7 Common eCommerce Challenges eCommerce Businesses Face + Solutions.
Today nearly every type of business is flocking to eCommerce, but many only realize the complexities involved once they have already started implementing a solution.
Today nearly every type of business is flocking to eCommerce, but many only realize the complexities involved once they have already started implementing a solution. Get ahead of the curve by planning around these top eCommerce challenges that businesses face:
- ERP Integration
- User Adoption
- Security and eCommerce Fraud
- Omnichannel Selling
- Subscription Billing Models
- Abandoned Shopping Carts
1. ERP Integration
Whether you are just beginning to research eCommerce implementation or looking to improve an existing eCommerce solution, it is crucial to consider enterprise resource planning (ERP) software integration. Unfortunately, many businesses implement eCommerce without fully understanding the present and future complexities. They end up with more manual processes that strain resources and negatively impact customer experiences.
Establishing a seamless and effective bidirectional flow of information between the online stores and core business processes and reducing redundancies is the solution and foundation of success. eCommerce-to-ERP integration helps businesses reduce administrative costs, accurately manage inventory, provide better customer experiences, facilitate customer self-service, and improve the value of data and forecasts. While growing sales is usually one of a company's top eCommerce priorities, reducing manual processes and associated costs is a benefit that companies should aim for as well.
Automating Sales Orders
Without sufficient ERP integration, you might be growing sales by introducing a new, efficient channel for your customers while simultaneously overwhelming employees with additional work and issues to resolve each time an order is received. If the systems are out of sync, this will lead to errors and waste time maintaining the system.
The solution is to properly sync systems and automate sales orders as much as possible. Allow customers to access real-time self-service 24/7 across all online channels, making it easy for them to buy and rebuy. Features such as wish lists, order history, and saved shopping carts facilitate the steps of conversion.
When a customer comes to the website to make a purchase, the eCommerce solution needs to know exactly how much inventory is available to allow the customer to complete their purchase. On the flip side, once the customer checks out, the ERP system needs to know how much was ordered to reduce the inventory accordingly. When these elements are not in sync, businesses run the risk of taking orders for out-of-stock items and losing out on sales while the inventory waits to get replenished. When these elements are in-sync, companies are positioned to avoid selling out-of-stock items, offer relevant alternatives, and replenish stock in a timely manner. Smooth ERP-eCommerce integration allows businesses to automate inventory management, which improves operational efficiency, increases sales, and enhances the customer experience.
Without ERP integration, it can be challenging to provide the customer experiences that customers expect. eCommerce giants like Amazon are shaping customer expectations by offering comparisons and personalizations that enhance the buying process. For B2B customers, in particular, there is a real need to support complex ordering processes. Customers need access to efficient online portals to place orders, review invoices, see personalized pricing information and get custom quotes. When customers have access to order history, inventory, and detailed product information, they can get everything they need when they need it, and their satisfaction increases.
To learn more about ERP Integration, watch our webinar eCommerce Integration 101: Planning for a Full eCommerce Automation.
2. User Adoption
When businesses shift to eCommerce sales, getting customers and employees on board can take time and effort. In terms of employee adoption challenges, many organizations cite sales resistance as the top barrier to driving more online sales. Team members accustomed to old working methods may be reluctant to change workflows. They may also not fully understand how eCommerce can add value to their sales.
To earn internal buy-in from sales, compensate sales representatives for online orders, gamify the adoption of eCommerce with incentivizing contests and games, and repurpose sales roles for high-impact activities. With an eCommerce solution to automate sales and facilitate customer self-service, sales representatives can focus attention and resources on more significant account sales, prospect analysis, and collaboration with marketing.
Once the team is on board with eCommerce adoption, it is much easier to encourage existing customers to shift to the new processes and features. Sales representatives can reach out directly to customers and grow customer confidence by facilitating first online orders. Consider offering preferred online pricing and incentives to encourage hesitant customers to transition to eCommerce buying. Hyper-focus marketing and exclusive offers to non-adopters.
3. Security and eCommerce Fraud
eCommerce sites are exposed to additional security risks and fraud that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The potential issues include purchases with stolen credit cards, false claims that packages never arrived, cyber security attacks on customer data, and more. As the internet continues to evolve, the best practice is to ensure your payment system provider is reliable and that the payment process version you're using is completely up to date with the latest standards. Additionally, give your customers peace of mind and show that you are trustworthy by displaying security verification badges on your site and the checkout page.
Establishing an eCommerce presence and calling it a day is one thing. It is another thing to create a compelling eCommerce experience that builds trust, feels fast and reliable, and makes your product look more appealing than something offered by a competitor on Amazon. To attract customers, generate valuable leads, and drive conversions, differentiate yourself with a deep brand experience. Use your homepage and product pages to build an emotional connection with your customers. To do this, businesses need to have the right user experience for the right audiences. For example, B2C scenarios need a classic shopping cart storefront for retail products, and B2B scenarios need a closed storefront ordering portal.
5. Omnichannel Selling
There are a number of marketplaces where customers can choose to shop for products, so customers are distributed widely across channels. Furthermore, some customers are loyal to certain channels rather than others. Some customers shop for the best price across any channel. Ultimately, this means that there is more competition for customers to find your products or your competitors' products. Excluding yourself from third-party marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, or a niche industry market means that your business is missing out on many customers who are loyal to shopping online on marketplaces.
Whether you are just starting an online business or already have an established eCommerce site, you will reach the widest audience by selling your products everywhere.
The best marketplaces meet the following criteria:
- Provide website traffic
- Have a solid reputation and market share
- Are stable and reliable
- Have smooth checkout processes
- Offer sound policies and guidelines
- Charge acceptable fees
- Operate a user-friendly interface.
When choosing an omnichannel marketplace to sell, evaluate the criteria listed above and consider the structure of your business, your audiences' qualities, and your products' characteristics. While it is best to sell as many places as possible, there are plenty of options to choose from, and it is important to make the right choices for your business. For B2B industries, look into specialty verticals like Infra.market, IronPlanet, Kitmodo, ePlane, and more.
Watch this free webinar on Expanding to Marketplaces to learn more about omnichannel selling.
6. Subscription Billing Models
Subscription billing models are common with many service-based businesses and are becoming increasingly popular with product-based businesses. For B2B businesses, subscription billing can look like an invoice generated by the ERP and delivered to the client's portal on a monthly basis. Subscription billing models are really based on the capabilities of a business's ERP. Without the proper setup, the feature is a headache at best and impossible at worst. Some ERPs have subscription billing built-in, while others require a solution or partner to enable the feature. In either case, best practice is to enable subscription billing in your ERP and then extend that to the front-end website or portal.
Here at Dynamicweb, we partner with Binary stream, an advanced subscription management solution, to easily enable this functionality in Dynamics 365. To learn more about our advanced contracts and subscription billing features, visit BinaryStream.
7. Abandoned Shopping Carts
Shopping cart abandonment is a risk when conducting business on the internet. Even the most successful eCommerce sites need help with customers abandoning carts after spending time searching the website, finding the right products, and adding the products to their cart. If your eCommerce solution only features a shopping cart function, the customer journey ends when they leave your site.
The solution to abandoned shopping carts is to use personalized email marketing to engage the potential customer. After a website visitor abandons their shopping cart, consider sending them a friendly reminder about the product in their cart. Enhance the relevance of the emails with personalized product suggestions and related content to entice the customer to return to the website and complete the purchase.
Unfortunately, not all eCommerce solutions make it easy to automate abandoned shopping cart campaigns. Although it is a hot topic in eCommerce today, it is worth ensuring that the solution you adopt is equipped to conduct targeted email marketing.
Dynamicweb Can Assist With Your Complex eCommerce Challenges
Today, thousands of businesses run more than 12,000 websites with Dynamicweb. We enable customers to deliver better digital experiences and scale eCommerce success through our Content Management, Digital Marketing, eCommerce, and Product Information Management solutions. If you are looking to tackle complex eCommerce challenges, we are here to help.
To address your eCommerce challenges and accelerate digital transformation, book a free personalized demo with us today.