Struggling to get your store off the ground? Fix ecommerce problems and solutions through this comprehensive store troubleshooting guide and get your store ready for the holiday season.
Around half a decade ago, the biggest ecommerce giant, Walmart launched first online Black Friday sale.
It was truly a mesmerizing experience. Marketing for the BIG DAY started almost a month back. They spent millions to engage online shoppers and make them aware of the BIG DAY. Even they ran TVCs to promote the sale across the nation. Everything was ready. All was set. And, when the clock ticked 12:00, the world and especially America was ready to shop. People started typing the address of the website on their desktops.
The site was alive in an instant. Thousands started adding products to their carts. And why shouldn’t they have done that? The discounts were simply unbeatable. Almost 80% off on most products. You don’t get these kinds of deals every other day…
There is a saying, “if something can go wrong, it probably will.”
And guess what, with so many items in the cart, when people tried to press the ‘Check Out’ button, THE SITE CRASHED! Yes. This happened!
The BIGGEST ecommerce store of the world tumbled to the ground *virtually* within five minutes on Black Friday. Believe it or not, it was one ecommerce tragedy that shook the industry.
Fast forward, ecommerce stores are again getting ready for the Holiday Season that includes the biggest sale days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The stakes are even higher than before. Ecommerce industry has now blossomed to $4 trillion, with US spending almost $340 billion only during the festive Holiday Season.
With so much at stake and so many dollars to rake, online store owners simply can’t afford another crash. This is when they will want to troubleshoot their ecommerce stores.
In a hurry? Quickly navigate to your desired section of ecommerce issues with their solutions to troubleshoot your online store before Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM).
5 Most Common Ecommerce Issues and Challenges
Ecommerce troubleshooting isn’t just a check-and-fix thing. It involves much more like technical ecommerce problems, marketing glitches, logistics problems, payment frauds, and poor user experience. That’s why we have written a comprehensive post laying down all these points to help ecommerce stores find problems and solve them before the BIG DAY.
Ecommerce Problems and Solutions
We have broken the list into segments of all e-commerce problems and their solutions so you can easily browse to the area that worries you the most. Let’s get started.
1. Technical Ecommerce Problems
The most common ecommerce problems that online stores face today, relates to technology. Technology issues were the culprit of Walmart crash, and they are still the cause of many ecommerce and dropshipping failures.
Here are some major technical issues that ecommerce stores face during the Holiday Season.
i. Web Hosting
If you are still on shared hosting, now is the time to switch. Shared hosting has its limits in terms of bandwidth and storage space. This means if the traffic your store gets on a regular basis exceeds even a little, the website will collapse.
Most of the times the slow speed of ecommerce stores is because of the type of hosting it uses.
So, what should ecommerce store owners do? Move their store to a reliable ecommerce web hosting such as a managed cloud. A cloud is a reliable, low cost solution that let’s users maximize their growth potential through an enhanced hosting experience.
They can also move to other hosting solutions such as dedicated or VPS hosting solutions, but they have a high cost and are rigid.
ii. Server Scaling
Just like the example, we provided in the beginning, most ecommerce stores fail during the Holiday Season because they are not able to scale resources instantly.
This happens when the hosting is either on a dedicated server or a VPS server. Both of these take days to scale because the hosting company has to physically upgrade the servers to provide more resources.
Again, this calls for a cloud hosting solution that offers automatic server scaling. There are a few organizations, including AWS, Google Cloud that offer auto server scaling feature for their customers.
iii. Mail Server Problem
Before the Holiday Season starts, make sure you don’t have a mail server problem. Mail servers have a limit to the number of emails that the ecommerce stores can send to their customers within a day. This limit can become a major hurdle during the Holiday Season because stores receive thousands of orders in a single day.
On an average, on one order, they send around three emails to the customer. These include order confirmation email, marketing, and promotional email, feedback, and order tracking email.
Test your email server if it is in-house, by sending 2x more emails of the number of orders that you expect to receive in a single day during the Holiday Season.
If you have outsourced the mail server, make sure the company can auto-scale the email server limit within a minute’s notice.
iv. Product URL Issue
Most ecommerce stores face the issue of broken links. This issue escalates during the Holiday Season because more people start to visit the stores. This can lead to more traffic loss, and even de-ranking of URL from search engines because of higher bounce rates.
Check product URLs of your ecommerce store through a reliable link checking tool. One of the best ecommerce on-site technical SEO tool is Screaming Frog. It will provide a list of all pages that have bad URLs.
v. Slow Speed
Google has now made page load speed an important ranking factor. Slow stores will now not even show up in SERPs. But that’s just the marketing aspect. Research says that visitors leave a website if it takes more than two seconds to load.
So, what is the solution to slow speed for ecommerce stores?
- Change to a faster ecommerce web hosting solution
- Get a CDN service that distributes the content from the nearest server
- Install server-level cache on the ecommerce platform
- Install website cache plugins such as Breeze
vi. Product Images Issue
Another issue that most ecommerce stores face during the Holiday Season is that they mix up the product images. This means the image of one product shows up for another product and so on. This happens when you upload the feeds in bulk. Another issue with product images is that they are not multi-dimensional.
Manual error checking of all product images and their URLs is the only way to check if your products have the right images. So, do that.
2. Marketing Issues
Marketing issues are a major barrier to growth for an ecommerce store. Let’s see how to solve them.
i. Using Data Effectively
‘Data is the currency of 21st century’ is a popular statement. Do you know how to use it? Many ecommerce stores don’t. They don’t have any idea about how they can use the data they already have about their customers and find lookalike audience or re-market to them through paid advertisements – a major hurdle in boosting sales during the Holiday Season.
Online store owners can either hire professional digital marketers who can make use of the data available, or start polishing their own paid marketing skills.
ii. Poor SERPs
Google doesn’t like ecommerce stores having thin content. It even rolled out a search engine update to penalize these types of websites. And, when the sites don’t show up in SERPs, they lose their worth. For ecommerce stores preparing for the Holiday Season, not showing up on searches is a major drawback.
So, what is the workaround? Start adding proper product page descriptions with images and videos. Focus on providing value to the customer just like an actual salesman would do. Provide them pros, cons, reviews of users, and even company overview of the product.
3. Logistics Ecommerce Problems and Solutions
Delivery hassles are a hindrance in smooth ecommerce operations. Especially during the Holiday Season, their intensity simply increases. Let’s see some ecommerce logistics problems that most store owners face.
i. Stock Inaccuracies
How can you actually know the quantity of items you have in stock accurately? Although there are tools, the inaccuracies in stock can still occur, especially during the Holiday Season.
Use an inventory management applications like TradeGecko or Orderhive – that automatically records each order.
ii. Tracking Issues
A major ecommerce problem that most estores experience face during sales frenzy is tracking each order. Unless they have a shipping service with tracking facility, they aren’t able to provide tracking numbers to their customers. This can be a major turn off for these customers, as they would decide to never order from the store again.
Get third-party logistics (3PL) companies to outsource shipping and delivery. This will free the store owners from actually tracking orders as the process will be fully automated.
iii. Wrong Order Delivery
What’s worse than not getting a delivery? Getting a wrong delivery. Customers hate it and ecommerce store owners fret it. Why? Customers will simply upload the screenshot on Facebook and bring the reputation of the store at stake.
First, double check before shipping any order to the customer. Or ask your delivery team to do that.
Remember, to err is human. So, make it easy for them to return the order if it is wrongly delivered. For example, providing customers with a discount coupon or cash back on their purchase.
4. Payment Issues
Payment issues can become a major hurdle during the Holiday Season and especially on Black Friday. Not only they cost the ecommerce store money, but they also reduce the number of transactions payment gateways can make by clogging them.
i. Payment Frauds
Payment frauds cost ecommerce industry $4.8 billion last year alone. This year the losses will further increase because more players are joining the ecommerce industry.
Here are a few ways to reduce the risk of payment frauds.
- Add verified payment processors to your ecommerce stores
- Monitor latest payment fraud trends
- Encrypt transactions and emails with confidential information
ii. Order Placement Limits
Another issue that most ecommerce store owners face is the limit of orders a user can place. This limit is usually imposed on certain deals during regular days so any customer doesn’t take advantage of the deal. But this limit can become a major hindrance during festive days when customers will place multiple orders at once.
Make sure to review order placement limit and extend it before a major event so that you don’t miss out on the order count, and eventually your customer.
5. User Experience Ecommerce Problems
User experience can make or break the reputation of an ecommerce store. So, try to provide an experience that the potential customer simply can’t resist.
A simple rule of thumb is that the user interface should be smooth and fluid. But emerging ecommerce stores make mistakes that simply break the user flow. Here are a few of them
Can the user see the navigation bar? Gerry McGovern argues the importance of priority navigation in his article. He says that navigation is even more important than search bar. Because that’s what the user will use first to navigate a website in the first place.
Navigation bar should be simple, clear, consistent, and concise.
- Focus on the priority of web pages while making navigation menus
- Make them clear so the user can get the intent of the page just by reading the navigation menu
- The design should be simple and unobtrusive
ii. Proper Placement of Major Elements
Potential customers will leave an ecommerce store within an instant because of various reasons: such as lack of proper display of prices, shady refund policy, positive reviews of each product on the store, and many others.
To keep the customers coming, try to remove all these hindrances. Offer them a smooth experience by taking cues from the best ecommerce stores that exist in your domain.
Ready to Sell?
We hope by following the above-listed ecommerce problems and solutions your online store will be in a much better shape to start operations for the Holiday Season.
We want you to profit from HUGE sales days like Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. For this, we are regularly featuring content that focuses on ecommerce growth hacks, tips and tricks.
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Don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know what ecommerce issues you faced and how you can get them fixed. We would love to add them in our article.
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