While an e-commerce director’s role is crucial to the success of any online business, nobody said it was going to be easy. Even the most experienced managers can find it difficult to navigate an ever-changing digital world, but this is what makes the rewards you reap all the more satisfying.
As with most things, time and experience will teach you the most valuable lessons. However, it’s possible to accelerate progress by recognising the most difficult aspects of your role and finding ways to tackle them early on.
The following five challenges are some of the most common that e-commerce directors will come face to face with.
1. Staying Up to Date
The digital world never stops moving. From new trends to updates in algorithms and innovative strategies, it can be hard to keep up with constant changes. E-commerce directors need to stay afloat of advances in technology to keep their business relevant. While competitors can sometimes shed light on marketing developments, many managers will want to stay ahead and adapt more quickly than the competition. Some areas that are set for big transformations in the future include:
Chatbots and virtual assistants are starting to become the norm across e-commerce websites. Not only can they improve customer service, but they also play a significant role in conversion rate optimisation. AI can help customers find what they need more easily and answer basic questions more quickly than human operators.
But it’s not just chatbots that AI is revolutionising. This technology is now being applied to managing stock and ordering processes, which is something e-commerce directors could use to increase efficiency.
While still in its early stages in regards to e-commerce, augmented reality is set to make its mark on the online shopping scene. Already some platforms are allowing users to see how products will look in their homes, giving e-commerce a more interactive element.
It’s no secret that video has been taking the internet by storm. This widespread trend has recently extended to Instagram as the site looks to move away from photo sharing in its latest announcement. Similarly, video-sharing star TikTok begins an e-commerce venture that business managers should keep a close eye on in order to remain competitive.
2. Using Data to Inform Decisions
Data is key for marketing an e-commerce website, but analytics can be overwhelming, especially as the need for more specific insights grows. While not having enough data is one of the more serious e-commerce problems a business can face, having too much irrelevant data can cause problems as well.
The key here is for e-commerce directors to really focus on the kinds of data that will support their conversion rate optimisation efforts.
Data should not only help them to develop new ways to reach their target audience, but also aid in the monitoring of current strategies.
3. Grow Traffic and Conversion Rates
Traffic and conversion rates are essential to both running a successful e-commerce business and helping it to grow, but getting customers to commit can be easier said than done. This is where conversion rate optimisation really comes into focus, but it should always be supported by a solid, well-rounded marketing strategy as well.
Getting potential customers to your website is the first step. If very few people are even coming into contact with your products and services, it’s likely your sales will suffer. The good news is that traffic is often one of the easier e-commerce problems to solve when compared to conversion. Using marketing strategies that involve SEO, social media and paid advertising can help to bring your audience to your website. If your traffic is already good but you seem to have hit a plateau, releasing special offers or new products could give you a temporary boost in clicks.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
This is where things get more complicated, as it’s not always easy to convince potential customers to take the plunge and make a purchase. While calls to action and flash sales can have an effect on conversion, tapping into UX principles and re-engaging visitors with abandoned cart e-mails can bring you closer to making sales. To really increase ROI, consider hiring a conversion rate optimization agency to refine your strategy for long-term results.
4. Facilitate Communication Between Different Teams
Even though all your teams are working hard to keep your e-commerce business running smoothly, if they don’t communicate effectively then things could start to fall apart. Facilitating this communication can be challenging because, while logistically simple, it’s not always obvious what insights need to be shared and with who.
To individual teams, it might seem like collaboration isn’t necessary. This could be because they aren’t fully aware of what other teams do or what information they might need. Encouraging SEO to share research with the content team and having the data team send insights to web design experts could result in a more efficient operation.
To encourage this kind of collaborative approach to working, have your teams introduce themselves and offer some insight into what it is they do. This will help your employees identify the right people to seek out when they need more information.
5. Accurate Forecasting
By its very nature, forecasting can’t be accurate 100% of the time. But e-commerce problems can start to build up when your forecasts aren’t panning out on a regular basis. One of the biggest problems with forecasting is relying on historical data to make predictions. As mentioned previously, digital trends and technologies are always changing, so something that happened in the past might not repeat itself in the coming months.
It can also be difficult to forecast the demand for individual products, as more often than not customer behaviour is influenced by too many factors to reliably pin to specifics. Investing in quality forecasting software and improving your data collection can help you to make better predictions for your business.
These five challenges are something that every e-commerce director will face in their journey towards conversion rate optimisation. No matter the industry you’re in, managers in every business are trying to navigate everyday e-commerce problems to grow their business.
While it might seem difficult now, overcoming these hardships will help your business to grow. Help your team to find solutions and work together to skyrocket sales with an effective strategy.
If you are looking for some more advice and guidance to help market your eCommerce business, please check out our recent posts on growing and scaling an ecommerce business and whether you should hire a search marketing agency.