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Moving Beyond Startups in 2021: Challenges Facing Growing Ecommerce Businesses

By:
RAKUTEN SUPER LOGISTICS
January 7, 2021

Every new year brings with it new opportunities to grow, new trends, and new technology. However, with all the good things that come, new challenges emerge, and only those with the right equipment to handle new eCommerce challenges can survive.

Ecommerce sellers have to be on top of their game, understanding the changes and growth that come. Prior knowledge of challenges one is likely to face every year, and borrowing stats from the previous year is vital for businesses to move beyond startups in eCommerce.

Challenges Facing Growing Ecommerce Businesses

1.     Economic Challenges

Every business, physical or not, faces economic challenges, especially in the beginning. Some of the previous year's challenges include competition from other online merchants, low infrastructure upgrade, and shortage of trained personnel.

In light of the pandemic this year, economic challenges have evolved to some extent. Following the government incentive of staying and working from home, many businesses have switched to eCommerce. Meaning sellers have way more competition than before as the competition sells the same product as you.

Reliance on Google for search engines and websites has stayed the same. Many people have had to train to stand out as a great eCommerce seller, meaning the SEO landscape is even more competitive than before.

Also, in 2021, google search engines are expected to be more sophisticated to narrow down sales and online businesses. This could see the rise of strong adaptive businesses and the fall of some.

2.     Social Challenges

Social challenges range from language barriers to cultural differences. Unlike traditional retail shops, eCommerce sellers have to marry their cultures with globalization, which is difficult. With almost every business operating online, this challenge has become more defined in 2021.

Consumers who previously may have opted for shopping in their own neighborhood are now looking for that familiar environment online. It is up to retailers to make customers of all walks and cultures feel welcome online.

3.     Technological Challenges

The most significant concern for any eCommerce business is security. With the increase of online activity happening this year, the risk of getting hacked is at its peak. Hacking affects the sellers and fuels the consumers' fear of theft of their identity and credit card details.

The demand for internet and mobile services has also increased drastically. The network spectrum and capacity have been adapted by operators and governments to accommodate the shift into online activities. This has caused a lag in networks.

Integrating internet software with a preexisting database and applications present in another technology has been a challenge over time. This is because there has not been a reliable network infrastructure.

What do we expect in 2021? Data analytics should be a top priority for any online business that wants to stay at the top. Data is essential in gauging customers' satisfaction and experience. Information about bounce rates, page views, and conversion rates will help generate change in the most vital business aspects.

4.     Legal Challenges

Like any other business, eCommerce has many unresolved legal issues, one being intellectual property. Another legal challenge is taxes.

In October last year, the Supreme Court ruled that states can collect eCommerce sales taxes from businesses. Due to the increase of eCommerce businesses, taxes will most likely be raised to level the playing field. This will possibly spill over to the next year since eCommerce has become a desirable taxable target by states intending to increase their tax base.

5.     Customer Loyalty

Nurturing customer loyalty has been a challenge facing eCommerce for a long time now. Statistics show that acquiring new customers is five times more costly than retaining an old one. The lack of face-to-face interaction makes it harder for consumers to trust eCommerce for fear of being conned.

Loyal customers are harder to come by in 2021 since many online shops offer the same products and services. Furthermore, some may drastically reduce their prices to acquire your customers. Sustaining and getting loyal customers is thus more expensive right now than it was last year.

Without improved strategies like adding a live chat and using loyalty programs, 2021 will likely be harder for business sellers wishing to move beyond startups.

6.     Delivery Challenges

Most customers look at the delivery, return, and refund policy of an online business before making a purchase. In previous years, delivery tracking was easier. This year though, the global pandemic has had unprecedented impact on delivery and transport.

Moving your fulfillment and logistics operations to an experienced and reliable 3PL partner can help startups overcome the challenges of eCommerce delivery and move into the next level of growth.

For business owners who want to move beyond startups into the eCommerce business, understanding the challenges now is essential in creating a strategy geared towards handling problems for long-term success.

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