Hundreds of websites will get successfully launched each and every day, and a good proportion of them are eCommerce stores that will sell everything from paper clips to private planes. However, only a very select handful of these will get the taste of the success of the notoriety of the most famed ones including Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
It’s almost certain to say that every eCommerce entrepreneur will begin their venture with the dazzling cream of becoming the next big thing in eCommerce. While the big boys and their success stories have already given us much feed for coffee conversation, this is something that most of us, including the aspiring eCommerce entrepreneurs, fail to take notice of…
eCommerce DOES have a lot of issues.
Yup, you did just read that correctly. The much glorified and trillion-dollar market size boasting eCommerce industry does have its shortcomings, And, these shortcomings are becoming ever more critical with the growth of automation led by AI and machine learning.
I know that everybody’s a critic and just pointing out problems will not get us anywhere. Which is why we have decided to outline four of the major problems facing eCommerce and also what can be done to solve them. These solutions should go a long way in making shopping not just a casual affair, but a deep and meaningful relationship that goes far beyond business transactions.
Issue Number 1: It’s Not Quite Human Enough
Although sometimes we don’t like being spoken to while out shopping, there is some kind of joy though of being personally attended to or being looked after by a helpful sales assistant in a real store, which really is missing in the world of eCommerce. Yes, chatbots and AI-powered product suggestions are a thing now and are constantly being developed and improved but it’s just not the same. Online shopping certainly lacks that personal touch to it. That mixed with poorly designed websites with painfully loading speeds and cluttered navigations will only make things even worse.
See also: How To Use AI In Marketing
Solution: Create An Engaging And Personalised Copy.
Well thought out and personalised website copy will help you overcome the lack of that human connection we sometimes desire. The main copy should preferably be in a conversational tone, without coming across over “salesy”. Reading flashing words going ‘Buy now, buy now, buy now!!’’ will often turn off your customers. It’s not just your website copy you need to be looking after, even product descriptions must have that personal touch in order to make customers want them more.
Issue Number 2: Marketing Is Not Persuasive Enough
On an average day, your standard working professional will receive over 100 emails. Only a small portion of this staggering number is actually opened and then even less are read. Industry estimates cite an 18% open rate for marketing emails…shocking!
The problem with this is that an opened email may not necessarily convert. If a marketing email comes across again using that dreaded ‘salesly’ word or it’s not aligned with the interest of the customer, then expect it to fail. Basically what I am getting at here is that personalisation holds the key to marketing success!
Solution: Create More Personalised Campaigns.
Just like the real people in your life that who you have relationships with, you need to care for your customers. Now, of course, your relationships with customers is purely based on his or her desire to pay you entirely for your product or service. But, customers are people and they need to be treated as such, so the tendency of a large cross-section of eCommerce stores to look at customers as mere numbers are just kind of unacceptable.
The good news here is that you can be far better than your competitors by treating your customers like actual people. Just like in a true relationship, personalised campaigns that are tailor-made to what the customer actually needs and wants are far more appealing.
A great example of this would be Starbucks, who have really taken personalisation to the next level in order to create everlasting relationships with their millions of customers. The coffee brand will send their customers emails on their birthday, wishing them well on their special day as well as giving them special offers or a discount for that day. This is just one way to be truly thoughtful and you don’t have to be the biggest coffee chain in the world to apply this technique to your business either.
Issue Number 3: It’s Facing Cybersecurity Threats.
Cybersecurity is more of a threat than just a challenge in eCommerce. Even the big players have been affected by cyber attacks in the past. Despite the rise in mobile commerce by 20% and in-app payments by 55%, customers will still have that fear of lurking in their minds when it comes to making payments online.
Now, of course, there are tons of online material that shows you how to safeguard your store from being targeted and hacked. Still, there is a need to assure your customers that you are a secure website that they can feel safe on and share their private and payment information with you.
Solution: Display Trust Indicators
Customers want explicit proof that your site is a safe place to carry out online payment transactions. Trust indicators such as an HTTPS bar, authorised dealer badges on checkout pages will help customers feel at peace when shopping with you.
Installing an SSL Certificate will give the HTTPS prefix and a green address bar for your site. The HTTPS address bar is great since it signals your visitors that your website is safe to entrust information with, You can choose from organisational validation, Domain validation or extended validation certificates that will secure your site as well as boost your customer’s confidence.
There is a constantly growing need to make eCommerce a digital fortress. Things are already looking up, thanks to Google, WordPress and several other internet organisations that are driving the web towards a much safer place to be. HTTPS everywhere and similar movements are bound to make eCommerce more secure for customers.
Issue 4: Brand Engagements End With A Store Website
The actual term ‘eCommerce’ is actually incredibly broad. Despite the fact, we have come to accept it to be online shopping. There isn’t any major harm in this common misconception, but it has led retailers to limit themselves to selling on their websites, and this is a mistake you should avoid!
In today’s omnichannel world, this website-online business model can easily backfire. We all live in a hyperconnected world where customers use more of the likes of apps, social media and instant messages over anything else. eCommerce has become closely tied to social networking and instant messaging. Unfortunately, not many retailers are leveraging social networking that it really should be.
Solution: Meet Customers Where They Are
So you may have a good website, but that doesn’t mean your eCommerce venture has ended. In order to thrive digitally, it also needs to build a social presence across multiple digital channels where your customers frequently hang out. Social media has given birth to a whole new breed of eCommerce called social commerce. Image sharing platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are turning into a virtual POS outlet where customers are able to buy the products they see and like.
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There is no doubt their eCommerce has come a very long way from the classified looking home pages. On-demand ordering and same day deliveries are shaping up the next frontiers of eCommerce, and with drones set to take over the delivery process and with the likes of Amazon Go promising cashless checkouts, it’s more than enough to feel great about online shopping.
Nevertheless, all this is not foolproof and is riddled with shortcomings. The industry as a whole needs an upheaval of sorts which customers and their shopping experience would be put right at the centre.
So, to sum it up, an eCommerce store that is humane and takes care of the wants and needs of its customers will leave any competitors in the dust!