6 Challenges every B2C ecommerce startup faces (and how to solve them).
Due to the sheer dynamic nature of the industry and technological changes, B2C retailers are grappling with several challenges. The scenario is especially tough for startups who constantly work on slim margins and face fierce competition in this domain.
Over the past decade, the ecommerce industry has grown exponentially, bringing in several new players.
Moreover, it’s getting difficult to keep pace with the ever-changing buying behaviour and ever-increasing expectations of B2C customers.
To build a sustainable customer base, B2C ecommerce startups put in a lot of effort to close the gap; yet, few manage to measure up. Ecommerce startup owners face unique challenges compared to brick-and-mortar brands.
For instance, they face cybersecurity challenges and often struggle with order fulfilment.
In this post, we will throw light on the top hindrances B2C ecommerce startups need to overcome to steer their venture towards success.
Challenges Faced by B2C Ecommerce Startups and Strategies to Overcome Them
- Intense Competition
For ecommerce startups, competition comes in all shapes and sizes. They need to keep up with the competitive pricing, offer relevant solutions, come up with innovative tactics to engage their audience, and more. If they fail to do it, there are always five other brands that can do better.
Ecommerce is one of the most popular industries for startups. In fact, in 2021, ecommerce was the second-most appealing industry segment for startup founders.
With so many players around, positioning yourself uniquely is critical to stand out and attract customers. Startup owners need to overcome the product and price competition by building a clear brand value proposition that their customers will not find elsewhere.
Here are a few tactics that will help ecommerce startups stand out from the crowd.
- Conduct competitive analysis to gain a better understanding of your competitors. Use competitor analysis tools like SEMrush, Quick Search, and SpuFu to see how your rivals generate traffic. These tools can also help you find the key search terms used in your competitors’ paid and organic search campaigns.
- Make sure your website looks professional and is optimized for search engines. In this era of digitization, online shopping experiences are becoming a key customer acquisition strategy.
For instance, ecommerce websites need to be responsive because desktops are getting conventional. This is the era of mobile shoppers. Hence, ecommerce sellers need to invest in new mobile commerce solutions for offering great experiences.
- Another tactic to set yourself apart from the competition is by embracing digital currencies like cryptocurrencies, the future of B2C commerce. Since bitcoin is soon becoming one of the most accepted payment methods by the Millennials and Generation Z, it’s wise to ride on this trend.
- Self-service is another trend that B2C ecommerce sellers need to adopt. 70% of customers expect websites to include a self-service application or a knowledge base that will help them find answers to their queries.
- Poor Bandwidth to Fulfill Orders
More often than not, ecommerce startups are inundated with more orders than they are prepared to handle on their own. This can lead to poor customer experience, thereby impacting profitability.
In this cut-throat scenario, ecommerce businesses are using timely deliveries as a strong product differentiator. Hence, ecommerce startups need to invest in ensuring quick and low-cost deliveries to customers.
Not everything needs to be managed by the startup owner. If you are facing challenges with fulfilling orders, it’s wise to trust a turn to an ecommerce order fulfilment provider who can significantly reduce your order-to-ship time.
Besides, trusting a reputed fulfilment provider can extend your reach, free up your basement space, boost scalability, lower your shipping and operating costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Well-known fulfilment providers leverage the latest technology that allows businesses to monitor their inventory, track shipments, and ensure data security.
That brings us to the next challenge faced by ecommerce startups – customer data security.
- Cyber Threats and Attacks
Ecommerce startups are prime targets for cyber breaches because for cybercriminals, these websites are a treasure trove of personal and financial data. CNBC confirms that nearly half of all the online cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses and startups who think they are too small to be targeted.
The fact remains that startups are so focused on brand promotion, business development, and customer acquisition that they often miss out on adopting adequate cybersecurity measures. Therefore, cybercriminals find it easy to breach their systems and gain access to sensitive customer information.
Hence, ecommerce startups should make network security their number one priority. Start with a cybersecurity analysis to get a clear picture of the strong and weak points of your firm’s security system.
Further, it’s wise to implement the security best practices like implementing strong unique passwords, implementing authentication factors, updating your website and CMS, switching to HTTPS, and taking back up of your data. Besides, startups should leverage digital signatures that are more secure than the traditional mode and can protect your business from cyber insecurities.
- Data for Multiple Channels Is Siloed
Selling online across multiple lines of distribution fetches data from several different sources, making it difficult for ecommerce owners to operate smoothly. Often, this data is siloed and that’s not a best-case scenario for them.
To overcome this challenge, ecommerce startups should invest in an enterprise resource planning software that integrates order management, accounting, and customer management, thus offering you the flexibility needed to personalize your workflow and improve the productivity of your back-office team. A robust ERP will offer you a comprehensive view of your business and your inventory levels, thereby allowing you to meet your customer expectations.
- Introducing Fair Return and Refund Policies
Returns and refunds aren’t something ecommerce businesses look forward to. Yet, these have become a critical aspect of ecommerce sales and not surprisingly, a strong brand differentiator.
That’s precisely how the ecommerce giant Amazon has been winning customer trust and meeting customer expectations all these years.
However, small ecommerce sellers may find introducing such policies tough. A return costs businesses a huge amount of money in terms of logistics and shipping. Not all startups are prepared to bear these costs. However, not paying for returns could cost you customer loyalty because free return shipping is an important purchase decision factor.
Hence, ecommerce startups should introduce a fair and clear product policy and train their staff to best communicate it with the customers. Be clear on the type of products that can be returned.
Secondly, make sure your returns policy is easy to locate on your website. You can include it in the FAQ section or share a link on your home page.
Finally, keep a tab on your bottom line by excluding discounted products from the returns policy. Ensure that your retail price includes enough margin to cover the cost of returns and other operating expenses.
- Upholding Sustainability
Transportation of goods, whether passenger or freight, is a leading cause of greenhouse gases globally. Further, the demand for quick delivery has forced several small businesses to forgo sustainable practices and depend on carbon-intensive ways to deliver products as per customer expectations.
This makes it challenging for ecommerce companies to uphold sustainable selling practices.
Ecommerce retailers should invest in technologies that can improve traceability and offer in-depth insights into compliance with social responsibilities and emissions control. Investing in biodegradable packaging, e-bikes, hydrogen aviation, demand-forecasting algorithms, and route-optimization algorithms can help ecommerce companies reduce their carbon footprint and create a strong brand image.
Managing an ecommerce startup in the present competitive environment isn’t short of surviving a war. This digital age demands cutting-edge strategies that can help businesses overcome the arduous challenges shared above.
We are sure you will use the tips and tricks shared in this post to fight the challenges that come your way and deliver value to your customers.
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