Biggest challenges in e-commerce business growth

Over two billion people purchased their goods and services online in 2020 alone. While this makes e-commerce an excellent business opportunity, it also means you’re facing a lot of competition for those customers and challenges unique to online operations. With the likes of Amazon and Alibaba dominating the market and the e-commerce industry expanding at a rapid pace, growing an e-commerce business is no easy feat.

Like any business, the main objective is growth. But even if you’ve taken advantage of the move from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce to capitalize on a new revenue stream, steady growth isn’t guaranteed. You’ll not only need to figure out how to carve out a portion of that market for yourself but also learn how to overcome common e-commerce challenges. 

Keep reading or use the links below to go directly to a specific section that addresses a problem you’re currently experiencing.

1. Having the wrong product mix

Choosing the right product mix is critical to long-term success. But in a highly competitive market, it’s virtually impossible to have a completely exclusive offering unless you manufacture and sell products directly to the consumer.

It’s common for businesses to invest in a product range they think customers will want but that doesn’t actually align with their target buyers’ needs or preferences. Likewise, many businesses put their faith in certain products only to find out that the same or very similar items are available elsewhere, cheaper.

If you find yourself with products that aren’t selling, rest assured that the majority of businesses go through a period of trial and error before settling on a product range that’s right for their customers. To mitigate the risk of costly missteps, however, make sure to:

  • Do a thorough market and competitor analysis, so you know what products are already out there before making an investment.
  • Define your target customer’s needs and preferences, so you can accurately evaluate if a product serves the right purpose.
  • Consider how you can differentiate your product mix to offer an alternative that’s a better value, better quality, or a more innovative solution to their problem.

2. Not understanding your customers

In a perfect world, your customer base would be a distinct group of people who share the same behaviors, preferences, and interests. However, in reality, most customers will readily switch from brand to brand as their needs change, your offerings change, and as competitors’ offerings change. This can make forming a reliable picture of your customer base a challenge.

Reporting and analytics are invaluable for tracking your customers’ behaviors, demographics, and actions on an ongoing basis. These reports and insights are often provided by tools such as your customer relationship management (CRM) software, inventory management software, or e-commerce platform. 

You should analyze this data regularly. With the most up-to-date information, you can ensure you have the best understanding of current customer behavior and tailor your sales efforts accordingly.

3. Inability to handle multiple sales channels

Expanding your e-commerce business to multiple sales channels is one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce, no matter what you’re selling. This is especially true if you don’t have the right setup in place to properly manage all your inventory and orders. Having your own e-commerce store, plus other sales channels—Shopify, eBay, etc.—can be a lot to keep track of.

Before you make any major business decision regarding multi-channel selling, it’s imperative to ensure you have the right workflows in place. Streamlined operations enable a better customer experience and increased customer satisfaction, and also provide a solid platform for growth.

A cloud-based order management system like QuickBooks Commerce acts as a single source of truth (SSOT) for all your data, which is critical as your business expands to include more working parts. By having everything organized in one place, you can keep track of e-commerce sales across platforms and efficiently manage each channel. 

4. Inventory management problems

Overstocking and understocking your products might seem like an unavoidable aspect of selling goods. However, if it’s a regular occurrence, it’s cutting into your bottom line. Having too much stock sitting around keeps your money tied up, meaning your cash flow is restricted. When that inventory becomes dead stock, you may end up taking a complete loss on remaining goods.

Not only are overstock and out-of-stock problems costly for growing businesses, but they also provide a poor customer experience and contribute to a negative brand reputation. Online shoppers want to buy from businesses who have what they need when they need it. If you’re constantly running out of popular items on your e-commerce site, your customers are likely going to look elsewhere.

Utilizing a robust inventory management system is the key to maintaining ideal stock levels. With an automated solution, your inventory levels are constantly updated as sales are made, allowing you to keep track of stock. With automated inventory tracking, you no longer have to worry about manual data entry, which can be time-consuming and inefficient. Before dedicating to one system make sure you’re asking the right inventory management questions for your business.

5. Setting prices

Pricing is a key aspect of launching e-commerce business and making sales. If your pricing is too high, online shoppers will simply turn to a competitor if there are other products similar to yours on the market. On the other hand, if your pricing is set too low, you’re losing out on revenue, which can be detrimental to your bottom line. This is why pricing is notoriously one of the biggest challenges in e-commerce. 

So, how do you find the ideal price points for your goods and services? It starts with market research and ends with establishing a well-thought-out pricing strategy. 

In addition to pricing your products in a way that helps you turn the most profit, you also need to consider other factors, such as shipping costs.

6. Marketing and driving traffic

You can take advantage of online marketplaces like Amazon to get your products in front of customers who are specifically looking for goods like yours. However, that shouldn’t be your only strategy. If you’re selling on several different sales channels, you need to be driving traffic to them, especially if you have your own e-commerce site.

The problem is that many small businesses struggle with marketing efforts. You’ll either need to invest the time to learn about marketing strategies or work with a professional marketer, but either way, it’s essential for e-commerce success. Some of the key digital marketing initiatives you should consider include:

  • SEO (search engine optimization) to help you get your business to the top of the search results. 
  • Social media marketing to expose your brand to new customers and let current customers know about updates to your offerings.
  • Email marketing to retarget previous visitors, send reminders about online shopping carts, and send coupons to reward customer loyalty.

Another tactic e-commerce companies have had success with is influencer marketing. Look into your options and see what will realistically fit your budget, to figure out where to get started.

7. Failing to establish your own e-commerce website

Relying on online marketplaces to make all your retail sales for you puts you at a disadvantage. These e-commerce marketplaces and stores have countless products just like yours, meaning your brand can get lost in the sea of offerings. In this case, so much of the process is out of your control.

While you should keep selling on these marketplaces, you should also create your own site. Having your own e-commerce website gives you freedom and the opportunity to establish your brand. 

With your own e-commerce site, you can:

  • Optimize the shopping experience for your core customers.
  • Emphasize what makes your brand different.
  • Have complete control over how your brand is presented. 
  • Establish your own return and refund policies.
  • Choose which payment methods you want to accept and how payment is processed. 

When you set up your business for online sales, invest in a high-quality design upfront, complete with user-friendly navigation and mobile-friendly functionality. Doing so will not only help set you apart from other online retailers, but it will also help you cater to the Google algorithm.

Reasons To Use A Web Developer

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When creating an online presence for your new business you may be first thinking about how to create the perfect website.  A website provides a window to your business in the same way as a shop window would. It allows people to browse and see what you offer as well as what you stand for, and they can make a decision here whether or not to give you their business. 

Creating a good website for your brand is so important and it can have a huge impact on the success of your company. This is why creating the best website you possibly can to showcase your company is crucial and today we want to discuss how you can do this for your audience. 

A web developer is someone who will take a brief from you and create a website that meets your needs as a company. A web development professional will be able to use their tools and know how to make a stunning landing page to showcase your brand the best way, and ensure that customers will choose you over other brands. Today we want to talk about some of the reasons why you should take advantage of using a web development company for your website design this year. 

It’s easier 

If you have never made a website before, the prospect of doing this can be daunting, and it can soon become difficult for you to do it on your own. There are a lot of moving parts involved in creating a great website, and although you can use pre-existing templates to get you started it can be difficult to get everything moving the way you want it to. By using a web developer to do the job for you, it takes the stress away from you and it will make your life much easier. 

They are experts 

It is so important that you create the best possible website for your users, and that it runs smoothly and loads quickly when people visit. By using a professional WordPress web developer, you will have an expert in the field on hand to take on the task for you and they will be able to easily deal with any obstacles that might come their way. It will be much better than you struggling to make a website yourself and making mistakes along the way that cause issues on your website. 

You’ll save time 

One of the biggest plus points to using a web developer to create your website for you is that you will save a lot of time. For those who are inexperienced in creating a website, this process can take a long time and it will eat time out of your day where you could be working on other things. By trusting a web development professional to take on this task you will instead be able to benefit from free time to spend on other parts of your business that need your attention. 

Use these great reasons to hire a web developer for your website this year. 

What to Consider When Choosing a Domain Name

When creating your own website, there is so much that you need to take into account. Are you building this website as a part of your business? Is it a passion project? Are you just wanting a platform where you can post your ideas? Portfolio maybe? Regardless of the reason, you’ll need to know where you’ll want to have your website (such as WordPress), the hosting company, and most importantly your domain.  Your domain name is very important because this will be a part of your brand. This domain name will be how you can establish your website, but also yourself online.

When deciding on a domain name you’ll need to do a lot of research. This domain needs to be available online unless you’re willing to pay a hefty amount to purchase someone else’s domain. But your domain name should also be something that is easy to remember and doesn’t come off as spammy.

If you’re interested in having your own website, be sure to take a look at the infographic below. This will help give you an idea of what your name should be as it must tie into your brand. This infographic is a fantastic way to demonstrate how the domain name for the website should be something easy to remember, that sticks to your brand, that’s SEO friendly, and overall just a name that will help you reach the traffic your website deserves. Be sure to check it out below to learn all the ins and outs of choosing a domain name.

Infographic Design By How to Choose a Domain Name

A Simple Guide to Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform

Choosing the Right E-commerce Platform in 2020

If you're looking to launch a small business selling items or services on the internet, you need to build an online store. And now is the perfect time to do that. The e-commerce industry is booming and expected to top $4 trillion this year.

But if you want the best possible outcome from your online ventures, you need to pick the right software for your shop. Choosing the appropriate platform is an important decision that can make or break your business. The thing is that different marketing strategies need different platforms to succeed. Software that's good to promote cool online games like Booster Slot would simply not be as effective in selling hand-made photo frames. 

The online market is full of options, and this article is here to help you make a balanced decision and pick the software that fits your business needs. We'll take a closer look at the key factors that you should look for in a platform. Sounds good? Let's dive in.

Reasons to Use E-Commerce Software

The thing is that anyone who wants to stay competitive in the online world has to do it via an e-commerce platform. It doesn't matter whether you have a B2C or a B2B company, using an e-commerce platform for your services gives you an efficient way to communicate with clients and employees.

An e-commerce platform handles the most important functions of both the interface and back-end systems. Your inventory, CRM, web design, etc., can all be managed by the platform. It wasn't that long ago when online companies were required to hire a full IT team to develop their in-house software. But this approach has never been cheap. That's why most businesses these days have opted to use low-cost open-source platforms that are developed by specialists and can easily be customized.

The Different Types of Platforms

All e-commerce platforms fall into one of the 5 following categories:

1. Open-source platforms

Open-source platforms do not ask you to pay anything to start using them. The license is free. However, there are fees for implementation, upgrades, and development. Magento, for example, is an open-source e-commerce platform.

2. SaaS platforms

A SaaS e-commerce platform's architecture is usually based on a single codebase. A fixed monthly fee gives you server space and covers the maintenance and security costs.

3. Traditional e-commerce platforms

With traditional platforms like Hybris, Kentico, or IBM Digital Commerce, you can pay the license fee once a year. But you still need a knowledgeable IT team to build the shop on top of the provided platform.

4. Cloud platforms

Many traditional e-commerce platforms, like Salesforce, or Demandware, are using a cloud hosting system. That's why they call themselves cloud platforms.

5. DIY platforms

Building your own platform is the least common way to operate an online business these days. But sometimes a niche business has so specific needs that they need more than a regular e-commerce platform. Using a full team of developers to come up with fully customized software might be a worthy investment for them.

Main Factors to Consider When Picking a Platform

1. SEO

Picking an e-commerce platform with the best SEO features assures that your site will rank high in Google's search results. Make sure that the platform allows you to pick your own domain name, and enables clients to leave reviews.

2. Support

There are lots of things that can go wrong with your e-commerce venture, so pick a platform that provides 24/7 support.

hands with smarthphone

3. Order Management System

E-commerce platform design with features like email notifications and order tracking ensures that the orders get to the clients on time and accurately. Go with a platform that can interact with your inventory management solutions so that the customers could only purchase the in-stock items.

4. Scalability

At some point, your business will start to grow. And your chosen platform has to be able to keep up with the expansion.

5. Security

Your e-commerce software will be actively handling payments and your clients' financial information. So it needs to be as secure as possible. Look for platforms that have features like Secure Electronic Transaction (SET), Secure Socket Layer (SSL), and a safe login screen.

6. Mobile-friendliness

Have you ever looked at how an e-commerce platform works on a mobile screen? Mobile commerce is on the rise, and your shop should be easily accessible via a smartphone.

The Best e-commerce Platforms for Selling Video Games

Selling video games online is the best way to do it. All you need to reach an audience is a well-functioning online store. The most important thing in choosing a platform is analyzing the following factors:

  1. the overall expenses
  2. how many other video game sellers are using the platform
  3. shipping options

Here are some great e-commerce platform examples that people have used successfully for gaming-oriented shops:

Magento

Magento is one of the most secure platforms out there. It has a free open-source option and a paid commerce option. The cool thing is that thanks to its numerous built-in features, you don't need to install an endless list of extensions.

Shopify

No e-commerce platform list is complete without Shopify. It's a secure and user-friendly platform for selling any kind of products, including video games.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce comes with some pretty cool features like tax calculations, geolocation, and the latest shopping cart software. Plus, the platform offers its users over 4000 plugins to make the shop-building process easier.

Conclusion

These were our tips on how to choose the best e-commerce platform for your business. There's no need to go blindly with the most popular names. Instead, use the advice from this article and pick the most suitable software for your shop. And look: you don't have to get it right with the first software you use. Narrow your choices down to at least two different platforms and test them out. Soon, you'll find the one that works best for your particular business.

What are some of the best e-commerce platforms for small businesses that you've used? Let us know your favorites in the comments.  

Author's Bio

Alex Norwood is an experienced traveler and an online entrepreneur. He runs a successful eCommerce business and is always on the lookout for new lucrative ways to make money online. Traveling is Alex's passion, and he has visited over 20 countries in the last 5 years.

5 E-Commerce Business Ideas to Make Money in 2020

Are you planning to venture into the eCommerce niche? There are several players in this segment, and each one has an idea that seems to be working for them. 

For the outsider, the market seems to be saturated, and you don’t know how to differentiate the plan for the next venture.

However, you can do it by entering a segment that has been untapped or building on an idea that is unique. 

We understand that most people are stuck at the first stage itself- the ideation stage. If you don’t have a strong idea, the venture may or may not be successful.

Here, we have curated five-strong eCommerce business ideas for you. 

#1 Face-to-Face Commerce

When you are dealing online, you tend to forget the importance of face-to-face conversations. 

As a seller, your ultimate aim is to increase the customer experience for eCommerce visitors. However, that cannot be done if you don’t initiate a different story for the customers. 

Face-to-face commerce will help establish trust among the customers and will recreate your brand. 

How will this idea work online? The sellers and the buyers can strike a deal after a conversation about the product or service. They can choose a medium to communicate. When the seller offers their insights into the product, it increases the value of the product.

  • The seller has more knowledge about the product and can talk like an expert
  • They can solve queries and all the doubts that the user may have through one-to-one conversations

You can use this idea to build your jewelry or fashion apparel business, where customer experience drives conversions. 

#2 Education Platforms

What is eCommerce in education? Well, when you delve into online learning platforms, you are building an exciting niche for eCommerce businesses.

People are all up for learning online, as it offers convenience and saves a lot of their time. here, the course designers meet the users and sell the courses. That is one way of getting revenue from online platforms. The other potential is getting the course makers to tutor the children online. 

You don’t need to restrict your niche to academics alone. There are people looking for spiritual, commercial and other types of courses online. You will need to identify the course that you think you can follow through.

You may need to consider student acquisition before you get started with the educational niche. 

Apart from that, identifying a niche that the students want to opt for, and offering a differentiated proposition is another aspect that you need to consider.

#3 Selling Solutions  

There is no dearth of problems around you. in fact, in every corner, you will find people are facing issues that need solutions.

If you could refurbish the idea of eCommerce, and stop thinking of products alone, then you will see that this is an amazing business idea for the eCommerce entrants.

Seek for people who have issues, and ask them to come to you for solutions. The website that you are developing should sell possible solutions. 

You can either identify the problems yourself and post solutions for a certain amount or give solutions as part of the services.

You will see that it is an eCommerce idea with a different value proposition, and it will definitely work. 

When designing this eCommerce application, you need to research the users to understand how they would prefer to interact with you, and how they behave with an eCommerce application in general.

#4 Selling Local Produce

In a grocery market dominated by the online sellers and buyers, the local producers get ignored. Only the mediators get a certain benefit; the producers and buyers face a loss. You can create an online application that can help buyers meet the local producers, and get the products at a reasonable price. In fact, it will also benefit both parties, as they would be able to gain a better understanding of the product.

You can extend this idea to the local craftsmen and other local artisans for better traction. You need to identify the niche that you want to deal with, understand the consumers therein, and finally design a product that you feel will be suitable to these people.

Remember to think through the app and take into consideration the possible scalability factors associated with app development.

#5 Know Products in Stores

tell your users where they can find a particular product. Most often, your users know the products they want, but they are unable to find a shop that deals with them. 

Instead of having to visit all the stores, the user can visit your store that will inform them about the stores where they can find these products.

So, the user simply needs to enter the product information, and you can serve them with the store details, both online and offline. 

Of course, you will need to define a business model for these stores. Considering the users will make the purchase through your store, in case of online shopping, it will become easier for you to completely earn money.

Summing up

There are several other ideas that you can work on. It is however important for you to validate the idea and conduct an A/B testing before you move ahead with design and development.

Apart from the ideation, you need to conduct thorough user research which will help you identify how users behave with eCommerce websites. You will also understand the learning curve you will need to work with to convert the customers.

Before the idea and the research, you need to identify if you want to go with a product niche or a service niche. The above-mentioned ideas are mostly service-oriented.

You will also need to calculate the financial impact your eCommerce business idea will have, and how you will score profits for the business. 

It goes without saying that you need to hire a good Magento development company that will help construct your idea into a relevant, usable and functional app solution.

Author: Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading eCommerce development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.

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Learn How To Integrate a Payment Gateway in Your website

Learn How To Integrate a Payment Gateway in Your website

Online payment is getting more popular these days, particularly for businesses planning to develop their sales online, or need to lessen their desk work on request, registration, or payment. 

Android App Payment Gateway Integration can be utilized by practically any business, going from internet business sites to course coordinators needing to get participants to pay for the course charge online, or even charity organizations to get gifts online. 

There are different payment gateways to arrangement an online payment with. Some popular gateways for online payments are Paypal, WorldPay, Google Checkout, e-Nets (Singapore just), or direct VISA/MasterCard payment. 

(Note: Payment gateway is an online specialist organization which facilitates payment approval) 

Every payment gateway has its very own upsides and downsides, just as fluctuating charges. Furthermore, some payment gateway may not be bolstered in all nations. (for example, Google Checkout is as of now only accessible in the US and Canada) 

In this article, we will examine about Paypal payment gateway, as it is presently one of the most popular portals worldwide particularly for online payment, and one of the least demanding to set up. 

Here are three things we will talk about in this article: 

How would I arrange a Paypal account? 

What amount does Paypal charge? 

How would I integrate Paypal into my site? 

How would I arrange a Paypal account? 

Liberating up a PayPal account is simple and. Before we begin, ensure you have the accompanying information with you: 

Your organization details information 

Your organization date of registration 

Here is an essential well-ordered guide on the most proficient method to arrange a PayPal account for business (trader): 

Go to https://www.paypal.com and click “Join” on the upper right corner of the landing page. 

Pick your nation or region, and language. The nation that you pick will figure out which essential cash you get when getting your payment. For instance, you won't almost certainly get Malaysian Ringgit if you are enlisting in Singapore. 

Snap “Begin” for Business. 

Fill in the essential details about the organization and the business owner. 

Upon fruitful registration, Go to Paypal again and sign in. 

Under “My Account/Overview” menu, click “Affirm Email Address” in Notification box on the correct sidebar. 

Adhere to the given instructions. 

What amount does Paypal charge? 

Liberating up a PayPal account is but PayPal charges you per exchange happened, which is 3.4% of the total sale sum in addition to a fixed expense of S$ 0.5 per exchange. You can improve rates as your sales go up. Allude to the table here for more details on how many markdowns you can get, and the measure of sales required to apply for a rebate. 

If you are accepting payment through PayPal, the cash you got will be put away in your Paypal account first, so you should periodically transfer the cash into your financial balance. Note that the withdrawal to a Singapore bank above S$ 200 is free, but S$ 1 charge may apply for withdrawal underneath S$ 200. 

How would I integrate Paypal into my site? 

Presently we are getting to the activity. The most straightforward approach to integrate Paypal payment to your site is by integrating direct Paypal Buy Now button. It just includes a code in your HTML website page which may resemble this: 

<form name=”_xclick” action=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-canister/webscr” method=”post”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”cmd” value=”_xclick”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”business” value=”[email protected]”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”currency_code” value=”USD”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”item_name” value=”Teddy Bear”> 

<input type=”hidden” name=”amount” value=”12.99″> 

</form> 

You should enter your PayPal account's email address in “Email address to get payments” textbox to specify to which PayPal account will the payment be transferred. 

Afterwords 

Integrating online payment into your site can be as necessary as including a PayPal Buy Now button. 

Nonetheless, if you are planning to construct an undeniable online business site with cutting edge shopping basket highlights – it will require a more top to bottom combination with Paypal. You can visit Paypal begin manual to adapt all the more how to integrate Paypal payment gateway to your site further or contact a professional web designer for help.


Author Bio – 

Alex jone is a Marketing Manager at AIS Technolabs which is Web design and Development Company, helping global businesses to grow. I would love to share thoughts on Payment Gateway In Android Application and Game Design Development etc. 

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