Starting an ecommerce store, like starting any other business, is a challenging endeavor. However, there are challenges that are unique to starting an ecommerce business.For one, data security and online identity verification is of the utmost importance. This is not an issue with physical stores, or even speciality services such as law firms or doctor’s offices. However, with ecommerce, you need to know who you are selling to, and you won’t ever be able to meet them, so you need to be able to verify the payment information that you receive from them to make sure it is legitimate.
Additionally, you need to be able to do competitor analysis. While this exists in all forms of business, in ecommerce, it is a little different. You’re not just comparing the efficacy of your products and services to another, and it’s more than about who is running the best discounts or has the most in stock. You’re competing purely on the internet, and that means that those who you consider your competitors may not be playing in the same online arena as you. As such, you need to take a holistic look at your digital assets. These not only include your website itself, but also your social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram in particular), as well as any videos or online communities you have built around your ecommerce products. You’ll also want to keep any third-party ecommerce stores in mind here, such as Etsy shops and Ebay stores.
On top of this, ecommerce stores also need to understand that gaining traction online is difficult, especially against the likes of ecommerce giants like Amazon. That is why it is important for ecommerce companies to enact a customer loyalty program. In ecommerce, a customer loyalty program can differentiate an independent online retailer from their larger competitors. This includes having a great customer experience team in place, a flexible return or refund policy, offering discounts for repeat customers, and more.
To reflect this, make sure that you are upfront about your refund or product exchange policy. Nobody likes to shop at ecommerce businesses whether they are dealing with sketchy or unclear policies. Otherwise, you may find that you lose your business to Amazon or another larger ecommerce conglomerate, who are largely known for their wide selection and their generous return policies.
Overall, running an ecommerce store is no easy task. While you will certainly have less overhead than running a physical business, you also need to compete against the entirety of the internet for customer attention. As such, you need to make sure that you offer the best possible products, have a superior marketing plan to get them out there, and then provide superior customer experience and customer loyalty programs to entice ecommerce customers to stick around. If you follow all of these tips, you’ll find that your customers will be satisfied with your ecommerce offerings, and will likely come back for more and more.