Chapter 3

Challenges to ecommerce management for SMBs

Learn about the common challenges ecommerce business owners face.

Illustrated small business owner on mobile device in flower shop.

For small business owners, ecommerce management poses several challenges. Some of these challenges will be similar to ones you’d encounter in a bricks and mortar business (like how often to put on a sale, and whether to launch new products and services). Others will be entirely new and related to the technology and platforms you use to run your business.

Let’s take a look at the most common challenges in more detail.

1. Growing your team

Ecommerce businesses have plenty of moving parts, so deciding which areas to invest in and who to hire for what role can be tough.

To figure out which roles you should prioritise, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Ask yourself: which aspect could I improve that would immediately benefit customers and my business? Here's how that might look:

  • To help more customers discover your brand, you might need a social media manager.
  • To increase the number of purchases people make on your website, you might need a User Experience (UX) developer.
  • To ensure every parcel arrives in perfect condition, at the perfect time, you might need a logistics manager.

You could also use the data from your ecommerce platform, marketing activities, and customer feedback to pinpoint which areas of your business could use an extra pair of hands.

The team members you need will depend on the type of business you run. For example, if you’re selling fashion accessories targeted towards Gen Z, you might want to emphasise social media marketing. If you sell classic car parts, your customers might prioritise logistical elements like the quality of packaging and speed of delivery over your social media presence.

2. Cybersecurity

Bricks and mortar businesses have alarm systems and security cameras to help protect against crime. But these gadgets don’t go far in the online world. If you’re running an ecommerce business, you’ll need specific cybersecurity features and systems in place to protect against cybercrime.

Invest in cybersecurity software to keep your business safe and secure. Make sure you have cybersecurity guidance in place for your full team, including a backup plan if your business comes under attack.

3. Customer experience

We’ve all seen the social media conversations between unhappy customers and businesses. Today, it’s much easier for customers to share their negative experiences widely online. So it’s especially important to provide fantastic customer service.

But customer service looks different online than it does in a physical store. Instead of smiles, waves, and speedy till service, great virtual customer service can include responsive chatbots, regular shipment updates, and discounts and freebies for returning customers.

4. Keeping up with the times

Ecommerce is a popular and constantly evolving space. And businesses that fail to keep up with the trends and latest technologies can easily slip behind their competitors.

An effective ecommerce manager always knows about the latest developments, technologies, and strategies for selling online. They’re open to new tools and not afraid to try something different.

That doesn’t mean your business needs to follow every trend and try every new platform or app. Keep your customers in mind when you make decisions about trends and technology. And don’t forget, some trends like personalisation – which include product recommendations based on customers' historic purchases, and targeted email marketing – are here to stay.

Ecommerce management: a guide for small businesses

In this definitive guide, we cover everything you need to know about ecommerce management for your growing business.

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