Pain points for the ecommerce business owner

It’s no secret that owning a business comes with its challenges, and as an ecommerce business owner, there are plenty more to add to the list with the rise of online shopping and digital communication. In fact, with over an estimated 24 million ecommerce websites in the world, the competition for cut-through is pretty tough. And while we are trying to move on from Covid-19 chat, it did change the way people shop, with more consumers opting for online shopping than they did pre-pandemic. Despite each business having its own sticking points (even pre-pandemic), there are some that are shared among ecommerce business owners – let’s take a look..

  1. The constant demand for fresh, engaging, creative, content

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again – content is king, and even if you have an abundance of it it never seems enough to fill the tank. Why is that you ask? Well, thanks to the rise of social media and digital as a whole there are now more communication channels than ever before, which means creating specific content for each channel has to be considered – remembering there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to an omni-channel approach. And it doesn’t stop there. Websites, blogs, emails, social media and paid advertising are all demanding of high volume and continual content, of which needs to be of a high enough standard to break through the increased digital noise and competition. Content covers images and videos but also written content like blogs and articles, which should always be accompanied with an engaging image, so much so that blogs/articles accompanied with images achieve 94% more views* than those without. So even if you have to use a stock image to accompany your creative writing piece then time to start browsing sites like Unsplash, iStock and Shutterstock.

Why should we be so focused on content? What are the real benefits for my business? 

  • Search engines prioritise websites that publish new content regularly – this helps with organic search results, meaning your site is more likely to show in search results when people are searching for sites in your business category.
  • Creative content (and the more of it) gains visibility and engagement online – especially on social channels where digital noise is at an all time high. It’s all well and good to have a pretty picture on your page or social platforms, but there needs to be a strategy/thought process behind why you have shared it – the aim being to encourage customers / potential customers to engage with your content – ideally by clicking through to site and converting (signing up, registering, purchasing).
  • Once you have the creative content created, the placement and timing is particularly important as this helps consumers discover your brand and gives them a reason to return to the site. This is where an omni-channel approach is important – it means you can communicate with your customers at the right place, time and with the right message. This approach also means you’re delivering a unified customer experience through multiple channels

So how do we keep on top of content demand?

As well as creating your own branded content, some of the most valuable content is generated by the customers themselves! User generated content (UGC) is a cost effective way to build the content bank, and it resonates well with potential customers as it is authentic and relatable. And if you’re short on branded content and/or UGC content don’t fear! We know ecommerce thrives with technology, and there are many options for content creation – take the StyleShoots machines as an example. This tech allows ecommerce business owners to capture fast, high-quality still life and 360 degree video with each machine built for a difference purpose/output – on-model, flatlay, product photography and ghost mannequin – streamlining the delivery of assets, through website and social media with editing, aspect ratios, file formats and resolutions all automated to meet the specific demand of each consumer channel. 

2. Decline in engagement

Noone likes to see any decline in results, and unfortunately this is a common pain point for many ecommerce business owners – particularly across social media channels – it’s tough! With the growth of social media as a whole increasing dramatically, as well as the use of these platforms being included in (pretty much) every marketing plan, staying ahead of the game is crucial to ensure your brand remains relevant and continues to get cut through. 

What to do? When, or if, engagement starts to drop, take a minute to consider if you are utilising the appropriate channel to reach your target audience – are you communicating via TikTok to an audience that prefers direct communications like eDMs? Is the language, tone of voice and message captivating your audience? Is your content interesting and engaging? Is your call to action clear and simple? 

Don’t get caught in a step and repeat pattern – analyse, analyse, analyse and make changes where necessary. Remember, social media has been designed for engagement, so pushing out content without a strategy will hinder your results. Speak creatively to your audience, interact with them and take them along on your brand journey – the customer experience is crucial (more on that here). Make your social media about your audience – utilise that UGC and give your customers a voice within your brand – including your customers in your storytelling across these platforms will resonate with your audience and subsequently engagement (likes, comments, shares) will follow.

3. Brand awareness

We all want it, but how do we achieve it and more importantly sustain it? It’s becoming increasingly harder with the rise of ecommerce businesses to maintain BA, and achieving greater brand awareness is a huge part of many marketing strategies (as it should be), but the challenge business owners are being faced with is getting visibility from potential new customers through the swarm of competing ecommerce stores. 

Unlike other KPIs, brand awareness is harder to measure, so it’s important to identify what brand awareness means for your business. Is it reach, shares, impressions? Or is it website traffic (in particular direct and new user traffic) and quality backlinks? Once the successful metric has been identified, you can start tracking and measuring for each campaign, or period of time. 

How do we know if we are getting good BA results? 

Positive brand awareness results come when you reach an audience that is relevant for your brand and they are likely to convert (engage, signup, purchase). That means understanding your target audience and potential new customers is an important component to your brand awareness campaigns. Be clear on who you want to target with these campaigns, what you are showing them (positive representation of your brand), and how you want them to respond/react. 

4. Increasing conversions 

Struggling to convert customers once you have them onsite? Ouch. This is definitely a pain point for the ecommerce business owner. You’ve done the hard work and successfully moved the customer through the marketing funnel but the conversion (the ultimate goal) is falling short. If this is the case, it might be time to look at what is happening on site. How is the customer experience (CX)? Where are customers dropping off? Some factors could include: poor product descriptions, inadequate product imagery, frustratingly low page or site speed, poor user experience ie. the site is hard to navigate, pricing, shipping costs or return policies and security concerns. All of these factors have a role in the customer’s decision making process. 

It seems like a lot to have to monitor to make sure you keep your customer onsite, and while some of these may require IT professionals or website developers (site load time, site navigation), there are plenty of elements that you can control to encourage visitors to stay longer, engage and ideally convert including: 

  • Website copy – make sure all product descriptions and messaging is clear, concise and on brand using brand tone of voice 
  • Website imagery – customers lose out on the physical factors when buying online so rely on the product description and imagery for the sell. Make sure you have high quality imagery, showing product from multiple angles – refer to point 1. above 
  • Testimonials – social proof goes a long way with ecommerce customers, it provides them with a sense of security and confirmation to invest in the brand and product – these can also be utilised in your digital marketing communications to draw potential customers to site

If nailing all of these seems like a challenge, tackle it one step at a time. Play the long game – the more time you invest in making your site functional and user friendly, the more time users are going to spend onsite.

5. Reducing return rates

We have all fallen victim to a bad online purchase – if it wasn’t the fitness machine that was going to give us washboard abs in 6 weeks, it was the pair of jeans that was only ever going to look good on a Victoria Secrets model! However generally our poor purchase decision can be rectified with easy return policies – some even being free! However, this is having big impacts on the bottom line for ecommerce business owners with at least 30% of online purchases being returned, compared to only 8% of purchases made in store.* Big box retailers such as ASOS, The Iconic and Boohoo have held our hand in the shift from bricks and mortar stores to online stores, however some of these global companies are now reconsidering their free return policy whereby their online purchase returns could be up to two to three times higher than purchases made in physical stores, according to a 2022 report.

Not only are global consumer statistics showing that clothing and apparel has the highest return rate in ecommerce at 26%, and can get as high as 50% in some markets, but there is a bigger global impact the beloved free returns policy is having. Typically only around 50% of most returns can be resold, and what can’t be resold is sent to landfills – making the fashion industry the world’s second largest polluter. 

So what can we do to reduce carbon emissions, and help our business owner’s bottom line (loss of sale as well as shipping costs)? 

Quality content is going to help reduce the rate of returns – ensuring that product descriptions are optimum, photography and videography is of the highest quality and showcases multiple angles and/or ways to wear or use etc. Again, social proof (UGC) can help aid consumers’ decision to purchase – seeing a product on a real person helps potential buyers gain a better idea of fit, quality and style. 

6. Customer loyalty and experience

As we’ve discussed there is some serious competition online for ecommerce businesses and nailing customer loyalty and experience is pivotal, so much so that increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-29%!* 

We recently spoke with award-winning global digital commerce agency, Overdose about the importance of CX in a recent blog – read more here. In terms of CX, there are many (familiar) ways to aid customer loyalty including: 

  • Make customer service a priority – not just at store level, but integrate this throughout every department of your business 
  • Reward and incentivise customers with a loyalty program – spend XX and receive X is a great way to thank customers for their loyalty, and also encourage repeat transactions
  • Exclusive memberships and value added communications – we all want to be part of the private club, right?! Getting rewards or early bird access makes customers feel valued and keeps them engaged with the brand  

So there we have it, just some of the pain points ecommerce business owners face. It can be overwhelming in knowing where to start or prioritise making change, not to mention keeping on top of the ever evolving digital world. However, in identifying what the pain points and desired outcome/s are, a pathway starts to become clear in what needs to be done to make change – and remember to play the long game so as to ensure every pain point or touchpoint is perfected. And if creative content is where you are falling short, Asset Factory can help! Chat to our team of experts about how our automated technology can streamline your processes, adding content to the bank, and reducing that pain point!