It’s no secret: the world has gone digital. The COVID-19 pandemic created a world in which shoppers prefer online purchasing far more than ever before. While this has sped things up for the eCommerce industry, it does not come without its pitfalls.
1. A greater need for marketing
The majority of online sales are going to the most extensive available sites. Therefore, many smaller site owners may see a more significant impact on their sales, and as such their need for greater marketing campaigns may increase. With many brands fighting for the attention of shoppers in the digital space, smaller brands will need to ramp up their marketing efforts.
E-commerce businesses can consider the following in this regard:
- Interaction via social media.
- Third-party online marketplaces like Amazon.
- Getting an expert opinion to help grow your business.
Amazon owns 50% of the eCommerce market from the latest figures. With this in mind, leveraging Amazon for your use is an excellent strategy.
It is relatively easy to predict sales on Amazon with available PPC and analysis tools. Therefore, deciding to target areas on Amazon is a safe bet.
Customers are also expecting more engagement from their chosen brands. Brands willing to interact with customers on social media have seen increased brand loyalty.
Leveraging social media alongside Amazon’s traffic is an excellent way to establish your brand. Maintaining it over the long haul is strongly linked to social media interaction.
Getting an eCommerce business advisor to look at your data, processes, and goals can make a big difference to your bottom line. They have a lot of experience stabilizing and growing online businesses, so they can help you target opportunities and recognize threats. And because they assist many businesses, they have their ear on the ground. Working with a firm that does eCommerce accounting, tax planning and business advisory is beneficial as they’ll get to know your business very well and assist you every step of the way.
2. Adapt to the changed priorities of consumers
The pandemic created numerous changes to consumer behavior worth noting. Here are a few examples of changing behaviors:
- People spent more time addressing their mental health with leisure activities.
- Online shopping will continue to increase.
- There is an increased priority on long-term value.
- Expect a reduction in holiday spending.
Given the high need for customer loyalty, small businesses must establish their value quickly. This, combined with the reduced holiday spending, results in too much inventory.
To address these latest changes, you need to be sure about balancing inventory and sales. Many small teams specializing in marketing and sales are appearing. These teams can specialize in small areas, responding faster to changing factors.
Focusing on zero inventory models reduces your spending amounts on storage and warehousing. Passing these duties on to those who are more efficient enables you to specialize.
Your required inventory levels are easier to spot on marketplaces like Amazon. Search volume has a strong correlation with sales numbers.
3. Increased competition due to more eCommerce sellers
An October 2020 survey reveals that half of the eCommerce sellers think their competition is “very tough.” More sellers will become part of this experience as entrepreneurs see online opportunities.
At the risk of sounding a bit obvious: the ultimate solution to this problem is to do better. You can do this by creating the ultimate online experience.
Here are a few ideas that you can take:
- Create a unique brand with a compelling story that appeals to consumers on a broad basis.
- Prioritize customer service in everything you do.
- Provide fast delivery to outpace your customers.
- Increase loyalty through consistent promotions and customer discounts.
- Offer free small gifts to those who exhibit that loyalty.
- Provide consistent branding across products, packaging, and parcel inserts.
A great way to start is to thank the new customer directly and use their first name. eCommerce personalization is a great way to make the customer feel special.
I reached out to the Fusion team and within about a week they got me onboarded and started managing my company’s books. Now I’m able to spend more time with my family and friends, and not wake up in the middle of the night worrying about whether I categorized last month’s expenses correctly or if I filled out the right tax forms. The Fusion CPA team are truly the best.
4. Increased chance of credit and debit card breaches
Credit card fraud rose by nearly 50% from 2019 levels into 2020. The pandemic saw a significant increase in online shopping, encouraging criminals to increase their effort.
As an eCommerce business owner, you know that these data breaches all come back to you. It is necessary to focus on protecting your customer’s personal information.
Start by ensuring you have the latest internet protocol. HTTP sites are out of date and unencrypted, so get an SSL certificate to encrypt all data your customers send to you.
Getting an SSL with a warranty is crucial if you are a big website. Losing money in a significant data breach is one way to ruin your business.
You should also stick to reputable payment processing systems. You should prioritize those with a robust public reputation through Trustpilot and other review sites.
The best ones have PCI DSS accreditation. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Major providers like Amazon and Shopify have them, so stick to those that work.
Many of these systems integrate into specialized eCommerce packages through some web hosts. Please do your research and ensure that the host with your site can protect it.
5. Demand for a more seamless purchasing experience
About 80% of consumers research a product online before going inside a store. The boost to online shopping is a big part of this, as it is far easier for customers to understand data when they aren’t bombarded with advertisements and feel pressured to move forward through a line.
Among online options, customers have a right to be picky. So if you don’t offer the most seamless experience, you aren’t going to be seen as the best and most trustworthy option available.
Take a look at the most successful online clothing-selling businesses for excellent examples. Integrations like SizeMe enable you to get measurements, upload them, and get matched clothes tailored to your experience without taking their second hand from the bag of chips on the couch.
What about customers who prefer to talk to a professional? Well, make sure that the on-site button is easily accessible and pulls open their smartphone app.
Optimization is the process of creating the experience most suitable for the consumer. This includes an integrated platform for search, easy access to shopping pages, shipping details, and payments, all under one roof.
The harder you make this on your customers, the more likely your sales will tank.
It’s also important that your online store, payment processors, and accounting software are integrated, so your invoicing and returns are seamless and your records are kept up to date. You can talk to accountants that specialize in eCommerce software integration about creating a smooth experience for your team and your customers.
At Fusion, our CPAs are trained to help eCommerce businesses handle challenges relating to business growth by driving sales and optimizing tax deductions. If you’re an online business battling to keep up with the high demands of the clientele in this industry, contact us to develop a strategy for you.
AMZScout is one of the most popular tools for Amazon sellers worldwide. Our aim is to help sellers maximize growth and revenue and achieve success on Amazon.
This blog article is not intended to be the rendering of legal, accounting, tax advice or other professional services. Articles are based on current or proposed tax rules at the time they are written and older posts are not updated for tax rule changes. We expressly disclaim all liability in regard to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this blog as well as the use or interpretation of this information. Information provided on this website is not all-inclusive and such information should not be relied upon as being all-inclusive.