In recent years, e-commerce has become very popular for business owners. Couple this with a steep shift in consumer behavior thanks to the pandemic and its lockdowns, and you got yourself a new environment to explore and learn from.
Generally, the concept of e-commerce has been around since before the pandemic took its toll on the world. Although it initially competed with traditional brick-and-mortar retail establishments, its value was first fully seen during the lockdown period.
Running an e-commerce store isn’t easy. If you’re struggling to make sales and keep your e-commerce profitable, this article is for you. Keep reading to learn more about the most common challenges e-commerce business owners face and how you can solve them.
3 Common challenges when running an eCommerce website
The world of e-commerce is vast, and many might initially feel overwhelmed when deciding to put their business online. Because this platform is relatively new compared to brick-and-mortar stores, it presents unique challenges you may not have experienced anywhere else.
Since your business is now operating in a new platform, one of the biggest challenges you need to handle immediately is keeping your e-commerce site safe for your clients. Online transactions require customers to give financial information, so any compromises can severely affect how people view your business.
2. Customer experience
Your e-commerce site’s capacity to positively affect a customer’s experience is vital to its success. This means ensuring your site is optimized enough that it’s easy to browse through, clean, and highlights your products concisely yet compellingly.
Like a physical store, e-commerce websites thrive off aesthetics, flow, and segmentation of goods. A website that is hard to navigate, cluttered, and full of text can potentially drive customers away.
3. Conversion rate
There is also the concern of how you can convert site converting customers. Your data might show you have many site visitors and traffic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you make sales revenue.
This poses a challenge to many e-commerce businesses since it’s also influenced by other factors, like industry competitors, how your site affects customer experience, the price and shipping options of your goods, and your return and refund policies.
7 reasons your eCommerce website isn’t selling
Even if it’s true that launching a website for your business online can have many advantages, that doesn’t mean the road is easy. On the contrary, many business owners find themselves disheartened because their online campaign didn’t pan out as they hoped it would.
Many factors contribute to your e-commerce not generating revenue. Often these could range from misguided marketing strategies to faulty web development. You can find some examples that result in lower sales volume below.
1. You have no clear brand strategy
The Problem: Having no clear brand strategy is equivalent to your business not having something that helps you stand out against the others in the industry. In short, a business with no brand strategy has no competitive edge and pales compared to other companies with similar expertise.
A weak or no brand strategy can also make your brand much more forgettable, especially on a platform that demands eye-catching marketing to keep its audience’s attention. In the long run, this can contribute to your business not turning in sales.
The Solution: The first step to building a brand strategy is to understand why you began your business in the first place. Doing your research, likewise, can contribute to the shaping of your brand.
Other factors that serve as a sound foundation for your brand strategy include market research, developing a brand narrative, and understanding your competitors.
2. Your site is too slow
The Problem: Some people prefer shopping online because it saves time. With this in mind, customers have considered a site’s loading speed to contribute to their overall customer experience. This has been so prevalent that, according to Google, 53% of mobile users are more likely to abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load.
The Solution: Regularly testing and maintaining your business’s website can easily fix the slow loading speeds. In other words, you need to optimize your website. Consider also investing in page speed services or other optimization tools, like Google PageSpeed Insights, to ensure your site doesn’t hinder any potential sales in the future.
3. Product descriptions are confusing
The Problem: When your product or service descriptions are lengthy, confusing, or all over the place, this can discourage customers from adding these items to their carts and ultimately buying them. Customers might not push through with their purchase because they don’t even understand what they’re paying for in the first place.
Additionally, these customers cannot physically examine these products enough to decide. This makes having good and concise descriptions all the more important to have.
The Solution: The quickest remedy to confusing descriptions is to state just the essential features and benefits of your product: What it is, what it does, and how to use it are good starting points. You want to keep your descriptions informative and easy to understand, so customers can quickly skim through your products and grasp the purpose of each of them.
4. Your site isn’t search engine optimized
The Problem: When your site doesn’t use search engine optimization (SEO), you risk getting lost on the internet. Customers may have a harder time locating your website on search engines. Couple this with the fact that people want results faster when they’re online, and this could be a recipe for a loss in sales.
The Solution: The main goal of SEO is to help your site gain more traffic and awareness, which could greatly help increase your business’s overall revenue. Integrating relevant keywords, for instance, can easily and immediately benefit your business since it makes it more visible to people casually surfing the internet.
In addition to adding relevant keywords and phrases about your products, you can add meta tags and descriptions to your content. These tags give search engines and users a clearer idea of the type of products your website has. The algorithm can easily include your business’s site whenever someone searches for the product you sell as a result.
The Problem: Websites that are hard to navigate can deter customers from adding items to their carts or making purchases. Visual clutter on your site can also overwhelm potential customers, making it difficult and frustrating for them to find what they need from you.
If your site also lacks a menu bar or a search bar, then this can make the customer experience much worse. This is because they might have difficulty finding items in the first place. Eventually, they’ll be prompted to look elsewhere, and your business will lose a potential sale.
The Solution: Simplifying navigation and only showing what needs to be displayed can greatly improve the customer’s experience. This includes having a menu bar listing different categories and a search bar for faster and easier navigation to a specific item.
For instance, if your business is focused on selling clothes, you can have different categories in your menu tab, like bottoms, tops, and dresses.
If your goal is to make a sale, then the last thing you want is to complicate the buying process for your customer. This will only result in them getting frustrated and looking to do business elsewhere.
6. You don’t highlight customer reviews
The Problem: When you keep customer reviews to yourself or your team, it wastes its potential to drive up your sales. This is because customers, especially those new to your site or brand, won’t know what to expect if they transact with you. Will they be disappointed with the quality of the product? Will they be satisfied with the speed of your product’s delivery?
Failing to include customer reviews can potentially make customers unsure about buying from your business. Consumers read about others’ experiences with your business before even considering transacting with you. In fact, about 90% of consumers read a business’s online reviews, while 88% trust these reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.
The Solution: Including testimonials on your website can quickly resolve this problem. You can either showcase customer reviews about your brand or segment the reviews based on the product being sold. These testimonials let visitors and potential customers read about real-world experiences with your products and services before hitting the Check Out button.
7. Your site has a complicated checkout process
The Problem: Often, companies think that just because someone adds a product to their cart, it’s a done deal and that they’ve made a sale. Because of this mindset, sometimes the opposite is true. A complicated or long checkout process has caused about 87% of online shoppers to abandon their carts.
Visitors commonly abandon their carts because they have to spend time going through additional processes like signing up for an account, site crashes, failing to save their orders, and unclear total costs. Many prefer buying what they want without having to create an account, or they’d rather that having an account be optional.
The Solution: Eliminating the need for unnecessary steps, or at least turning them into optional features, can greatly reduce a loss of sales from complicated checkout processes. If you can process the transaction without a step, it’s best to remove it.
You can even offer multiple payment options, making it more convenient for your customer. This creates a more seamless shopping experience that is quick, convenient, and time-efficient for the buyer.
E-commerce: Friend or Foe?
There is no stopping e-commerce from being a competitive alternative to traditional retail and physical stores. In many ways, it has its advantages and appeals to many shoppers worldwide. As a business, it’s your job to adapt so you can stay relevant within your industry.
Regarding e-commerce optimization, recognizing and integrating the benefits of e-commerce within your business operations can help you increase sales and create more traffic to your brand.