Challenges in E-Commerce

Back in the day, you can sell just about anything and make crazy money. Competition was minimal, technology wasn’t as affordable as it is now and access to product was limited. Now, Amazon is a major competitor to everyone.  China is opening up to the world and technology is now affordable. The e-commerce industry has become so fierce, that surviving has become a matter of concern. With internet fostering the birth of many newcomers threatening reputed players, the need for differentiating on the basis of customer service experience has become as critical in modern times. This article will discuss a few e-commerce challenges that players face. The information here is based on research by Cyriac(2015) and Assan(2017).

Challenge #1: Lack of Verification Measures

Once a customer signs up in an e-commerce portal, the portal is unaware about the customer except the information he/she entered. The credibility of the customer is questionable. This heightens when the customer issues a Cash-on-Delivery (COD) purchase because the business is unsure whether the customer is genuine or not. These have resulted in huge revenue losses for many e-commerce players.

Challenge #2: Selling the Right Product

Shopping cart platforms like Shopify have eliminated many barriers of entry.  Anyone can launch an online store within days and start selling all sorts of products. Amazon is taking over the eCommerce world with their massive online product catalog.  Their marketplace and fulfillment services have enabled sellers from all over the world to easily reach paying customers. Let’s not forget about Aliexpress.  They’ve simplified product sourcing by giving access to Chinese manufacturers within a couple of clicks.

All of this has made it very difficult for retailers to source unique products unless you they decide to manufacture your own.

Challenge #3: Product Returns and Refunds

When products are returned because customers are unsatisfied with the product, it scars the business with heavy loss on shipment and reputation. Cost of logistics have always been an issue for e-commerce players especially for those who deliver for free.

Challenge #4: Customer Loyalty

E-commerce industry is an industry where the cost of switching is pretty insignificant. A lot of players have lost customers because their rivals have a better quality of customer service, or better discounts. Knowing that 86% of clients stop doing business with a company because of poor customer service, you need to ensure customer service is always a priority for your online business and part of your retention strategy. Customers demand consistent and seamless experiences across all channels, and players that refuses to deliver fail to retain customers.

Challenge #5: Achieving Long Term Sustainability

Increasing sales is one way to grow the business but in the end, what matters most is profitability. Online retailers must always find ways to cut inventory costs, improve marketing efficiency, reduce overhead, reduce shipping costs and control order returns.

Challenge #6: Choosing Right Technology and Partners

Some online retailers may face growth challenges because their technology is limiting them or they’ve hired the wrong partners/agencies to help them manage their projects. Retailers wanting to achieve growth must be built on a good technology foundation.  They must choose the right shopping cart solution, inventory management software, email software, CRM systems, analytics and so much more. In addition, hiring the wrong partners or agencies to help you implement projects or oversee marketing campaigns may also limit your growth.  Online retailers must choose carefully who to work with.

E-Commerce, With Time

More commonly known as E-Commerce, electronic commerce E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. There are many ways to classify ecommerce websites. You can categorize them according to the products or services that they sell, the parties that they transact with, or even the platforms on which they operate.

In many parts of the world, ecommerce is something people participate in on a daily basis in activities such as online bill payment or purchasing from an e-tailer.  The popularity of e-commerce has soared because it offers business that has 24 hour availability, business that has great customer service, global customer base and convenient transactions. E-commerce has made it possible for buyers and sellers to communicate and transact anywhere and anytime in a quick and efficient manner. For these people who use this method regularly, the thought of living without ecommerce is no longer imaginable, since its absence would inconvenience several aspects of their routine. In the old days, people managed without it, so it is definitely possible to continue on without it. But how exactly did ecommerce come into existence?

Ecommerce was introduced 40 years ago and, to this day, continues to grow with new technologies, innovations, and thousands of businesses entering the online market each year. The convenience, safety, and user experience of ecommerce has improved exponentially since its inception.

The beginnings of e-commerce can be traced to the 1960s, when businesses started using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to share business documents with other companies. EDI replaced traditional mailing and faxing of documents with a digital transfer of data from one computer to another. In 1979, the American National Standards Institute developed ASC X12 as a universal standard for businesses to share documents through electronic networks. After the number of individual users sharing electronic documents with each other grew in the 1980s, in the 1990s the rise of eBay and Amazon revolutionized the e-commerce industry. Consumers can now purchase endless amounts of items online, both from typical brick and mortar stores with e-commerce capabilities and one another.

Although the Internet began to advance in popularity among the general public in 1994, it took approximately four years to develop the security protocols (for example, HTTP) and DSL which allowed rapid access and a persistent connection to the Internet. In 2000 a great number of business companies in the United States and Western Europe represented their services in the World Wide Web. At this time the meaning of the word ecommerce was changed. People began to define the term ecommerce as the process of purchasing of available goods and services over the Internet using secure connections and electronic payment services.

The book Future Shop: How Technologies Will Change the Way We Shop and What We Buy, stated insights and predictions on the future of this kind of commerce. An overview of the book explains:

“For hundreds of years the marketplace has been growing more complex and more confusing for consumers to navigate. Published in 1992, long before the Internet became a household word. Future Shop argued that new information technologies, combined with innovative public policies, could help consumers overcome that confusion. A prescient manifesto of the coming revolution in e-commerce, Future Shop’s vision of consumer empowerment still resonates today.”

Even from the early 1960’s until this very day, the Internet and Ecommerce continue to evolve, and will continue evolving in the future. Just how much more can it store for the foreseeable future?

Ways to Increase the Conversion

Commerce has found its way to the online world, and when it comes to the ecommerce, conversions has a big impact. Well, to be a successful business owner, you have to convert the browsers into buyers. There are a few ways to increase conversions, here are those tools:

Mobile

Mobile holds the future of ecommerce. Make the business of your website mobile friendly, being your website responsive to any device can make prospective customers easily view and shop.

PayPal

PayPal speeds up their checkout process, it gives the shoppers the confidence in their purchases by providing a reliable, and trusted payment method.

Email Smarter

An online store is better if you have an email that sends out order confirmations, promotional deals, and newsletter. There are plenty of techniques to use your email, you can send out campaigns for them to check out and increase your page conversion.

Search Engine Analytics

The most efficient way to manage your online business is through the analytics. It shows you the macro views and micro views, the demographics, and their action. You can get a comprehensive analytics to improve your website.

Increase Conversion: Most Effective Way

Having an online store means you need an online platform to easily manage and move money online.

PayPal is the most convenient payment option for your potential customers, the transaction fees may weigh a little burden, but the checkout conversion rate feature of PayPal helps online retailers and sellers.

As PayPal made the checkout experience simple, easy, and quick, results came that there is higher conversion rate and higher online sales.

Did you know that 69 percent of those who shop online, abandon their e-shopping cart? The statistics have shown that 3 out of 4 shoppers do not complete their purchase and abandon their e-shopping cart. The shopper may have numerous reasons why they do this, but the main reason is the more clicks and keystrokes it takes to check out, gives more opportunities for the shoppers to change their mind.

Thus, PayPal speeds up their checkout process. They auto-populate the shipping and billing information, thus the crucial clicks and keystrokes from the checkout process are eliminated.

More than that, PayPal gives the shoppers the confidence in their purchases by providing a reliable, and trusted payment method.