In recent years, the e-commerce sector has come to dominate retail, and with more of us than ever now shopping online, the exponential growth of online shopping shows no signs of slowing down. Indeed, it’s estimated that in 2021, the percentage share of shopping online will account for around 19.5% of all commerce – representing a massive increase from just 7.4% in 2015.
However, while the growth of e-com is virtually assured, with so many players now entering the market, maintaining an online store and finding new customers has become more challenging than ever. Below are just a few of the more common problems faced by e-commerce stores and their owners.
Cybercrime is now a global problem facing all firms that operate in any capacity online – but is even more of a danger with e-commerce websites.
In 2021, the costs of online criminality are expected to tally $6 trillion – with that figure increasing to a gargantuan $10.5 trillion by 2025. Indeed, the funds generated by cybercrime make it, by comparison, the world’s third-largest economy, narrowly behind the USA and China.
If you’re to protect your company’s precious data (not to mention the sensitive information of your users), you must take adequate protection against hackers by investing in bulletproof web hosting and antivirus protection. You should also take sensible steps for ecommerce fraud prevention to stop scammers from capitalizing on weak security or loopholes.
Optimize your site to gain (and protect) a market share against rivals
By its nature, the web is global and, while this offers a far bigger potential market than was ever possible with traditional brick and mortar stores, it also leaves firms wide open to competition from rivals around the world.
If your company is to stand any chance in this fiercely competitive marketplace, it’s vital you invest in web marketing, develop a social media strategy and take steps to build customer loyalty.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the detailed and involved process of propelling sites up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and should be the starting point for building your site’s exposure. Bottom line – if your site isn’t found, it won’t be performing a valuable function for your company, and you will likely end up losing both potential and existing clients.
Keep your prices competitive
In line with the above, competition doesn’t just come in the form of rivals – it equally involves ensuring your prices remain in line (or, preferably, cheaper) than other stores in your sector. It’s estimated around 71% of all consumer journeys start with an online search so, if customers can find the same goods for less at other stores, you could again lose a sale.
You should do regular market research to check the prices of your products and services online against those of your rivals to ensure you remain competitive.
Problems with order fulfillment
No matter how much you invest in your site or its security, it will mean nothing if you don’t provide an excellent order fulfillment process to your clients. Word of mouth marketing can be both your friend or foe, and it just takes one bad customer review to impact your future sales.
These days customers expect far quicker delivery and order fulfillment, so, where possible, you should look at outsourcing this important part of the overall shopping experience.
Maintaining your online profile and building visibility
Almost without exception, the most successful online companies all have one thing in common – a proactive and professional approach to their online presence and branding.
Successful branding goes far beyond just a logo and strapline and should be integral to your overall promotional strategy. If you’re in any doubt, you should look at hiring a professional marketing company to handle your online profile and build your presence on social media.
Problems with the overall shopping experience
Shopping Cart Abandonment (SCA) is a problem all e-com firms face – no matter of size or sector. In an SCA incident, a browser will fill their shopping basket with goods only to then become distracted or otherwise fail to complete the sale.
To combat SCA, you need to make the shopping experience on your site as intuitive and easy to follow as possible. As a starting point, you should ensure you keep the user’s basket visible – along with a very clear link to the checkout area – but there are many other factors you should also check.
While there’s little you can do to ensure users don’t get distracted or pulled away from your site, there are many ways to improve the overall shopping experience. Again, if you’re in any doubt, you should seek the advice of a professional e-commerce development company and ask them to perform a full audit of your e-com store and the shopping journey from storefront to checkout.