Today, e-commerce is among the most lucrative types of enterprise. So, it is not too surprising to see people who want to get into it. You may be one of those, and frankly, you should be! But, as with every new venture, questions may be lingering in your head. What problems are there to face before I start my e-commerce business? What are the challenges of e-commerce in 2021? We will try to answer the most prominent ones, and how mobile apps are helping entrepreneurs in overcoming them.
First off, despite the challenges of e-commerce, why is it still so attractive for businesses?
Well, you probably already have an idea why, since you are here reading about it. But we think it is worth going over some of the strengths that make this industry special.
With an e-commerce store, you are free from the shackles of location and space. Your wares can and will reach buyers from anywhere, even international ones. You will also have access to the tools of modern digital media. Tools that help you with things like:
- Promotion and marketing of your business
- Measuring its performance
- Learning the behaviors of your customers
We can add more to the “classic” advantages of e-commerce. But right now, there is an even greater one. The elephant in the room is, that we are living in a global pandemic. It is unclear if it is leaving us anytime soon. As lockdowns drag on, online businesses are becoming ever more important for shoppers.
E-commerce was already on a meteoric rise throughout the last half decade. In fact, we have written about it a few times already. Now with online shopping becoming a necessity, the last bastions that stubbornly stayed away from it are falling.
RELATED POST: Mobile apps for e-commerce: The leading platform!
Now let’s see some of the challenges of e-commerce
It is a competitive world:
Well it is great that e-commerce lets you reach many potential customers, alright. But the thing is, it does so for a great many others as well. Naturally, the users will gravitate towards those that are good at a few key things. Firstly, those that promote themselves the best, and those that make them feel special the most. In a sense, nothing is all that new under the sun. Getting the biggest and shiniest signpost alone never guaranteed anything decades ago. Then, just having a web presence, likewise, guaranteed nothing in the age of web. Nowadays, similarly, “I have made an e-commerce app, now let the money flow” is not exactly the way it works. At least not right away.
To put it simply, if you want your e-commerce venture to succeed, you must stand out amongst the competition. And they are all doing the same, trying to stand out.
May require technical skills and know-how:
While the end result of getting a good e-commerce store is great alright. There is, however, a journey involved in getting there. The e part of e-commerce is the main difference after all. So getting it up and running properly is probably the first among the challenges of e-commerce. There are quite a few technical processes to go through when you are setting it up. Security, creating the databases and software, payment channels, moving your wares into a digital catalog…
To overcome these technicalities, you either need to be a software person yourself, or work with costly specialists.
Your e-commerce store should be mobile-friendly:
It is no secret, but still bears repeating: Today, the mobile devices are the leading media for just about anything! Thus, it should not suprise anyone to see the mobile apps for e-commerce as the leading platform.
The all too obvious, and fairly chilling effects of a worldwide pandemic made this only more apparent. People of all ages use their mobile devices for all their needs. Now, e-commerce is vital for even people who were previously suspicious of online shopping. Since the apps are convenient and easy to use, and mobile devices are everywhere, this online shopping happens mostly on mobile devices.
You have to keep striving for customer loyalty:
We have already said that it is rather competitive in the world of e-commerce. But the competition does not end when you catch the attention of a customer. Not nearly so. You should be able to keep their attention on your business, and form customer loyalty among your users for your store.
You need to have ways to engage with your customers, know their behaviors and preferences, and target the right person with the right offer, and at the right moment. We might even add, “at the right place” to this list. Which leads nicely to our next challenge.
Knowledge is power: know your target audience!
To overcome most of the challenges of e-commerce listed above, you will need one thing first. That one thing is knowledge. Knowledge of your customers, how they behave, what do they like, they may like. Also knowledge of your own efforts: which line of products or services do well, which ones are more trouble than their worth? What does your marketing campaigns achieve?
Without these, your efforts will end up resembling the proverbial headless chicken running around on a highway.
Now, let us look at the weapons to conquer the challenges of e-commerce!
Since we know about the hurdles and challenges of e-commerce now, it is time to learn how we fight them! Well let us tell you, that a mobile app is your multirole fighter in this battle.
Competition? Ha! Bring it down to its knees!
We have alluded to competitiveness of the e-commerce world a few times already. But when you are using the powers of mobile apps, the challenge also comes with its solution. Yes, app stores are competitive. But they are also a great place to gain visibility! If you play your cards right, especially regarding ASO (App Store Optimization), Google Play Store and Apple App Store will enable you to reach millions of users.
A well made app, with good ASO, will get you places! The inevitable good user reviews coming with a good app will likely make it a featured app. This means, the app stores will recommend it to potential users! Better yet, the stores will show you among the suggested alternatives when someone searches for your competitors!
Get through the technical battles with your e-commerce app
I can hear you ask “but isn’t an app very difficult and expensive to make?” It can be, but it doesn’t need to! We did touch the subject of costs of making a mobile app. Like it happened for web sites many years ago, it has become a lot easier for apps as well. Thanks to app builder platforms, you can create apps without the need of any technical skills. Not just any apps either, stable, high quality, good looking apps, without any coding!
Utilizing user-friendly and powerful “what you see is what you get” app editors, this technology allows you to create mobile apps with just some clicks. Better yet, most app builder platforms offer a quite affordable and sustainable pricing for it.
A mobile app is, rather unsurprisingly, mobile-friendly!
We have established the importance of having a mobile-friendly e-commerce presence. It is true, some web pages can be shoehorned into looking ok on mobile devices. But they still do not offer the full mobile app experience for users. Moreover, they usually can not provide some of the more powerful features of mobile apps to their full extent. Namely, the push notifications and location services are the foremost of these.
If you already have a website though, some app builder platforms can get two birds with one stone! Because they offer a feature to automatically convert the website’s content into a mobile app for you!
We have a more detailed coverage of mobile app vs mobile web site.
Customer loyalty and mobile apps go hand in hand!
Mobile apps for e-commer offer powerful customer loyalty opportunities. This is another one of the things that make apps attractive for business owners.
Store owners can move their stamp based loyalty programs to a digital world, and enjoy an insight into behaviors of their customers. You can also remind them of the freebies the program may have accrued for them with push notifications. Push notifications hold a distinction among other user engagement methods. They have the greatest percentage of success when it comes to getting your users to act on an offer!
The power of push notifications can be utilized together with another strength of mobile devices: location services. You can offer users of your e-commerce app some products or services that perfectly fit to where they are at the moment.
RELATED POST: Mobile loyalty programs: how to and how not to do it!
Having an app offers knowledge and insight
Finally, we tackle the issue of knowledge, data, and statistics. All the marketing, promotion, campaigns depend on them. To make the right moves, you first need to know what makes them right.
What does a particular segment of customers want at this particular time? What is the price they are really willing to pay for that stock you want to move as quickly as possible? Where do they go the most, so you can offer them things that fit there? What time are they most likely to go online and buy something? How well is your offers perform? What products are making you good profits? Which ones are just a loss?
Electronic world can give you lots of insights. Very valuable ones in knowing your customers. There are powerful and widespread analytics tools that help you make sense of the data from app usage. Data that naturally accrue as people use your apps. You will also be able to run metrics and attribution tools on your campaigns, messages, offers and what-not!
RELATED POST: Reading Mobile App Analytics – Guiding the apps to success!
Long in short, mobile apps can help you defeat the challenges of e-commerce
It is pretty much impossible for us to list here neither all the challenges of e-commerce, nor all the benefits of mobile apps. However, we do think that this article touches the most immediate ones in your way to success in e-commerce success. The day belongs to mobile tech. It did for a long time now. This has been so for the e-commerce world too. Now with a worldwide pandemic and lockdowns it is even more so. Looking over to the horizon, it is not easy to say whether the challenges of pandemic will leave us anytime soon. Yet, as with lots of challenges, it brought out human ingenuity too.
E-commerce and delivery services has made it possible for everyone to keep connected, supplied, and even elated! While some businesses suffered from closures, others leveraged this relatively new market to great success.
Apps bring convenience and accessibility to users. Not everyone has/can use a computer perhaps. But a lot more people have, and are comfortably using smart phones. On the other hand, apps give visibility, insight, customer engagement, and opportunities to business owners.
Today, thanks to app maker platforms like MobiRoller with our e-commerce features, it is very easy to enjoy the benefits of this world. You can already start trying the platform for free, just create your account now! If you have any questions about your e-commerce apps on the way, feel free to contact us! Get your app, and start conquering the challenges of e-commerce now!