eCommerce stores have freed customers from the hassle of visiting physical stores and give them the freedom to purchase things or avail of services from the comfort of their homes. The rise of digitalization has transformed the way eCommerce companies work and made it more accessible to customers.

With consumers increasingly relying on online shopping — it is estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040 — eCommerce is opening the doors of opportunity to countless entrepreneurs.

But like every other platform, the eCommerce industry is constantly evolving with the change in market circumstances and customer preferences. Many businesses across industries have now come online to capture the attention of the elusive audience. However, each online business is different and so no fixed formula works. It is essential to avoid cliches and understand the audience persona to market effectively.

5 common problems eCommerce businesses face are:

1. Delivering an omnichannel experience
The world today is more interconnected than ever and there are several customer touchpoints for a user to connect with your brand. In today’s age, a customer can contact you through the form on your website, chat options, visit social media pages, call up the available number or even visit your offline store. Any business that is failing to capture the omnichannel experience, will likely be left behind by more tech-savvy competitors. To serve customers successfully and offer a fulfilling journey on all the touchpoints, it is necessary to devise a strategy keeping your brand values and services in mind. To devise a sound strategy, it is important to identify the prime channels that need optimization and ensure that your customer service executives interact with users via their preferred channels like phone, email, live chat, video call, etc. It is important to contextualize each conversation (if the customer has gotten in touch before, even if through some other channel) and provide a personalized experience. 

2. Continuing to do business the old way
Businesses that have recently ventured online may find it more difficult because they are still stuck with age-old methods of selling. Times have changed, requiring new strategies that don’t rely on sales representatives selling your products. The recent pandemic has shown how impactful digitalization is and further pressed its demand in the coming times. To get access to a wider audience, you can consider selling your products on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. Some businesses also lack the necessary insight into customer behavior and buyer journey that can guide them into devising insightful strategy keeping all this data in mind. It will help vendors in monitoring prospects and engaging with them in meaningful ways. Additionally, harness the power of social media and strategically use different platforms to connect with consumers. Remember that the rules of eCommerce business are constantly evolving and staying in the past will only benefit competitors. 
3. Shopping cart abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a huge issue that not even big eCommerce giants are immune to. Abandoned carts are one of the worst nightmares for any online retailer. Attracting potential customers to your site, having them select their desired items, add them to the cart, only having it all abandoned at the last step is a complete loss. The payment experience of any eCommerce store should be simple, non-cluttered, fast, and easy. Keeping too many elements on the payment page may deter consumers from buying the products. If it’s not feasible to provide free shipping options, then have a minimum or nominal amount that shoppers must pay as shipping charges, as high shipping charges often deters customers.  It is important to have compelling Call to Actions throughout the website, which tells customers what to do exactly. Provide consumers with a smooth, streamlined checkout process and make the navigation effortless. The easier you make it for customers to reach the cart from browsing products at your store, the more likely they are to stick with it and actually check out.

4. Handling different pricing structures
The price of products is a very big challenge for eCommerce vendors especially small businesses that cannot offer products at discounted rates, unlike other eCommerce giants. To survive in a competitive market, eCommerce companies could distribute their inventory to fulfillment warehouses, offer quality products and services that ensure customer loyalty in the long run. For B2B eCommerce businesses, it is important to offer different pricing based on the volume purchased and other corresponding factors. Each customer is unique and their cost should be reflective of their unique shopping habits. Factors like the number of orders placed, duration between orders, etc matter a lot when deciding the final negotiated price. eCommerce stores must be adequately developed to successfully meet this demand, otherwise, this will lead to customers flocking competitor websites offering them bulk pricing options. 
5. Return policy and refund
68% of consumers review the return policy before making a purchase, 67% of consumers are satisfied with a clear and easy-to-learn return policy, 60% of consumers are satisfied with the ability to find a retailer’s return policy during the search, and browse process. 
Whenever a product is returned, be it for a dissatisfied customer or due to a damaged product, the eCommerce store suffers in shipment costs as well as reputation. While this is always a tricky subject, having a clear and transparent return and refund policy always helps. Customers appreciate such gestures when policies are clearly devised and communicated. When strategizing a return policy, remember to be considerate, transparent, avoid industry jargon, and avoid using phrases that may seem harsh to the customers. Educate your executives about the return policy and conditions, so that they can provide a seamless experience to the consumers. If the product is shipped wrong, take extra effort to keep the customer happy.
Emerging as a winner in the fierce eCommerce competition is a big challenge. The world is constantly evolving, new players are entering the market, the spurt in digitalization is leading to the emergence of new strategies. There are multiple challenges along the way, which require careful deliberation and smart strategies.
Setting up an eCommerce store is not an easy task, and Citytech is there to help. Having set up countless eCommerce businesses globally on different platforms like Magento, nopCommerce, Kentico, among others. Contact us if you are thinking of getting online with your business today!