Though many small-sized and medium-sized businesses have jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon, there are still some major challenges that need to be addressed and solved. No matter how exciting it is for these businesses to finally have an online business to sell their products, there are many obstacles that still need to be overcome.
1. Product Selection: Many small and medium-sized companies do not have the resources or capital required in order to afford a wide range of inventory for their online stores. A lack of inventory can lead customers to search elsewhere when they cannot find what they want from your store, which translates into lost revenue potential.
2. Ease of Use: This is where most e-commerce sites fall short, as many are not user-friendly. Not only do they not have a clean and organized layout, but having to navigate through the site can be a hassle for online shoppers, which again results in lost revenue potential. Having an easy-to-use site will gain the trust of your customers, who will be more likely to come back if they know what you offer is easy to locate.
3. Customer Service: Online shoppers are old hands at shopping online, so they are very well aware that customer service is still a top priority for most online stores. Excellent online customer service will go a long way in gaining customers' trust, and will also help your business gain respect in the industry.
4. Payment Processing: Many e-commerce sites rely too heavily on PayPal or similar payment gateways, which can sometimes cause payment problems for customers. If a site offers only one method of payment, then it may not be as appealing to customers who prefer to use different types of payment. Providing multiple options will give you a wider customer base and could greatly increase your revenue potential.
5. Brand Recognition: Not only do customers need to find your store, but they also have to find the products they want. A wide range of products on offer can help your business stand out from others, as well as have a recognizable brand name or logo.
6. Site Security: Not only is your site's layout important but so is the security of information that is kept on the site. It is easy for any hacker to infiltrate your online store and cause extensive damage to your business' reputation. Having a solid security system in place for all online transactions will provide you with peace of mind as well as increased revenue potential.
7. Shipping Costs: No matter how long a customer has been shopping online, they will always be interested in the shipping costs associated with products. If these costs are too high, or if they have to pay extra for faster delivery, then your product may not be appealing enough to make the sale. Ensuring that your prices are reasonable and fairly priced will give you an edge over the competition.
8. Poor Quality Products: Unsatisfied customers who receive low-quality products will not only provide bad reviews for your e-commerce site, but they may also choose to shop elsewhere in order to find what they want. Having high-quality products will give you an edge over competitors who offer poor-quality products at higher prices.
9. Technology Problems: Online shopping is all about convenience, but with the speed and efficiency of technology constantly changing, it can sometimes be difficult for suppliers to keep up with. If a supplier's e-commerce site is not functioning properly and your customers are unable to make their purchases, then you will be losing out on revenue potential. Making sure that your suppliers' sites are up to date and functioning properly at all times will ensure that your customers have a pleasant experience when shopping online.
10. Payment Methods: As discussed earlier, a variety of payment methods will help differentiate you from your competitors. The more payment methods offered by your company, the more likely customers are to choose you rather than other companies who only offer one or two payment options.
11. Information Accuracy: This is a key factor for any successful e-commerce site. Even if your company does not provide high-quality products, customers will still look for other ways to determine the overall quality of your products based on information provided on the site. By providing accurate and truthful information about the products offered, you can add value to an otherwise uninteresting product description.
12. Discounts: Not only is this essential when using a shipping service that offers discounts, but it is also very useful in gaining more customers and keeping them coming back. Ensuring that all customers receive a discount will help differentiate you from other competitors who may offer a lower price, but only to select customers.
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in this day and age of high tech, people expect sites to be functional and user-friendly. A website that is not updated regularly or is difficult to navigate will most likely not be retained by new or returning customers. If a company spends money on advertising its site, it needs to invest in maintaining it as well in order to keep up with trends and changes that most likely continue even after the site is initially uploaded.
14. E-commerce Software: If a company does not invest money into developing an e-commerce site, then it will be unable to compete. Having a functional and professional website is not enough if you do not have an acceptable e-commerce software package. If your company does not have an established platform with good SEO, then it will most likely be unable to compete in the marketplace.
15. Payment Processing: Since any online store relies on payment processing, it can be easy for you to overlook this as a critical aspect of online sales. Ensuring that your e-commerce site has multiple payment options will set you apart from competitors who only offer one or two payment methods.
16. Ease of Use: Customers are looking for sites that are easy to use and navigate, which means there is a lot more to it than just having a functional website. Providing customers with the ability to search for products and be redirected to other similar products will make it easier for them to find what they want.
17. Urgency: Whether your business is selling new or used products, they are all subject to the feelings associated with urgency. If a product's status is not updated or seems to be in a state of disarray, customers will feel rushed by the lack of information. Even if a product is ready to be shipped out immediately, customers should still receive an e-mail notification with the tracking number and your company's name or message. This will encourage them to take the next step and purchase the item they want.
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You and your company's website should have easy access to a customer service/support line, as well as information about sales representatives and executives such as James Graf. Customers can easily contact you with questions about sales, purchases, or returning an item for a refund.
19. Support: If your company does not respond to customer support requests or questions as quickly as it should, then you are missing opportunities to gain customers. This can be overcome by providing phone or email support 24/7. By being available to your customers at all times, it will become easy for them to reach you when they have a question about a product that was purchased and shipped out within the last 24 hours.
20. Additional Services: Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of online sales is the ability of online companies to provide additional services such as video tutorials, demo products, discount and coupon codes, and software upgrades. By offering these additional services, you will increase customer satisfaction, which is normally a result of online shopping.