According to eMarketer, worldwide retail e-commerce sales were set to hit more than $1.9 trillion in 2016 alone. And the numbers are expected to go up to $4 trillion by 2020.
Today, I am going to share with you some of the pain areas for e-commerce entrepreneurs and the provide some advice and solutions to solving these problems.
Running an online business is just like a brick and mortar business when it comes to bookkeeping.
You must keep accurate records of sales, refunds, taxes, etc. It can be frustrating in the beginning if you are relying on a simple spreadsheet to try and keep track of everything.
One of the best solutions out there is Quickbooks Online or Xero. They have a unique set of needs that you will need for an online store as opposed to a brick and mortar store.
2. Hiring support
There will come a point in your business that you will need help, especially when running an e-commerce store.
There are so many moving parts that it takes at least a couple people to help with packaging, shipping, customer service, etc.
If you are a one-man-shop working from your home, get your family involved. Put the kids to work and teach them how to package products.
Have your spouse help with customer service issues. Do whatever it takes to make it work.
3. Providing Enough Customer Support
This is probably one of the most important aspects of running your new online store.
If you don’t provide good service, it will surely lead to bad reviews online, which could kill your business from the start.
- Make sure you provide different avenues for your shoppers to get a hold of you.
- Have a system in place so that you can track the last conversation you had with the client. You can usually do this through the ticket submission forms.
- Offer promotions or freebies to angry customers.
- Respond within 24 hours of receiving emails.
4. Shopping Card Fraud
Shopping cart fraud is a huge concern for startup entrepreneurs.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, almost 50% of small businesses fall victim to fraud at some point in their business lifecycle, costing them an average of $114,000 per occurrence.
There are various ways to prevent e-commerce fraud, ranging from choosing the right eCommerce platform to maintaining files of past fraudulent charges.
Do your research before you start your online store so you can prevent much of this from happening?
5. Shipping Method
One of the first things you will need to do is determine how you’re going to get your product to your customers.
This can be frustrating because there are several different ways you can do this but, if you pick the wrong one, it can cause you a ton of headaches.
One of the best ways to take the hassle out of shipping is to use the drop shipping model. The following is a list of advantages that dropshipping offers:
- Minimize Risk
- Provides practicality
- Can be lower costs
6. Credit Card Processing
Choosing the best credit card processor for your online store is vital for making your e-commerce store look professional and trustworthy
Choose the wrong one, and you could experience a high rate of cart abandonment.
Every online store is different.
Make sure you do your due diligence when searching for a payment gateway and credit card provider.
Do some thorough research on how to choose the best credit card processor offering the lowest transaction rates with more flexibility.
7. Shipment Tracking
Trying to track all of the packages that you ship can be frustrating because it’s more complex than just shipping out a package and hoping it arrives at your customer’s doorstep safely.
There are many software solutions out there that offer help in tracking packages.
Capterra lists some of the best shipping tracking softwares that you can review and decide which one fits best for your business.
8. Order Return and Refunding
Just when you think that everything is going well with your sales this week, you get customers wanting to return their items and get a refund.
Either the product didn’t fit, they weren’t satisfied with it, or it simply ordered the wrong item.
No matter what the case, this can be frustrating because now you have to be able to process refunds, record the refund in your bookkeeping software correctly, ship another item out instead possibly, etc.
Make sure you have a good return policy in place on your website to start off.
According to Shopify, 77% of online returns come from current customers so make sure your customer support team is up to par in handling these returns.
Take leaf from already established businesses to get a better idea of how to handle these issues.
9. Sales Start Out Very Slow
As a new online retailer, your sales will be slow. This is one of the most frustrating parts of opening your store. So what should you do while you wait for sales to start rolling in?
This is the perfect time to focus on perfecting your website and getting some solid marketing strategies in place.
Social media is free, and all it takes is your time. Use this downtime to build your brand online and drive traffic to your new store.
10. Lost Packages
It’s rare, but UPS, FedEx, and DHL can make mistakes. There’s nothing worse than getting a sale and the package getting lost in the mail.
Not only does it cost you money, but you must take the steps of contacting the customer and shipping another package for free.
There’s essentially nothing you can do if a shipping company loses your package besides filing a claim.
See this example that UPS states that if a package has not been delivered within 24 hours of expected delivery time, you can file a claim.
Getting Customer Data Protection Compliance
Online retailers generate a cumbersome database over time which keeps on swelling with rising footfalls.
As an e-commerce business, you are accountable to preserve and keep your customers’ data safe.
Get necessary evaluation done for your technical infrastructure. It should be robust enough to fight with cyber crimes and data breaches.
Make sure you are GDPR compliant or your business functions adhere to security compliance of the land where you are operating.
Final Words –
Starting an e-commerce isn’t easy, but it can be very lucrative if done correctly. Doing as much research as possible upfront will reduce the number of mistakes that you make.
Don’t be discouraged though, because when you make a mistake, take it as a learning process and move on.
You will become an expert in no time, and soon your e-commerce store will be running like a smooth, profit-generating machine like it was meant to be.
Contributor: Sam Zaman; Sam Zaman loves to write on technology and related stuff. E-commerce, mobile and internet marketing equally drive her interest. Likes gardening and experimenting with new recipes. An avid reader and absolutely mad @bout donuts She has long been associated with Mofluid.