You launched your ecommerce store with a vision of the future in mind.
It’s making steady sales, building up a cadre of loyal customers and your company is growing over time. However, you have to get started before this scenario can become reality. And yet, this step can feel like half the battle.
There are many things that prevent ecommerce sites from starting. This is because the planning stages are just as crucial—if not more so—as the actual execution. Getting your website off the ground depends upon making savvy choices and understanding the potential challenges well before your website even goes live.
Here are six things capable of bringing an online store to its knees before it has a fighting chance to succeed.
Hopefully, when you know these pitfalls, you can work proactively to avoid them.
Manufacturing and Supply Chain Bottlenecks
Before you can sell products, you have to source them. This means linking up with manufacturers and distributors who can supply you with the products you need to stock your store. It’s a matter of finding the right channels, as well as negotiating and making sure your contracts are fulfilled in a timely and accurate manner. Industry trade shows and magazines can be solid starting points for new entrepreneurs looking to make relevant connections.
Order Fulfillment Issues
Once you have products to sell, you must figure out how to get those products from the manufacturer or your inventory to your customers. It’s no secret customers crave free and fast shipping, and increasingly so over time. As it stands, 29 percent of ecommerce SMBs don’t offer any free shipping.Just over half (53 percent) offer two- to three-day delivery. It’s worthwhile to explore your options for free and expedited order fulfillment. Of course, the challenge is balancing this service with the costs of packaging and postage.
The foundation for your entire company is your website itself. Your platform is the link between your customers and your merchandise. When you create an ecommerce website, you want to keep the back-end logistics as simple as possible. This reduces the chances users will experience front-end issues.Handling the coding yourself can be a time-consuming and finicky process, while paying someone else to do it from scratch can be expensive. For this reason, many new ecommerce stores use an intuitive store builder.
Lack of Supporting Staff
Are you doing everything on your own? For some fledgling operations, this setup works. Others require at least part-time assistance from other job roles. Make sure you have the necessary people in place before you go live; otherwise you’ll quickly become overwhelmed.
Slow or Nonexistent Customer Service
Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have customers, it’s safe to assume they’ll have questions and comments. Your store needs to have responsive customer service ready to go before, during and after your launch. Luckily, retailers nowadays have a few options in this arena. Many choose to implement some combination of human customer service specialists and artificial intelligence-based live chat bots. This allows you to provide attentive service no matter the time of day, while still prioritizing human-to-human contact.
Lack of Customer Engagement
“If you build it, they will come” is a dangerous assumption in today’s ecommerce marketplace. Before your launch, it’s important to have marketing campaigns ready to drive traffic to your website, blog and social media.
When visitors arrive, they will stick around if they can navigate your website easily and check out conveniently. Eliminate all hurdles before launch day by conducting rigorous user experience (UX) testing.
These six things can prevent ecommerce starts from starting. But armed with this knowledge, you can meet launch-related challenges in stride.