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Unpacking female e-commerce owner struggles and how to overcome them

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, e-commerce has emerged as a prominent avenue for businesses in Australia, with a noteworthy presence of female entrepreneurs. On International Women’s Day this year, Federal Minister for Small Business Julie Collins highlighted that one-third of Australia’s business owners are women. With over 90,000 e-commerce businesses in the country, this means more than 30,000 are owned and operated by women.

Having over a decade of experience in the e-commerce industry, I’ve had the privilege of working with businesses of all sizes. Lately, I’ve been closely engaging with smaller female brand owners, and while their dedication and unwavering belief are inspiring, they aren’t without their challenges. Let’s explore what these are and how they can be managed.

Keeping expenses in check

Running an e-commerce business involves various expenses, and rising living costs make managing them even more challenging for female entrepreneurs. From website maintenance to marketing campaigns and inventory management, costs can quickly add up. Keeping these expenses in check while striving for profitability is a tough task, however, there are ways to overcome this.

While various e-commerce platform providers offer straightforward store setup procedures, they may not enable the look and feel, or experience you dreamed of. As a first step, look at partnering with providers that offer a more comprehensive range of features and functionalities.

It’s also important to analyse expenses to identify areas for cost reduction without compromising quality. An effective e-commerce platform will enable you to do this quite easily, while also helping you automate repetitive tasks.

Getting noticed in a sea of businesses

Building an exceptional website and offering quality products is just half the battle. The other half is getting noticed. Entrepreneurs often struggle to gain visibility in the crowded e-commerce landscape, and attracting a steady stream of potential customers to their websites can be an uphill climb – regardless of whether you’re a female-owned business or not.

Developing a robust digital marketing strategy is crucial, but it’s essential to assess your current efforts and understand what works and what doesn’t. Highly accurate and real-time tracking and analytics tools provide these valuable insights. Having absolute clarity around return on ad spend (ROAS) is another game-changer, allowing you to allocate your marketing budget more effectively. Consistency and creativity are key to standing out.

Converting sales and customers

Generating sales and achieving high conversion rates are the lifeblood for e-commerce success. However, this remained a persistent challenge for many female entrepreneurs. Competition is fierce, and standing out in a crowded market requires innovative strategies and marketing finesse.

One of the most crucial elements in increasing conversion rates is ensuring that your website performs optimally. A sluggish website can turn potential customers away before they even get a chance to explore your offerings. Invest in a high-speed, user-friendly website, with clear descriptions and easily visible buttons.

Maintaining a work-life balance

Running an e-commerce business demands significant time and effort, juggling various aspects from product sourcing to customer service and marketing. Finding a work-life balance is a constant challenge, especially for female entrepreneurs who often have multiple roles to fulfil.

Set clear boundaries with yourself and employees, and prioritise tasks based on urgency. Delegating responsibilities, when possible, also frees up time for strategic decision-making. It’s also important to recognise the importance of self-care, an essential but overlooked part of sustaining your entrepreneurial journey.

Despite these challenges, female e-commerce owners in Australia are making remarkable strides in a competitive industry. While these obstacles may seem insurmountable, they serve as opportunities for growth and innovation. Collaboration within the community is also essential to support and mentor each other, bridging the gap between male and female-owned businesses.

This story was originally published on Inside Small Business.

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