Every business is likely to face a few growing pains, either whether they first get the ball rolling or when it comes time to scale, and many of them are going to be specific to the nature of the business or industry that they are operating within.
That goes for eCommerce businesses just as well as any other.
Here, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the initial hurdles that growing eCommerce businesses typically have to deal with, and how you can clear them with little issue with the right prep and partners.
Not having the right site
A lot of eCommerce businesses build a website without the understanding of how, precisely, it has to serve the needs of the customers.
You want more than just a functional site to buy goods on, you want a site that is fast, that works on all devices, and that has a branded look and approach that can attract the customer’s eye.
You may find, very quickly, that your initial site isn’t able to handle all of the needs of your customers so you should be willing to invest in a eCommerce-specific website.
Of course, if you’re able to spare the funding for it, you can give your eCommerce business a boost from the get-go by investing right from the launch.
Not having the right products
You might have a good idea of what you want your eCommerce business to deal in, and you may already have some products that you are able to put on the store.
However, if you’re looking to maximize your sale potential, you should always be on the lookout for how you can develop your product lineup as well.
If you feel like your lineup is lacking, then you should look for suppliers that would be willing to work with you.
A lot of eCommerce businesses look into the dropshipping route, but this does come with a lack of control over how you run your business, too.
Not considering the competition
It is always a mistake, regardless of what industry you are in, to start a business without a good idea of the competition that you’re going to face.
This would be true of any local business but is even more the case when you’re going online since you’re competing with a much wider range of foes.
To that end, make sure that you use competitor analysis to see what businesses you’re likely to go up against and make sure that you have something to offer that sets you apart from them.
It can’t just be a matter of branding differences, you need something concrete in the eyes of your customers that will make you worth choosing over the competition; a unique selling point.
Not having space for inventory
A lot of eCommerce businesses begin right in the homes of the business owners.
One of the benefits of starting an online business is that it doesn’t demand a whole lot to get things up and running.
However, even if you have a room in the home set aside for it, you can quickly find that you have more inventory than you’re able to hold.
If you’re sending out orders routinely but still have more inventory than you can handle, looking for the right storage facilities can help you temporarily alleviate and manage that stock.
You might eventually want to look into moving things into a property with more space but, until you have the capital for that, it’s all about identifying the storage that best fits your needs.
Not having enough customer service
You need to ensure that you have some means for customers to address the issues, problems, and queries they have when using your website.
If you’re starting a small business, you might not always have the people available who are able to provide the information that your customers need.
To that end, you might want to take a look at the range of website chatbots on the market, many of them becoming a lot more helpful as of late thanks to the development of AI.
Of course, you can give customers the option to leave a message for you to respond to when you have time, as well.
Shoppers abandoning shopping carts
The phenomenon of your shoppers abandoning their shopping carts and leaving your website after they have already chosen items and are ready to checkout with them is not uncommon in the eCommerce world.
However, for new businesses, it can be a lot more prevalent for a few reasons.
For one, if you have too complex a checkout process, people are a lot more likely to simply give up before they are able to complete it.
Similarly, you can drive away a lot of customers by not having the right payment processing methods for them to use.
Take the time to see what your checkout process is lacking, or if there are any ways you can simplify it.
While your eCommerce business is small, you might be relying on some delivery drivers in your area or a much larger carrier who has to deal with your deliveries alongside a huge slew of other packages that yours can easily get lost in.
If you are able to find a good delivery provider, it is well worth holding onto them as, otherwise, businesses that offer inconsistent deliveries at best can find it difficult to keep their customers coming back to them.
If you’re not able to find the delivery partner that’s right for you, you may need to consider hiring your own couriers, but that can also come with the challenges of having to manage business vehicles, which does require work.
The customers don’t come back
Most eCommerce businesses do not make their money by constantly generating sales from new customers.
Instead, they are able to win their share of customers over, and then convince them to keep coming back to them time and time again.
If you’re not able to keep your customers coming back, it may be due to some of the above issues, such as not providing good customer service or not offering consistent deliveries.
However, it could also be due to a simple lack of incentive to keep them loyal. Building customer loyalty can include things like offering rewards, making it easy for them to set up accounts, sending email recommendations, and more.
Data security issues
If you have any hints of a breach or suspicion that your website and your business data are not fully secure, then you should make efforts to close any gaps in your security as soon as possible.
Simply put, there is too much at risk to not give your cybersecurity the investment that it deserves.
This includes not just securing your website, but anywhere that you store your data as well.
A firewall and anti-malware might not be enough to keep your digital devices fully secured, you may want to get in touch with a cybersecurity provider.
Not only can a data breach be detrimental to your business, but it could put you in legal hot water, as you are likely to be responsible for the data you store regarding your customers too.
Your business will face its fair share of challenges as it grows, changes, and finds its groove.
Some of these challenges may persist and require mitigation and attention for years to come, but hopefully, with the tips above, you’ll be able to leave some of them far in the past.