E-Commerce is empowerment and e-commerce is all about growth even for the little guy and that is why today we have a very special topic for you that is just going to focus on e-commerce challenges.
We are going to talk about top eCommerce challenges facing businesses in 2023 so that you can buckle up and face those eCommerce challenges in 2023 with the best approach.
Before you do that, let us understand what is e-commerce so that everyone who reads this blog will be able to start from level zero and make their way up to understand eCommerce challenges and solutions.
What is Ecommerce? Is It a Blessing for The Retail Sector?
E-Commerce is very simple to understand and it is just doing commerce online through electronic means.
eCommerce is the buying and selling of products as well as services online. It is simply amazing for the retail sector because small players can now overcome the challenges and limitations and go beyond their regional marketplace.
While there are challenges for eCommerce businesses but it is very worthwhile to find solutions to the challenges because eCommerce can be amazing for the retail sector.
In order to understand why eCommerce is so revolutionary, let us talk about the advantages of eCommerce for the retail industry.
This is by far the biggest advantage for the retail sector because now retailers can simply do business all over the world.
This was not the case when there was no E-Commerce sector to begin with because retailers had to stay put in the physical locations they had their businesses in.
Now retailers can open digital stores online that can be accessed throughout the world. And yes, there might be online retail hurdles and a learning curve but it is totally worth it.
It is a lot cheaper to have an online store than it is to open offline locations because a retailer can have a well-functioning website for the price of opening just a single store in a city.
Physical stores do not have the capability to stay 24/7 open and that means a lot of time wastage for the business but that is not the case with e-commerce.
While there can be digital commerce obstacles such as not having the best website or not having the best digital marketing team but it is still a lot cheaper than offline stores.
Easy Market Access
It can take years for a business to establish itself in a market and create a reputation for reliance and good service. Word of mouth is the biggest contributor to offline success.
But when it comes to eCommerce, any small and medium-sized retailer can simply have a good and functioning website along with good products and services and hope to become successful.
There is no barrier to market entry and customer trust concerns can simply be put to rest with a good service and a good customer care helpline.
Data is gold in today’s day and age and retailers can study every small bit of data in order to understand customer behaviour so that they know what product and what service to promote.
When eCommerce retailers have a lot of control and understanding, they can even see customer behaviour patterns so that they know what to change.
This is impossible when it comes to offline commerce because there are no practical ways of getting analytics. E-Commerce is the best way to understand customers and deal with customer experience challenges.
Here Are the Top E-commerce Challenges In 2023 With Solutions
One of the biggest challenges to E-Commerce is cyber security because with the rise of e-commerce, there has also been a rise in cyber security risks.
We can bypass this risk when it comes to big eCommerce companies but it is simply not the case with small retailers.
The risk of cyber security becomes even more dangerous when we considered the fact that most eCommerce around the world has payment gateway problems and are not optimised.
This means that hackers and malicious operators can simply steal customer information as well as lay their hands on the revenue made by the businesses.
Take a look at this conceptual analysis article in order to understand the challenge of cyber security threats and problems to businesses.
If small businesses face any kind of online attacks then that would mean they have to simply put the website on hold but that is not practical because they simply cannot afford to stop their operations.
When we talk about solutions, businesses can go for better cyber security but that is also expensive. The only true solution to this is to have simple websites because they are easier to manage.
Businesses can monitor cyber security threads and can manage a simple website rather than a complex website that is feature packed.
Customer Identity Verification
With the rise in artificial intelligence(AI) and with better techniques for identity theft, one of the biggest challenges that eCommerce businesses can face is identity fraud.
Online eCommerce businesses can lose a lot of money if the website can be manipulated and that is why the eCommerce industry needs better online identity verification.
If proper verification methods are not found then it can lead to huge digital marketplace issues and even destroy entire businesses because they simply will not be able to operate properly.
The only solution is quite simple for now but it is also the best that we have and we are of course talking about two-factor authentication(2FA).
Businesses should encourage customers to create accounts with two-factor authentication enabled so that nobody can access their account without their permission.
If businesses decide to have complementary apps along with their website then they can enable biometric verification in the apps for an extra added layer of safety.
One of the biggest E-Commerce growth barriers is leads because if an online business does not have continuous leads then the business will simply stop.
eCommerce businesses need to generate new leads so that they can have the best conversion rates so that more people visit their websites and become customers.
The solution to this is easier said than done because the only true solution is to invest in ads but small retailers cannot simply do that.
That is why small eCommerce businesses should focus on social media and focus on creating a following rather than simply a brand with a few products.
Online selling challenges need online solutions that are innovative and that is why eCommerce businesses should try out their luck in promoting the business everywhere possible
That means all the popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. They should also focus on creating online content so that the promotion is automatic.
The more people see the brand the more people are going to visit the website. This is the most practical solution to conversion rate optimisation challenges.
Customer Experience and Wellness
It is 2023 and E-Commerce has evolved from just being a website to being an entire experience and that is why customer experience is one of the biggest factors and challenges facing E-Commerce businesses.
The customer experience is not just about providing a simple buying experience and shipping and fulfilment challenges but it is also about providing a comprehensive and unique website experience.
This is only possible when eCommerce businesses study the website data in order to find out the areas that need optimisation.
Along with that, customer experience can be improved through regular feedback. The thing about feedback is that customers should not be forced into giving feedback and they should not be annoyed into it.
That is why the solution to customer experience is to collect as much data as possible with the help of analytics and feedback in a way that is non-intrusive to the customer.
E-Commerce is the fastest-growing industry globally with estimates that it will grow up to $5.4 trillion by 2023.
That is why one of the biggest challenges facing e-commerce businesses is competition. eCommerce competition is so high that it is not just enough to mind your own business.
That is why eCommerce businesses should take analytics seriously and study their competitors so that they know their own weaknesses.
In order to do this eCommerce businesses should use different online analytics tools in order to study the online growth of their competition.
Along with that, it is also very important to study the entire industry in which any eCommerce business is operating.
For example, if you are a business owner dealing with selling online educational courses, you need to study the entire online education sector.
One of the biggest challenges and eCommerce industry issues is product sourcing because product sourcing can become difficult as a result of global geopolitics.
You never know when your business can face supply chain disruptions because of something happening on the other side of the planet.
That is why eCommerce businesses should always have alternative sources of supply so that the supply chain is never stretched too thin.
This is such a big issue that small retailers to big multinational companies face this problem and with the rise of geopolitical tensions, we have seen this happening.
For example, we have seen how semiconductor chip manufacturing was impacted due to covid19 as more people started working at home. This gave rise to more demand and the factories simply couldn’t keep up with manufacturing.
It is impossible to predict things like this and that is why eCommerce businesses should always have alternatives to stay in business in the face of electronic commerce problems.
Return And Refund Problems
If you talk about one of the biggest E-Commerce business difficulties then it is definitely going to be product return and refund problems.
eCommerce businesses lose a lot of money when the refund as well as return policy is abused by customers.
Businesses simply cannot maintain a good reputation if they package returned and used items as new and sell them off after someone returns them.
This kind of a problem is mostly seen in the garment industry where people have made it a common practice to order different sizes of the same product as they return the sizes that do not fit.
This is not only a loss because of the return but it is also a loss because most of the time eCommerce businesses have to bear the delivery costs.
That is why eCommerce businesses need to come up with more strict policies and also make sure that it is not an inconvenience to the customers
The way to do this is to create customer profiles and give them scores based on their behaviour on the platform when it comes to returns and refunds.
This way businesses can stop the abuse of the system as well as make sure that this policy is communicated properly with the customers
Target Audience Analysis
Online E-Commerce can be quite difficult if you do not have any understanding of your target audience in mind.
It will be like going into a big shopping mall without any idea of what to buy, you would just be roaming around cluelessly.
That is why you must understand your target audience which means understanding the audience as well as the customer that buys your product the most.
Perhaps you have a t-shirt product line with comic graphics and that is why you must understand the age group of audience that buys that shirt
When you understand your target audience you can then make more targeted promotions and you can spend money in the proper direction.
If you have a graphic t-shirt product line and you decide to market it towards older women then that is not going to work.
Wishlist and Carts
If you want to find out the most ignored things of e-commerce then it is definitely going to be wishlist and carts.
Your visitors are going to add things to the wishlist and totally forget about them but you should not make the mistake of forgetting the importance of wishlists.
They are a great tool to understand the demand for a particular product and they can serve an even more important purpose.
You should always make sure to optimise the wishlist so that it is easy to add things to the wishlist and it is easier to visit the wishlist.
This should not be tucked under different options and it should be visible right from the home page.
The same goes for carts. People add things to carts and then they forget. If you want to overcome this challenge then you need to make sure to send regular reminders to your website visitors that they have something in the cart.
Analysing the cart can be a great tool to understand demand even better than analysing the wishlist. This is because when people add something to the cart that means they are quite sure they will buy it.
You simply need to make sure to remind people that they need to buy it.
Customer conversion is not just a challenge for 2023 but it will always be a challenge for eCommerce businesses because it is easy to get views.
In order to get views all your need to do is to post short videos about your products and pay a few influences and you are going to get a lot of website visits.
The key here is not just attracting people but making them stay and there is the hardest thing and the biggest challenge eCommerce businesses face.
This is such a complex challenge that there are no definite solutions to this but all we can say is that you must make sure that the visiting process and the purchasing process are quite simple.
This is where you can draw inspiration from offline businesses because offline businesses use samples in order to make people test the product.
If you can come up with a similar process of providing samples then it will go a long way for you. Let’s say you provide an online service and that is why you should always have trials without signing up with the credit card.
This will genuinely make the customer happy and can change their mind
Understanding how to set the price for your product can be the difference between having an established E-Commerce business and not having any business at all.
When we talk about pricing, you will have to understand that this is something universal and this is something that is a problem offline but with online the competition is much more severe.
This is because when we talk about eCommerce there are going to be a lot more competitors and that is why you must know how to balance competitive pricing and actually make a profit
You need to understand the market rates and you need to make sure that your price is the most competitive in the market. But there is no lower limit to competitive pricing and you might actually lose money if you become too competitive.
You must also consider that most eCommerce websites provide free shipping which is actually not free and should be included in the pricing.
If you can balance both of these factors and provide reliable logistics then you have a winning formula in your hands.
But you must understand something and you must write down this tip somewhere. Never try to set up your own logistics. It will ruin your capital and you will not reach anywhere.
Instead, you should always try working with logistic providers because they already have established networks in place and they can even provide you competitive rates.
FAQs Regarding E-commerce Challenges In 2023
What are a few growth opportunities for eCommerce in 2023?
There are a lot of growth opportunities for E-Commerce in 2023 and let us talk about some of them.
The biggest growth opportunity is going to be the integration of AI into eCommerce which is totally going to transform everything we know up until now.
Data analysing is difficult as it is even for a professional but if eCommerce businesses include AI in some form or another then even small retailers can take good decisions.
We are also going to see the rise of social media platforms when it comes to eCommerce. In fact, we can’t really think of eCommerce now without Instagram. That is why eCommerce businesses need to establish themselves on all social media platforms.
While blockchain is still not going to take off but we can see bits and pieces of blockchain being utilised for E-Commerce security and that might happen by the end of 2023.
We will also see more of the healthcare sector entering E-Commerce. If you can create an e-commerce business around healthcare then this is the perfect time to do it.
How Do You Manage an E-commerce Business?
If you want to manage an E-commerce business then the first thing you must keep in mind is your plan because you need to have a solid plan along with business goals and objectives.
You can’t just wander into e-commerce one fine day without a plan. You must also make sure that the product sourcing is perfect. In fact, you must do the product sourcing even before you start the eCommerce business and start managing it.
It will be impossible for you to manage the eCommerce business without a steady source of products.
Along with that, you also need to make sure you understand website optimisation. You do not have to learn coding in order to do website optimisation and you need to get someone to do it for you.
Additionally, you should have a secure payment gateway and you can work with any reputable payment gateway provider.
The thing is you do not need to manage everything about your eCommerce business because there are service providers that can handle different aspects of the business.
You can make sure that the logistics is handled by a logistics provider and that the payment gateway is handled by a payment gateway provider.
If you try to micro-manage everything then it will be difficult for you and it can even be a steep learning curve in the beginning.
What are the types of eCommerce businesses?
There are different kinds of eCommerce businesses. Let us look at some of the most common types of e-commerce businesses which you might hear every day
B2B (Business to Business)
This is the type of e-commerce business model when a business provides its services as well as products to other businesses.
These types of e-commerce businesses are mostly wholesale suppliers who supply products and services to other companies.
B2C (Business to Consumer)
This is where the eCommerce business sells its products and services directly to consumers.
This is the most common type of e-commerce business and it is everything from online retail stores to any kind of online product store where you can purchase anything as an individual.
C2C (Consumer to Consumer)
You can think of this model as mostly online marketplaces where consumers can sell second-hand stuff to other people.
This is usually done on platforms where the platform is just there to facilitate consumers who can upload pictures of their products and sell them to other people.
C2B (Consumer to Business)
This is where consumers sell their products and services to businesses. B2C is mostly service based.
You can find this kind of e-commerce business on freelance platforms where freelancers provide their services to companies. It can even be influencers providing their services to big brands.
D2C (Directly to Consumer)
And finally, we come to the D2C model where manufacturers and companies directly sell their products to the consumer.
This is rare and mostly covers luxury goods and subscription boxes where the manufacturer can sell the product directly to the consumer.
Apart from these, there are others which are not so common such as subscription models as well as dropshipping models of e-commerce. Then there are digital products such as digital licences which have their own category.
We also have other categories such as brick and click categories where the E-Commerce company also has physical locations and stores.
What Are A Few Common Barriers to E-Commerce?
There are still a lot of barriers to eCommerce in 2023 and one of the barriers is definitely trust in e-commerce. While most of Gen Z is alright with eCommerce but there are still millennials and older people who do not trust eCommerce.
This is especially the case when people have to share their personal information because of cyber security challenges. That is why restoring that barrier of fear is instrumental for e-Commerce growth.
The other barrier to E-Commerce is logistics because there is still no worldwide coverage of logistics. This means that if you are in an area that has bad logistics then that is the only physical challenge you are going to face if you have to grow your business online.
The other barrier is universal, it is technical difficulties because when it comes to websites we cannot expect the average E-Commerce business owner to be a web designer or developer.
Of course that can be solved by hiring a good web designing and development company
What are the problems faced by e-commerce companies in India?
The biggest challenge faced by eCommerce companies in India are infrastructure challenges. India is huge and densely populated which means that it is very difficult to create dense infrastructure such as warehouse networks and transportation networks.
While all the major cities are connected and even towns have good coverage but the problem is with last-mile delivery.
The other challenge or rather problem faced by eCommerce companies is the over-dependence on cash on delivery(COD). While it is good for trust but cash on delivery is bad for data collection and revenue. COD is also not the ideal scenario when it comes to operational costs.
Then there are issues such as hyper-local competition and also price sensitivity which makes it very difficult for a new company to enter the already very competitive market.
We hope you now understand the e-commerce challenges in 2023 way better and if you are planning on entering eCommerce then we are here to help you.
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