In this modern age, entrepreneurs in the eCommerce niche can often feel like they have a never-ending to-do list. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the 2020 eCommerce landscape is drastically different than it was 5 years ago, but with rapid innovation also comes increased complexity and challenges for companies of all shapes and sizes. This year, the most frequent challenges that growing businesses seem to encounter include these 6 common roadblocks:
6. Choosing the Right Technologies
Whether you’re building a house or a website, it’s crucial to build upon a strong, reliable foundation. A successful eCommerce site needs to be armed with a range of capabilities and tools that allows for flexibility, customer personalization, analytics, and so much more. Although the most necessary technologies may vary depending upon the seller and the specific industry they specialize in, merchants often require several of the following features:
- Content management tools.
- Promotion and discount tools.
- Customizability and integration capabilities.
- Multiple payment options.
- An on-site search bar.
- SEO and marketing tools.
- Mobile compatibility.
- Security functions.
- Analytics and reporting features.
5. The Popularity of Mobile Shopping
Between 2015 and 2019, the use of smartphones for eCommerce jumped from just 31% to 55%. Consumers today expect all websites to be mobile-friendly, fast, and simple to navigate. According to Google, 57% of mobile shoppers will abandon their cart if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, which can be a major challenge for larger retailers. Optimizing your site for mobile is a must this year, and the MOI a great place to learn more from other merchants and see legitimate results from dozens of tests.
4. Creating an Omnichannel Presence
About 85% of online shoppers say that they begin their browsing or shopping experience on one device and then switch to another channel later. For instance, they might visit your site on your phone during their commute, use a laptop when they get home, and then choose to shop in-store the following day. The goal of an omnichannel strategy is to streamline all of these various checkpoints to create a cohesive journey for each customer. This process involves:
- Identifying the key channels for your audience.
- Strong data analytics.
- Social media management.
- Up-to-date tools (such as chatbots) to engage with customers.
3. Building and Maintaining Customer Loyalty
It’s far more costly to attract new buyers than to retain current customers, which is why cultivating long-term relationships with your audience is of the utmost importance. Kalin Kassabov, a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and the founder and CEO of ProTexting.com, explains that merchants can increase trust and loyalty with visitors by:
- Asking for feedback.
- Adding a live chat option or chatbot to the website.
- Writing relevant, helpful blog posts.
- Creating loyalty programs.
- Segmenting your marketing lists.
- Rewarding loyalty with special offers or discounts.
2. Cross-Border Commerce
Starting to sell products in another country is often a far more complicated experience than retailers expect. Gagan Mehra, the managing director of internationally-recognized brand Deloitte Digital, explains that expanding businesses must do thorough research on the following factors before trying to do cross-border commerce:
- Local economic and political conditions.
- International regulations on ecommerce.
- Business licensing and taxation across borders.
- Currency exchange restrictions.
- Language and translation barriers.
- Cultural differences.
- Net neutrality and the population’s access to the internet.
- Shipping and packaging.
- Return policies.
1. Collecting and Analyzing Customer Data
The majority of tech-savvy online shoppers are well aware that their data is being collected by the various sites they visit, but many aren’t sure why some sites seem to require so much of their personal information. And the truth is, some businesses do track and collect far much more information that they need in order to provide personalized experiences, and this invasion of privacy can be off-putting. Nikhil Govindaraj, a Forbes Technology Council Member and the Head of Products at goMoxie, asks, “Instead of trying to aggregate every possible detail about each customer's personal life, why not just focus on the here and how: What is the customer trying to accomplish, and how can we help them do it?”
In order to live up to our vision—continuing to build the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs—it is in EO's best interest to bring these common eCommerce challenges to light so we may work to address them, not only through our respective businesses, but also through the greater network of business owners striving to learn and grow from one another.