The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the growth of eCommerce. 2020 saw online shopping move from mere convenience to a necessity. The number of online shoppers grew by 30% in the US, a figure not expected before 2022, while globally, eCommerce sales rose by 19%. The shift to online shopping has forced brick-and-mortar stores to venture into the online market too.
Flourishing eCommerce has not only brought massive opportunities but challenges too. Businesses that want to continue to thrive must prepare to overcome these challenges and most importantly, learn from them. What are the most significant eCommerce challenges facing businesses today and how can you overcome them? Our 3PL order fulfillment experts explain.
Today, consumers have more options on where and how to shop than ever before. The main challenge for expanded customer options is increased competition online. You face intense competition from local and international eCommerce businesses and social shops. Let's explore some of the options customers have.
A good way to address this challenge is to devise ways to differentiate your business from the rest. Also, you can leverage these options to increase sales and attain competitiveness. For instance, if you are a local vendor, consider selling on a local eCommerce hub. For large national and international retailers, cross-border online selling could be a great option. Also, using an established eCommerce platform, such as Amazon, Shopify or eBay, can help streamline your online business and build visibility.
Customer expectations are growing by the day. In 2021, these expectations will continue to surge. As such, online retailers must develop ways to meet the challenge of high customer expectations. Here are a few things customers will expect in 2021.
As an online merchant, you should strive to meet your customers' expectations. Ensure you know your customers and what they expect from you, and deliver it consistently. Don’t forget to offer excellent customer service, provide free shipping if you can, audit your site for usability, and provide at least one digital payment option. If you don't meet customer expectations, your customers will shop elsewhere.
With the insistence on social distancing and staying at home due to the pandemic, there has been a looming demand in specific niches that historically had low traction. Other niches like travel, apparel, and luxury products have witnessed a decline in demand. Some of the niches that have seen an increase in demand include online groceries, home workout equipment, and home office.
While 81% of consumers report having never shopped for groceries online, almost 79% of shoppers were doing so during the pandemic. The US online grocery sales grew to a record-breaking $7.2 billion in June 2020 from 1.2 billion in August 2019.
As for home workout equipment, research shows that fitness equipment sales increased by 170% during the pandemic, especially during lockdowns. While most gyms and fitness centers remained closed, a massive demand for home fitness equipment, such as treadmills, bikes, and rowing machines, emerged.
Finally, a home needs to be more comfortable for relaxing, working, and studying, resulting in the increased demand for home office equipment. Desks, stationary, chairs and lamps continue to be in high demand.
The increased demand in various niches calls for entrepreneurs to embrace change and venture into them. The proactive online sellers will seize the day. eCommerce subscription box services are an excellent way to do this.
In 2021, continued uncertainty will be a considerable eCommerce challenge. The uncertainty will emanate from Covid-19 and the everyday uncertainty of a swiftly changing industry. You can position yourself for this uncertainty by expecting the unexpected and being agile and innovative. You should also be flexible to adjust to the changes and leverage opportunities that come your way.
As eCommerce continues to surge, it presents numerous challenges for online businesses. You may have already experienced these challenges while others are around the corner. The secret is to anticipate them and be prepared to overcome them with the actionable tips provided above.
Getting past these roadblocks is the only way to succeed in the changing eCommerce landscape. Are you struggling with eCommerce fulfillment? Contact Rakuten Super Logistics for reliable eCommerce fulfillment services that empower online retailers. We can help you grow and scale your business the right way.