The internet has transformed the world into a small village. It has also changed the way people buy and sell things. Since the majority of people prefer to shop for services and products over the internet, entrepreneurs have had to use the cyberspace platform to do business. This is because running an online business has proved to be more profitable than operating a brick and mortar store, but there are also many challenges which you might don’t know. With an online store, you will not be paying rent like you would do when you have a store along some street.
Besides that, you are not limited by location. You can do business with people in other states or countries at the click of a button. However, growing an online enterprise or business is not as easy as we are made to believe, we face many challenges. For a start, there are so many businesses that are competing for any given market. Those businesses that are not able to cope with the obstacles end up closing shop. Here is a list of challenges that you should expect to experience when you start an online venture and how to counter them.
1. Acquiring customers
A business can’t grow without customers. One would expect that acquiring customers to be an easy thing due to the use of technology. In fact, the internet has made it a lot more difficult for enterprises to get customers. And the problem is not that there are no customers. They are plenty. The problem is that many businesses compete for the same customers. As a small scale retailer, you will be obviously competing with giant retailers such as Amazon, Aliexpress and eBay.
You must, therefore, find a niche that’s not saturated to increase your chances of success. But even if your products or services are unique, you must market your brand profusely to make ends meet. The good thing is that you can use the power of SEO to market your products. When your content is optimized with the right keywords and informative content, you can be sure your business will continue to attract new customers every other day.
2. Retaining customers
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Research shows that most businesses continue to thrive because they have repeat customers. These customers are the ones that promote your brand to their friends and relatives by recommending your products or services. In other words, they are your brand ambassadors. And the good thing is that you don’t have to pay for them. For you to get repeat customers, you must build an email list. When people visit your website, you should prompt them for their email so that you can be updating them on new deals that are available. You must also keep in touch with them via social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can’t run an online venture without a website. And although nowadays most businesses have a website, some of them are not accessible. This problem is usually caused by failing to optimize a website so that it can be browsed via mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. These days there are very few people that access the internet via computers. The majority of people prefer to use their mobile devices because they are more convenient than desktop computers.
You can buy anything regardless of where you are as long as you have a device connected to the internet. If your website can’t be accessed through these mobile devices, you will obviously experience a decline in sales. This is due to the fact that your visitors will bounce away in favor of other websites that support mobile devices. You should, therefore, consider having your website assessed by a coder for the problem to be remedied.
Every online business is vulnerable to cybercrime. You can wake up one day and find your site hacked. There is also the problem of losing data. Such an experience can easily ruin your business. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your customers and as well as your interests. For a start, you should ensure that your website stores data that has already been encrypted. In fact, nowadays internet shoppers tend to avoid websites that don’t use data encryption.
When you bank on encryption, you can have peace of mind knowing that the credit details of your customers are safe from unauthorized access. As for the loss of data, you should get a web hosting service from a company that is able to backup all the information that’s available on your portal. Fortunately, the majority of hosting service providers include regular backup in their packages.