All of us are aware that a successful e-commerce venture has the potential to raise the business opportunities and finances exponentially.
Alert - The e-commerce business is as challenging as the brick and mortar business. It all has technical challenges that is less likely in other form of businesses.
This become very important to find and solve the relevant challenges associated with e-commerce which may affect your e-commerce operations. This has to be resolved before you take your store online.
Leaving it for later resolution may hurt you badly. You also need to focus on solving issues and challenges related to shipment, transactions, refund, fraudulent and human resources. One of the challenges is to select a good suitable e commerce platform. Once, you tackle these very fundamental issues, your business will take off as your system is able develop trust with customers which is the most essential for success.
So, start planning solutions for already prepared list of challenges. This will allow you to focus on business growth more than day to day nagging concerns.
We are dealing with a list of common e-commerce problems and solutions before they are discovered. So, I have prepared a checklist and framed these problems in the form of questions to make it easy for you:
1. How am I going to setup an online store?
This is the first question that will surface, but mind it, this is the easiest of the problem to face and you will have an easy solution for this problem.
You have many choice:
- If you are not conversant with the web technology and e-commerce frameworks / CMS, you can outsource setting up your online store. The developer will guide you in the entire process and take your input on store design, its implementation, transaction handling, return of goods etc. and finally setup a store front that you want.
- If you are technically competent and relatively good knowledge of website operations, then you can use any of the free e-commerce frameworks ready available like WooCommerce, Magento, KartRocket etc. Simply download the appropriate e-commerce framework and install that on your server. Configure its operations, upload products and details, test and let go the shop online.
2. How difficult is to implement payment gateway?
integration word looks daunting when you face it for the first time. This is the commonest problems among building an e-commerce solution. It is the most essential part for an e commerce venture and you need a sure shot and robust solution for this. If you are delving into e-commerce for the first time, do outsource it and get it implemented. You can also implement it if you have little knowledge of programming or integration. There are many gateways available for you to choose from like Paypal
etc. Setup an account with them and follow their instructions to integrate with them. These gateways also provide services for integrating your website with them.
3. How would customers reach our online store?
People generally fall in trap of thinking that they will automatically get customers when they start an online store but this is a far from truth and is actually a bigger problem to solve.
This is a point where difficult thing starts. This is an area of online marketing and creating an online brand.
Starting a venture and taking it to your potential customers are two different things. The launch of online venture is no solution of outreaching to customers. Here you require a well thought out and planned strategy for every aspects of marketing issues like PR campaigns, online and offline advertisements, Email campaigns, SEO
and social media marketing etc. You will need to work hard on this after the launch of your venture. Other ways are of digital marketing include blogging, guest posting, comments, affiliate marketing,
and similar advertising platform, participating in discussion forums etc. The
has vital role in the success of e-commerce retail. Get detailed ways on getting earned media
4. How would I build trust in my customers?
There are two facets of it.
The first one deals with the security of your e-commerce store. This is easier to solve. You need to enable SSL 128/256 bit encryption security. Ask you developer and it will be taken care of.
The second one is related to trust deficit in your after sales services, refund, delivery and somehow related to quality of your products.
The simplest solution is that donâ€™t hide any details and it will not be a problem ever. Show them up with good past records, customer care numbers, company address, company phone numbers, direct call numbers, official email account details and legal recourse that is available to your customers. If you have assigned your own appellate authority, donâ€™t hesitate to show that to customer.
5. How would we deliver ordered items and allow customer to track their orders?
There are many solutions some integrated one and some as separate services.
You have many options here:
- You can tie-up with existing local logistic services and get your e-commerce store integrated with them.
- You can setup your own logistics if your operation is extremely local.
- You can also avail services from reputed fulfilment services like Amazon or e-bay.
- You can also integrate with national postal services.
- You can also take a route of mixed approach or relatively new hybrid approach.
6. How would customer return goods?
Return of goods and services has to be tackled in the best possible manner. You can not guess the reason of return and hence be clear on the condition on return of goods. Be absolutely clear to avoid litigation. You must provide your customers safe and easier options to return goods. The process shall not be cumbersome; otherwise you will find very few returning customers once such issue is encountered by them. You should also print a label on shipment about the returnable address.
7. Who will handle customer grievances and is responsible for customer care?
This is one grey area of most of the enterprise. They hesitate to deploy dedicated and serious resources on that. Take it that returning customers are more valuable than acquiring new customers. Put all possible efforts to keep your customers satisfied and resolve the problems amicably. This will also induce trust and you will get more recommendations and good word of mouth. Setup a customer care system in place once your store becomes operational. Always remember the same products are available on many online stores but customers visit you in expectation of good services and this is where most online SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) fails.
8. What is charge back issue with Credit/Debit card? Can I be affected?
Chargeback is a common phenomena in commercial transactions. Charge back is filing a complaint against merchant from the customer citing an issue with the product or its delivery. you must have all the tools ready to handle this problem as this will prove to be a serious loss to your revenue and credibility.
In case, a customer pay you using his credit card for shopping and later issues a chargeback citing that the product sent was not is a condition as specified on the site when he/she purchased, the card issuing company lodges a complaint against the merchant and the amount of purchase will be held back by the issuer bank unless settled within a stipulated period of time. So it is imperative that the merchant would be responsible to provide evidence of transaction and condition of products in his favour satisfactorily to the issuer bank and only then the chargeback is settled in favour of merchant. The solution to this is to always keep communicating with customers during transactions and delivery and keep records of them. Ask your customers to fill a feedback form about the product experience. It will help your case, when such issue happens to you. This also indicates that a return of goods facility must be in entire process of operation.
9. How would I protect my venture from fraudulent orders?
When your are running an online store or other e-commerce operation, these problems may arise anytime and you shall be ready with all tools beforehand. This solutions to this problem are in two parts. In first part, you can try to detect the nature of order technically and raise a red flag on those seemingly fraudulent orders for further scrutiny. This can be done pragmatically. On red flagged orders, do a manual verification from customer care before you go ahead with dispatch of shipments.
Keep all record of communication for at least 6 months from the date of purchases and use those as proof so show you are not guilty.
10. How would I protect business from fake orders and addresses?
Your store shall have a solution to these. In case, you think that the order is out of ordinary, verify with your customer.
Typically a fraud can happen when:
- The order value is unexpectedly large
- The order is booked from behind a proxy server to hide identity
- Repeated attempts were made to book this order
- Card used is listed in some directory of questionable operations
- Multiple orders are placed from the same account and same location
Enterprize operations vary in nature, so there will be no ready made solution to every problem that arises from online store. With the knowledge of common e-commerce problems and their solutions, you can build a tailor made solution to prevent in first place, to resolve in second and to handle at the end. With prepared answers to e-business scenario, you can operate your business with ease and plan better for the future.
Final word: Sell your products though your online store by making the process of buying a pleasure for customers.
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