send a consistent message to your customers across all channels.
In order to build trust, you need to deliver on your promises. You can integrate your sales and marketing channels to your store to create a branding identity. Your brand doesn’t need to be static. It can expand with the growing needs of your customers. However, it should be an evolutionary growth. This way, your customers will not be pulled out of their comfort zones. Your brand will grow organically.
Also, you should not compromise on brand quality. The look and feel of your brand should be consistent across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. Inconsistency can breed mistrust. It is important to pay attention to the details to provide a seamless experience across different platforms.
5. Integrate Advanced Analytics
Every day we generate 2.5 exabytes of data from various sources. This data can be used to understand online customer preferences, interests, and behaviors. It is no longer sufficient to provide discounts and offers without optimizing them to the needs of your customers.
Advanced analytics can provide the actionable insights that can result in better sale strategies. However, this requires investment in money and time. Managers and store owners can start with free tools like Google Analytics and work towards more advanced platforms.
Investing in the latest best practices and tools can provide you with the procedures to face future challenges of eCommerce. But in order to be effective, analytics need to be part of your daily process.
6. Experiment with Ideas
Positioning your business requires a certain level of delving into the unknown. You need to experiment with ideas to identify and pull your audience. Experimenting with buyer personas can give you an understanding of your niche market.
In order to meet new challenges, you need to keep an eye on marketing trends that can give you results. Innovative marketing strategies can help you strike the right emotional chord with your audience.
For example, you can use video marketing to give your customers a more fulfilling experience. Online customers cannot touch and feel a product before buying. Your video can help your customers get a feel for the product. An innovation like this can provide a bridge between online and the retail experience.
7. Outsourcing Talent
For a larger enterprise, it is often cost-effective to outsource certain tasks to increase productivity. Outsourcing requires a careful risk vs reward analysis.
You don’t need to outsource to a different country or a region every time. It can be effective locally as well. However, if you look at the unexplored potentials across the globe, you will have more options. You can use the resources and cost arbitrage to your advantage.
For outsourcing talent, you can first come up with a division of tasks and execute a cost-analysis on them. It ensures a balance between cost savings and risk factors. Also, outsourcing is not a short-term solution. Building a reliable outsourcing relationship requires time and resources.
8. Look for Social Commerce Opportunities
Social media opens up opportunities to keep your customers loyal and address their issues actively. It creates an open channel between you and your buyers.
These platforms have evolved over the last few years to become more advertisement-friendly. It is possible to use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to target your audience. You can use these platforms to run advertising campaigns and increase the reach of your brand. These platforms can provide finer granularity of your audience which can result in more targeted campaigns.
In order to get the best results, you need to understand the medium and tailor your campaign according to the platform expectations.
A Facebook ad will not be effective in Snapchat. If you are not an expert on a particular social media, hire someone with expertise on that platform to help you navigate the finer details of the medium.
9. Develop a Secure Marketplace
One of the challenges of eCommerce is ensuring security. Stolen credit cards and personal information frauds are on the rise. It is extremely difficult to make your eStore totally secure. But a security breach can deteriorate your brand’s trust and authority. So you need to take the best measures to prevent vulnerabilities.
Look into ways to protect your site. During the design phase, if you use a secure platform, implement SSL connections, and create a robust data storage, you can save yourself a lot of headaches in the future. Once the site is up, you can keep it secure through updating your software packages, monitoring network behaviors, and requiring strong passwords from your users.
If you are unsure about the level of security, use security experts to audit your site and give you feedback. Security breaches can harm your reputation and the viability of your business. So taking preventive measures are crucial for business survival.
10. Ensure Efficient Supply Chain Process
Longevity of your business will depend on customer acquisition and customer retention. It is easier to sell to an old customer than a new one. So customer retention is a time-tested strategy to increase your business base. To retain customers, make your supply-chain process flawless and error-free.
A flawless supply chain can benefit your business through reduced costs, timely product supply, simplified payment process, and efficient delivery. Consider opting for a reliable order fulfillment service to save the hassle of inventory storage, pickup and shipping. By providing a effective supply-chain, you win the trust of your customers. Your brand becomes synonymous with quality and reliability.
Everyday eCommerce is becoming more complex. It is easy to get lost in all the minutiae. But if you keep developing a store with flexible technology for transactions, security, and analytics, it will keep you competitive. With an efficient workforce, marketing practice, and delivery systems, you can scale your store easily. It will keep you prepared for future challenges.
Let us know in the comments section what eCommerce challenges you face today.