When a consumer wants something, their first port of call is the internet. E-commerce has grown at an incredible rate since its birth, and so has the competition to make the best use of it.
To understand the challenges faced by e-commerce companies today, let us first delve into how they operate. Customers no longer need to take a trip to brick and mortar stores to make their purchases. The rise of digitalization has transformed the way companies operate. E-commerce companies still deal in goods and services, but now this takes place across multiple touchpoints within an online environment. Although this has made shopping a lot easier, it has also brought with it some unique challenges.
According to Statista, in 2015, retail e-commerce sales amounted to $342.96 billion. By 2019 they are projected to surpass $600 billion. In the US alone, e-commerce retail will generate $100 billion by 2019. With these kinds of figures, the power and potential of e-commerce are clear.
This does not mean all e-commerce companies are making money consistently though. There are challenges standing in the way of companies, big and small alike. Developing an e-commerce business is hard. You have to take great care over everything, from website maintenance through to customer service.
So what are the challenges e-commerce companies face?
An absence of online identity verification
When a visitor goes to an e-commerce website and signs up, the portal is unaware of the customer, bar the information they entered. Whether the customer information is genuine or not remains questionable. Cash-On-Delivery (COD) purchases using an invalid or fake phone numbers or addresses can lead to huge revenue losses.
By taking the proper steps to verify the customer’s information.
First of all, look out for signs of suspicious activity. This could take the form of particularly high value or large orders, Identify fake phone numbers and email addresses, check whether zip codes match with the state/city. Send a verification link when a customer signs up, via text message or email, to validate the customer is genuine. With COD purchases, an automated call could even dial out to the customer, asking them to validate the delivery address.
Delivering an omnichannel customer experience
In today's world, customers can reach out through any number of touch-points. They may visit your website, contact your agent, leave a message on your social media page, shop from your store or contact you through a live chat or a messaging platform. According to ecomdash, “Any business that isn’t moving toward an omnichannel retailing strategy will likely be left behind by its online savvy competitors.”
So how can this be addressed?
Up to date, visual engagement tools enable your organization to serve customers across all touchpoints, channels, and journeys. Identify the key channels. Find out which channels are most important to your customers. Customer support staff should contact customers via their preferred channels, phone, email, live chat, video call, online help centers or in-app messaging. Integrate and optimize those channels, adding personalized messages and offering one-to-one interaction with live chat or video calling. Maintain the context. -Direct the conversations based on a user’s previous response. Keep a track of customer conversations using parameters like user profile. This way, you can always respond contextually, irrespective of the channels they used.