15 Oct 2018, 12:20 — 6 min read
Taking on any kind of business venture has its share of challenges. In the case of e-commerce, you might encounter some pain points that are unique only to online sellers. We’ve put together a list of common e-commerce challenges, and how to overcome them.
Challenge #1: Catching Up to (and Speeding Past) the Competition
In the world of retail, there will always be competition. As DigitalFilipino.com owner Janette Toral says, no matter how unique your product is or even if you think you monopolize your market, you will still be competing with people selling products that your customers might consider a bigger priority than yours. So, prepare to face a lot of competition, especially online.
The good news is that businesses have a more equal advantage online - regardless of its size, any business can be formidable as long as they have the right strategy and proper enablers. This involves a mix of good advertising, customer support, product development, and digital tools.
Challenge #2: Getting Your Customers to Come Back
Customer loyalty can be very tricky to build in an online setting, but it’s not impossible. Many of the tricks that brick-and-mortar stores use to keep customers coming back work online too. For example, rewards or loyalty programs are appreciated regardless of what platform they appear on, and creating products that fit customers’ needs is also a sure way to keep them.
But there are other ways to build loyalty that are uniquely digital in nature, such as providing helpful content, tracking and adapting to market preferences, and creating Internet-enabled or even app-based loyalty programs.
Challenge #3: Having the Best Products in the Market
Product development is a constant challenge throughout any business journey, whether online or offline. Fortunately, being present online gives you a unique advantage: knowing exactly what your market is interested in, what it values, and what it would like to see more of.
Not utilizing market data in product research and design is like going into your business blind; not to mention, doing so is skipping out on a very powerful (and very available) tool. Just by studying the analytics of your website or online store, you’ll know what people like to check out, what interests them, their demographics, and their preferences. Focus on these so you can provide exactly what they’re after.
Challenge #4: Perfecting Your Logistics Strategy
Handling deliveries, transfers and returns can be a stressful task in any kind of business. There’s always a risk of packages getting lost or damaged, payments falling through, or having to deal with upset customers.
However, your best bet is always to be prudent. Watch your inventory, secure payments, and monitor deliveries as well as you can. The best part is that with digital technology, there are more precise and hassle-free ways to manage your exports, including setting up a system for your inventory and using location services to keep track of what you’re transporting.
Challenge #5: Making Your Content Work for You
Content is a game changer in terms of advertising, so if you aren’t creating content yet, you’re missing out on many long-term benefits your business could be enjoying.
While various experts offer advice for creating and perfecting a content strategy, certain factors always appear: quality, consistency, and context. In terms of quality, your content should be relevant and useful to your audience, which means it should be aimed more toward helping them than selling a product. As for consistency, you need to structure your posts such that they follow a schedule for your audience to keep up with, so they can learn to expect your content and look forward to it. And finally, in regard to context, it’s important to make your content relevant by coordinating or relating it with important events or occasions.
Challenge #6: Keeping Your Site Secure
If security is an important factor in a physical store, it’s possibly even more important in an online one. With digital technology being what it is today, cybersecurity has become more important than ever. In the case of an online store, where customers are trusting you with their personal information, the quality of their purchases, and their money, you need to take special care not to break that trust.
It’s always a good idea to invest some money in security - after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s also smart to look into possible cyber threats, trends in the industry, and precautions you can take in securing your business.
Selling online can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have all the ease and accessibility that comes with not needing a physical store and being able to run most digital operations hassle-free. On the other hand, so does everyone else.
Content yourself in knowing that with these tips, you’ll be able to handle any challenge that going into e-commerce has to offer.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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