Challenging, yet rewarding
There is plenty of research and evidence that E-commerce will continue to grow in next few years to come. Companies engaging in E-commerce are growing, customers that purchase their products online are normalized across different product branches and payment methods that better suit online transactions such as PayPal/Bitcoin are becoming increasingly popular. The reasoning for this growth can be largely contributed to the flourishing of technological advancements.
Conducting business online is now easier than ever as there is a wide range of platforms for you to sell your products. Outsourcing the End-to-End Supply Chain activities is also getting more common due to the well-established third-party companies that provide professional aid to all that seek help. SMEs especially are able to scale accordingly when using outsourced Supply Chain activity.
Customers are buying their products more frequently through online platforms. This is mainly due to the convenience factor combined with the provided Supply of products, regardless of their respective branch. Nowadays, all sorts of products are bought online from groceries to wedding gifts to personalized clothing.
Lastly, payment methods are also receiving an interesting change in dynamic which contributes to the growth of Ecommerce as a concept. Very simplistic yet highly functional payment methods such as ideal are improving rapidly. A few years ago, when paying for your purchase online through ideal, you had to use your bank reader and card to finalize the purchase. This was a big hassle and turned off many customers looking to buy their products online. Nowadays, just one click of a button is required on your mobile phone to complete a purchase. You are even able to preset payment settings for known companies so that you do not need to complete a full payment process to finish the transaction. This saves a large amount of time and effort. Groceries for example can be purchased automatically by setting dates/times when running out.
In short, conducting E-commerce can be highly rewarding if done right. Needless to say, there are plenty of challenges within the industry. New challenges are also arising as some market phenomena are changing. The increase in popularity of same-day-delivery started to weigh on the supplier companies such as DHL/UPS/FedEx/TNT and resulted in a decrease in supplier performance and successful delivery KPI’s. This is just one of the many challenges that come with Ecommerce. The top 3 biggest challenges for 2022 are listed below.
Top 3 E-commerce challenges
- Competitive advantage & Competitor Analysis
With the rise of E-commerce companies, it is more and more difficult for new startups to differentiate themselves from their competition. While being difficult, it is also essential as a strong USP often provides a competitive advantage that allows companies to succeed and scale within the E-commerce business. How is this done exactly? The best way to leverage a strong competitive advantage is by continuous Competitor Analysis.
Any company within the E-commerce business looking to succeed ought to do a strong thorough analysis of their competitor. You need to know the ins and outs of your main competitors in order to reinforce your own strategy. Knowing your competitors’ products from A to Z, the way they are gaining their prospects, their handling of customers is vital as it allows you to take what works and discard what doesn’t. Knowing your competitors thus also provides you with the knowledge and ability to stand out. Study your competitors, understand what their missing and leverage it to gain your competitive advantage.
- Customer Loyalty
According to Vue.Ai et al. (2022), the importance of customer loyalty can be illustrated by the following two main facts.
*It can cost up to 5 times more to acquire a new customer than retaining an existing one.
* The success rate of selling to a current customer is 60-70% compared to only 5-20% success rate of selling to a new customer.
These two facts clearly emphasize the importance of customer retention and loyalty. Once you have acquired a customer, keeping that customer, or turning that customer into a fixed customer is highly important. This process should be seen as fuel for your business. How are companies able to do this best? Strong customer service should be top priority as this does wonders for customer retention. Follow-up is equally important as proper reach-out attempts have shown to provide remarkable conversion rates, if done correctly. Lastly, rewards. Rewarding returning customers through promotions or discounts could strongly affect your customer loyalty.
- Shipping and Delivery
On-time shipments and deliveries have proven to increase customer satisfaction by remarkable amounts. In turn, delayed shipments and lackluster delivery have proven to drastically decrease customer retention whilst creating bad brand image. With fuel pricing increasing and heavy pressure on delivery companies it is vital that companies maneuver the right way when trying to get their products to their end-customer. As discussed before, making use of a professional, experienced Supply Chain company that offers end-to-end aid can be of immense help when trying to scale your business. Even large companies should not overlook the option to outsource their supply chain as professional companies often are able to leverage great results by consolidating shipments, offering 24/7 customer service and well-established payment solutions/support.
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Ecommerce Sales Size Forecast. International Trade Administration, Accessed September 28, 2022, From https://www.trade.gov/ecommerce-sales-size-forecast
Dan Berthiaume (July 18, 2022), Survey reveals perils of poor delivery experience, Accessed September 28, 2022, From
R-04_Importance of Payment Service Providers (PSP)
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