We Asked: What Is Your Biggest Ecommerce Pain Point?
We can write endless blogs about ecommerce strategy, tips, and news. At the end of the day, only ecommerce store owners can share unique and meaningful insight about what the burning challenges and all-too-real pain points are. We decided to reach out and ask some ecommerce store owners:
“What’s your biggest ecommerce pain point?”
We learned a lot and know you will too. A big “thank you!” to everyone who took the time to share their pain points and more importantly, how they work every day to combat them.
Dustin Montgomery, Shippers Supplies
One of our growing pain points is satisfying customer expectations. With Amazon’s free two-day shipping spoiling a large percent of the population, some customers bring those demands to our ecommerce store. Customers will ask us to ship things out the same day despite it being 4:55pm and our day ending at 5:00. Combating these expectations is tough. We do have cut off times for shipping and we try not to break these rules, but one of the advantages of being a small business is we can break rules when we need to. We can make your order a top priority. I would advise other ecommerce business owners to look at ways they can use their size to their benefit. Customer service is one place you can usually outshine larger competition. A relationship with your customers is a powerful thing. I would also suggest other ecommerce business owners take another look at their shipping offerings. It might be beneficial to build in some of the shipping costs into the product price and offer a higher tier shipping right off the bat.
Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures
So that’s a fun one. I really have two. First, when working to improve conversion rates, figuring out what’s relvent in tests and what’s noise is especially hard when traffic isn’t all that significant. Secondly, shipping. Well, since I self fulfill it’s a combo of shipping and communicating that with people. So often, people will say that they didn’t receive notifications from my site while they also hadn’t signed up for delivery alerts from UPS. Communication and the understanding of shipping times for wine, especially since we use ground shipping from the west coast can be a big challenge in the era of 2 day Amazon shipping (which I have to remind people, they don’t offer for wine!).
Mark Tyrol, Batticdoor.com
Our biggest challenges and pain points as a business are continuing to grow our business. We have had an average 25% per year growth for the last 14 years. We grew our ecommerce business by adding additional online sales channels. Starting initially with our website, we began adding online sales channels and grew our sales dramatically. We added ebay, Amazon, Rakuten, Sears, Homedepot.com, Walmart.com, Facebook, Shopify, and many more. There are providers that enable retailers and manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimize their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels. While it does take more set-up time, we preferred to set up our new online sales channels individually and by ourselves. Our most effective and profitable marketing method is an influencer marketing program to drive awareness and traction for the business. We have done just that. For several of our products, our customers are Home Builders, General Contractors, and Insulation Contractors. We targeted Building Code Officials and Architects for our influencer marketing program to drive awareness and gain traction for these products. In order to comply with Building Codes, the attic access (pull down ladder or access hatch door) must be insulated and sealed. Our Battic Door attic stair cover and E-Z Hatch access door products provide a Code compliant solution, are low cost and easy to install. We reached out to Building Code officials and Architects to introduce our products. They, in turn, recommend and specify our products to Home Builders, General Contractors, and Insulation Contractors. We understood that an influencer campaign is a long-term investment. We studied the market and determined there are 600k-800k new single family homes constructed annually. Even capturing a small market share % of those projects could grow our business exponentially. Therefore the potential ROI (return on investment) was determined to be very high and we decided to proceed. We executed our influencer marketing program by exhibiting at several trade shows and by direct mail. We exhibited at a Building Code Officials trade show and
Our Battic Door attic stair cover and E-Z Hatch access door products provide a Code compliant solution, are low cost and easy to install. We reached out to Building Code officials and Architects to introduce our products. They, in turn, recommend and specify our products to Home Builders, General Contractors, and Insulation Contractors. We understood that an influencer campaign is a long-term investment. We studied the market and determined there are 600k-800k new single family homes constructed annually. Even capturing a small market share % of those projects could grow our business exponentially. Therefore the potential ROI (return on investment) was determined to be very high and we decided to proceed. We executed our influencer marketing program by exhibiting at several trade shows and by direct mail. We exhibited at a Building Code Officials trade show and expo, and at an AIA (American Institute of Architects) trade show and expo. We did this for 2 consecutive years. As a direct result of our influencer marketing program, our sales have increased +50% in each of the last 2 years. We picked up dozens of new accounts that continually purchase products. Many customers tell us they were referred to us by their Architect or Code official, confirming the success of our influencer marketing program. By gaining awareness and traction for our products we expect similar increases in the next several years.
One of our biggest challenges as an e-commerce business is being able to manage multiple tasks with a limited staff. E-commerce allows you to grow your business with limited resources because of the delay between the transaction and the delivery of products/services. Unlike brick and mortar, customers don’t have the urgency for a solution here and now. Every order allows us some processing time and we can manage our time and staff accordingly. Anyone who has worked in e-commerce–at least in a smaller/medium size business–will tell you that it is common for everyone to play multiple roles. Jumping in and out of departments to complete tasks that don’t necessarily require a full-time person; that is where we encounter challenges. Pulling employees from their daily tasks without disrupting the workflow to work on something that they are not necessarily inspired by is a big pain. Not only do I encounter some resistance but it often causes those employees to fall behind on their routine work. We always navigate around those exceptions but it is never a smooth ride. The worst case is when I have to pull someone from valuable work to fix an issue that did not need to happen in the first place.
MatthewMarvelous, Raaka Chocolate
We’re a bean-to-bar, craft chocolate maker based in Brooklyn. Direct to consumer ecommerce is a big part of our business, so we have a lot of thoughts! Our top two challenges:
1. Raising awareness. People have strong reactions to our chocolate; that’s easy when we’re offering free samples at Whole Foods, but how do you do that online, with a physical, edible product? We’ve found, thus far, that influencers, partners, and great photography (e.g., on our Instagram) work best.
2. Making shipping affordable. Since we sell small chocolate bars, shipping is a disproportionate part of our costs. We’re not yet at the scale for using third-party warehouses and fulfillment, but though we run the most efficient one-man shipping department we can, I suspect there’s room for innovation in small businesses fulfillment logistics.
Now it’s your turn: “What’s your biggest ecommerce paint point?” Let us know in the comments below and any tips or advice you may have.