E-commerce Seller Challenges

GeekSeller’s top priority, aside from seamless experience in multichannel e-commerce business management, is to provide excellent customer support for our users. We are constantly on the lookout for any changes on the marketplaces that may be helpful or harmful for sellers and try to explain the intricacies of these changes.

Recently, we conducted a brainstorming session based on the discussions with our users who actively sell on multiple online marketplaces. The session was aimed to gather the most common e-commerce seller challenges and look for possible solutions. The outcome of this session is presented below. It was also passed to Walmart’s team to suggest what to focus on in future improvements to the marketplace.


Daniel – GeekSeller co-founder

The increasing competition on fast shipping offerings (1 or 2-day shipping)

Sellers can either find a reliable 3PL company that is proven to meet fast shipping requirements for marketplaces or use fulfillment options offered by marketplaces if available. The largest marketplaces provide it, such as Walmart WFS or Amazon FBA.

Too many returns and refunds

Bigger than a typical number of refunds and returns usually means some fundamental problems with products. Instead of trying to handle returns better, it is crucial to start investigating real problems and look for possible solutions. What is the reason behind buyer return? Is it a product description problem? Images not showing the exact product? Problem with delivery? Product quality? Questions like this can help you identify and rectify the issue. Returns and refunds are a manifestation of a problem, not a problem itself.

Seller suspension

The fastest way to get yourself a suspension is not following marketplace policies. The second most common reason is not paying attention to performance metrics (cancelation rate, on-time delivery, valid tracking rate, returns handling). Some sellers, especially smaller or the ones with a specific type of product, require more handling time for their orders. Most marketplaces can extend handling time for their orders but finding a 3PL that will ship their orders faster might also be a good solution.


James – Customer Success

Marketplace saturation – the importance of focus

With e-commerce booming, there seem to be new marketplaces popping up all the time. Honing in on a single marketplace to build brand awareness and expanding to others in time with a proven sales track record is a trick. With that, users can move forward without feeling overwhelmed– stick to the big four and have traction before wasting time on smaller marketplaces.

Shipping/Logistics

Working with multiple contact points will be the key to solving temporary distribution outages or delays. If covid taught us anything, it is having all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

Support

Larger sellers need to have a support apparatus in place. Hire support to increase customer retention. It is cheaper to retain users than get new customers.


Maciej – Customer Support

Increased number of tasks

Due to the increased number of people e-shopping instead of going to the stores, sellers started receiving more orders. It means they need to spend more time handling those orders rather than doing other things that might make their e-commerce business more efficient. Finding a tool that will automate some order-related tasks will allow them to focus on more beneficial tasks. Examples: qty rules, labels generation in bulk, quantity synchronization.

Improving online presence

With more and more people shopping online, it is essential to offer and advertise products in different areas of e-commerce. Buyers will try to look for cheaper offers in other marketplaces or search for products on social media. It is crucial to diversify it and offer/advertise your products in many places.


Tomasz – Customer Support

Inability to update some of the product data

It is a prevalent issue (especially on Walmart) and a reason why many sellers contact us. Understandably, marketplaces want consistent data and prevent updates from many sources. However, in many cases, sellers are unable to update crucial data like images or key features, which later results in an increased amount of returns. Users can reach out to the marketplace support, proving that they are manufacturers, but this method is usually quite time-consuming.

Issues with items grouping

This refers mainly to the Walmart marketplace but might be challenging on other marketplaces as well. It is hard or even impossible to group items that are already published as single listings in many cases. The solution would be grouping the items during initial submission only, but there are plenty of sellers constantly adding new variants to a listing. In that case, sellers also need to reach out to marketplace support to fix it. 


Tom – Customer Support

Lack of communication during the application process

When sellers apply to sell on the marketplace it is common that they do not receive any response when the application is being processed for a prolonged period of time or when rejected. This leaves sellers confused as they expect feedback regarding the application rejection and what can be done to be approved. The tools to check application status, like the one that Walmart created, are helpful when they work; sellers can also let us know about this situation, and we are usually able to check it with our contacts.

Tricky to join some of the existing marketplace listings

The seller’s offers are usually appended to listings already existing on the marketplace based on UPC/EAN codes, although sometimes the UPC/EAN codes used to create them are hidden. Because of this, it can be tricky for the sellers to add their offer to a popular listing, forcing them to create a separate listing with their offer missing the traffic generated by the original listing. Users can resolve it with a bit of trial and error in most cases. Sometimes you can find the correct UPC/EAN code on other marketplaces. In other cases, the product manufacturers can list such details in the spec sheets found on their websites.


Kajetan – Customer Support

Repricing

With increased competition on marketplaces, we noticed a big spike in usage of our Walmart repricer.


We hope that these conclusions reveal some of the mysteries and help you become a more successful e-commerce seller. Feel free to tell us about your e-commerce seller challenges that are not on our list. You can send them as comments to this post or contact our support directly.

About the Author

Tom

Tom is a senior customer support representative at GeekSeller with over half a decade of experience in the e-commerce space. Tom enjoys biking, hiking, and painting.

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