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A common illusion associated with the world of e-commerce business is that achieving enduring success is a piece of cake for online stores. The ubiquity of the internet has given rise to this illusory belief. But, if we consider statistics, around 26 million e-commerce websites exist today and more come into existence every day. In the presence of such fierce competition, how could achieving success be easy for online businesses? Meticulous research has attested that sailing through the ocean of e-commerce is perilous for entrepreneurs as 90% of e-commerce businesses fail within the first 120 days. Seems startling, doesn’t it?
If you are planning to establish an online store, these statistics are not to send chills down your spine. Rather, they are intended to psych you up for the problems you are bound to face before having success in your bag. Every e-commerce site that is flourishing today sailed through these challenges. What differentiates such websites from the rest is that their owners knew how to mitigate the whiplashes of the challenges that came their way.
5 Major Problems that Overcast Online Businesses and How to Tackle Them
1. Search engine visibility and traffic
One of the most pressing problems e-commerce sites have to wrestle with is search engine visibility. No matter how phenomenal your products or services are, if you don’t rank on the first page of Google, people will rarely find them organically.
To validate the truth of this statement, dive into your own experience with conducting an online search. Think of how many times you have actually visited Google’s second page. Rarely have you done so, isn’t it?
Given that, the future of your e-commerce site is a direct function of your search engine visibility. Ranking on top of Google is associated with enormous traffic, escalated sales, and incredible profitability. In stark contrast, low search engine rankings can be disastrous for your e-commerce site.
Now, the question is how to slew this daunting problem. Here are some ingenious tactics that can come to your rescue.
Detailed product descriptions
Detailed product descriptions with captivating pictures work wonders in boosting search engine rankings. Every customer goes through the product description before making a purchase, hence doing the best in this aspect is crucial.
Target long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords have low competition and by targeting them you can effortlessly rank among the top 3 Google results.
As per the current algorithm, Google downranks websites that aren’t mobile-compatible. This implies that mobile optimization is the need of the hour for all e-commerce site owners. Top-notch content management systems like Drupal offer responsive design for seamless mobile optimization. You can try them out without any second thoughts.
Catchy titles and description tags
Organic click-through rate enjoys a fair share in determining the search engine ranking of an e-commerce site. Catchy titles and meta descriptions are two potent strategies for enhancing organic click-through rates.
Focus on backlinks from your niche industry
When it comes to your site’s search engine visibility, every backlink counts. However, the degree of its impact on your e-commerce site’s overall ranking is determined by its proximity to your niche. So, it’s imperative to focus on getting backlinks from your niche.
2. Website loading speed and overall performance
Did you know that 1 in 2 visitors abandon a website that has a loading time greater than 6 seconds? This finding pinpoints the importance of having a nimble e-commerce site. If you observe the e-commerce sites of the top players in the domain such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart you’ll realize all of them have one thing in common: loading at a jet’s speed.
If you envision being neck and neck with these e-commerce giants someday, you should possess a nimble e-commerce site without fail. Are you pondering over how to accomplish this goal? Given below are 5 ingenious strategies for site speed optimization.
Go for a CMS with validated speed optimization
If your e-commerce site requires a CMS, it is imperative to choose one that has been validated for speed optimization. Drupal is among the top players when it comes to developing captivating and nimble sites.
Image compression and optimization
Large images contribute a fair share in escalating a site’s loading times. By compressing and optimizing your site’s image files, you can reduce its loading time.
Do away with unnecessary redirects
Every page redirect prolongs your site’s loading time. No doubt, page redirects are indispensable at times like when you are switching to a new domain, but eliminating all the unnecessary ones should be on your radar.
Cache your site’s web pages
Caching enables your server to store copies of the files possessed by your site. Consequently, it can generate and serve a web page in minimal time which promotes fast loading.
Opt for speed-centric designing
A design-heavy website is catastrophic for your site’s loading speed. It is imperative to focus on speed-centric designing. You can design a captivating e-commerce site even without using overly flashy effects.
Cybersecurity is another pressing concern bothering e-commerce sites today. As these websites hold sensitive information about their customers such as credit card and debit card details, they are among the major targets of hackers.
According to research, 29% of traffic on e-commerce sites intends to attack them in some way. Another intriguing research indicates that reputation loss after a cyber attack can cause an enormous loss of customer base and have devastating consequences for e-commerce companies. Big organizations may be able to mitigate this loss to some extent but the damage can be irreversible for small to medium online stores.
If you aspire to safeguard your e-commerce site from the grave consequences of cyber attacks, it is crucial to take steadfast cybersecurity steps beforehand.
Opt for a CMS with cutting-edge security features
A phenomenal CMS can go a long way in protecting your e-commerce site against all the cyber threats looming on its head. Drupal is one example of a CMS that is world-renowned for rendering top-notch cybersecurity features. If you integrate your site with a cybersecurity-centric CMS like Drupal, you’ll never have to regret your decision.
Do not compromise with software upgrades
Software upgrades are sometimes taxing and time-consuming. Hence, it is a common tendency among companies to ignore them. For instance, numerous Drupal-based websites are still running on Drupal 7 despite the launch of Drupal 9.
However, it is crucial to understand that these upgrades are often equipped with the latest cybersecurity features. To ensure your e-commerce site’s safety you should never compromise with software upgrades.
Be cautious of what you download and incorporate into your site
Hackers might try to infiltrate your site through the plug-ins and add-ons you download. So, whenever you engage in any such actions beware to use only secure and validated sources.
4. Branding and customer-centric focus
In the words of Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you are not in the room.” To be precise, your brand is how your customers perceive your business. Behind every big brand’s success story, you’ll find a group of loyal supportive customers.
If you aspire for your online business to accomplish enduring success amidst fierce competition, branding is key. Follow a customer-centric approach and gain your customers’ trust in a way that they never even think about your competitors no matter what perks they offer. To be precise, make quality your supreme focus.
However, it’s not something easy to do. The temptation of escalating your profits may lure you into faulty practices and make you profit-centered. This might seem beneficial in the short run but in the long run, it’ll only impede your business’ growth. Given below are some helpful practices to keep such temptations at bay.
Be clear-headed about your long-term vision
One of the most reliable means to stay away from solely profit-centered business practices is to be clear-headed about your long-term vision. Ask yourself if you aspire to build a brand and reap everlasting profits or quickly boost your revenue with faulty quick-fix approaches? Your conscience will certainly guide you toward the former. Whenever you find yourself on the verge of buckling under temptations ask yourself this question again.
Remember the spectacular benefits of being customer-centric
Customer-centric practices bring tremendous payoffs such as word-of-mouth marketing, enhanced sales, escalated profits, improved brand recognition and reputation, and everything desirable by e-commerce site owners. Whenever temptations try to get the best of you, remind yourself of these spectacular benefits.
Pledge to maintain your integrity
Being honest toward your moral principles is the ultimate power that can help you stick to a customer-centered approach. So, pledge to maintain your integrity at all costs and you’ll never find yourself dwindling. Even if you do, you’ll be likely to bounce back within a fraction of a second.
5. Ferocious competition particularly from the top players
Getting crowned with success as an e-commerce site isn’t a piece of cake. The path is laden with fierce competition from millions of e-commerce sites. Customers have multitudinous options to choose from and giving them a strong reason to pick you is a laborious task. Besides, several e-commerce sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, and Alibaba have already made a place in the hearts of consumers.
Such ferocious competition is one of the most testing issues you have to deal with. So, brace yourself and use the following strategies as your anchor amidst the turbulence of competition.
Shoulder captivating corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives
As people are becoming more and more aware of environmental issues and problems bothering society, shouldering impressive CSR initiatives can help you supersede your competitors.
Publicize your unique value proposition
What makes your brand unique and better than all your competitors? Focus on publicizing this unique value proposition and you’ll be unstoppable.
Offer the best prices in the market
Nothing allures consumers more than genuine prices. So, try to offer the best prices in the market while ensuring the profitability of your e-commerce site.
Let’s Wrap Up
Fierce competition, cybersecurity, maintaining a customer-centric focus, creating a nimble site, and gaining high search engine visibility are the top 5 challenges e-commerce site owners have to face. You cannot sidestep them as the way to success goes through them. So, it’s advisable not to get disheartened at the idea of facing these issues but to prepare yourself beforehand to slew them when they come to wrestle with you.
The above-mentioned strategies are dedicated to helping you in this regard. However, if you need any kind of assistance while implementing them, LN Webworks, an eminent web development company is there for you. You can contact them anytime without any second thoughts.
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Pankaj KumarCo-Founder & Managing Director
Pankaj is a Senior UI/UX specialist with more than ten years of industry experience who focuses on usability, user experience, and user research in his designs. He has worked with small and large teams, including management of LN Webworks Organization.