Growing Pains Most Ecommerce Businesses Experience
Despite its unprecedented growth, online retail still makes a relatively small portion of overall purchasing that people do. In other words, ecommerce has no other option but grow even more. And it is growing. New online stores are popping up everywhere you turn.
Unfortunately for a large number of new ecommerce SMB owners, it turns out to be much more difficult than they thought. Most of them experience at least some of the growing pains that we will be talking about today and it is important to know about them.
1. The Boring Stuff Is Important
If we were to be truly simplistic, running an ecommerce business involves two sides of the coin. On one, you have the exciting stuff such as coming out with new products, marketing them, battling competition and watching the money pour in. On the other, you have the boring background stuff such as legal, shipping, returns and website maintenance.
As it turns out, this technical, infrastructure aspect of running an ecommerce store is equally as important and many ecommerce SMB owners find themselves overwhelmed. The good news is that this is not that difficult to master. For one, major ecommerce platforms go out of their way to help their users (like Shopify with their shipping and fulfillment guide, for example). Also, this is all stuff that is very concrete and where sitting down with numbers usually does the trick.
2. The Competition Is Stiff
Many ecommerce businesses start when a person (or a team) realize that they have a product they might sell online. This is often something handmade and unique and it seems like there shouldn’t be too much competition out there. Often times, the situation is quite the opposite and there is a whole array of competitors, all of them already established, with droves of loyal customers. They don’t do their market and competitor research and they end up pitted against bigger players.
For someone unprepared, this can be quite a shock and it almost freezes them up. Some people even decide to call it quits before they even try their hand at fighting the competition. Others give it a go, but don’t really commit, believing that they stand no chance.
Sure, discovering that you actually do have plenty of competition can be disheartening, but it should never be a reason to quit. Competition will make you work harder and it will turn you into a better SMB owner.
3. Converting Can Be Tough
Let’s imagine a scenario. You opened your ecommerce store three months ago, you have a good product, a nice website, everything is up and running. However, you are not making sales. You check your traffic and there is plenty of people visiting your website, browsing your products. The problem is that very few of them end up actually buying something.
This happens because converting traffic into buyers is actually quite difficult. The reason why this is difficult is that there are innumerable reasons why people do not buy.
Perhaps you priced yourself out of competition. Perhaps your website is too cumbersome to use and people give up because your checkout process is too complicated. Perhaps you are not targeting the right people with your marketing. Perhaps they are used to free shipping. And the list of reasons goes on.
The important thing is not to despair. You have to sit down and do a better analysis of when your visitors decide to leave your website instead of buying. Then, do some A/B testing to see how different changes affect your conversion rates. This can be very interesting and exciting and if you do your job the right way, it will also be lucrative.
4. Marketing Often Misfires
At first glance, it may seem that doing marketing for an ecommerce store is the easiest thing in the world. You do some social media, buy a few Google and Facebook ads, do a bit of SEO and you are off and running.
For one, none of the aforementioned is something you can do just like that, especially if you want results. It takes a while to learn social media marketing. It takes a lot of work to master SEO. Buying ads may seem easy, but it is far from it (unless you want to burn money).
Even if you have spent the last decade doing digital marketing and you are quite verse in all of those, there is still a chance that your marketing campaigns will provide subpar results. It is just the way things turn out sometimes.
The important thing is to understand your goals, the metrics that will indicate whether you are closing in on your goals and the adjustments that you have to make.
Of course, there is a chance that you might not possess the know-how or the tools to take care of all of this. In such a situation, do not be afraid to reach out to a marketing agency or a professional of some kind, at least for a consultation.
About the Author:
James D. Burbank is the editor in chief of a business-oriented blog called BizzMarkBlog. He is also a big Utah Jazz fan.
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