Let’s accept it - the future is here. We are using the internet and eCommerce as our default option for all shopping - bread to BMWs!
The pandemic has proven to be a game-changer for online businesses. Where people used to go to brick-and-mortar stores previously to buy is now done via a few clicks. This quick decisioning ability has the power to make or break your business - do customers click “Buy” on your page or do they navigate away to another app?
It is forecast that by 2040 (a mere 18 years away), 95% of all purchases will be made online. Traditional businesses need to adapt and are clearly in transition to the online world to cater to current and future generations of shoppers.
As more and more businesses come up online, there is a lot of scope for success. There are, however, more than a few challenges as well that you’ll need to overcome.
The last two years have been tremendously hard for most businesses, yet what we are seeing now is unparalleled growth in the digital space. There’s enormous opportunity to tap into the global appetite for eCommerce and recent stats from UNCTAD and Statista corroborate the same:
Needless to say, the opportunity is huge but so is the competition and regulation/ governmental requirements. Although there’s a lot to cover, are are going to focus on the biggest eCommerce challenges that you need to address in 2022:
Customer behavior is changing all the time. With more and more customers relying on non-traditional methods to find and engage with your brand, you cannot rely on a single marketing channel to funnel traffic to your store anymore.
Businesses must learn how to effectively leverage social media, PPC, SEO, email marketing, display ads and affiliates to drive quality traffic to their store. For example:
Your product catalog is even more important in the virtual world than in the physical “Brick-and-Mortar”. It is the only way for your customer to come to know of the products you offer and it’s important that you constantly update your catalog to present new products and remove old ones.
Your online store catalog says a lot about your business - from product quality to post-sales support and more. It should be a source of rich, eye-catchy visuals and complete product information for potential buyers.
High quality product images attract audiences immediately, which ultimately increase the chances of a sale. High quality, aesthetically pleasing images which are aligned with your brand are proven to be the biggest contributor to sales conversion.
eCommerce and lifestyle photography is an integral part of building your store's presence - do not take it lightly.
While professional photography can be expensive, there are new options available like Pyx Photography which are tech forward solutions to aid with product photography.
Pyx Photography leverages its network of pre-vetted professional photographers and cutting edge technology to save you up to 50% on product photography.
So, the earlier you adopt the latest technologies, the greater your chances of outperforming the competition.
eCommerce shopping trends are constantly evolving, and with them how to identify and target your audience. From searching on Google previously, most searches have now moved to platforms like Instagram and eCommerce sites like Amazon.in and Flipkart. People also increasingly rely on social media ads and view posts liked by others in their network.
Audiences are also taking much shorter time to make purchase decisions now. With more and more options available and shorter decision time, it is imperative for you to put the best product ad in front of your desired audience at the correct time. Hence, you need to invest in AI to identify where your target audience is and how to attract them effectively.
Once you have your desired audience at your store, the biggest challenge is closing the sale. Poor online presence, not knowing your ideal customers, unconvincing product description and poor SEO optimization often hamper these efforts.
In order to overcome these challenges, you need to pay special attention to segregating your visitors, email leads, creating personalized strategies and overall strengthening of your digital sales plans.
Retaining and maximizing your existing customer’s experience is the holy grail to eCommerce success. Attracting new customers is tough but once you have them, plan on implementing retention techniques to have them become repeat customers who will not only purchase again but also act as evangelists for your brand.
You can do this by giving early sale access to existing customers, unique coupon codes and existing customer discounts. You can also have special season previews and sales just for existing customers. All of these tactics have been proven to increase customer lifetime value.
Many eCommerce companies face challenges due to logistics issues. With audiences today demanding timely (and fast) deliveries, this can be a big miss if you don’t partner with a reliable logistics solution provider. Make sure your entire stack from shopping cart to checkout/ payment processor, delivery agency, email and CRM software are well primed to keep the customer informed and happy about his purchase from you.
The internet is an open ecosystem and with different types of risks facing people who are unprepared. Customer data is like gold and you need to implement solutions to make sure your customers feel safe trusting their credit card and other personal details with you. Some of the common security threats you need to be prepared to face are:
You also need to pay special attention to how customers authenticate on your site. Make sure your buyer is who he/ she claims to be by implementing 2FA (two factor authentication) using OTP to their mail/ phone number when they sign-up. You can also use software plugins like “Captcha” to spot fake users, bots etc. and keep your customer experience safe.
In conclusion, whilst there are many challenges facing your online business the opportunity far outweighs the risks for those who are prepared.
Setting up a business online is an intense affair and requires you to don many hats - designer/ developer/ marketer/ operator etc. The trick to success is to build the right team around you and look to delegate non-core tasks to specialists so that you can focus on what’s core to your business.
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