Starting an ecommerce business involves more than just finding a product to sell. You have to figure out where to sell it, which means doing it on your own site or starting on another channel first, like Amazon or Facebook. On top of that, you have to research your competition and find out what keywords and phrases your advertising needs to have, ensuring that the right customers are even aware that you exist.
This is why many business owners will tell you that going live is just the beginning.
Getting that first customer to open her wallet is a feat that usually takes more effort than many realize. There will be plenty of high bounce rates and abandoned shopping carts before someone takes a chance, and that’s completely normal.
Once you’ve passed that first hurdle, it may feel like a time to celebrate, until you realize that you have to get another sale and another and another. It may take a while to hit that sales cadence, but once you do, you become more optimistic than cautious, and that's when your resolve gets tested.
E-Commerce Growing Pains
When we’re talking about e-commerce growing pains, only the dedicated business owners get it and it goes something like this: You’ve been getting sales pretty consistently for the past few months. Your confidence is up. Things are going just as good as, if not better than, planned, because you feel like this will actually work. You start building your future plans on this present situation.
That's when it hits you.
Barely any views.
Barely any sales.
Barely any profits.
Just a big blank wall of nothing.
You have no idea what happened.
The reasons could be anything from increased competition to lack of a customer retention strategy, because you were so focused on making sales that you probably ignored the rest of the business.
In some cases, it’s more serious. As more people work online and order everything from dinner to groceries, hackers have more opportunity to go after retailers. Cybercrime is a multi-trillion dollar headache that comes in many forms, from phishing to ransomware, and isn’t just a problem for the retail heavyweights.
Whatever the cause of the e-commerce growing pains, retailers are at a crossroads. They can choose to give it up, or they can pivot towards integrating some tools that will help them break through that wall towards stronger growth.
1. An Omnichannel E-Commerce Platform -Shift4Shop
Because customers have become more brand agnostic, this forces retailers to provide a more personalized shopping experience. Integrating distribution, communication and promotion channels on the back end in a way that creates a seamless ecosystem for customers across multiple devices can only happen if you have the right e-commerce platform. With all of this data about your customer’s journey, you can:
• Learn more about their shopping habits, and how they have changed over time through better data collection and analysis. This helps you to create sharper custom campaigns with tighter targeting.
• Create a more consistent shopping experience for them regardless of whether they are on a desktop or a smart device.
• Anticipate their future needs and prepare your inventory and distribution to handle them.
An omnichannel e-commerce platform like Shift4Shop can help your business ease into this strategy. It’s drag-and-drop design makes it easy to create your own custom starter store, but as your needs grow, it’s flexible enough to expand with you.
You can add apps like MailChimp or EmailOctopus, for streamlined communication, and any number of dropship suppliers if you need to supplement or add to your inventory. In addition to your site, you can expand to different platforms, such as social media or mobile applications, and implement processes that integrate your channels in a way that enhances your brand.
2. Lucky Orange for Customer Journey Analysis
Lucky Orange analyzes each customer’s journey to better understand their path from viewer to buyer and beyond. This helps you to take the traffic you’re getting and make the most of each visitor's click. One of the major triggers of stagnating growth happens because, while you see that visitors are jumping off at certain points, you’re not sure why. As the saying goes, you can’t fix what you don’t know. Taking a more granular approach to the customer’s journey means you can see where they get frustrated, and when they decide to abandon your site altogether.
This app visualizes every click, making you feel like you’re looking over each customer’s shoulder, so you can isolate what’s stopping them from converting. Customer journey analysis used to be reserved for the big companies who could afford thousands a month for that privilege. These days, it’s a necessity for any e-commerce business that wants to stay competitive in a way that generates growth that goes beyond relying solely on altering prices.
3. TargetBay for Personalized Upselling And Cross-selling
One path to retail business growth is through personalization. Sixty-one percent of people expect brands to deliver personalized experiences and that means businesses that need to integrate e-commerce tools that allow them to stay one or more steps ahead of their customers. The ability to anticipate requires the use of advanced algorithms. So, what does this look like in the retail space? Quite a few businesses have integrated interactive chat programs that handle the initial customer touch before shifting to a human agent. But more importantly, in retail means tailored recommendations based on a profile crafted by detailed shopper data.
TargetBay uses a powerful algorithm backed up with real-time data to tailor the customer experience in order to improve conversions on websites and in email. This app crawls your product catalog detail and incorporates shopper data to come up with more accurate You-may-also-like recommendations. There are also layouts and designs that complement these recommendations to drive stronger ROI, improving your chance to delight the customers at every stage of their journey. This is the kind of robust e-commerce tool that turns small retail businesses into growth enterprises.
4. Get a Handle on Fraud with ClearSale
The downside of e-commerce growth is directly proportional to increasing levels of fraud. We have already seen that cloud-based attacks shot up by over 600%. The intense growth of online retailing means that there are more opportunities for fraudsters to ply their trade with customer data, and they have plenty of avenues.
By far, chargebacks are the most painful types of fraud. This can happen when someone’s card is nicked, used by the perpetrator on your site and then you get the notification. Something as simple as address verification can mitigate this risk, but not all merchants have that tool. Because of this, the fees, loss of inventory and cost to resolve is an expense no e-commerce business wants to encounter. This may even affect their payment services and online reputation.
Online hacking due to security vulnerabilities abound in online businesses, and smaller work-from-home retailers can be particularly vulnerable. There have been notable customer data breaches and ransomware attacks on major companies that many thought were impenetrable, which goes to show that no one is safe. To protect themselves, not only do businesses have to be vigilant about fortifying their networks, they also need to plan for the times when that step may not be enough.
ClearSale’s fraud protection solution has chargeback protection that blocks fraudulent orders, preventing chargebacks. It also reduces false declines, which not only affects whether customers will shop with you again, but the hit your reputation will take when they choose to publicly share why. Fraud protection is all about being vigilant about your business while protecting the customer’s experience. You can easily integrate it into your current platform and get benefits that include ensuring that payments have been preapproved and getting reimbursement due to fraud-based chargebacks.
5. Automate Marketing with Klaviyo
It’s not enough to accumulate customer data; businesses have to know how to leverage every ounce of it to maximize growth over time. Building relationships with consumers means being a better listener. Klaviyo can help you to unlock certain insights that can help you take a trip down the proverbial rabbit hole, when it comes to opportunities to delight consumers and grow loyalty.
Just because a customer says “No,” doesn’t mean it’s final, as any hardcore salesperson will tell you. There may be ways to deconstruct what that no means, even if it’s an abandoned shopping cart. To do that, you may need to increase the granularity level to improve segmentation and win them back. This could mean creating special VIP customer programs.
Klaviyo helps businesses use predictive data analytics to create relevant, platform-specific messages. For example, an ad that was particularly successful on Facebook may not easily transfer to Instagram, Google Ads, or even email. Then there’s the post-purchase follow-up that can include soliciting reviews and even getting friend referrals. To achieve strong growth means building smart campaigns from smarter workflows that support your strategy.
Remember, 90% of e-commerce businesses fail within the first three to five years, and the 10% that succeed, make the necessary pivots to survive beyond that first and second year.
Given how much is at stake, these must-have tools are designed to help you unlock the growth potential of your e-commerce business by digging deeper than the doomed majority probably had planned.