Nowadays, there are more ways of becoming an entrepreneur than ever before. While COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions negatively impacted many business owners, they also ushered us into a global business paradigm shift towards a digital economy where it has been predicted that 95% of purchases will happen through e-commerce by 2040.
E-commerce is full of opportunities and challenges for small businesses
The digital economy opens up possibilities for anyone to start their own e-commerce business as it doesn't have as many barriers to entry as a traditional brick-and-mortar business. E-commerce business owners can start making sales without needing to worry about paying for a physical space or being limited to their geographic region.
While the e-commerce boom has developed well past the point of being a "business trend," its popularity has also revealed the unique set of challenges that online businesses face. Keep reading to learn about five of the biggest challenges to watch out for when starting or sustaining your e-commerce business and how you can overcome them with B2BeeMatch!
1. Marketing effectively
Finding and connecting with potential customers is central for any business, but e-commerce businesses must be especially savvy in their marketing plans since there’s no foot traffic and there's intense competition!
In order to market your e-commerce business effectively, you'll need to be well-versed in other aspects of the digital space such as content creation for social media platforms and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)—or, you’ll need to hire someone who is!
Small businesses might not have in-house marketing expertise
Small business owners should, of course, develop at least a basic understanding of these areas on their own. However, you should also be ready to work with industry experts to help establish a solid online presence that will result in reliable online sales. After all, working with experienced digital marketers can position your small business advantageously in your industry and help you to grow your sales.
Connect with marketing experts on B2BeeMatch!
2. Providing high-quality customer service
Picture this: Your retail sales are steadily increasing, you’ve earned many positive reviews, but then the dreaded moment arrives when you get your first customer complaint! No matter the quality of your products or services, once you start selling in large quantities you’re bound to find someone who isn't satisfied with your offerings. It’s natural to feel defensive, but try to take a deep breath before you reach for your keyboard to react. This is the perfect opportunity to flex your customer service skills and showcase your brand’s integrity.
Dealing with customer reviews can be a challenge
The way that you handle unhappy customers says a lot to potential customers who may be watching this all play out on social media or on your website. Do you have a clear return policy? Is the issue addressed with transparency? It is critical to have a plan for how to react to these situations. It is also important to be able to track every customer interaction and solve any issue as quickly as possible. However, as your business grows, tracking customer interactions and solving issues quickly may become more and more challenging if you’re the only one doing it. That’s why we recommend looking into outsourcing your admin to help manage this aspect of your business.
Connect with admin and project management experts on B2BeeMatch!
3. Staying in touch with your customers
Once you've made sales and provided excellent customer service, it's important to not let the customers forget about you! The competition in the e-commerce space dictates that retail sales and customer experience alone cannot guarantee your continued growth and success. Keeping track of your customer interactions is important when dealing with complaints and concerns, but it is also important data for future sales and marketing campaigns.
Leveraging customer data can require expert help
Manually tracking your customers takes up significant administrative resources, so we recommend consulting with IT experts who can help you meet this challenge. Many IT experts can introduce you and your business to digital tools that can help you retain your customer base by automatically keeping track of everyone who interacts with your business. These tools can even generate accessible data about your customers and their interests which will help you when developing future marketing campaigns.
Connect with IT experts on B2BeeMatch!
4. Cybersecurity risks
It is important to note that online businesses are sometimes targets of cybercriminals. So, cybersecurity concerns should be on your radar if you’re starting or sustaining an e-commerce business. Protecting your customers’ personal and financial information is a big responsibility.
Keeping customer data safe can require expert help
E-commerce business owners should take every precaution to ensure that their systems are as secure as possible because as your sales grow so do your chances of being targeted by a cyberattack. Don't let your online sales become a liability! Work with IT experts who are experienced in cybersecurity to protect your data and your business’ reputation.
Connect with IT experts on B2BeeMatch!
5. Keeping track of accounting
Good bookkeeping and accounting practices are essential for the success and sustainability of any business. However, maintaining your records accurately and staying on top of accounting tasks is perhaps one of the most intimidating aspects of running a business for entrepreneurs. Accounting for an e-commerce business is no different—in fact, it actually requires additional attention as you must stay up to date on evolving online sales tax rules and find ways to reduce foreign transaction costs.
Outsourcing is a good way to overcome accounting challenges
If you don't have an accounting background, you shouldn't let that hold you back from starting your dream business. However, it will be even more important to set yourself up for success with the help of accounting software and accounting specialists. Specialized software can help you identify opportunities for cost reductions and working with accounting experts can relieve the stress and uncertainty of doing it on your own.
Connect with accounting experts on B2BeeMatch!
E-commerce is here to stay
E-commerce entrepreneurs deal with many of the same business challenges as any business owner, but they also deal with some challenges that are specific to online businesses. From marketing, to cybersecurity, to accounting and beyond, e-commerce business owners must wear many hats. Luckily, the digital space also grants access to many excellent digital business tools to help you manage your online business effectively.
Overcome e-commerce challenges today
Business networking platforms such as B2BeeMatch can help you fill any gaps by connecting you with the expert professional service providers you'll need to succeed in e-commerce.
If you are a business owner and you’re looking for B2B services, simply register your company with B2BeeMatch to connect with the professional service providers you need.
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