E-Commerce Businesses: Top Pain Points and How to Address Them
E-commerce is booming, but that doesn't mean businesses are immune to pain points. In fact, with more competition and higher customer expectations...
E-commerce is booming, but that doesn't mean businesses are immune to pain points. In fact, with more competition and higher customer expectations, online stores have to work even harder to stand out. From managing inventory and shipping to dealing with customer service issues, many potential pain points can arise. However, by being aware of these challenges and taking steps to address them, it is possible to overcome such hurdles, improving the chances of success while providing an excellent shopping experience to customers.
So what are some of the top pain points for e-commerce businesses? And more importantly, how can you tackle them? Let's take a closer look.
Website speed and performance
One of the most significant pain points for e-commerce businesses is website speed and performance. In today's age of instant gratification, customers expect pages to load quickly without any delays or glitches. According to Google, the average load time for a mobile page is 15.3s. And website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time.
If the website takes too long to load, or if there are frequent errors and crashes, shoppers will likely get frustrated and go elsewhere. As a matter of fact, nearly 70% of consumers admit that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer.
The most modern and effective way to address this issue is to have a native mobile app. It loads faster and also provides a better and more immersive user experience. The conversion rates increase exponentially, mainly because they offer features that are not available on mobile sites, such as push notifications.
Inventory management can be a real challenge for e-commerce businesses, especially if they sell products subject to seasonal demand or trends. It's essential to have enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand; however, having too much stock can tie up capital and lead to storage issues.
To address this issue, e-commerce businesses need to understand their customer base and what they will likely purchase in the future. When it is a new enterprise, predicting how many products to have in stock is particularly challenging. Once the business is established, data and analytics are the compasses to forecast demand and inventory planning.
Having a clear idea of what is selling well and the number of products in stock can also feed marketing campaigns. Push notifications are a great channel to advertise items that need to sell as the season ends, for instance. By taking these steps, e-commerce stores can ensure that they have the right amount of inventory on hand without tying up too much capital.
Some businesses may prefer to use dropshipping as a way to avoid inventory problems altogether. Dropshipping is a business model in which e-commerce businesses sell products without carrying any inventory. When a customer places an order in the store, the supplier - and not the actual store - ships the product directly to the customer's door. Dropshipping can be a great way to avoid some of the headaches associated with inventory management. However, it's important to remember that you'll still need to deal with other pain points, such as shipping and customer service. It also does not work if you sell your own manufactured products.
Having a clear idea of what is selling well and the number of products in stock can also feed marketing campaigns. Push notifications are a great channel to advertise items that need to be sold as a season comes to an end. For example, it does not make sense to stock up a whole range of swimwear during winter. By taking these steps, e-commerce stores can ensure that they have the right amount of inventory on hand without tying up too much capital.
Shipping and fulfilment
Managing the logistics of shipping is complex and time-consuming. Customers expect fast and free shipping, but the cost of shipping products can quickly add up, eating into profits. In addition, businesses need to be mindful of delivery times and ensure that products arrive in good condition. One good step is to develop partnerships with reliable shipping companies and utilise technology to track shipments and ensure timely delivery.
It is essential to carefully consider shipping options and find a balance between cost and customer satisfaction. After all, shipping costs are the first reason customers abandon carts before finishing the purchase. No business would like to lose that sale, but oftentimes it is not possible to carry the cost of free shipping, for example. Thus, business owners should also look into using automation and technology to streamline the shipping process, making it more efficient and, consequently, more cost-effective.
Customer service is always essential in any industry, but it can be incredibly challenging for e-commerce businesses. With customers spread out geographically and often interacting online or over the phone, providing a high level of customer service can be difficult. One of the main reasons shoppers contact customer service is when they have questions or issues with their order. Post-purchase experience is crucial for retaining a customer and getting good references. Thus, these questions need to be addressed on time.
It is no secret: E-commerce businesses must prioritise customer service. They should invest in technology and tools that will help them provide a high level of customer service, with a variety of ways for customers to get in touch (phone, email, chat, etc.). Additionally, they should train their team members to be knowledgeable and efficient. Do not forget social media: it is indispensable to have a proper policy to respond to questions and criticisms that may arise online, as they are public and can influence other potential shoppers' perceptions of the business.
Customers may return items for various reasons, such as deciding they don't want the product or find it defective. In the UK, shoppers do not need to give a reason to return the product up until 14 days after receiving the parcel.
Regardless of the reason, returns can be costly and time-consuming for businesses. Therefore, this possibility should be taken into consideration when setting up prices and evaluating potential losses. Besides what is stated in law, e-commerce businesses must have a clear and easy-to-understand return policy. If customers can find the answer to their queries easily online, they may refrain from contacting customer service, freeing staff (and investment) to take care of other business-related tasks.
These are 5 of the main pain points that can jeopardise the success of an online store. Several factors influence the business's results, but they can be addressed with good planning - and a lot of work. Providing customers with a beautiful and customised mobile app and having a good handle on inventory, shipping and fulfilment, customer service, and returns makes it possible to ensure a positive customer experience and outstanding results for the business.
With StoreLab, it is easy and quick to eliminate one of the pain points described above. We can develop a custom mobile app for your Shopify store that will help you boost sales and improve customer satisfaction. Don't miss out on this opportunity – contact us today!
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