10 Early Stage Online Business Challenges (with Solutions)
As the new year embarks, you might have already started reviewing your business strategy to explore new opportunities for growing your business. Many businesses are still running offline and haven’t considered being a part of the online business world. According to a report by Statista, the total share of eCommerce in global retail sales was approximately 14.1% in 2019. This is estimated to be 16.1% in 2020.
If you are a new business planning to open an online store or starting an eCommerce business, here are some challenges and their solutions that you need to be aware of and consider them with immense importance:
Lack of Technical Skills to Develop a Web Store
You must be aware of the necessary computer skills so that you can set up your online store; at the same time, you can also promote your products/services using the power of the internet. But, we understand that computer skills are not something that everyone knows from the start. So, the solution to this problem is to hire someone else who can do that for you.
In this case, partnering with the right service providers is something that you can adopt. From getting the right website developers and designers to the most appropriate optimizers, you would need these resources for the optimum performance of an online business. You need to make sure that you hire a team that is well capable of building an attractive online store, writing influential content, and promoting your products and services in a way that you get more leads and conversions.
A practical approach is to prepare the requirements beforehand and get an idea of the features that you require. Accordingly, you can search for relevant service providers. If you get hold of the right providers, they will help you to create an online business that is customer-friendly, professional, and creative.
Making a Customer Friendly Payment & Checkout Process
Provide a range of payment choices to the customers, as this helps them to purchase with their preferred payment mode. According to a recent survey by PYMNTS.com, around 40 percent of online shoppers tend to leave their carts while completing a transaction due to a complicated payment process. It is a challenge to make sure the customer is offered all possible payment options as per their choice during the check out phase.
You can integrate with a suitable payment gateway that offers you a decent transaction rate and as well as various payment modes. This will solve the concern associated with this challenge.
Creating a Single Account for Online and Offline (in-store) Payments
Combining the offline (in-store) and online purchases can pose a challenge sometimes. It can get tough to provide a singular experience across all channels. Be it mobile shopping, in-store, website, etc.
To tackle the issue, you can make use of cloud-based tools. For example, if you have well-defined accounting software, you can integrate it with popular payment providers and keep track of your invoices. Whether you are getting paid in-store or online, you will be able to keep track of and organize the whole payment process. This will also help you immensely while calculating taxes.
Privacy and Security
Web privacy and security concerns are also a problem for an eCommerce store. Online businesses are more vulnerable to fraud and invisible crimes than offline stores.
It is recommended that you adopt an online security mechanism to save your customers and data from such crimes and frauds.
Order fulfillment is a major problem when it comes to online eCommerce businesses. The expectations for an Amazon-esque delivery are so high that it gets extremely hard to match up. Most times courier companies do not offer all-round coverage and basic features like an option to collect money for COD orders.
An extremely effective solution for these concerns is a shipping solution like Shiprocket. First, you get to ship with over 17 courier partners and you can easily reach out to 26000+ pin codes. Also, you get a powerful platform where you can import orders, link your website and marketplace and ship conveniently.
Building Customer Loyalty
Never consider the job done after you make a sale online. Just like in the offline world, one of the main challenges of an online business is the need to sustain the customer’s loyalty to be a successful venture. In an eCommerce business, a buyer and a seller do not know each other, so the transaction takes place purely based on trust and the information provided. It’s essential to build that trust by providing excellent customer support and service.
To aid customer retention, always write correct product descriptions, use high-quality images and provide a personalized experience to buyers. Also, you can provide returning customers with exclusive offers and discounts.
Handling Product Returns Efficiently and Return Policy
Though it’s not a happy scenario for a business when the customers return their products, this is something which is a common problem for online businesses. When customers are not satisfied with the delivered item, they return the product to the seller for replacement or refund. It becomes imperative for you as an internet entrepreneur to handle such claims and requests proactively.
It would help if you also had a return policy on your website, which should suggest the terms and conditions for returning the products after purchasing. Also, make sure you mention the products that are non-returnable to avoid any confusion for the buyer.
Disrupting New Markets for Business Growth
To add more numbers to your target audience count, you need to dive into newer markets and sectors. This is one of the best benefits of an online business that allows you to serve customers on a global scale. However, you have to upgrade and tailor your products to cater to international customers.
Some of the vital aspects include varied and secure payment methods, website content translation as per the audience’s local region, proper shipping & delivery, fair pricing, and so on.
Omnichannel Shopping Experience
Customers nowadays expect a very efficient and timely shopping experience while shopping online. In that case, it is useful to combine the online and in-store shopping experiences to provide an omnichannel solution to buyers. For example, you can offer customers the option of store pickup or buy online, return in-store. This creates a level of unique shopping experience for customers and helps drive better sales.
Limitations of Online Business Models
While the internet is an excellent place for doing business, few business models still work best in offline mode. For example, people buying automobiles care to see the product themselves before making the purchase.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a website for such businesses. Even in these scenarios, people do online research about the products they wish to buy offline. You need to help your target audience in their research work with your website, which may influence them buying the same product from you offline.