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Managing your e-commerce business

Friday, November 7th, 2014 by Servage

Problems in E-CommerceThere are many situations in the life of small e-commerce businesses where you may fear that the e-commerce is moving in a bad direction, or even collapsing. In fact, such problems are usual and there are some ways to come out on top of the situation. Building a great e-commerce platform is only the first step towards a successful store. In reality, things are more complicated, as we have to face a myriad of challenges on the site – and with other business operations. As an e-commerce web developer, I have observed many such challenges in web shops, and will go through some of the most common issues below. Whenever you face an issue on your e-commerce storefront, keep calm and try to find the real cause of the problem. Think of possible solutions and try to implement them. If you can’t manage things technically, get help from your developer or other programmers you trust.

Data problems

It’s absolutely pertinent for the continous success of your online store, that you make sure you have your data security in order. Loss of valuable information due to infrastructural issues, or worse – disclosure of privileged information due to a security breach, is a threat to take serious as a website owner. To avoid these issues, I can strongly recommend that you always make sure to use third-party backups – and use the newest safety measures available. Use SSL for secure transfers, database encryption technologies for safe data storage. Remember to make proper backups regularly.

Inventory problems

It’s often a major challenge for web stores to maintain a good level of inventory – because it’s very expensive. There are various theories on what is the best procedure, but in my experience there are just two ways of being successful. Either you can give the best price, or you make the best product. In case you’re not manufacturing your own products, you sell others’ products. Your best bet here is an exclusive distribution deal or a niche market. You will unlikely become the next Amazon, who can compete on price for generic consumer products.

Shipping problems

One of the most common reasons for customer dissatisfaction with online stores, is poor shipping times and/or lack of precise shipping information. This is a crucial element to get right, to ensure happy customers. Everyone understands that the postal service can loose a package from time to time, but it’s really annoying not knowing about it in a timely manner. Make sure you use a reliable shipping partner for your web store.

Costing problems

When calculating profit margins on products, package and shipping costs, precision is key to success. Many web stores have closed down due to miscalculating expenses, and eventually ended up selling things too cheap – because unforeseen or overlooked expenses. Therefore pay good attention to your facts and figures.

Reputation management

Answer unhappy customers directly via the phone if possible – it will greatly lighten their mood. If they are spreading bad words on social media, then first apologize and afterwards offer compensation, free shipping, gift vouchers etc. to win their hearts – even if you don’t agree with them. Big players among the largest online stores have really nailed the concept of lifetime-value of a customer. Think big picture, and remember a happy customer is a returning customer – also online.

In some cases, the damaged reputation on social media has prolonged effects and triggers long discussions. In order to mitigate them, remember that honesty and friendliness overcomes most problems.

References & More Reading
5 Things to Do When Ecommerce Goes Wrong
7 Ways to Protect Ecommerce Customer Data

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Categories: Business, Tips & Tricks

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