How much time do you spend online each week? How much of your shopping do you do when you are on there – all of it? Just your food shopping? Or is it just items for special occasions, or you can’t get elsewhere? Almost all of us will be buying something over the internet over the next few days or weeks or will be planning to make an online purchase soon.
So, if you are looking to start up your own business – or even expand your current offering to your customers – you’ll be considering opening an online store. Going into e-commerce will almost certainly be part of your business plan: not only will you be able to reach new potential customers, but it will provide you with a shop window to the world. If you prove to be successful, then your venture could generate a large number of sales and revenue for your brand.
While it might sound easy to set up a website to sell your products and services, that doesn’t mean that you won’t come across any problems. It’s vital that you find out what the potential issues could be, so that you are well prepared ahead of time and know-how to tackle them if they arise. These are some of those items you need to keep an eye out for; bear them in mind when setting up your eCommerce business.
Verification of your customer’s identity
When someone visits your website, all the information they enter could be fake. How do you know if this site visitor is genuinely interested? Or are they even giving you their real name and contact details? It can be difficult to tell if you don’t use online identity verification.
So, you should take the necessary steps to make sure that the information you are receiving is real. There are software solutions that can identify fraudulent attempts and can include electronic identity verification, instant authentication, and ID checks – among others. By overcoming a business challenge such as this, you can stay one step ahead of hackers without losing a positive customer experience.
Technical issues can be one of the most difficult to overcome in eCommerce. If your problem is about data security, then it can be a nightmare: not only can attackers infect your site with viruses, but they could also get hold of your confidential data. The 2018 security breach of Facebook exposed the personal information of around 50 million users, for example.
To protect yourself, you should regularly back up your data; this is in case it is stolen. You should also use security plug-ins where you can, to prevent your site from getting hacked.
You may also want to use an IT support and services company to maintain this side of your business. Not only will you be able to get an insight to your cybersecurity status, but you could also have an IT audit and have network support for when you need it.
Analyzing your competitors
There will be others who offer the same products and services as you in a competitive environment. So, if you want to continue, you will need a strategy that makes you different from the competition. You can do this by conducting research of your competitors.
You should look at creating a strategy that lets you stand out from the crowd. You can do this by using social media channels and blogs to promote your products and invest in offers that will help you to create a larger web presence – as to attract more customers.
When researching, look to find which products are in the most demand on your site and remove outdated items. Being able to provide a customer service that goes above and beyond will also mean you stay ahead of your rivals.
There’s a lack of urgency from customers
There are generally two situations where buyers may not show any urgency to purchase your product. One may be during the initial phase, where you’re struggling to get those first few unit sales – which will be a tough obstacle for you to overcome but is usually linked to how you are marketing your product.
So have a look at your marketing strategy and see what you could adjust. Are there adverts on search engines and social media that aren’t working, for example, or should you go to an event to promote your product?
The other situation is when a product that is more established is starting to experience a decline in sales. Here, people are not as swift to buy it as they used to be.
With this, you should show why your customers need to buy this item right away. You could use tactics such as free shipping for a limited time, low inventory, or timers.
Customer disputes and chargebacks
You will come across several customer disputes that will appear from time to time – from the point of order until delivery. Some of the most common ones you may come across include:
- The item didn’t arrive
- It was bought using a stolen credit card
- The product didn’t meet expectations
- The wrong item was sent
- The customer was billed twice (or other clerical errors were made)
- The product didn’t match the description online
To resolve these, you should have a clear refund policy and respond quickly to chargeback notices. You should also get full authorization before you send out the item, and don’t charge your customers until their items have been shipped.
Over to You!
These are only a handful of some of the problems that you might come across with your ecommerce business. You may have come across some of these yourself already as a customer but, even if you haven’t, there are usually resolutions or processes you can put in place to make sure that these risks are limited. You will want to ensure your online business is run as safely and as efficiently as possible, so learning about what you can do will only help you to become the success you want to be.