The idea of starting an eCommerce business is tempting because you can read so many success stories about how someone had virtually no money and managed to build a thriving business.
Of course, one has to realize that just because you can start an online venture, it does not guarantee that you will turn it into a profitable business. If things were that easy, almost everyone would do it, right? Now, having said that, the difficulties should not be a reason to discourage you from starting your own eCommerce business. Challenges are to be expected, and you should approach them with caution. However, the focus should be on the fact that knowing what challenges you can expect will help you overcome them.
Determining Your Niche
Let’s start with determining your niche. Ideally, you want to work with what you are passionate about because it is easier to find motivation with such an approach. Having knowledge helps a lot, particularly when you need to persuade people to buy from you.
Unfortunately, one’s passion does not necessarily translate into a profitable business idea. Let’s say that you are a fan of photography. Can you snap enough original pictures and sell those? Or maybe you would be better off selling wedding journals.
On the other hand, if original content is not a viable option, you could review various cameras and photography accessories with the intent to dropship them. Photography is one of those niches that are popular throughout the year since each season offers something different. Meanwhile, winter sports equipment or beach supplies are examples of niches that are popular during a specific time period.
Overcoming the Competition
Once you have your niche figured out, you also need to spend resources researching the competition. In fact, it is probably better to know what the niche is like in terms of other established brands and businesses that are relatively small.
Ideally, you want to land on a niche that does not have too much competition but is still big enough to make sense to participate. Keep in mind, however, that as a newcomer, you are unlikely to have an easy time, particularly if you do not have money and other resources to spare. Brands that have had a head start will be too hard to overcome, so focus on your own audience and work on attracting customers.
Dealing With Cybersecurity Threats
Dealing with cybersecurity threats is not necessarily a significant challenge these days. You have access to plenty of great security tools that create multiple safety nets. And some of the available tools are free to use, which means that you do not have to worry about investing extra money to protect your business. However, protecting society from hackers has now become a major challenge for cyber security departments. You should have a Privileged Access Management to defend against hackers.
However, despite the access to various security tools, some business owners still neglect to take the necessary precautions. They believe that anyone is hardly going to target a small online business.
The reality is that cybersecurity breaches can come from random sources, not just the competition, and the consequences of neglect can be detrimental. A professional ecommerce website needs to have a certain checklist to be considered professional, and a security system is one of the things on the list.
Managing Returns and Refunds
Managing returns and refunds can be quite demotivating, particularly for those who are just starting out. It is worth mentioning that this aspect is inevitable in an online business, which should not come as a surprise. After all, online shoppers cannot check the goods in person as they would in a physical store, so buying online comes with certain risks. Consumer laws exist to protect both parties because shoppers cannot abuse their right to return goods and get the money back if they do not have a solid reason or miss the deadline.
You might think that attracting new leads and converting them into customers is one of the keys to a successful business. There is truth in that statement, but customer retention is often considered a much better approach to building a sustainable business.
Customer loyalty requires constant effort. Otherwise, it will not take too long before even the most loyal customers begin to explore alternatives. If you need to offer freebies and incentives, such as discount codes or free shipping, expect to dedicate some of your resources to that.
Implementing Latest Technologies:
The last challenge to mention is the implementation of the latest technologies. The eCommerce industry is huge and naturally moves forward thanks to innovation.
Failing to adopt the latest trends means falling behind the competitors. Voice search, chatbots, and virtual reality shopping are a few examples of the latest technology that is affecting eCommerce. Ultimately, whether you can implement these things comes down to your budget, but as a rule of thumb, you want to keep up with the trends and the rest, so you do not get left behind.