5 Common E-commerce Issues and Challenges [And How To Overcome Them]

e-commerce issues and challenges

It doesn’t matter if you are running a 100% online store or you are trying to integrate e-commerce into your brick-and-mortar business. There are a fair share of e-commerce issues and challenges you will have to overcome if you want to succeed.

Let’s look at 5 of the most common obstacles and what you can do to overcome them.

#1 Protecting Customer Information

The e-commerce industry is the most targeted by online criminals, encompassing 32% of all cyberattacks. That’s more than banks and money transfer companies.

The numbers shouldn’t be too surprising, though. The advent of platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify, which make building an e-commerce store super simple, has brought on a wave of eager entrepreneurs.

You just have to be wary that your eagerness doesn’t lead to recklessness. Take these standard steps to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your customers’ sensitive information:

  • Keep your software updated. Plugins, themes, and other integrated software can develop vulnerabilities over time. Be sure to stay up to date with the latest patches, and avoid relying on software that is no longer supported.
  • Monitor for threats. Ensure that you are using something to automatically monitor your site for malicious traffic and vulnerabilities. A lot of big platforms like Shopify have this built in already. If you are working in self-hosted WordPress, though, you’ll want to install a plugin like Wordfence to protect yourself and customers.
  • Comply with security and privacy standards. GDPR regulations ensure that you aren’t collecting any customer data without their consent. And PCI-DSS are the standards to collect payment in a manner that protects credit card information from being leaked.


Not sure how to secure your site? Find a professional web developer on Legiit to get the job done right.

#2 Handling Refunds and Returns

Refunds and returns are a bummer.

Plain and simple.

But they are also a fact of life. An unavoidable piece of the e-commerce puzzle.

So you just have to accept that they will happen, do what you can to avoid them, and make them as painless as possible when they do happen.

The first step is prevention. Whatever niche you are in, figure out likely causes of returns and do something to mitigate them. 

Clothing, for example, has notoriously high return rates because of improper fitting. So if you sell clothing, you would want to create detailed sizing guides and make them easy for customers to find before ordering.

Once you have taken steps to prevent returns, next you need to make the actual process as painless as possible for you and your customers. According to one report, 92% of customers said they would re-purchase a product if the return process was easy.

So, the smoother you make returns, the more likely you are to be able to save the sale. Consider these and similar steps:

  • Offer free return shipping (if reasonable).
  • Provide printable mailing labels for returns.
  • Make your return policy and procedure easy to locate.
  • Train your customer service to treat returns as sales opportunities.

#3 Creating Unique Product Descriptions

Let’s face it. Writing product descriptions is a pain.

If you’re in a micro niche and only selling a couple dozen products, you might be able to buckle down and get the job done.

But once you’re selling 50, 100, or even hundreds of different products, it is unmanageable for a single person to do it all.

And while you could just stick with the manufacturer descriptions, there are definitely benefits to writing your own unique ones.

writing product descriptions

For starters, manufacturer descriptions aren’t usually SEO-optimized. Drafting your own product write ups allows you fine tune them to be more likely to rank well in Google.

Additionally, custom sales copy will help you stand out from the competition and increase your conversion rates.

If you have more product descriptions to write than you can handle, don’t go it alone. Divide the work up among your employees and assistants. 

If you haven’t built up much of a team yet or they are already spread thin, there are plenty of freelance writers who specialize in product descriptions. Since they do it so often, they can likely produce content much more efficiently than if you tried to handle it in-house.

#4 Converting Traffic To Sales

Product descriptions will only go so far when it comes to convincing visitors to buy.

And if you are spending money on ads, poor conversion rates can be incredibly demoralizing. Your ad account gets more and more drained, but your sales stay stagnant.

Try these conversion rate optimization hacks if your traffic just isn’t buying:

  • Get your page load speed as low as possible to prevent people from bouncing away.
  • Add trust badges that ease a customer’s worried mind, such as an SSL icon, payment badges, and Better Business Bureau accreditation.
  • Ensure your site is 100% free of glitches, spelling errors, and other signs of unprofessionalism.
  • Make your website as modern and mobile-friendly as possible.


Find E-Commerce Conversion Optimization Specialists

#5 Keeping Up With The Competition

E-commerce can be a competitive market. You are literally fighting against businesses all around the world.

If you are running a small niche site or a single product dropshipping store, it can seem almost impossible to compete with the massive stores. They are doing sales on such volume that they afford lower prices and free shipping.

But it isn’t impossible to carve out a successful space for yourself in online retail. Here are strategies that other entrepreneurs are using to keep up with even the biggest competition:

  • Niche-down to find a product that demands specialty. You will be competing with less big box stores if your clientele are used to salespeople with expert knowledge.
  • Sell products of suppliers who enforce minimum advertised price (MAP). If all of your suppliers enforce MAP, you know that you won’t have to compete on price.
  • Offer free shipping if you can make it profitable. One way to ensure you don’t lose money on a sale is to offer free shipping on orders over a certain total. In fact, one survey found that 30% of shoppers always add more to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping.

You Don’t Have To Go It Alone

It takes a lot of work to overcome these e-commerce issues and challenges. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it all yourself.

Legiit features e-commerce freelance experts who can help you solve all these problems and more. Check out the services they are offering today!

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