According to a report on eMarketer, e-commerce sales surged by almost 30% in India in 2020 due to the movement curbs and lockdowns imposed to contain COVID-19. But while the e-commerce sector is having its moment of glory and multiple forecasts for 2022 are highly promising, the industry is ripe with challenges.
Here are 10 of the most common challenges e-commerce platforms should watch out for as we step into the new year-
1. The User Experience Dilemma
For the post-pandemic customers, it is all about the experience. Consumer expectations have skyrocketed, and they now expect every online store to offer an exceptional experience. Utilizing advanced technologies and tools to collect and use customer data can help take user experience to the next level.
2. COD Preference
A lot of people new to online shopping are still not very comfortable with online payments and prefer Cash on Delivery (COD). Collecting cash manually can be expensive, risky, and laborious for online sellers. Encouraging online payments through discounts, cashbacks, and rewards can be an effective solution to limit COD payments.
3. Higher Returns
According to a report by Gati, a leading logistics firm, 1 out of every 4 products purchased online is returned to the seller. Managing returns is again a lengthy process. Offering features like virtual try-on that utilizes VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) to help customers try a product virtually before buying can help reduce the number of returns.
4. English Specific Platforms
The majority of the online shopping platforms in India are English-specific. If online retailers want to improve their reach into the untapped rural market, adopting a multi-lingual approach focusing on local languages can help. This can assist e-commerce stores in reaching a wider audience and getting a competitive edge.
5. Data Security
Data security concerns are rising in India. A report on The Hindu Business Line suggests that 84% of Indian consumers are willing to pay more to do business with organizations committed to protecting data privacy. Adopting the latest security standards and taking adequate measures to protect user data can help build customer loyalty.
6. Higher Visits, Lower Conversions
Many online stores receive a lot of traffic and clicks, but the conversion rates are not up to the mark. Targeting the right audience, building a seamless online store (web, mobile, app), offering multiple payment options, and personalizing the platform are some of the ways that can help improve conversions.
7. Choice Fatigue
The renowned Jam Study, reviewed by Harvard here, suggests that offering consumers endless options is not always better. In other words, the lower the number of available options, the more likely a customer is to purchase something. Analyzing your competitors and offering unique products relevant to the target audience can help curb choice fatigue.
8. Free Shipping
Free shipping continues to be one of the biggest deciding factors among online shoppers in India. Many customers can abandon their carts if the online platform does not offer free shipping or if the shipping charges are too steep. Reworking your pricing model, choosing the right delivery partner, up-selling, and cross-selling are some ways to eliminate this challenge.
9. Cut-throat Competition
It is no secret that the e-commerce industry in India holds great potential. This also means that the competition in the sector is cut-throat, and it will only become more fierce in the future. Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and relying on professional digital marketers can help an online store boost its competitiveness.
10. Customer Retention
Customer retention is another severe problem for every e-commerce platform, irrespective of its size. Building customer loyalty can be very challenging when you have hundreds of competitors fighting for attention. Utilizing channels popular among the target customers and regularly engaging with them more personally can help build trust and loyalty.
Growing Your e-Commerce Business in 2022
While the e-commerce sector in India shows great potential, the growth is not up for grabs for any online store with the most extensive inventory or the biggest marketing budget. How an e-commerce platform deals with the common challenges determines its success and ability to keep up with customer expectations.
To continue growing your online store in 2022, businesses can consider the expert assistance of a reputed digital marketing company. Experienced marketers who are well-versed with the industry challenges and trends can help platforms boost their market share, improve their sales, achieve newer heights.