Ecommerce is one of the most important factors shaping the retail space at present. Many e-commerce companies have come up all over the world and people are now buying many different types of products online. But despite its recent success, there are still some basic limitations to online retailing.
Some Limitations Of E-commerce:
- Security – one of the biggest issues with e-commerce is the question of safety. In order to make their purchases online, customers have to provide some financial information like their credit/debit card number or their bank account details. Digital criminals are hacking into e-commerce databases and stealing this customer data in order to siphon money out of customers’ accounts. Fake and fraudulent e-commerce sites have also come up with the sole purpose of stealing customer data. E-commerce sites are now trying to overcome this problem by introducing layers of encryption into their payment portals to protect against hacking and data leaks.
- Lack of privacy – another major reason that deters many customers from shopping online is the lack of privacy involved in e-commerce. On most e-commerce websites customers need to provide their basic personal details like name, their age, their gender, their address. These details are also sometimes sold by unscrupulous business owners and used for various illegal purposes.
- Difficult to build confidence- the concept of e-commerce rests on the idea that customers will book their products and those will be delivered to their address. But many customers still fear that their products will not reach them on time or in proper condition. It is very difficult for an e-commerce retailer to convince their customers that their products will be delivered to them after they have made their payment online. So many cash on delivery services or post-delivery payment options are being introduced. Customer reviews and testimonials are also heavily publicized in order to build brand reputation.
- Products may not match- in e-commerce shopping customers have to choose their purchases by looking at pictures. They do not get to touch or see the products in real life before making the purchase. So at the time of delivery many customers are very disappointed and feel that their products do not match the advertised picture exactly. In case of clothing or other size-sensitive products, the customer may find that the product is the incorrect size at the time of delivery. E-commerce retailers are trying to remove this obstacle to online shopping by providing customers the opportunity for free and easy returns if their products do not match their expectations.
- High levels of technical skills- in case of e-commerce the business model is almost completely reliant on a website or a mobile application. This platform needs to be able to handle traffic, take orders, process payments and give customers confirmation about their purchase. So in case of any glitches in the website, it requires high levels of technical skill to solve the problem. In case of start-ups which are not headed by technically skilled entrepreneurs it becomes extremely difficult to solve these problems without hiring some skilled professionals. Hiring and retaining a team of software professionals is one of the biggest expenses of e-commerce retailers.
The e-commerce market is booming at present. Billions of dollars are being spent by customers all over the globe to make purchases online- whether it is recreational products, digital gadgets, or even everyday groceries. But this kind of online shopping experience also has its own disadvantages. But industry experts are working tirelessly to overcome these problems. The cultural biases and lack of acceptance for online shopping are also gradually being eroded as more and more people all over the world get exposure to the internet and its benefits. In spite of all its flaws and limitations e-commerce is no way expected to see a decline in the coming years.