Working in the ecommerce industry is quite tempting, given that there is virtually no ceiling as far as potential profits go. It is no surprise to see so many aspiring entrepreneurs who dream of solving their financial woes and becoming rich.
Such dreams might sound nice, but the reality is quite different. If you want to succeed in ecommerce, you will have to deal with various challenges standing in your way. And even after you find your feet in the industry, there will be problems making it difficult to make money.
Knowing what to expect will help you prepare a solid strategy for solving these challenges. Here are some of the most prominent ecommerce challenges.
Let’s start with product quality. It is no secret that most newcomers stick to dropshipping because the business model is less demanding. You do not need to invest in manufacturing equipment or worry about inventorization, warehousing, shipping, and other logistical problems because dropshipping means working as a middleman.
For example, on demand printing products, such as hoodies or t-shirts, can be obtained from reliable suppliers and sold in one’s store.
However, the problem is that if a business is not manufacturing products itself, it needs to rely on a supplier. There are no guarantees that the products will always be of good quality.
Sending lackluster products to customers will lead to poor reviews. Negative feedback will damage a brand’s reputation, and who knows how difficult it will be to recover from that.
Returns and Refunds
Retail ecommerce sales surpassed 3.5 trillion US dollars worldwide in 2019. The number seems significant and indicates just how much ecommerce is growing.
However, one thing that some people might miss looking at this particular statistic is that while the sales are great, some products end up returned and refunded.
In fact, about 30 percent of all products ordered online are returned (Invesp, 2021). For someone who is at an early stage of establishing their ecommerce business, a couple of returned orders could significantly decrease the progress.
Some customers return products because they fail to meet their expectations; others receive damaged goods and have no option but to return and get a refund or a replacement.
Sure, returns and refunds are more or less inevitable, but having to deal with them usually can be quite off-putting. After receiving multiple returns, you might start losing motivation and abandon your pursuit of succeeding in the ecommerce industry.
Reliable suppliers are also a problem. If you have no plans to invest in your own manufacturing equipment, you will have to rely on another party that will provide you with the goods.
To find a reliable supplier, you will need to work quite hard and get in touch with them directly. The feedback you can find online about suppliers might not be enough to determine whether they are reliable or not.
Exchanging emails and getting a product example are necessary to determine a supplier’s reliability.
Mentioning foreign suppliers is also worth it. You may find a supplier who offers products at a cheaper rate, but if they are from a different continent, working with them might prove to be quite difficult because of the language and cultural barriers. Not to mention dealing with foreign banks to transfer money and making sure that transactions are according to the law.
Cybersecurity might not be the biggest concern for newcomers because hardly anyone is willing to bother with attacking a business that is barely making any sales. Besides, most ecommerce stores are built on Shopify, WordPress, and other platforms that are known for their security.
However, once an ecommerce business becomes successful, the odds of getting regular DDoS and other attacks increase. It might also not be someone random, but your competition that wants to give your brand a tough time and keep the website down or reduce its loading speed to put off the visitors.
Fortunately, the tools to fend off cybersecurity threats continue to advance, and the issue of such attacks is not as prominent nowadays. If a brand has the funds to invest in cybersecurity, it should do so.
Marketing and Competition
Marketing is a tricky thing to discuss because there are multiple factors that determine how successful a brand’s advertising campaign will be. First of all, those who have more money to invest and hire professional marketers will have the edge. Choosing a trendy niche and building a marketing campaign around it after determining the right methods is also not that simple.
No matter how much time you spend researching various markets, the odds of finding a niche with no competition are pretty much zero. Thus, if you decide to work in ecommerce, expect to work hard on the marketing front.