Having your own business can be incredibly fulfilling. There is a great sense of pride in knowing that you are your own boss. But as many of you already know, while there are plenty of good times to be had, running a business also comes with its own set of stressors and growing pains. This can be especially true for ecommerce businesses. Where your traditional brick-and-mortar stores have a set number of hours, an ecommerce store is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and unless you never require sleep or habitual breaks, the schedule of an ecommerce business can be daunting to keep up with.
Most you all that are reading are ecommerce business owners. While many of you are seasoned vets that have been there, done that and seen it all, there are some of you that are just getting started. For all you newbies out there, we broke down some probable challenges you’ll face as you build your ecommerce business, and how to deal with them effectively. Conquer these challenges, and soon you’ll be a “been there, done that” ecommerce pro, too.
1. New businesses will not have a lot of customers (at first).
You could have planned it all down to the last detail, from carefully naming your business to making sure that your pictures are the perfect size for your home page; but sometimes, your efforts prove to be in vain and you don’t receive the traffic you expected. This is due in part to not having customer trust quite yet. So how can you combat this issue? A great way is to share real customer testimonials. Studies have shown that 78% of Americans look to online reviews before purchasing a product. Clearly displaying your business’ phone number, customer service hours and address in a conspicuous place on your website will assure customers that they can contact you at any time if they have questions or concerns. Consider getting your business accredited by the better business bureau, which will help customers put their trust in you and your company.
2. Customers are sometimes hard to please.
Once you gain that loyal consumer base, you are going to have to learn the art of excellent customer service. Sometimes though, even those with the best customer service will encounter a dissatisfied customer. In fact, around 35% of customers have admitted to losing their temper with customer service. While this situation may not be entirely avoidable, there are ways to relieve it and end an on a happy note. Answering questions in a pleasant and timely manner will show your customers that you care. It is also important to remain in contact with your customer until the problem is solved, in order to maintain a positive relationship for the long run. 50% of customers have been said to continue to shop with a company for a longer period of time when they have a positive customer service experience.
3. You could potentially be hacked.
In 2014, retailers were the top industry compromised by hackers, with 54% of those attacks targeting ecommerce businesses. Of those ecommerce businesses, the majority of them that were hacked were small to medium in size. Conducting a business online comes with risks, of course, but if you aren’t a corporation or large enterprise that has a team dedicated to cyber security alone, you are at a potentially greater risk of attack. That said, there are plenty of ways to prevent your business from being compromised. Selling on reliable and reputable marketplaces, using strong passwords, not saving sensitive data on your desktop (pen and paper is a good way to store passwords), and constantly performing system scans can help protect you and your customer’s personal privacy. You can look here and here for more tips on how to protect your business.
4. Too many moving parts, and not enough control.
When you are trying to manage simultaneous orders and keep stock levels accurate at all times, you can easily become overwhelmed. This is especially true if you are running your business on multiple platforms or marketplaces, which can sometimes lead to duplicate data, fulfillment delays, oversold goods, unsatisfied customers and profit loss. It’s in your best interest to find a software that can manage inventory and orders for you behind the scenes, so that you can focus on the front-facing aspects of running a business – like marketing, customer service and branding. Eliminate overselling and get control over your business with our inventory management software. Give us a go with our 15 day free trial.
5. Shipping is a pain.
Although it is one of the final steps in a customer’s experience with your business, it’s one that can make or break you. There are quite a few variables that could create a negative shipping experience – lost or stolen packages, products that get damaged during shipping, a customer getting the wrong order, etc. With all of the things that can go wrong, it’s imperative you do everything in your power make sure the process goes right. Having clear-cut shipping policies, shipping insurance, branded packaging, custom packing slips with thank you notes and a feed management system that helps you communicate with suppliers and fulfillment centers is key.
We understand that running your own business can be hard, and that some uncomfortable moments cannot be avoided. But if you anticipate the challenges and plan ahead, you can coast through the bad times, bounce back quickly and build your empire.