— August 28, 2019
“Of all things painful, I chose running an eCommerce business.” said a friend of mine whose online shoe store just stepped into the first year answer, which in my opinion is the best one to this statement. “Running an eCommerce business is definitely painful, but it is a good pain to have. You have to go through some pain when you are trying to take a slice of the Trillion dollar eCommerce industry. It won’t come easily.”
Every business inevitably has to face its own share of pains and problems. In between sustaining the cash flow to scaling the business to new heights, each pain will press you down with its own intensity.
Some of the most common pain points that every eCommerce business owner faces include:
- Rigidity of on-premise eCommerce platforms
- Difficulty in providing product information
- Poor mobile experience
- Cumbersome checkout process
- Integrations with social media channels
- Complicated inventory management process
- Lack of coordination in delivery & logistic management
Of course, there are still more. These are but a few of the pains that any eCommerce business owner would be able to relate.
But, are these pains really pains?
Can we consider something as pain if there is a remedy for that? In the days of cloud and mobile, every eCommerce pain point has a surefire remedy.
Cloud-based eCommerce platforms
That is the pain with using old systems. They are rigid to work with and are also difficult to scale. eCommerce requires quick scalability. The incoming traffic volume, product categories and even checkout rates increase and decrease inconsistently. An on-premise eCommerce platform which can pull only a fixed volume of transactions makes difficult for eCommerce business owners.
It is also one of the reasons why cloud-based platforms that are easy-to-setup and easy-to-operate have become popular. If your eCommerce platform is giving you pain, it is high time to start looking for the best eCommerce platform that can rewire your business productivity.
Rich media-based product information management
With hundreds of product categories and several hundreds of SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit) grouped under them, the product array of an online store is a complex maze to navigate. The sheer volume of SKUs makes it difficult to display product information properly.
Here is an example that will help you wrap your head around the situation. Let’s take two entirely different products that an online store sells — a conveyor belt used in manufacturing lines and a labeled fashion apparel.
The very diversity of products and their everyday applications makes it difficult to display product information. The conveyor belt needs accurate information like dimensions, materials used, manufacturer brand and much more. It is more intricate and complex than a piece of fashion apparel.
Fashion apparel, on the other hand, needs vivid detailing rather than technical documentation. In fact, it will need more persuasive content in the form of images, video and multimedia content that will help customers make a quick decision.
Technologies like Augmented Reality help eCommerce businesses tackle this problem with ease. It helps display product information of diverse products in a uniform and consistent manner without diluting the information or its accessibility.
Simplified checkout process systems
Checkout is the last phase in the customer journey where the transaction gets completed with the payment. What happens when the checkout process is cumbersome? Last-minute cart abandonments happen. In fact, a study conducted by baymard found that in 26% of the cart abandonments happen because of the long and confusing checkout process.
eCommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, etc. enable business owners to design and setup their own checkout flows. From designing the form, the questions therein and even adding store policies, these systems offer complete freedom in crafting the perfect user experience for checkout. Not only do they simplify the process, but also play a key role in preventing the checkout process from being a barrier to conversions.
Image source: BigCommerce
Mobile commerce apps
According to eMarketer, more than 39.6% of online shopping during 2018 was transacted through mobile phones. A whopping $ 270 Billion worth of merchandise was bought through mobile devices. By 2021, mobile will become the mainstream online shopping channel.
Image Source: eMarketer
If an online store is not accessible through a mobile website if not through a mobile app, its long-term fate is more or less sealed.
A word of advice to prevent it would be to develop a mobile app for eCommerce parallelly to the website development. This helps integrate the website elements and functionalities into the app early on. The end result would be a stellar mobile app experience that is at par with its website counterpart. When the mobile experience part is won, the rest of the eCommerce puzzle falls into place.
Cloud-based inventory management
Let’s face it. A single person cannot handle the entire inventory management process of an online store. The reason is plain and simple. Like I said previously in this article, any average online store will have SKUs that counts tens of thousands and upwards. All details of these SKUs cannot be properly managed with a spreadsheet.
Unfortunately, cash-strapped e-retailers have only so many resources to invest. They cannot hire a person exclusively to take care of inventory management. The situation becomes grave when there are many dispatch centres, warehouses and distribution centres involved.
So, what’s the way out? How can technology lend a helping hand in such a situation? If you haven’t heard about it already, cloud solutions – especially SaaS, iPaaS, etc. are enabling businesses to take care of their business requirements without locking in a substantial part of their working capital.
A cloud-based inventory management software is one such option that is available for eCommerce players. Why cloud-based software in specific? Cloud offers the benefit of anywhere, anytime accessibility, flexible pricing and above all the ability to bring data from many sources in a single dashboard.
In a nutshell
My friend was absolutely right when he said that running an eCommerce business is a pain. It is indeed a pain considering the many variables involved. Each of these variables – like inventory management, mobile experience, product information management, etc. need modern systems to handle and manage. These modern systems, some of which live on the cloud, can help alleviate your pain of running an eCommerce business once and for all.