The Greatest Challenges Faced by Online Store Owners

The Greatest Challenges Faced by Online Store Owners

The e-commerce industry is continuously developing and the pandemic has only contributed to intensifying the digitalization of trade. Already today as many as 73% of people buy online. Different brick and mortar stores, including those belonging to huge sales networks, are being closed. More and more shoppers prefer e-commerce stores.

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LPP, one of the greatest Polish clothing companies, gave up nearly 30% of its retail space in May 2020. In the meantime, their online sales increased by 381% compared to the previous year. Does it mean that all of us should automatically resign from renting retail spaces, enter the Internet world, and run an online store?

Online stores – is the game worth the candle?

If your whole company, its parts, or at least selected services can effectively operate online, it’s really worth following this direction. As long as your budget and organizational skills allow you to take care of the distribution of your products or services both online and offline at the same time, don’t wait and get down to it. Omnichannel is the new standard of today’s sales. However, before taking your first steps in the e-commerce world, it’s worth getting prepared for the upcoming challenges and becoming familiar with the must-haves of every online store. Each step is time and money consuming. So how to get started and what to keep in mind to ensure the effectiveness of your e-commerce store?

How to start an online store?

In the past, opening an online store or any kind of business involved a great deal of paperwork. Today, all the formalities and legal aspects concerning the store, website development, necessary software, and even SEO are much easier and more approachable. Many official issues can be solved online. The Internet is full of qualified people, tools, and companies willing to help. Even banks support businesses entering the online market.

Today, starting an online store equals just a few clicks on, e.g. a dedicated bank website.

Online store ideas

Starting an online store isn’t as problematic as finding the right product or service range that will attract a sufficient number of buyers. Maybe you have a unique idea or offer products that aren’t available in the market? What about natural, handmade, eco, or DIY goods? Or maybe you want to sell products offered by your market rivals but want to invest in SEO activities and better, Google-friendly descriptions that will allow you to win potential customers and be ranked higher in the search results?

Online sales – how to start?

Google Merchant Centre dashboard

At the very beginning of the journey, every online store owner needs to face numerous challenges concerning website development, Google Merchant Center profile, payment methods, or forms of delivery.

There is plenty of product, marketing, and pricing strategies. However, the idea itself, a unique selling proposition, and the ability to create an independent, strong online brand is the starting point of every e-commerce business. Regardless of the industry or company type, online store owners need to overcome similar obstacles.

In order to help you with the task, we’ve created a special checklist that will make your first e-commerce steps much easier. What are the greatest challenges faced by novice online store owners? 

E-commerce SEO - Delante will help you gain position in Google!

E-commerce store – checklist for future and current online shop owners

Contact center

Today, business owners want to communicate with potential customers via multiple channels: personally (in case of brick and mortar stores), by email, telephone, social media or live chat. Use one CRM to combine all these channels, make sure that your brand remains responsive and replies either in real-time or maximally within 24 hours. Prepare a special FAQ or Q&A section with frequently asked questions and answers. Such content is appreciated by both users and Google robots.

Responsive online store design

According to the report analyzing the Polish e-commerce market in 2020, 80% of Internet users shop via laptops. Smartphones (69% of all respondents and 92% in the 15-24 age group) are second in the ranking. Desktop computers preferred by 50% of buyers come third. In most cases, we use the last type of device to shop during working hours – as many as 35% of online transactions in Poland are finalized between 12:00 and 7 p.m. Not adapting your store to all these devices will result in losing potential customers who will simply choose your market rivals instead. Effective UX and UI can significantly contribute to increasing your conversion rate. And after all, that’s something you aim at, isn’t it?

Online marketing

Google and Facebook Ads campaigns, SEO, social media, newsletters, remarketing, link building, influencer marketing – these are only a few elements of a huge range of online marketing activities that aim at promoting and advertising your online store. Start from determining your budget to decide which activities are the most important at a given stage. You can conduct these campaigns either in-house (personally or with the help of a professional marketing specialist) or outsource it to an external agency.

SEO and user-friendly product descriptions

Without quality product and category descriptions, you won’t be able to work your way to the top. Write your texts on your own or hire professional SEO copywriters. Apply long-tail phrases, keywords, and queries frequently typed in Google by your potential buyers.

What’s more, you can also take advantage of the phrases you, yourself, as a potential customer, use when looking for various products. Instead of browsing long-tails like “top quality products made of the finest fabrics”, use phrases like “green stainless guard rails” (obviously as long as you look for such guard rails ;)).

What do you think – is this description of SEO and user friendly? (yes, that’s the whole text).

Discounts and customer loyalty programs

It’s been known for a long time that it’s much easier to get repeat customers than to attract new ones. See our article to learn how to get repeat customers. If you want to build a loyal group of recipients, create a special system of discounts and loyalty programs offered to return and frequently converting leads.

Terms and conditions, forms of delivery, and return policy of your online store

How many times have you encountered rules and regulations you couldn’t understand?

Lorem ipsum won’t be enough. You need regulations, rules, and authentic formats to help your customer service department (if you run a one-man company, you’ll simply help.. yourself). This way, you’ll avoid hundreds of calls from people asking if you could send their products to a parcel locker, not to their homes. Think twice to create rules and regulations that fulfill all the necessary functions and at the same time protect you and your customers.

Product photos

First impressions count, show your potential customers that you offer attractive, top-quality products that are beautifully packed. Everybody uses photos provided by manufacturers (if they’re only distributors). A unique photo is more effective than a standard picture of a product on a white background, edited in Photoshop. Remember about correct file names and alternative attributes that will also support the SEO process of your online store. To find more about creating images compliant with SEO rules, read our previous entry.

Quality and aesthetically pleasing product photos can be successfully published as inspirations on your Instagram or Pinterest company accounts. On the other hand, random stock photos won’t be so effective.

Product photos in e-commerce
The furniture and decorative industries are real tycoons of top-notch product photos. This IKEA armchair looks okay but…
pictures in e-commerce - how to make it work
…presenting it in the right setting with accessories that create ready home decor inspiration significantly increases the chances of selling this product. Moreover, as these accessories look so perfect, some customers will certainly decide to buy them too, won’t they?

Online store – the greatest challenges

Unfortunately, the vast majority of online stores aren’t likely to survive more than 8 years on the market. As you can see, staying in business turns out to be the greatest challenge. However, you can successfully face it by devising well-thought-out pricing, product and discount strategy, and taking care of your online marketing, UX, and interface. Remember to take top-notch product photos and write quality descriptions that focus primarily on recipients, meaning your potential customers. After all, they’re the most important in this pyramid. Are you ready? 🙂

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Author
Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.
Comments (1)
  1. I wouldn’t agree that staying in the business is the hardest part of managing e-commerce. From my perspective, those who fail in the first years didn’t have a clear vision and promising idea for the business in the first place. So I’d go with that as the greatest challenge – the idea and business plan.

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