The world of ecommerce is constantly growing. While this presents a huge opportunity for ecommerce business owners, this kind of growth also comes with noteworthy challenges. Owners must understand new technology, contend with ever-increasing competition, and the list goes on.
Some challenges are immediate, while others may not be an issue until your business reaches a certain size. However, by becoming aware of them now, you can prepare yourself and your business to handle them when you face them.
10 Biggest Challenges in Ecommerce
1. Attracting the Target Audience
Identifying your target audience is difficult enough as it is. Attracting your ideal customers to your brand is even more of a challenge, especially considering how many other brands are already vying for their attention. You’ll likely spend much of your time looking for new ways to get the attention of your target audience.
The good news is that clearly defining your ideal customer is a huge first step in attracting these folks. By understanding exactly who your product or service is for, you know where they spend time online, what images draw them in, and what brand voice speaks to them directly. With this information, you can create an extensive marketing strategy.
If you choose to do your marketing strategy on your own, you should create a content plan, choose one or two social media channels to focus on, and build an email list and newsletter program. This is quite complex work and you may benefit from hiring marketing experts to ensure you reach your target audience quickly.
2. Fighting Data Security Concerns
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the increase in online shopping is an increase in cybercrime. Security breaches are an issue for both customers and companies. In order to make a purchase, customers must share a good deal of personal information with you – their name, address, email, and financial details.
People can be especially wary of giving you their credit card details. If a hacker were to get ahold of this information, they could cause a serious financial burden. While this is a fair concern, it can be detrimental to your business as you lose out on sales.
One easy way to help customers feel more secure in making a purchase is by accepting digital wallets, like Google Pay and Apple Pay. Digital wallets are one of the most secure payment methods, as the customer’s information is heavily encoded.
Some payment service providers don’t offer these payment methods, but Pay.com does. You can see all of our payment methods and get started here.
3. Providing a Seamless Customer Experience
It can be challenging to offer the same level of service online as a customer can get in a brick-and-mortar store. You can’t approach them, ask if they’ve found what they’re looking for, and physically walk them over to the product they’re in search of. You also don’t have a trained sales rep offering add-on products and upsells.
If you do have both physical locations and an online presence, it can also be a challenge to provide a seamless experience across both channels. When customers interact with one channel, they expect to get the same treatment when they move to the other. If they don’t get that, it can feel incohesive and even uncomfortable, which may lead them to shop elsewhere.
There are a number of ways to improve your ecommerce user experience. Start by taking an audit to see what your store is missing. Is your website clean and easy to navigate? Do customers know what to do during each step of the process?
Once you know what needs to change, you can start adjusting. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Add an upselling and cross-selling app to suggest products to customers
- Offer a chatbot to help with directions
- Hire a web designer to improve website accessibility and update your branding
- Edit your copy to be clear and concise
- Add CTAs (calls to action) to direct traffic once a customer adds something to their cart
4. Dealing with Oversaturation
Experts estimate that there are 10 to 25 million ecommerce businesses worldwide, and that number is growing every day. No matter what you’re selling, chances are there’s a large number of other ecommerce stores looking to sell a similar product to the same customers you’re targeting.
There are two issues to consider with oversaturation. First, you may be struggling to differentiate your product or service from the competition. If what you’re selling is too similar to competitors, shoppers will have no reason to choose to shop with you.
Second, you may be struggling to get visibility. With all the other contenders taking up the first page of Google, your customers just aren’t finding you.
Look for ways to distinguish your business from others. Is your product handmade? Does it provide unique benefits? Do you make it in the US? If you offer a service, how many years of experience do you have?
If you can’t differentiate your product or service, you can also stand out by offering exceptional customer service or free shipping. Highlight this differentiator in your marketing.
To gain more visibility, you can try a few things:
- Hire someone to improve your marketing strategy
- Boost your website’s SEO by doing keyword research, creating a blog, and including on-page SEO best practices
- Try a new marketing strategy, like influencer marketing, that speaks to your target market
5. Abandoned Carts
According to the Baymard Institute, data from 48 different studies shows that there’s an average shopping cart abandonment rate of 69.99%. Finding ways to lower that cart abandonment rate could equal thousands in sales.
People report leaving their online shopping cart behind for many reasons. While some are out of your control, there are plenty of things that you can change.
Here are some of the top reasons people abandon their cart and what you can do about it:
- There aren’t enough payment methods. Add more payment methods. With Pay.com, you can add a variety of payment methods, including cards, digital wallets, and online payment apps, to your website in just a few clicks.
- The website doesn’t seem trustworthy. Display security logos on your checkout page. Pay.com supports 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS2) and has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance.
6. Keeping Costs Competitive
Since there is a great deal of competition, many customers use price as a determining factor when deciding which company to shop with. As a result, you’ll always be on the search for ways to cut costs. That could be in terms of your products or labor.
Then there’s shipping. Many customers prefer to purchase from big retailers that can offer free shipping, like Amazon. How can a small ecommerce business compete?
Lowering your product costs will depend on what you sell. You may be able to get a discount for buying in bulk. Likewise, search for manufacturers that will give you discounts on raw goods if you make your products from scratch.
Although you may not be able to completely get rid of shipping costs, you can find ways to lower that cost for your customers. For example:
- Offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.
- Provide a subscription option that lowers shipping costs.
- Give your customers a variety of shipping choices so they feel like they’re getting a deal by choosing the lowest cost option.
7. Fulfilling Orders
Getting orders may be an issue at first, but once you get a reliable customer base, you may face another issue: fulfilling orders. With orders pouring in, especially around major holidays, it can be hard for a small business owner to keep up.
If you do fall behind on packing and shipping orders, you may lose customers. This can impact your future sales as well as your reputation.
Outsource order fulfillment to a third party. If you run a small operation, it may be time to hire someone you trust part-time. Or, if you’re ready to grow faster, you can outsource all fulfillment and shipping to a dropshipping company.
8. Fraudulent Purchases
Data breaches are an unfortunate reality of the ecommerce world. While you may not be the target of a cyber attack, hackers could try to make fraudulent purchases from your business using stolen credit card information. Plus, there are also regular everyday criminals who steal credit cards and attempt to use them online.
This can hurt your business in both fees and lost merchandise. Fraudulent purchases tend to be larger. Once the real cardholder reports the unauthorized activity, the account issuer will force a chargeback, which reverses the charges and gives you a fee. If you’ve already shipped the product, you lose out on that, too.
You can avoid many fraudulent purchases by having the right security measures in place with your payment service provider. Pay.com takes security very seriously, which is why we support 3DS2. This is an added layer of authentication that ensures that a customer is really who they say they are.
9. Converting Visitors into Customers
If you have excellent SEO and marketing strategies, you likely also have a high website visitor count. However, those visits don’t mean much if they aren’t converted into transactions. This is a sign that there’s a greater problem you need to explore.
To determine a solution, you must figure out why people aren’t converting into paying customers. Is your site easy to navigate? Does it work on mobile? Is your checkout process easy to understand? Are you driving the right audience to your website in the first place?
Check your analytics to determine at what point customers are leaving without purchasing. This is where your real problem lies. Once you figure it out, work to correct it.
10. Boosting Customer Loyalty
Ecommerce sales can be quite unbalanced. Ideally, it’s best to have steady sales each month with more predictable peaks in sales during busy times of the year.
One of the best ways to get consistent business is to increase customer loyalty. It’s harder and more expensive to connect with new customers than it is to engage with existing ones, so this is also a cost-effective strategy. How do you get customers to return to your site?
Customers will typically return to a business when they have a positive experience with the product or service they purchased, the customer service, and the user interface. If you have these elements covered, you can also do the following to boost loyalty:
- Collect emails at checkout and send newsletters
- Provide promotions for returning, like a discount or free shipping
- Offer a loyalty program
What's the Best Way for an Ecommerce Business to Accept Credit Cards?
Pay.com makes it easy for your customers to make a purchase. You can offer them a variety of payment options, so you’ll never miss out on a sale because a customer didn’t see their favorite card or digital wallet. Pay.com also has extensive security measures, so your customers will feel safe shopping with you every time.
Plus, you can easily customize your checkout page using the Pay Dashboard. Even without coding experience, you can add your logo, brand colors, and text to the checkout page so it looks and feels like the rest of your site.
The Bottom Line
While the world of ecommerce offers great opportunities to earn money and connect with customers all over the world, it can also be a challenging place. From fraudulent purchases to oversaturation, you’ll face your fair share of hardships. As long as you use the right tools and address the above common issues, you can own a successful ecommerce business.
The first step in having a thriving online business? Choosing the right payment service provider. With Pay.com, you can easily accept payments and provide secure transactions for your valued customers.