ECommerce has changed the way of doing business in the retail sector. According to Statista, over two billion people purchased goods or services online in 2020. In the same year, worldwide eCommerce sales account for 18% of total global retail sales amounting to around $4.28 trillion. These figures are projected to grow even more in the coming years encouraging many eCommerce startups to join the fray.

What are the reasons behind eCommerce success and how was it able to change the retail industry?

On the consumer side, eCommerce has made it easier for them to buy a wide variety of consumer goods anytime from anywhere. Consumer goods are shipped directly to consumers’ homes eliminating the hassle of travelling to the store and waiting in line. Competition among online sellers has resulted in lower product prices. Also, nowadays there are many options available for paying for the goods. Many online retailers also offer low or free shipping fees and allow returns of items that did not meet consumer expectations.

On the business side, it has provided many opportunities not only for big businesses but also for eCommerce startups. Though it has its own challenges, starting an eCommerce business is relatively easy compared to putting up a traditional store. Ecommerce has enabled businesses to reach potential consumers across borders and leverage technology to target specific customers for greater return on investment. It also allowed them to operate at a lower cost than a traditional store.

Common Problems Faced by Start-up eCommerce Businesses

With eCommerce projected to continue to grow in the coming years, competition is bound to become even stiffer. If you are wondering how to start up an eCommerce business, or you already have one but do not seem to get the results you want, then this is for you.

Here are some common challenges faced by eCommerce start-ups and how to solve them.

How to protect your eCommerce sites against cyber threats?

When you have an eCommerce website, you are dealing with a lot of data, both yours and your customers. Security breaches not only disrupt your daily operations and ruin your brand image, but they also cause great distress and financial losses to your customers.

Here are some things you can do to ensure the cyber and data security of your eCommerce website.

  1. Implement strong, unique passwords for your company and encourage your customers to do the same.
  2. Only store the customer data that you really need.
    As a business owner, you need to balance customer experience, business convenience, and security. It is best to only store the information about your customers that you really need to minimise their exposure to possible data breaches.
  3. Secure HTTPS hosting/ SSL certificate.
    HTTPS hosting and SSL certificates will help secure your website.
  4. Regularly review all plugins and third-party integrations.
    Plugins and third-party integrations can help your eCommerce website in many ways. However, sometimes third-party integrations can be the source of security issues. It is important to regularly assess all your plug-ins and integrations to know if they are implementing security measures. Remove the integrations that you are no longer using to minimise exposure to security issues.
  5. Make sure that your website is always up to date.
    Your content management system/eCommerce platform and all integrations must have up to date security patches to protect your website from breaches.
  6. Always backup your data.
    Sometimes despite all the efforts to protect your website, security breaches can still happen. It is important to have a backup of your data so you can get your business back running as soon as the security concern has been addressed. You can use a backup plugin or avail backup services from third-party companies. You can also manually backup your website to a local computer but this requires more technical knowledge.
  7. Use a website protection service
    Consider getting a website protection service from a third party to boost the security of your website. These companies offer scanning and monitoring your website for security threats, removal of malware if your website is already infected, provide backup services, provide firewalls and other security tools for your website, and other security services.

How to verify online identity

Establishing the identity of your potential customers is important in eCommerce because you want to know that you are transacting with a real person especially. Some fraudsters may order using a fake name and number or use someone else’s credentials which could result in your loss of income.

Here are the things you can do:

  1. Implement two-factor authentication.
  2. Look for suspicious activity. Beware of high volume transactions coming from one source.
  3. Use software solutions to prevent fraud.

How to Attract the Perfect Customer

A shotgun approach to marketing your products is not the most cost-efficient way to do business. With the help of technology available today for eCommerce start-ups, you can target your ideal customers on the platforms where they usually are.

In addition, you can test whether your marketing strategies or advertising is touching on their pain points through A/B testing and analysis. You can fine-tune your marketing according to your initial analysis to get the most out of your investment.

How to enhance customer experience?

Enhancing customer experience is crucial for the success of your start-up eCommerce business. When potential customers are satisfied with your website they will likely convert. Likewise, when they like your product and customer service, they will likely become repeat customers.

Here are some ways you can enhance your customers’ experience.

  1. Implement simple navigation on your website to help your potential customers find what they are looking for fast.
  2. Ensure your calls to action are clear and prominent to help them convert.
  3. As much as possible, limit the number of steps your customers need to hurdle from point A to point B (for example, from browsing an item to checking it out).
  4. Keep in touch with your customers to check how satisfied they are with your products and get additional feedback. Let them know about new products and promotions and give them special offers for being loyal customers.
  5. Have a flexible return and refund policy to earn the trust of customers.

How to provide an omnichannel experience to your customers?

There are many possible touchpoints for your customers: social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, forums, eCommerce stores, and others. Some of your potential customers can be reached through different channels.

It will be hard for most eCommerce startups to try to reach customers in every channel possible because of resource limitations. Thus, it is important to identify the most important channels for your customers and optimise them. This will entail research on your part about who your ideal customers are and what platforms are they in.

How can eCommerce startups deal with competitors?

Competition is tough in the online retail industry especially if you are just starting out. Ecommerce startups must do their best to stand out from the competition. To do this, they need to know who their competitors are.

Find out the products that they are selling, where their customers are, how they get their customers, their pricing, their promotions, etc.

Armed with this information, you can define what makes you unique from your competitors and build your brand around this. You can also strategise on what products to sell, what promotions to offer, and how to make your customers’ experience unique.

How to deal with shopping cart abandonment?

Shopping cart abandonment is experienced by many eCommerce sites. Statistics show that online shoppers abandon their carts 68% of the time.

In some of these cases, some of the online shoppers are really just browsing, comparing, and saving their choices for later purchases.

It is also possible that some shoppers were interrupted during their shopping and may have simply forgotten to return to their cart.

But in other cases, the online shoppers abandon their carts because they encountered some difficulties and were discouraged to push through their purchases. Some possible reasons are:

  • The checkout process is too long or complicated
  • The website doesn’t seem trustworthy and they are wary to put in their credit card info
  • Shoppers can’t see the total order costs upfront
  • The website had errors or crashed
  • The payment method the shoppers prefer is not available

As you can see, some of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment are solvable. By cutting down on shopping cart abandonment you can recover potential income. Here are some of the things you can do.

  1. Redesign your shopping cart. Eliminate tedious processes such as having forms that are too long and a chore for the customer to fill out.
  2. Use the live chat feature to proactively engage with the customer to prevent them from leaving without buying.
  3. Optimise for mobile. Many shoppers make their online purchases via their mobile device. A fast loading site with optimised photos and disabled pop-ups will make the purchase journey smoother and will improve conversion.
  4. Send email reminders. Some eCommerce platforms have built-in email reminders or you can install an abandoned cart plugin for your eCommerce website to remind customers that they have added items to their cart.

How to find the right tech partner for your eCommerce startup?

Some eCommerce startups may face growth problems because they don’t have the right tech partner to help them.

The right tech partner will help you find the best tech solutions for your online store. They can help you decide the best eCommerce platform that is most suitable for your needs, as well as what functionalities to add such as shopping cart solutions, inventory management system, email software, and more. They can also help you in optimising and improving your website design, and ensuring your website’s security.

Find a technology partner that has solid experience in eCommerce. Search for reviews and testimonials and check their online portfolio. Meet with your possible tech partners and discuss with them the range of their services and their process

Key Takeaways

Ecommerce has changed the face of the retail industry. With the growing opportunities in eCommerce, many are setting up their eCommerce startups to get a piece of the pie in the huge online shopping market.

As with any business endeavour, starting and growing eCommerce startups have their share of challenges. Overcoming these challenges will increase the chances of success of an eCommerce store in this fiercely competitive field.

Finding the right tech partner that has solid experience in eCommerce should be one of your top priorities. The right tech partner can make sound business recommendations for your eCommerce startup and help your business grow.

Mettro is a proudly Queensland, independently owned and operated digital agency that has been delivering award-winning website design & development and digital marketing for over 20 years. We are dedicated to solving our client’s business problems with smart, simple digital solutions and have the testimonials to prove it.

We’ve built thousands of digital solutions including apps, eCommerce websites, custom software, eLearning applications, WordPress websites and Shopify Websites. Our website design team is second-to-none with a focus on real user experience and creative interface designs, and our website development team delivers quality online customer experiences and measurable benefits to our clients every time. We have a talented marketing strategy and creative team, renowned for designing and producing compelling digital campaigns, effective content marketing strategies, digital marketing and results-driven SEO.

Contact us or book a one-on-one to discuss your startup eCommerce project!

Written by Raeleen  |  4 November 2021