The most basic question here is, what seems to be eating up the retail world? I think by now we know the answer and that is e-commerce business. Since digitization has been on the pedestal lately, the way businesses have started to operate is different, it is quick, smart, feasible and just a click away.

It is the buying and selling of products and services online – if that becomes a thing who would want to step out of their house? Not me! With that I would like to remind you how this Covid’19 situation has given a rise to e-commerce business expansion – it has forced the retailers to invest more into technology and online platforms where they can easily connect to their target market. If your company can not perform like that in such a time, where are you taking your business? Are you scared? I hope not.

I am just reminding you how important e-commerce is NOW! According to the Amazon report in 2019, the online share of retail sales is surprisingly very high – e-commerce penetration hit 16.0% in 2019; which was way higher than 14.4% in 2018 and 13.2% in 2017.

E-commerce businesses are not constantly making money 24/7 on the clock, flourishing an e-commerce start-up is hard but once you get there, you do not want to look back. According to Statista, e-commerce sales were calculated around $342.96 billion and by 2019 they were passing the mark of $600 billion.

There are a lot of times generally in life where you decide a few things without experiencing them or having a perfect plan and that is OKAY. E-commerce from afar might look like an easier thing to do for any business out there, maybe you feel like it will be so much easier to connect with the consumers, perform tasks or gain recognition but after experiencing things on daily basis, we have realized and jotted down the ten biggest challenges that you will or can face while you are struggling to make your e-commerce business successful.

1 – Competitor Analysis

E-commerce is emerging and as much as you want to flourish, the person sitting right next to you is aiming for the same goal. Whenever you cross the road, you look around first to make sure if you are safe enough to walk through or not, the same way when you are entering any market as a newbie – you look around to make sure if you are safe enough to do so or not. The key is RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! This is the only way you will know if you are well aware of your environment and your competitors.

Find your edge, find your niche and cultivate it into your platform. You do not have to be better, you have to offer something different than what they are offering in any form – it can be relationship building with the consumer or social media presence. Choose one, focus on it and make sure it is offering something different than others around you.

E-commerce is emerging and as much as you want to flourish, the person sitting right next to you is aiming for the same goal. Whenever you cross the road, you look around first to make sure if you are safe enough to walk through or not, the same way when you are entering any market as a newbie – you look around to make sure if you are safe enough to do so or not. The key is RESEARCH! RESEARCH! RESEARCH! This is the only way you will know if you are well aware of your environment and your competitors. Find your edge, find your niche and cultivate it into your platform. You do not have to be better, you have to offer something different than what they are offering in any form – it can be relationship building with the consumer or social media presence. Choose one, focus on it and make sure it is offering something different than others around you.

2 – Appropriate Content

When you create content, it is necessary for you to understand the audience you are writing it for. You can write a million blogs on IT but if you are targeting young girls who are more concerned with fashion trends, it is not going to work! A lot of times businesses are not aware of their target consumer and they create content that is not appropriate, which leads to wastage of the company resources. You need to be specific about your target market and create content through which you can connect with the consumers easily, they should feel like you understand him/them and are trying your best to provide for their needs. You can use multiple tools to get help, understanding the concept of SEO and keywords can help you and Google Analytics can too! Create content that sells your product in the market.

3 – Equip Your Team

In between the hustle-bustle, at times employers forget that they need to make sure that their team is fully equipped and understands the aim of the whole process. You need to make sure that every team member understands what YOU are offering to your consumer. Invest in them, train them, conduct meetings and interactive sessions where they are free to be as inquisitive as they want – it will help you in the long run! Most importantly, provide the right technology because that is the vital element for your team. Identify the consumer’s channel of communication and make sure that your team has access to it.

4 – Customer Verification

You never know who is giving out reliable details of their whereabouts and who is not and this can lead to a major loss in revenue because multiple services cost the business money like delivering to the wrong address because the customer provided fake information or suddenly is not available at that address (they are lying!) to save yourself from minor losses resulting in a huge loss of revenue, you can take specific steps to verify and make sure that the other end of the deal is reliable. You can send in verification codes or register an email with the order to be on the safe side; you can also identify fake numbers if possible.

5 – Predicting The Future

This is the biggest mistake you will make for yourself, do not predict the future especially when we talk about e-commerce, it is challenging to be aware of what comes next. This market is continuously evolving and changing – keep your eyes open! Look at all the new items in the market, all the technology making tasks easier, any new product that you feel like you can make different or offer differently – work towards it. Experiment with different strategies and processes until you feel like you are creating something interesting for the target market but do not predict as you might keep working on your predicted plan which can ultimately go to waste.

6 – Don’t Be Old-School

As I mentioned above, do not predict the future and do not be old school. WORK IN THE PRESENT! A lot of time businesses start working ahead of time or keep following traditional ways to promote and sell – both methods can be challenging and can lead to loss or lack in the business. Whatever you do, do it at the moment, in the present; not the future or the past.

Understand your consumer, their interests, the trends around you, their buying patterns as whoever is buying things online – are doing it for their own convenience and as a business, it is our job to make sure that his/her convenience is not disrupted because of somewhere we lack.

7 – Customer Experience

Gaining a customer is not very hard but maintaining a customer is. It is necessary to be transparent with your customer, a lot of businesses portray something and deliver something completely different – THERE. YOU JUST LOST YOUR CUSTOMER. This is exactly what you should not do. Your site navigation should be easy. You can add images and videos to grab the consumer’s interest. Your policies should be clear when it comes to buying, selling, refund, shipping and the product. Provide different options of payment for conveniences like payment by CoD or card. Provide customer service where the consumer can ask in case of any query. Your product details should be clear and understandable – this gives a good impression and retains your customer leading to customer loyalty eventually. Always remember, without consumers, your business will go down so it is necessary to make sure that this part of the business is dealt with in a nice manner.

8 – Bring In Traffic

Do not risk your rankings by having low-quality content and your pages scattered with affiliate links. Your landing pages should have relevant keywords – that way you will receive a higher google ranking and would show up during relevant searches too. It is time to master SEO!

9 – Boost Engagement

Small e-commerce business or large, it is necessary to boost engagement. Social media costs you nothing! A few companies or businesses are so busy focusing on the manufacturing or developing of products that they forget they need to boost overall engagement to have customers ready for when the product launches in the market. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn are social media kings – you upload anything here, you will get the views. You will create awareness and interest before the launch.

Make different polls or communities since people with the same interests like to interact on public forums. Hold contests, make consumers participate in giveaways – there is no harm to engage your customers in whichever way you prefer, whatever gets your brand out there, DO IT!

10 – Customer Loyalty

More consumers – more revenue! This should keep you motivated enough to provide the best of services to retain your customer. You should make sure that the consumer is experiencing no difficulty or delay while purchasing something, the customer experience helps a lot here. It is a good sign to blog regularly as well as that shows the true side to your consumer, you can have paid partnerships with influencers and bloggers because the general public trusts them a little easier – they become your loyal customers once they are fond of the product or service.

You should email or have their phone numbers to update them regarding sales, anything new and discount vouchers or personally call a few of them to let them know about your discounts – it makes them feel like you value them as a consumer!

Lastly, setting up an e-commerce business is hard but then again, anything new is a little hard to achieve in the beginning but you work towards it and make your way through by setting goals The digital landscape is here to stay so the sooner you begin, the better it is!