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    8 min read

    13 Challenges in eCommerce and Ways to Overcome Them

    By Shawn Jordan

    The eCommerce (electronic commerce) industry has come a long way since businesses started using the internet for commercial purposes in the early 1990s. Now, just about every brand worth its salt has an online presence and the number of people who use online platforms to make purchases continues to rise. However, while online sales keep increasing in numbers and volume, the challenges of eCommerce keep getting more complex.


    Addressing the challenges of electronic commerce is possible only after identifying them correctly. Besides, the challenges have changed significantly over the last couple of decades. For instance, driving traffic to an eCommerce website now takes much more than using the right keywords. In addition, the need to use a suitable product information management (PIM) software is more important than ever.


    challenge of e commerce

    1. Making Sense of Numbers

    The internet is awash with statistics surrounding eCommerce and you need to know how to use them to your advantage. For example, knowing why people turn online to shop can give you an indication of how to address their needs and pain points. Consider the top five reasons highlighted through stats collated by Oberlo:

    • Free delivery – 45%
    • Discounts and coupons – 33.5%
    • Customer reviews – 26.5%
    • One-day delivery – 25.9%
    • Easy checkout process – 24%


    Going by these stats, it might be worth your while to offer free shipping/delivery, run promotional campaigns, and provide a streamlined checkout process.


    2. Selling the Right Products

    Several challenges in eCommerce that existed until a few years ago are no longer of concern owing to the entry of prominent online shopping portals such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. These platforms have made entry into the sphere simpler, and they also provide a variety of tools for sellers. However, finding the right products is sell is still a crucial starting point.

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    While there is no dearth of online sellers selling just about everything one can imagine, finding your own space is possible if you:

    • Work on solving a customer pain point.
    • Select products based on your passion.
    • Make use of your professional experience.
    • Identify and capitalize on the latest trends.
    • Check customer reviews for ideas.


    3. Managing Product Information

    Cost-effectively managing product-related data is among the top eCommerce website challenges. Fortunately, this problem is rather easy to address. All you need to do is select a suitable product information management (PIM) software. With a good PIM software in place, you may look forward to various benefits, which include:

    • Collecting data from multiple sources and combining it to generate reports.
    • Identifying and fixing data-related problems.
    • Sending required data through multiple channels of distribution.
    • Creating and managing multiple product categories.
    • Effective filtering of products during searches carried out by consumers.
    • Business process management and catalog management software integration.


    ecommerce website challenges

    4. Verifying Identity

    One of the key challenges facing the eCommerce industry as of now is online identity verification. For instance, how do you know if someone browsing your eCommerce website is genuinely interested in making a purchase? Has the person even entered a real name and contact details? You may get answers to these questions only if you use some kind of online identity verification system.


    You get numerous options when looking for online identity verification software, which makes it important to select one based on your needs. For example, verifying the identity of consumers remotely by using images and selfies might work well only for low-risk operations, given that the method is not very reliable or secure.


    Good identity verification software should include features such as:

    • Electronic identity verification
    • Social Security Number (SSN) verification
    • Instant authentication
    • Multi-layered authentication
    • Sending automated verification links
    • Making automated calls to verify cash-on-delivery purchases


    5. Dealing With Competition

    Several marketing experts feel that one of the biggest challenges in implementing eCommerce strategies comes in the form of competition. Given that just about every business is trying to prove its mettle in the digital landscape, this cannot be far from the truth. As a result, businesses in the online world have to make sure they provide great products and services coupled with competitive pricing, while paying due attention to branding.


    Small and mid-sized businesses may work around the price competition aspect by offering clearly laid out value propositions that their customers cannot find elsewhere. Distinguishing your business from its competition is vital, especially if you hope to attract new customers. Fortunately, you may do this by having a well-optimized user-friendly website created to suit evolving search engine algorithms. Businesses that are starting out in the online world may also benefit by providing unique products and focusing on smaller demographics.


    While competition comes from other online sellers, you also need to worry about direct-to-consumer (D2C) retailers. This is because the age of eCommerce has given manufacturers easy means to reach out to their customers directly.


    It is clear that using PIM systems can help online sellers reduce their time to market significantly, which gives them one way to remain competitive with D2C retailers. Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the supply chain can also give eCommerce players a way to hold their own against D2C sellers.

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    6. Increasing Visibility

    One of the basic challenges of eCommerce in today’s world is visibility. While you might have a great eCommerce website or an online store, it would serve no purpose if it does not attract probable customers. Consider this – if your business does not show up on the first page of Google’s search results for the keywords you target, the chances of customers finding your online store remain slim.


    A great way to address this eCommerce challenge is to invest in search engine optimization (SEO). This involves carrying out keyword research, devising and implementing on- and off-page SEO strategies, as well as building high-authority links. Doing this in the right manner results in increased online visibility as well as a higher percentage of qualified leads.


    Depending on the type of products or services you offer, you may consider increasing your brand’s visibility by turning to social media platforms, using paid advertisements, or employing the services of influencers. Determining which mediums might work well for your business requires that you identify your target audience first.


    7. Identifying the Right Market

    Finding the right market fit is important for any business, and this applies to eCommerce businesses as well. Product-market fit refers to how well any product or service meets a market’s demand. A simple way to find this fit is to come up with a product that solves an existing problem.


    If you are unsure about your target audience, start by assuming that it spreads across a reasonably broad category. Then, run ads on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to target this audience. Once you have adequate data, try to understand all that you can about consumers who interacted with your business as well as ones who went on to make purchases.


    After you get more information about your products’ market fit, you may narrow down on the best ways to reach out to potential customers.


    challenges of electronic commerce

    8. Building Customer Loyalty

    Experts in digital marketing accept the fact that it takes around five times more money to attract new customers when compared with retaining existing ones. However, several businesses continue to spend more money trying to attract new customers, as opposed to building loyalty among their existing customers.


    Since you cannot expect face-to-face interactions with your online customers, building trust and loyalty requires that you put in the required time and effort. Some tips that can help include:

    • Make the entire process seamless, from browsing to purchasing to shipping.
    • Offer complete transparency in pricing.
    • Provide contact details.
    • Provide support via live chat.
    • Make use of loyalty programs.
    • Increase credibility by providing relevant and informative blog posts.


    9. Providing a Multichannel Experience

    Data suggests that multichannel consumers spend three to four times more money than shoppers who use single channels. When addressing the challenges of eCommerce, businesses need to understand that consumers use various digital channels. These include eCommerce stores, social networking platforms, public forums, and instant messaging platforms. Fortunately, online sellers can adopt different multichannel strategies to reach out to their existing and potential customers.


    First, you need to identify the online channels your target audience uses the most. Then, you need to provide optimized content, personalized messaging, and one-on-one interactions. It is important that you remain consistent in your efforts. You should also be able to direct conversations based on context, even if it means going through conversation histories.


    10. Enhancing Cybersecurity

    Businesses that wish to enter the eCommerce space need to have proper policies that enable them to create secure frameworks. Formulating suitable response plans to deal with cyber attacks is crucial. If a business website is at the receiving end of a cyber attack, a contingency plan should be in place to address any possible downtime it faces in operations or sales.


    As a small or mid-sized business owner, you may stay on top of cybersecurity threats by:

    • Managing your own servers
    • Backing data up regularly
    • Updating your eCommerce software regularly
    • Installing safety plugins and other safety-related components

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    11. Dealing With Abandoned Shopping Carts

    Abandoned shopping carts are all too common an eCommerce challenge and one that just about every online seller faces. Consider these stats collated by Drip.

    • The average abandoned cart rate stands at 69.57%.
    • Cart abandonment leads to a loss of around $18 billion in the form of sales revenue for eCommerce brands.
    • The top reason for abandoned cards is extra costs.
    • Needing to create a new account takes the second spot.
    • Conversions can increase by 35.62% if you focus on checkout optimization.


    While abandoned carts are among the top technical challenges of eCommerce, you can bring down your online store’s cart abandonment rate by:

    • Removing all bugs.
    • Ensuring that customers don’t have to fill out long and tedious forms.
    • Letting them checkout without registering.
    • Engaging with them during the buying process by providing live chat.
    • Making sure your website uses responsive web design.
    • Sending automated reminders about abandoned carts via email.
    • Using behavioral retargeting to reach out to probable customers based on their previous actions.


    12. Handling Returns and Refunds

    A significant number of online shoppers pay close attention to return policies before making purchases. In addition, an inconvenient or lengthy return policy can act as a deterrent for several buyers. One of the challenges that eCommerce businesses face is giving their customers easy means to carry out returns, while not suffering significant losses, monetarily or in terms of reputation.


    It is important for online sellers to offer complete transparency surrounding return and refund policies. Providing multiple options when it comes to shipping and refund methods tends to put consumers’ minds at ease. By addressing this aspect in the right manner, you can also work on building customer loyalty.


    13. Keeping Up With Evolving Technology

    Given the number of people who use mobile devices for shopping, it is imperative that you have a completely responsive website. A number of prominent online retailers such as LEGO and IKEA have started using augmented reality (AR) with the aim of providing better visualization of products, and more businesses are bound to follow suit.


    eCommerce is already moving beyond desktop and mobile devices, and into the quickly growing Internet of Things (IoT) space. From smart speakers to smart cars to smart homes, consumers will soon have multiple options from where they may use voice searches to make purchases. As a result, retailers will have way more touchpoints to explore.



    While eCommerce website challenges exist, addressing them effectively is possible if you know what measures to take. For instance, implementing a suitable SEO strategy can give you an easy way to increase organic traffic to your website. Business owners need to understand that aspects such as online searches will only get more complex, and they need to stay on top of the learning curve to keep up with their competition.


    If you’re unsure about what you need to do to boost online sales, or if you have any questions surrounding the challenges of eCommerce, getting in touch with a digital marketing company might be in your best interest. This is because succeeding in this realm requires taking a professional approach.

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