WP Simple Pay Blog

Stripe Tutorials, Tips, and Resources for WordPress to Accept Payments

11 eCommerce Obstacles & How to Overcome Them

Last updated on

Written By: author image Natalie Jones

Are you an eCommerce seller and facing obstacles?

First, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. The future of eCommerce continues to unfold rapidly, offering new and exciting ways for businesses to enter untouched markets and generate more revenue. However, hurdles exist for all online sellers and entrepreneurs. Regardless of whether you’re new to eCommerce or have years of experience, there’s always a chance you’ll face a few common challenges from time to time.

To help you prepare for inevitable barriers all eCommerce sellers face, we’re sharing eleven of the most common ones and offering tips on how to overcome them.

1. Poor Identity Verification

When you make a sale online, there’s no perfect way to verify that the person making the purchase is the authorized cardholder. Fraudulent transactions happen all the time and can have a devastating impact on an eCommerce business.

There are various types of fraudulent online transactions, however, credit card fraud is one of the most common forms. In fact, it was responsible for $36.34 billion in merchant losses in 2022.

To protect your business, you should use a payment processor that offers top-of-line fraud detection and reporting features.

If you’re using the best Stripe payments plugin for WordPress, WP Simple Pay, to accept online payments, you can ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to prevent credit card fraud and other fraudulent activities from happening on your site.

Because the plugin processes every payment made on your site using Stripe, you can use Stripe Radar fraud detection features to identify suspicious activity and even set up custom rules to block these types of transaction attempts.

To learn more, see our detailed guide on how to protect your business from credit card fraud.

2. Too Few Positive Reviews

People depend on and base buying decisions according to online reviews now more than ever. Before they make a purchase, buyers want to know that other people approve of your products and services.

Most people consult reviews early in their buying process before they request specific information or sit for demonstrations.

If you don’t have any reviews from past customers, new customers won’t have the information they need to make smart buying decisions.

How do you get reviews? Ask for them! Prompt your customers to give reviews. You can offer incentives like free products and services, or perhaps a limited-time offer via a coupon in exchange for a review.

With WP Simple Pay, offering customers a coupon code on your payment forms is super easy. You can also send a personalized confirmation email to ask for reviews and offer a discount using the plugin. For more information, see our step-by-step guide on how to maximize coupons on your WordPress site.

You should also be monitoring feedback you receive on your social media platforms, while also encouraging your customers to share more.

You can set up automation using WP Simple Pay, which allows you to post recent sale notifications, and new blog content on your Facebook business page without having to do it manually. This helps grow your following, which will eventually lead to more engagement, feedback, and shares.

3. Competing on Price

When sales are low, it’s tempting to lower your prices or offer discounts and coupons to get some money in the door, especially if you sell in a crowded market. It works in the short term, but too much of it can devalue your products and services.

Instead of charging less, find ways to create more value so your products and services seem like great deals. Ask yourself how you can better serve your customers’ needs. Alternatively, you could focus on serving an underserved niche that’s happy to pay higher prices.

You can also design and add pricing tables to your site to enhance the effectiveness of your products and services. For more information, see our detailed guide on how to create high-converting pricing tables in WordPress.

4. New Laws or Regulations

At some point, the government or a regulatory agency will force a change in your business. The change could make your life easier… or a lot harder. In either case, you’ll end up changing something about the way you conduct business, whether that has to do with how you treat employees and customers, or how you pay your taxes.

There’s no way to avoid this obstacle. Instead, stay informed of changes in your industry so you have as many warnings as possible. Last-minute changes are expensive, but the government rarely does anything quickly. With enough notice, you can avoid a lot of the expense of becoming compliant.

If you sell your products or services globally online, you’re probably already aware of the challenges that come with this big step for your business.

Be sure to check out our guide that offers tips on how to globalize your eCommerce business.

5. Data Breaches

We’re all more sensitive than ever when it comes to our data – especially our payment information. It seems like every week we read about another data breach from a retailer. Your customers may think, “If big companies like Target and eBay can lose track of my data, surely that small seller can too.”

It’s important to take your customers’ data seriously, even if you don’t hold much of it. Even simple data points like their names and addresses can be used to exploit them if a hacker were to acquire them. Take precautions to keep it safe from malicious parties and never give it out without their permission.

6. Retaining Customers

It’s no secret that it is cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one. And yet, most online businesses spend a disproportionate amount of time and money on customer acquisition. They don’t take aggressive steps to engage the customers they already have.

Ask yourself how you can convince your past customers to buy again. What products or programs can you create that will keep them engaged? Do they want content, training, or advice? Do they want product support or mentorship?

You should certainly be taking steps to reduce subscription churn if you offer recurring payment plans and also consider starting a customer loyalty program.

7. Returns and Refunds

Returns and refunds are especially problematic when you sell online. It’s hard to prove if a customer never received their order, if it was truly damaged when they opened the box, or if they genuinely aren’t satisfied with their purchase. Like every online seller, you’ve surely processed a refund just to avoid the bad review, even though you knew it was a valid sale.

There are two ways to get past this obstacle: First, create a return & refund policy that outlines procedures to protect yourself as much as possible. For instance, you might make the customer agree to a phone interview to explain why they weren’t satisfied with your coaching session (to deter scammers).

Second, calculate your average loss for people who abuse your generosity. Build that cost into your prices to make up for your loss.

8. Handling Harsh Feedback

Customers give feedback all the time. Sometimes they aren’t polite about it (“This course was worthless!”), but other times they can be quite constructive.

Your job is to take their feedback seriously, but not personally. Look for the deeper meaning behind each review, comment, or complaint. Ask yourself why the customer didn’t get the result they expected and how you can change your products or marketing to fix it.

9. Product/Service Errors and Updates

At some point, you’ll release a product with an error or problem that requires an update. Maybe there’s a mistake in your eBook, a blooper in a video, or some outdated advice in your consulting package. Hopefully, you’ll identify the problem yourself, but there’s a good chance you learn about it from one of your customers who isn’t happy with their purchase.

There’s only one way to fix this kind of obstacle: Own it. Notify your customers of the problem and how you’ll fix it. If the problem had a big impact on their life (maybe you gave bad advice that cost them money), consult legal help.

You should also be sure to keep your site updated with news and information regarding your products and services. Optimizing your product pages, as well as your payment pages is a great way to keep both, current and potential customers, informed about what you can offer them.

10. Overwhelmed with Work

Running an online business is simpler than running a brick-and-mortar operation, but it’s still easy to become overwhelmed with work and neglect key parts of your business. For instance, many entrepreneurs fail to market their businesses during the hustle and bustle of serving customers. When a dry spell comes along, they’re forced to scramble to keep money coming in.

How do you conquer an overwhelming workload?

  • Automate as much as possible. Many apps and tools integrate on their own. You can use Uncanny Automator + WP Simple Pay to automate post-purchase tasks.
  • Hire someone to handle tasks you don’t have time for. You don’t need a full-time employee. There are plenty of digital workers who will take a part-time gig.
  • Create processes to streamline repeated tasks, especially if you give those tasks to someone else. This is also a good time to think about how you work and whether there are any inefficiencies.
  • Outsource functions to vendors. For instance, let someone else manage your books, run your paid ads, or maintain your website.

11. New Player in the Market

You spend a lot of time establishing yourself in your market, learning about your competitors, and how to be different. So it can be frustrating when a new person or company starts offering similar products and services, especially if they are suspiciously similar to yours.

It’s even worse when an existing player from another market slides into yours, like when that digital agency starts offering consulting, or when the consultant releases an online course. They can carve out market share right away because they already have a foundation of trust and credibility.

How do you survive new competitors? Innovate. Don’t sit around and wait for them to take your customers. Find ways to differentiate yourself from the new player. Most importantly, learn from the new player. Ask yourself what it is that makes them successful.

Look to the Future

We understand preparing yourself for tomorrow’s problems is daunting when today’s problems demand your attention right now. You don’t need a perfect solution in place for each of the challenges we listed above, but we encourage you to think about them now so you know how to respond when they become unavoidable. In the long run, foresight can help you resolve these challenges before they occur.

If you liked this article, you might also want to check out our guide on 10 Common eCommerce WordPress Mistakes to Avoid in 2024.

What are you waiting for? Get started with WP Simple Pay today!

To read more articles like this, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

Start Accepting Payments Today

Start accepting one-time and recurring payments or donations on your WordPress website.