Since the outbreak of e-Commerce websites on the internet, it has been the brightest star in the sky. According to the reports in 2017, an estimated 1.66 billion people worldwide purchase goods online and the global e-retail sales amounted to 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars and projections show a growth of up to 4.48 trillion U.S. dollars by 2021.
However, it doesn’t mean that e-Commerce businesses are always earning money. Every small, medium and large companies have to go through a lot of hard times, since it isn’t easy to run a e-Commerce business online. One needs to take care of everything – from website maintenance, B2B services as well as customer service.
Also, read our blog on Why most of the e-Commerce businesses are failing.
Here are the seven common problems faced by every e-Commerce owners as well as the corresponding solution:
1. Lack of an Online Verification Identity:
There is practically no way to know whether the identity of the visitor who visits the website is genuine, except for the information the visitor enters into the system. If the visitor checks something into his cart and opts for cash-on-delivery option, it can lead to huge revenue losses for the organization if the provided mobile number and the email address is fake.
Firstly, there would be the requirement of taking proper steps to verify the customer’s information. In order to detect the signs of suspicious activities like if any of the visitor is placing high-priced orders or bulk orders and through an OTP (One Time Password) the buyers can detect if the provided phone numbers are fake or not. The next step is to check whether the zipcode matches with the state/city provided by the visitor during the check-out. Apart from this, the customer can sign up for a sms or email notification to verify the address, track the shipment as well as on the other hand also check the authenticity of the address by initiating an automated call for the COD purchase.
2. Staying Ahead of Competitors:
In recent times, there are too many sellers out there who provide the same services and products at the same discounts and offers. In such cases, the owner needs to have unique business strategy that can help him out of the system of repetitiveness.
For guaranteed results, the owner needs to conduct proper and deep research of what the competitors are offering. Putting in blood, tear and sweat towards making an effective strategy towards the promotion of products, investment in promotion through the right content can help you reach to more audience.
Sometimes knowing exactly which new and old products are in demand can go a longer way as by offering the best offers in them can make you stand out of the crowd. You can raise the bar by also offering exceptional customer services to your customers so that they can be assured of the quality from you.
3. Staying Loyal to Your Customers:
Even though you have a sleek website, it doesn’t count until you haven’t build that trust with your customers. It takes a lot of effort and time to make a new customer and then maintain the same customer for a long time. One of the main reasons behind the same is because of the lack of acquaintance and familiarity between the buyer and the seller as they are shopping, unlike to that of shopping at the stores. However, after a few orders and good experiences, the trust of the customers is gained.
Excellent Customer Service is the key to everything. While the customer is purchasing something online, you must make sure that the experience is sleek and satisfied with the service, since there are countless websites live on the internet and the customer has chosen your portal to shop from. The simple ways where you can do to enhance the relationship with your customers are:
- Make sure that the complete credentials of your website is put up at the front including address, phone number, staff pictures, testimonials and credibility badges of your website.
- Adding a live chat also adds a good foundation with the customer
- Write blogs that help the customer to discover the products they’re looking for. Blogs help to humanize the website.
- It’s always easier to maintain an existing customer than making new customers, since the word of mouth counts more.
- Create loyalty points that the customers can avail on each purchase made from your website. Since these points are non-transferrable you can be assured that the customers would love something extra.
5. Return and Refund Policies:
According to a recent survey it has been found that around 63% of American consumers first check the return policy prior to making a purchase and almost 48% of the prefer to shop from retailers offering easy-returns. When the product is returned, no-matter-which-reason, a customer is left dissatisfied as well as the organization suffers huge loss like the cost of logistics and shipping, etc.
Return and Refund are also a part of customer services and underestimating it would mean irreplaceable loss to the organization.The best way to handle such inconvenience is to have a strong returns policy:
- Transparent returns policy
- Use simple words that would be easily understandable
- Too-harsh policy would also scare the customers away. Avoid using “you must” or “you are required”
- Provide options of shipping and payments
- Teach your staff about the return policy for better assistance
- Sometimes if the mistake is from your side by shipping the wrong product, take necessary steps to make the customer feel at home and happy by offering extra discounts or offers as a gesture of affection
5. Deciding the Right Price and Shipping:
Merchants are always competing on the price since many sellers list equal products on their sites with very close difference between their prices. The small ecommerce websites can’t provide free shipping and less prices as that the mid-sized or large competitors offer.
Online sellers like Amazon, Walmart provide various amenities across the country and their warehouses also allow other larger ecommerce business to ship orders from the closest facility with approximately 60% of orders are in the same area as that the customer is in. The orders are shipped from the nearby warehouses, ultimately leading to the decrease in the cost of the order that arrives in a day or two.
As, finally every customer expects a fast and free shipping at the lowest price.
The way to survive through this competitive, constantly changing market companies can distribute their own inventory warehouses and find unique products to dissolve this problem, since as mentioned earlier every customer would finally every shopper would expect fast and free shipping in the least price!
6. You vs Retailers and Manufacturers:
There are many online stores that buy wholesale products from manufacturers or distributors and sell in the retail from their own online stores. That is the basic business model for many online stores. Because of the e-Commerce loopholes to entry, many product manufacturers and retailers prefer selling directly to consumers – that can be a direct competition to you, even if the company sells your products.
The only way out of this scenario is to stop manufacturers to sell the products directly to the customers and with few tweaks you can fix it for real:
- Give priority to those manufacturers that are less likely to sell directly to the customers and buy from them
- Sometimes offering the product at lower prices and with some added benefits can increase the sales
- The manufacturer can be restricted to sell directly to the customer by the incorporation of strict policies in the contract especially while dealing with small manufacturers mostly.
7. Data Security Issues:
Now this issue is a nightmare of every online business owner. Because of the presence of fraudsters there’s always a risk of the web host server attack with spam, resulting in infecting all the websites with viruses. In this way, all the confidential data including your customer’s phone number, card details can be vulnerable and in reach of wrong hands.
The best way to find a way about it is to have your own servers at work instead of depending on common FTP to transfer files, since it is prone to theft and hackers. Then again, if you constantly update the shopping cart of your customers, you can reduce the risk of data loss/stealing. Since most of the content management systems store their data on their database, developers should do regular backups and can retrieve the data.
Though it may feel to be at a state of war all the time given the continuous state of competition, but it’s all worth it. And, if you don’t want to struggle then through extra efforts on every aspect of the business.