Challenges Faced by New Online Sellers from Shell's POV

Challenges Faced by New Online Sellers from Shell's POV

Issue No. 5:  Shell's Retail & Fashion Blog
Written and compiled by Shell of Shell's Design Boutique


The world of online selling offers endless opportunities for entrepreneurs, both experienced and inexperienced alike. As a new online seller, especially for those without prior experience in online businesses, the journey can be fraught with challenges. In this blog post, I will delve into some common obstacles faced by inexperienced online sellers and offer potential solutions to overcome them.  I will offer you the official industry-standard solutions to these dilemmas, then I will give my own unique point of view.  I know many others will understand what I'm talking about.

1. Finding the right niche and products

One of the first challenges that a new online seller encounters is identifying their target market and choosing the products they want to sell. With countless options available, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect niche that matches their interests, skills and potential customer demand.

Solution: Conduct thorough research on various marketplaces and industries. This involves studying market trends, understanding consumer preferences and learning from experienced sellers. By narrowing down your focus, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions on your chosen niche.

My POV:  I still struggle with this aspect of the selling journey.  I like clothing design, photography and print on demand products, using my original designs, but there are 1000's of potential products just with these 3 options.  I have slowly been narrowing it down to what I can do and what actually attracts customers, but it is an ongoing process for me.

2. Navigating logistical complexities

New online sellers might face logistical issues like arranging storage space for their inventory or finding reliable suppliers.If inexperienced, it can be challenging to negotiate prices or secure consistent product quality.

Solution: Leverage well-established platforms such as Amazon or Alibaba that ensure simplified logistics processes while providing reliable supplier connections. For dropshipping solutions, adopt trusted platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce that provide efficient inventory management systems.

My POV:  Again, it's just overwhelming at times.  So many choices, it blows my mind. I joined several online Facebook groups to help me with my journey.  The information I got was helpful, but marketers have taken over several of these groups and will pounce on you at a moment's notice.

3. Budgeting and pricing

Setting competitive prices for your products without sacrificing profit margins is a significant challenge, particularly when dealing with factors such as shipping fees or taxes.

Solution: Stay updated with industry pricing trends and keep track of your competitors' prices. Doing so will help inform your pricing strategy and offer reasonably profitable rates to stay ahead of competitors.

My POV:  Knowing where to invest in your business can be a struggle.  Advertising is one place that I struggle.  I'm looking for that magical sale's funnel that will lead customers to me.  I've created ads on several different platforms, many of which weren't very effective.

4. Attracting customers

Building an audience base is an uphill task for new online sellers in saturated markets. Standing out among numerous competitors requires marketing strategies that appeal to potential customers.

Solution: Use various marketing tactics like social media promotion (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), email marketing, and content marketing to reach out to potential customers and establish a strong brand presence.

My POV:  This is also very challenging aspect.  Unless you already have a huge following on social media, in the beginning you will be advertising to your friends and family.  I hate asking close friends and family to buy my products, but they know me and trust me, so they are the ones who will actually buy something.  I continue to reach out to other markets, but it has been difficult.  One big concern I have is posting too often, causing them to unfriend me!!

5. Handling customer service

New online sellers might struggle to provide exceptional customer service due to a lack of experience or resources. Promptly addressing the queries or needs of customers is paramount to maintaining a trustworthy and reputable image.

Solution: Be proactive in improving your customer service skills by learning from industry leaders or attending workshops and webinars. Equip yourself with the right tools like live-chat software, user-friendly return policies, and feedback monitoring systems to keep your customers happy.

My POV:  I have woked hard to build a customer service network that will help address any concerns my clientele might have.  Unfortunately, those marketers  who say they can guarantee me 5000 customers in a week are the ones who are messaging my customer service line at 4 am, wanting to know if I'm available to discuss a new marketing strategy.  I know if they can find me so easily, the customers can too!

6. Coping with ever-changing market trends

Online businesses often face rapidly evolving market trends and customer preferences. Adapting to these changes can be arduous for new sellers who may be unfamiliar with navigating the world of e-commerce.

Solution: Keep an eye on emerging trends and technological advancements by following industry news, participating in relevant online communities, or attending events focused on e-commerce. Engage in continuous learning to stay ahead of the competition.

My POV:  I've been selling Stock Photos online since 2014, so I know how things can change.  With our rapidly changing economy, however, I have noticed that things are changing even faster.  As small business owners find it difficult to sell products, the larger companies are feeling their pain as well.  Several companies I work with have started revamping, advertising more and even going out of business.  It is extremely hard to keep up with.

In conclusion, I have tried to address the many challenges that new sellers may face in starting an online business and to offer some industry-standard solutions.  But I hope I have also made a connection with those who are facing some of the same problems I am.  We are all in this together!

As a designer, I have begun to use Printify in many of my projectsI've been very pleased with the results.  Check them out!

**Cover Image by macrovector on Freepik


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