5 Significant Challenges Affecting Ecommerce

The ecommerce industry has grown a lot in recent years. Even those consumers who have not bothered shopping online before changed their stance because of the pandemic. 

The shift from brick-and-mortar stores incentivized even more aspiring entrepreneurs to try their luck with starting an online business

Some argue that the market is quite saturated, and even narrow niches have more than enough online stores at the moment.

However, it seems that the so-called saturation is not stopping new ecommerce businesses. But can these businesses expect to succeed?

The answer to that question is difficult and long. For starters, aspiring business owners should become familiar with the challenges that await them, and this is where this article comes in handy.

Finding Reliable Suppliers

Let’s start with suppliers. Unless you have a lot of money to invest, it is more than likely that you will go with the dropshipping business model.

Dropshipping lets you focus on customer service because you do not have to worry about logistics. Manufacturing and product fulfillment is taken care of for you. 

The problem is that you might not be able to find a good supplier. Sure, if you go with a popular niche, then the challenge is not really there.

For example, those interested in on demand t shirt printing as their business idea have a plethora of different solid options.

But what if you come up with a business idea in a very specific niche that has next to no suppliers? Does this mean that you will need to abandon your idea and go for a popular niche that has a lot of competition? 

Encountering this particular challenge can be quite demotivating, so keep in mind that your business idea, despite feeling like it is brilliant, could be stopped before you actually start it because there are no suppliers.

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Offering Exceptional Customer Support

An average consumer grows their expectations over time, and meeting them is not possible for some brands

Because there are so many different options accessible with a few mouse clicks or taps on a smartphone, you do not have to waste time struggling to complete a purchase or find information about a product from a slow customer support department. 

From a complicated checkout process and the lack of available payment gateways to a slow website and poor mobile optimization, it is crucial to create a list of all potential problems a shopper encounters and deal with them.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who visits an online store for the first time and navigates through the website. Even a small red flag should be treated with caution and fixed as soon as possible.

It is important to remember that modern consumers do not have the patience, and they will not bother with a website that causes them problems.

Dealing With Returns and Refunds

Returns and refunds are part of the online store business. You can expect to see customers returning goods because they do not fit. 

Clothes and shoes are arguably the best examples of someone returning an order because the size was too small or large.

It is natural that returns and refunds occur. One of the biggest drawbacks of shopping online is the fact that you cannot try the goods in person before you order.

An element of risk is there, especially if you order from an online store for the first time.

Prepare for returns and refunds in advance so that you are not as struggling mentally. And once you get used to it and start treating this challenge as any other part of the business, you should be fine.

Countering Cybersecurity Threats

Thanks to available security tools, countering DDoS attacks and other threats is not that hard, though they are still a nuisance.

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Even if you own a relatively new online store with little traffic, random attacks can still happen. And the odds of becoming a target increase the moment the business starts to grow.

The competition might play dirty and try to take the website down to eliminate you.

Preparing in advance is a must because you do not want to risk losing a business. It is also worth noting that a security threat also poses a danger not just to the store itself.

If an attack exposes customer data, a business owner has to face severe consequences. 

Keeping Up With Trends and Implementing Them

As with other industries, ecommerce is also not static when it comes to trends and new technologies. 

Failing to keep up with the rest will lead to a brand falling behind. And once the competition takes you over, there is no telling how long it will take to come back.

Some of the most recent examples of ecommerce trends include:

  • Virtual reality shopping to let customers experience products in person
  • Voice shopping implementation to make ordering goods online more convenient
  • Chatbots replacing real people in customer support to have a 24/7 service
  • Advances customization to let shoppers have more freedom

Of course, these and other trends take time and money to implement. Some are still in the early stages and need polishing, but the bottom line is that trends settle down and become the norm, which means that they should be present in your online store as well.

Jonathon Spire

Jonathon Spire

Tech Blogger at Jonathon Spire

My diverse background started with my computer science degree, and later progressed to building laptops and accessories. And now, for the last 7 years, I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant.

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Jonathon Spire

I blog about a range of tech topics.

For the last 7 years I have been a social media marketing specialist and business growth consultant, so I write about those the most.

Full transparency: I do review a lot of services and I try to do it as objectively as possible; I give honest feedback and only promote services I believe truly work (for which I may or may not receive a commission) – if you are a service owner and you think I have made a mistake then please let me know in the comments section.

– Jon