The Challenges of eCommerce and How to Overcome Them
eCommerce has become the backbone of online business. Retail eCommerce sales are expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. However, even though it’s attractive and highly lucrative, having an eCommerce site is complex.
To overcome the challenges of eCommerce, you’ll need to get extra data protection, create a sound framework for your business, analyze your eCommerce trends and apply them, and focus on building customer relationships. Additionally, you’ll need a consistent marketing strategy to tie these elements together so your store can grow and reach the right audience.
- The most common challenges of eCommerce include cyber security, data protection, customer retention, keeping up with the latest trends and technology, and logistics.
- Customer experience and satisfaction are crucial for converting visitors into buyers and for creating loyal customers.
- To overcome the challenges, you’ll need a strong security policy, enhanced data protection, a well-designed website, and a generous return policy.
- To increase customer satisfaction, you need to provide frequent discounts, valuable rewards, a multilingual website, customer support, and multiple payment methods and currencies.
- Using sustainable materials and working towards reducing your carbon footprint will make customers trust you more and will improve your reputation and brand.
Top Challenges of eCommerce and Their Solutions in 2023:
Some of the most common challenges of eCommerce concern your online safety. More specifically, Magecart attacks increased by 41.5% in 2021, while credit card fraud went up by 68%. So, you will need to create a sound security framework and incorporate advanced features to protect against attacks.
Other core challenges include:
- Beating the Competition - Additionally, since there are so many competitors, you will need to provide a unique and welcoming environment for your customers so that they return.
- Personalizing customer experience - Studies have shown that around 56% of customers go back to businesses that understand them and their specific needs, which emphasizes how important it is for you to create a personalized experience for your customers.
- Developing a marketing strategy - Also, an efficient, all-around marketing strategy is crucial to access your store across different digital devices or platforms.
- Expanding your presence - An omnichannel presence will also help expand your reach and deliver a consistent message about your brand on all platforms.
However, there are plenty more other issues on top of these. So, let’s look at them in more detail and discuss how each issue can be solved.
Cyber Security and Data Protection
Cyberattacks and hackers consistently target eCommerce stores. These attacks can result in data breaches, stolen information, and major revenue losses. Actually, it was estimated that the global cost of cybercrime across the board amounts to $6 trillion per year.
Customers will not tolerate their data being stolen and misused, so they will lose the trust they’ve had in you and take their business elsewhere. It can take a long time to repair your reputation among customers and partners.
To prevent cyberattacks and make your store more secure and trustworthy, you need to have:
- A strong and well-rounded security policy - In this policy, you should lay down the rules for data management and other operations that everyone in your organization must follow.
- Advanced security features - This includes multi-factor authentication, customer data encryption, 24/7 real-time monitoring, and SSL Certificates.
It’s estimated that around 43.4% of all retail eCommerce sales will come from mobile users in 2023. So, your eCommerce site needs to be available on all types of devices and platforms. This way, you will be able to capture as big an audience as possible.
Additionally, providing customers with a consistent omnichannel experience will help your brand recognition because you can use it to spread a cohesive message about your brand. Customers will be able to remember your brand easily because they will see the same messaging everywhere. Also, a consistent omnichannel experience can increase your overall revenue.
To provide a quality omnichannel presence, you can use the data from different channels and platforms your site is available to:
- Identify your strengths and weaknesses - This data will tell you which products or services customers like the most, which can help you to create a more suitable marketing strategy.
- Improve your presence - Use this data to see where your site performs the best and focus more on improving your presence on those sites and across all platforms. Of course, you can also cut costs by disengaging with platforms where your website is not doing well at all.
Data Capitalization to Improve User Experience
Among the listed challenges of e-business, customer experience is one of the most important. Customers expect eCommerce sites to provide them with the same or even better experience than brick-and-mortar stores. Your website’s design, segmentation, navigation, and purchase personalization heavily impact the customer’s purchase decision.
If a customer is not satisfied with your website or the way the purchase process goes, they will automatically decide not to purchase from you and go to a competitor. Additionally, if you sell many different products or services from one place, but they are not categorized properly, customers will have a hard time finding what they’re looking for and will search for it somewhere else.
- Use customer data gathered over a certain period of time from different sources to see what your customers liked and disliked the most. Then, you can focus on making more website segments according to their liking and improving the ones they didn’t like.
- Provide a simple and modern design with clear CTAs. Here are our picks for the best website builders you can use!
- Provide a variety of payment methods - This allows more people to purchase your products.
- Update your Customers - If they provide their email, send them updates about your business and deals or sales that involve similar products to the ones they’ve previously purchased. This will add a personal touch to the relationship.
Competitor Analysis and Growth Strategies
As of 2023, there are an estimated 12-24 million eCommerce websites worldwide, with less than one million of them making more than $1000 per year. So, while there is plenty of room to grow, it is safe to say that competition is high.
In order to be a successful online retailer and to overcome this eCommerce problem, you need to stand out in this massive crowd of competitors. Your website needs to be recognizable and attractive enough so that the users searching for the product or service you sell pick you out of the countless other options. But how can you do this?
- Create an efficient, suitable, and effective growth strategy to increase your reach.
- Improve your website traffic and convert visitors into buyers – You can do this by offering frequent sales, pairing up products that make sense but that not many others pair up, and using vibrant website traffic and colors that are unique to your brand and vision. Also, research your customer base and offer relevant products or services.
- Ensure your website is SEO-friendly - create your content according to SEO guidelines, using the relevant keywords, titles, and metadata so that you appear in the appropriate searches. This will help you improve your search engine ranking, making you more visible to users. Also, keep track of your competitors and learn how they generate leads and what tech they use.
Navigating Technology Partnerships and Hosting Issues
Crucial eCommerce issues that many online retailers often overlook are the partnerships they make along the way. In recent years, technological partnerships have become a popular way for retailers to bring their products to life. However, many get into unstable partnerships just because of lower costs, which ends up being more expensive and even disastrous.
Additionally, many retailers minimize the importance of having a good web hosting provider and choose a cheaper one, thinking it is no big deal. However, you risk losing customers and stunting your own growth by getting a hosting plan that is unsuitable for your site and can’t sustain it.
- Research – Before choosing your tech partner, make sure to research it as much as possible. Look for expert and customer reviews, and maybe even contact some of their partners and ask about the services. Additionally, don’t choose a partner only based on the price. It’s better to spend a bit more money for a quality partner than to pick a cheaper one and pay the price later on.
- Know what you need – When it comes to hosting providers, make sure that you know exactly what you need before making a decision. Look for a stable, reliable provider that will do its job right, keep your site online, keep your data secure, and give you room to grow. For instance, if you have a small eCommerce website but you intend on growing it in the near future, you can look into getting a VPS hosting plan.
Increased Customer Expectations and Retention Strategies
Customers today are used to using all the new technology, seeing professional and well-functioning websites, and will not hesitate to go somewhere else if they find even the tiniest detail dissatisfying. People have become quite distrustful and careful of websites due to the numerous cases of stolen identities, credit card fraud, and online scams.
Additionally, even if you get them to click on your website, making them stay and return in the future is even harder. Converting customers into loyal ones takes a lot of work and attention to detail because plenty of other stores offer similar products, and some may be using better techniques or offering better deals.
To meet customer expectations, you should:
- Keep up with the latest tech and trends - Apply the latest tech and trends to your website. Additionally, you should add a personal touch to your website design so that your brand and message are evident throughout your website.
- Keep track of the rewards, deals, and engagement tactics your competitors use. This way, you will know what your customer base expects, and you can offer them an even better loyalty program.
- Implement a personalized communication strategy - Work on creating an emotional and trusting bond with your customers with a unique, personalized spin to stand out from the others.
Logistics Solutions for Shipping and Delivery Efficiency
Out of the long list of eCommerce issues and challenges, logistics is one that has become especially prominent since the pandemic broke out. Nowadays, customers expect the site that they purchase from to be able to ship to their country, no matter how far they are from the site’s location.
Additionally, since the bigger companies have an extensive delivery network, customers know that they have a place to go if your site doesn’t ship to their country. And on top of this, they expect fast and efficient delivery. Also, customers prefer to shop on sites in their native languages and local currencies.
To expand your reach and customer base, a
- Multilingual website and customer support - Make sure to make your eCommerce site available in at least the most popular languages. However, it would be best to include as many languages as possible, regardless of their popularity.
- Identify customer base - To know which languages your site must have, which countries you absolutely need to ship to, and which currencies you need to support, check your website traffic. It will tell you where your customers come from and which languages, shipping options, and currencies you need to focus on if you currently cannot offer international shipping or extensive language and currency support.
Voice Search Optimization
More and more customers are turning to voice-enabled search when they do their online shopping. And with the constant evolution of this technology and implementation into the daily lives of people, it will become an even more popular feature that customers will expect your site to have.
Additionally, people tend to use voice search when they are at work or running errands. Usually, voice searches are used when a customer wants to find a new place to shop, visit, or eat at. So if you have a restaurant, pizzeria, or brick-and-mortar shop, you should implement this technology on your website as soon as possible so you can start climbing the search engine ranks.
- Make your website optimized for voice search - When you do this, make sure to use the appropriate keywords and metadata so that you appear where you are supposed to. Additionally, don’t forget to include your geographical location if you have one.
- Include more synonyms for keywords and phrases - Something that’s worth noting is that search engines are now advanced enough to understand user intent, context, and behavior. This is used to make the interaction between the search engine and the user more realistic. It is achieved by matching concepts and synonyms. So, apart from keywords, make sure to include more synonyms for keywords and phrases so your site pops up in more searches.
Return/Refund Policy Optimizations
Having a functioning and generous return policy is a key factor that directly impacts customer satisfaction. Many online retailers tend to overlook this, and the consequence can be as severe as losing customers. Regardless of how much you believe in your product, it might not be the right fit for some.
It might even be a product that will never be refunded and that no one has complained about. However, even just providing customers with the option to return can go a long way in building trust. Additionally, it will show customers that the choice is theirs and that you are not only after their money but their satisfaction.
- Provide a return option for all of your products - This is the best thing you can do to solve this eCommerce issue. This way, customers will not be discouraged from buying certain products because they cannot be returned.
- Have a transparent return policy - Additionally, your return policy should be clear, concise, and transparent. Be forward about everything that the policy will cover. Try not to be too strict, and make sure that your customers know the exact time frame in which they can return the product. Also, make the return process simple and as short as possible. This type of return policy will make customers trust you more and will positively impact your reputation and brand.
Sustainable and Eco-friendly
A lot of customers are becoming more careful with their purchases and prefer to buy products from environmentally-friendly companies. The green campaign of companies has become more and more popular, and customers are even willing to spend more money on sustainable products rather than buy the cheaper but not a green option.
Additionally, companies that do not care about sustainability and do nothing to decrease their carbon footprint can lose their customers’ respect, and their reputations take a big hit. So, to avoid this, you need to focus on doing everything you can to be more green and sustainable.
- Sustainable supply chain - If you sell a physical product that needs to be packed and shipped, look into creating a more environmentally-friendly, green, and sustainable supply chain. You can perhaps use sustainable package materials, use hybrid or electric trucks for transportation, and use a green hosting provider.
- Reduce your carbon footprint - Evaluate your whole network and identify areas where you can do this.. This can be anything from your waste management or your company cars.
- Special deals or promos - Consider donating a percentage of your earnings to a relevant organization. This will show customers that you truly care about the environment and could result in an influx of new buyers.
Enhancing Credibility With Identity Verification and Automated Trust Services
There is a sea of users on the Internet that pretend to be someone else and use stolen or inaccurate information when buying products. And since you cannot see who is on the other side buying the product, eCommerce stores frequently face issues with accurately discerning the authenticity of the information they receive.
Moreover, it isn’t easy to know whether someone has placed a genuine order or requested a refund on products they’ve actually bought. So, eCommerce store owners use online identity verification to enhance their own credibility and prevent fraudulent activity.
- Identification - There are many ways you can verify the identity of the customer. Some eCommerce stores request that their customers provide a government ID picture. However, this may be seen as quite invasive by some customers, especially if the product they are purchasing is not that expensive.
- Include a CAPTCHA - Check whether the customer is a human or a bot. You can also request a phone number or email and send a verification link there. Additionally, some use biometrics, AI, single sign-on, and two-factor authentication, among others.
There are many eCommerce opportunities and challenges that you’ll encounter in your online retail career. From cyber security and data protection to increased customer expectations and customer retention, you will have to focus on many things. Additionally, some other very common eCommerce challenges are the high competition, omnichannel experience, and customer satisfaction.
To overcome these eCommerce issues, you will need to:
- Create a solid security policy
- Enhance your cyber security and data protection
- Create a website that is easy to navigate and has a simple and modern design.
- Keep up with the latest eCommerce trends and use the newest tech
- Always be aware of what your competitors are doing
We highly recommend that you go over the solutions provided in this article and implement them in your business. They will help you improve your eCommerce operations and will help you stand out from the crowd.
And remember, while these solutions may not seem too important on their own, implementing them at the same time will help you create a consistent, optimized, and successful eCommerce store.
Next Steps: What Now?
- Find The Best Web Hosting
- Improve Your Website’s Security And Data Protection
- Look Into Ways To Be More Sustainable
- Implement Voice-Search Optimization
- Research The Latest eCommerce Trends
- Create or Improve Your Return/Refund Policy