Online marketplaces have continued to gain popularity in recent times due to their convenience and stress-free nature. Most business owners have taken their businesses online to increase visibility and sales. Although businesses going online have lots of advantages, at the initial stage, they may encounter some challenges.
Just like starting a business offline, at the initial stage of the business, you may face challenges. The same thing is applicable to the online marketplace. If you want to take your business online, you are going to face some challenges like data overload, data collection and storage, and competition with popular brands, among other problems that we will be discussing in the course of our discussion.
What’s the biggest challenge for most businesses when going online?
When businesses go online, they are bound to encounter some challenges, especially at the early stages. Some of the challenges that businesses may encounter when going online are outlined below:
1. Data collection and Cybersecurity
One of the major challenges that businesses face when going online is how to securely guide their customers’ data. Since most customers may likely share sensitive information with your online store, especially when they want to access loyalty offers from your store,
When customers share data on your site, the data is stored in the cloud and can only be accessed with full authorization.
- How to protect customer’s data
- How to build a website that is fully encrypted to protect sensitive data
- How to store customer’s data online properly so that it can be accessed with ease when needed
- How to get cybersecurity expert who can help manage customer’s data
- How to integrate relevant technology into their website
- How to build product catalog that will be visible to the audience with price tagging
Before you move your business online, take the following measures:
- Get full website security accreditation and a license for easy operation.
- Build high-tech communication network that will alert network security when there is any form of data-breach
- Install vital firewalls and plug-ins that will protect unauthorized people from accessing data on your website.
- Hire a cybersecurity expert who will manage sensitive data on the website.
2. Competition with big Brands
In the online space, there are many popular brands and businesses that are ahead of you. So, whenever you move your business online, you’re definitely going to compete with these popular brands. And if you don’t compete favorably, you won’t be able to make sales.
So, if you want to move your business online, it is important to employ strategies that will help you outperform your competitors.
- How to create value-added products that are better than your competitors
- How to build multiple payment options online so that customers can shop with ease
- How to identify your area of comparative advantage that you would use to outshine big brands
- Design reward program for your shoppers through special offers and discounts.
- Work with customer’s feedback to improve your service delivery
- Identify your area of comparative advantage
- Build a website that has user-friendly interface that is transparent and easy to navigate.
3. How to train your staff to adapt to online business needs
Another challenge that raises its ugly head when you want to take your business online is how to prepare your team/staff to adapt to online business needs.
Managing an online store is quite different from operating a physical store, so training your team on how to navigate the online space and attend to customers is one of the biggest challenges that most businesses face when they want to go to the online space.
- Not all team member/staff have the confidence to work online.
- Extra cost of training team members on how to handle businesses online.
- There will be a likelihood of increased errors, especially when the business is moved online.
- Encourage team members to adopt the idea by paying for their training and other related logistics.
- Ensure that all the team members undergo intensive training to avoid errors.
- Build good interpersonal relationships with your team members to enable you to get genuine feedback from their training and improve on it.
- Train your staff on different digital skills so that they can multitask with ease.
4. How to maintain the personal connection with customers
Another problem that businesses face in moving their businesses online is how to personally link up with customers.
Just like in an offline store, where customers normally like to view the quality and specifications of the products they want to buy in-person, in an online store, this may be difficult since people from far and near will like to patronize but may wish to see the product before making payment. So, once you move your business online, the inter-personal connection with customers may reduce, which will invariably affect sales negatively.
- How to build excellent website that can provide real time information about your products
- How to integrate social media apps on your website for real-time support
- How to integrate inventory management into your website to track all transactions
- Reduced inter-personal relationships between the support unit of the business and the customers since all the transactions will be completed online.
- Integrate videos, guides, comprehensive articles, frequently asked questions, and brochures into your website.
- You can also offer discounts to customers who purchase your products online.
- You can employ email marketing, where you send emails to your customers from time to time to remind them of your business.
5. How to build high-performance website
You can’t move your product(s) online without a functional and update to date website. Website services as your business hosting space. So, most business owners find it difficult to build high-performance websites that provide real-time information to their customers.
So, if you really want your business to reach your online target audience, it is best to build your own website that will contain all the necessary features mentioned above.
Hence, anytime that you want to take your business online, the first thing to do is to employ the services of expert website developers that can help you build a high-performance website.
Additionally, you can create awareness about your business by running ads and posting your websites on different media platforms.
6. Meeting Customer’s Expectations
Another challenge that businesses face when going online is how to meet their customer’s expectations. As it is all the time, customers normally have enormous expectations when shopping online; hence, they expect businesses that operate in cyberspace to meet their expectations all the time. So, if your business fails to meet customer expectations online, you are definitely going to lose customers to competitors.
- How to provide high-quality products that meet customers demand
- How to build simple and user-friendly online store that will be easy to navigate
- How to build real-time customer support to assist online shoppers
- Develop responsive customer care unit that will attend to customers swiftly.
- Design simple checkout processes to enhance seamless transactions.
7. How to integrate latest technology
When going online, most businesses find it difficult to utilize the recent technological advancements in their business, which will make them inferior to their competitors. So, if your business is unable to grow with the current technology trend, you may witness a drastic decline in sales when your business goes online.
- How to utilize latest technology in service delivery
- How to use trending technological advancement for business benefit
- Train your team members on how to use artificial intelligence to transact business.
- Organize symposia for your staff on a regular basis to cope with the changing business needs on the Internet.
8. Building trust with customer
Trust is one of the key factors in a successful business. Building trust is one of the major problems that businesses face when they want to go online, especially in this era where there are many fraudulent activities in the online space.
So, if your business goes online without a unique trademark that differentiates it from other products, it may be forged by scammers to defraud your customers, which will tarnish the good image of your product/brand. Before your business goes online, ensure that you have trust that people can rely on you to carry out their businesses.
- How to design your product to have a specific trademark that differentiates it from fake products
- How to create a special channel where customers can confirm that they’re patronizing your business directly
- Hire the services of experts who will help you build a reputable trademark
- Build a channel where customers can reach your business with ease.
9. Online reputation management
Another challenge that businesses face when going online is how to maintain the reputation that they have built over time. Building a reputation is one thing, while maintaining it is entirely different.
To maintain your business reputation online, you will need to be conscious of the type of comments you leave online about your business and also go through customer’s reviews regularly to change their negative perception of your product.
When dealing with customers online, you should be very cordial and careful with them to avoid destroying your business with the kind of interaction you have with them. For instance, recently, Erisco Food Limited destroyed its reputation by the way the company’s social media handlers reacted to the negative feedback from their customers.
10. How to organize excess data
Once businesses are taken online, they are bound to get numerous data points from customers, which may be difficult for a business to manage, especially if the data is enormous.
Before taking your business online, it is best to design a data storage file where you can store vital files to reduce the issue of data overload on your website.
11. Managing logistics
When businesses go online, they normally face the challenge of managing logistics since they are new to the online marketplace. Most customers may be making unfeasible demands from the business, which may be difficult for the business to manage at that early stage of going online.
So, before you take your business online, ensure that you design a proactive measure to take care of logistics, which will ensure timely delivery of products to customers. Ensure that your logistics arm has a tracking method to ensure the real-time delivery of goods to their owners.