E-commerce has eliminated a lot of barriers for aspiring business owners. Whether you sell on Etsy, Amazon or your own self-hosted website, it's easier than ever to set up an online shop and market your goods to shoppers across the globe. But just because it's easy to get into the e-commerce game, doesn't mean it's easy to stay on top.
Based on recently released surveys and reports, here are a few common issues plaguing online retailers right now, and what to do about them.
Pay-per-click advertisers lose money on fraudulent traffic
Despite the popularity of the pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising model, it's not always cost-effective. Fraudulent clicks by people or bots don't translate into real sales, and thus cost PPC marketers billions of wasted dollars each year. Research by the University of Texas at Dallas found that the current process of identifying click fraud —which involves each party using its own separate technology — is not very transparent, and often causes conflict between the two parties. The researchers advised looking into independent third-party services to investigate and flag fraudulent clicks for both parties simultaneously to improve PPC results.
Online shoppers abandon their carts for numerous tech-related reasons
One of the biggest obstacles e-commerce businesses face is the dreaded abandoned shopping cart. Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) estimates that an average of 68 percent of online shoppers leave e-commerce sites without completing their intended purchases. Although a VWO report found that unexpected checkout costs was the most common reason for abandonment (56 percent), a variety of tech-related reasons also topped the list, including website navigation or loading issues, payment security concerns, and the overall length or difficulty of the checkout process. To recoup some of these abandoned purchases, VWO recommended removing barriers like checkout registration and complicated cart editing, and giving customers the ability to save their carts for later.
Shoppers avoid merchants that have had security breaches
Data breaches are becoming all too common in the modern world of retail, and it's having a negative effect on customer perception of hacked merchants. A report by Interactions found that 40 percent of shoppers avoid retailers that have been affected by security breaches. Additionally, some shoppers will steer clear of online shopping (34 percent) or shopping on mobile devices (50 percent) due to fear of a breach. According to the report, nearly half of all shoppers believe retailers could avoid breaches by investing in better technologies, such as EMV chip card readers.
U.S. retailers are missing out on global expansion opportunities
A key advantage of e-commerce over brick-and-mortar retail is the ability to easily expand your business's geographical borders. But according to a PayPal report, U.S.-based small businesses could be doing a lot more to reach global online shoppers. In particular, American e-commerce merchants aren't tailoring the shopping experience to local customers outside their home country: Only 19 percent translate their website copy from English, and less than half list foreign currency options on their sites. Global customers are much more likely to make purchases when product descriptions and prices are available in their native language/currency, PayPal found.
For more help making your small online business a success, check out our guide to overcoming some big e-commerce challenges.