Dave has spent over 12 years in the industry where he has managed an e-commerce supplement shop for 8 years where they grew from 6 figures in yearly revenue to over 8 figures, managed millions in ad spend on Facebook, and founded a 7-figure fitness franchise marketing agency specializing in paid advertising, lead nurturing, and membership growth coaching which currently has over 100 clients.
Alex's specialty lies in psychology, paid advertising, funnel building, technology, and finance. He has managed millions of dollars in ad spend on various social platforms, and solved complex problems with thousands of businesses.
Over the last decade, the eCommerce market has been on the rise with massive year-on-year growth rates.
According to Red Stag Fulfillment, the total eCommerce purchase power grew by a whopping 1000%. This means that the total amount of money used to buy products over the internet has grown from $572 Billion to 4.2 TRILLION dollars. And it’s expected to grow even more, the more we adapt to the “new normal”
Why You Should Read This Article
To the naked eye, it seems like eCommerce is going very well and that it will continue to grow. You might think: “Why is this article even relevant?” Here’s the answer.
While the industry itself is growing massively, most of this growth goes to the big sharks such as Amazon, Ali Baba, and ebay, leaving little room for small mom-and-pop eCommerce Brands to join in on the party.
In business terms, purchasing power is unevenly distributed across different companies in different sectors, making the “omnichannel experience” eCommerce brands all the money, and raising the barrier of entry for everyone else.
Platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce are now filling this gap and empowering businesses to migrate to an eCommerce model. But the road is still ahead to creating a sustainable market that could stand for years to come.
As an eCommerce growth agency, we used our data and experience to craft a list of challenges facing up-and-coming eCommerce brands in 2022 and possible solutions.
Stand Out From The Harsh Competition
It’s no secret that eCommerce is one of the most fierce industries in today’s market. Every part of this model can be very easy or extremely difficult depending on multiple factors such as availability and quality of product suppliers, shipping complications, advertising costs to acquire new customers, and then maintaining those customers to continue buying your products.
According to Ashwin Ramasamy, Co-Founder of PipeCandy, there are around 1.3 million eCommerce companies in the US and Canada alone.
For inexperienced entrepreneurs, it seems like a tough nut to crack.
The vast competition remains the key factor in your journey as an eCommerce brand owner. If you can’t figure out what’s special about your business, it’s likely that your customers won’t either.
“But what can I do to distinguish myself from the competition?”
Figuring out your unique value proposition (UVP) is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your business journey. It makes it easier to make some decisions later on and paints you with a different brush in your customer’s eyes.
But here are some things you can do
Figure out your UVP and make it front-and-center of your decision-making process
Conduct thorough research into your competitors to create a unique marketing strategy around your eCommerce brand
Build a customer-centric customer service team to make your customer’s life easier. Remember, if they enjoyed buying your products, they’ll buy them again
In terms of how to actually craft your UVP, well that will depend on your individual business. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t provide you with a few guiding questions to get you started.
What problem are you trying to solve for you customers
What distinguishes your brand from your closest competitor?
(if you have them) What’s the reason your current customers chose you?
Advertising to Your Customer’s Avatar
Whether it’s a new phone case, a cool-looking t-shirt, or even a spicy burrito, customers have tens - if not hundreds- of eCommerce brands to choose from when buying any product.
But just like customers have many eCommerce brands to choose from, eCommerce brands have a lot of customers to target. But it doesn’t make any financial sense for a brand owner to advertise to everyone in the world. So, you must decide which customers are perfect for your specific product. And how can you make sure they’ll pick you over your competitors?
A good possible solution is to conduct proper research about how your competitors are targeting their customers. What are the characteristics of their customers?
Again, you want to go deeper here than just industry and demographic info - try to really step into your customers’ shoes:
What does your ideal customer do for a living?
What values are they concerned with? Pricing? Time saved? etc
What are the specific pain points that they are dealing with?
How does your brand solve that problem?
Once you have an image of their customers, then you can choose to target the same market or expand vertically or horizontally into new markets.
According to Eastern Peak, vertical expansion is scaling your service/product within an existing line of business by going deeper into the current market to get a chance to increase the demand for your product.
It simply means that after you know which customers your competitors are targeting, you can then choose to go up and target more premium customers, or go down to and target smaller, niche customers.
On another hand, horizontal growth is staying in the same niche or targeting the same customers but expanding your business into new markets geographically. eCommerce brands usually expand their services globally.
Customer’s Omnichannel Experience
It’s becoming harder and harder for eCommerce businesses and online retailers to achieve an all-in-one customer experience. But should they?
Nowadays, customers expect to be able to reach your brand through multiple touchpoints such as your website, phone, email, social media platforms, and your eCommerce store. And with time, a need for all of these touchpoints to be unified will arise.
An omnichannel customer experience means that customers can purchase your product anywhere through your media outlets. This allows your company to communicate with customers while also offering your products at all times.
But the question remains. Should you have an omnichannel experience?
The answer is, while you can definitely have a successful eCommerce business without this model, it’s advisable that you consider it. In fact, according to eComdash, there’s a profit gap between businesses that didn’t adopt an omnichannel experience and businesses that did.
To create an effective omnichannel strategy, think about what your customers are looking for and implement the right customer journey to complement that.
Most importantly, your front-end platforms should have a clean and simple journey so that shoppers can navigate through them easily, and ultimately purchase your products.
One more thing to consider is having a clear call to action (CTA) on these different external platforms. You want to be able to reach people on all the different channels they engage with, but you also want to be sure that they can get to the checkout quickly and easily. According to Vizion.com, a clear CTA is needed and actually expected by customers to be able to navigate your eCommerce store smoothly.
It pays to have a clear CTA such as “Buy now” rather than trying to think of a clever and vague CTA so that shoppers know exactly what to do.
Shopping Cart Abandonment
For many eCommerce brands working today, cart abandonment is a huge challenge that they’re yet to overcome. Even eCommerce giants like Amazon and ebay are not immune to it.
According to Shopify, 69.57% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This means that 70 people out of every 100 will leave their online shopping carts without making a purchase. Causing a financial loss of $18 billion in sales revenue every single year.
For instance, when the brick-and-mortar store Nordstrom started an eCommerce line of business, they experienced a huge opportunity loss in shopping cart abandonment. Turns out, Nordstorm had a tedious and bug-filled checkout process. Customers flee their eCommerce store in masses mid-purchase. Something we now know can push away hot prospects with their credit cards ready in their hands.
A statistic featured on Retail Dive states that 85% of customers said they would abandon their cart if the checkout process is complicated or slow.
Online merchants must be sure to include clear and easy ways to enter customer details, choose delivery options and make payments, while ensuring that the process does not become cumbersome for the shopper.
Gil Don, CEO and co-founder of Splitit
Nordstrom has changed their checkout process to make it easier. But surely, there is a lesson to learn there.
An ideal checkout process will be easy-to-use, smooth, and ultimately fast. If you don’t know where to start when optimizing your checkout process, here are a few things to avoid:
Extra Additional Charges
Additional costs added unexpectedly at the time of checkout almost always push customers away from their purchase.
Performance And Load Times
The performance and speed of your eCommerce store checkout process play a huge role in your customer’s experience. Keeping your store fast and responsive is crucial for keeping customers interested in buying on your platform.
Missing Payment Options
It should go without saying that inadequate payment methods are a major red flag when shopping online, and your customers will NOT feel comfortable sharing their financial details.
A simple reconsideration of your checkout process can mean more profit. Not only that, a positive online shopping experience means more customers joining your service.
As we demonstrated in this article, numbers seem to suggest that the eCommerce space is booming! As online shopping becomes more popular year after year, eCommerce brands are facing new challenges.
It doesn’t make sense financially for a brand to target every customer in their society. That’s why it’s crucial for you as an eCommerce brand owner to figure out who you are trying to sell your products to. Just as it’s equally important you consider the omnichannel expectations of your customers. Lastly, don’t forget that no matter how primed your eCommerce site is, you’re going to have to deal with cart abandonments. So have a plan in play to remarket and close all that potential revenue.
Make buying/converting easy for your customers. They’re looking to give you money after all. Don’t get in their way.