Tips & Advice

4 E-commerce Selling Struggles and How To Overcome Them

Johnny McKenna

E-commerce selling has been steadily growing year after year, and now with COVID-19, e-commerce has only become even more of a boom with everyone stuck at home. Whether you’re new to the e-commerce game or not, you’re likely facing similar struggles.

Below are 4 common e-commerce struggles and steps you can take to make sure your sales don’t fall flat. Keep reading if you want more insight in how brands can gain relevance, earn recognition, and build a loyal customer base that continues to grow.

Problem 1 – Brand Recognition: Who are you again?

Look, unless you’re one of the giants, chances are, little to no one know who you are (besides your Aunt Pam). You may have one of the best solutions for a common problem, but if people don’t know what you offer, how it makes their life better, and how they can get it, you don’t have much of a chance of sticking around long term.

Building brand recognition can be tough. It’s an unfortunate double-edged sword, with customers not wanting to complete a purchase with a brand they don’t recognize. And you can’t gain familiarity with customers if no one is buying what you’re selling. Thankfully, we live in a time where you’ve got the opportunity to build familiarity. 

Answer – Social Media: Get bold!

With 70% of the U.S. population alone on some kind of social media platform, go to where the people are. While creating profiles are typically free, getting people to find you is not. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Create profiles. Figure out what social media channels best fit your brand/product/service by looking at what demographic use the platform and what mediums are used. Eventually, an organic following will take place, but until then…
  2. Buy ads. Utilize ads to spread your message and target the characteristics of your ideal buyers. Now, hundred to thousands of people have at least seen your ad, potentially visited your site, and given the opportunity to purchase from you! 
  3. Utilize influencers. No matter what industry you sell in, there’s someone out there that has a ton of followers that can help you promote your product. Sometimes, it’s as simple of free product/service in exchange for a video review or an appearance on their channel in some way. Other times, you have to pay to get more exposure, either way, be creative in what/who you seek out and how you can utilize their following and influence.

Problem 2 – Trust: You’re suspect

There’s enough scams on the internet that we’ve either heard about or fallen prey too, or have had to help our Aunt Pam out of. (Come on Aunt Pam… get it together.) Even with people exposed to your brand frequently, people aren’t always sure if you’re trustworthy. It’s a big leap to take from a customer browsing your catalog to them actually adding items to their cart and putting in their credit card info.

Answer – Control the story

The best way to gain credibility with your customers is to make sure you shape the narrative of your brand. People value transparency and authenticity. No one wants to be the victim of a scammy website. So make sure you:

  1. Tell your story. If you don’t have an “About Us” or a “Company” page or video somewhere on your site, you’re missing out on a good way to build trust. 
  1. Be authentic. Make sure the product you show and describe is what you deliver. Don’t skimp on photos, details, dimensions, ingredients, processes, etc. It can only take one negative review to lose the trust people have in you. Deliver what you promise.

Problem 3 – Logistical Nightmares: You’re organization is a mess

Are you prepared and ready to scale if your business does take off? Or are you just hoping you’ll figure it out when the time comes? Spoiler alert: you won’t. At least not without dropping the ball, spending a ton of money, and losing customers and business relationships.

Answer – Get the right people in your corner

You don’t have to do this on your own! There are a lot of apps, software, and service providers that can help you manage your business’ logistics. Here are 3 things to think about when creating your logistics strategy:

  1. Production. If you make or create something physical, how will you produce these items? You’re used to orders of 2-3 items a week and had difficulty managing your time, now you have 15-30. What now? How much is it going to cost to have your products built on a larger scale or by someone else?
  2. Delivery. Who is going to ship for you? Can someone offer better shipping rates/options when your business scales? Will they be the best option in the long run? An e-commerce logistics company might be worth starting a conversation with before things get too far out of control.
  3. Customer satisfaction. Do you have a protocol in place for when a customer has a problem with a product? What about product returns? Without well-defined policies and procedures in place, you’re destined for scathing reviews and losing credibility in the marketplace.

Problem 4 – Growing Pains: You were winging it and now it shows

Everyone loves when they’re past the growing pains, but if you’re not prepared, going through them could lead you to shut your doors. Keeping your businesses standards while growing is a tough challenge and one that needs to be thought through before growth happens.

Answer: Get a business model in place

While that sounds easy, it’s quite a task. If you put the thought into a model now, you’ll be 10 steps ahead of the competition who’s in the same boat as you. Your business plan should include things like a roadmap for success, outline steps you plan on taking as you grow, and give potential investors a clear idea of your company’s success.

Last updated January 12, 2021.