Top E-Commerce Challenges Facing SMBs

As the e-commerce industry grows, retailers are grappling with new technology and overcoming hurdles.

  • For e-commerce companies, new technologies like augmented reality and IoT (Internet of Things) commerce have added new difficulties and factors to think about.
  • Due to the low conversion margins in e-commerce, it is essential to increase relevant visitors to your website.
  • Due to the e-commerce boom, there is intense competition, order fulfilment might be challenging, and your return policy is essential.
  • The goal of this essay is to help owners of e-commerce businesses overcome typical e-commerce obstacles.

The e-commerce market has experienced exponential growth, and by 2023, it is anticipated that global e-commerce sales would amount to $1.065 trillion. Compared to proprietors of brick-and-mortar stores, you face particular difficulties as an e-commerce business owner. Cybersecurity is a high priority in e-commerce organizations because it ensures that any data kept online is safe. E-commerce enterprises must abide by certain rules and regulations.

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We talked to professionals in the field about the difficulties that small firms engaged in e-commerce face and how to get beyond them. The top 12 problems that e-commerce business owners now encounter is listed below.

What are the top e-commerce challenges for SMBs?

E-commerce enterprises encounter challenges and obstacles in every aspect. Here are some of the most pressing concerns and solutions.


The chief information officer and co-founder of Proven Data, Victor Congionti, is aware of the necessity for small e-commerce businesses to have effective cybersecurity procedures and technologies in place.

Small firms that concentrate on the e-commerce sector require rules and processes to establish a strong cybersecurity framework for the business, according to Congionti. Because every transaction is a tenuous financial success that the company depends on, a small business cannot afford to have disruption in operations and sales in the event of a cyberattack.

Small company owners need the right cybersecurity framework, according to Congionti, since they depend on that revenue to keep data safe and secure and provide staff the confidence to apply procedures and technology to thwart intrusions. A small business’s cybersecurity risks can be reduced by taking steps like stricter access control and data security software to strengthen defences against vulnerabilities.

According to Congionti, organizations must have an incident response strategy that specifies what to do in the case of a cyberattack.

“The organization could not be able to access files and data that is critical [for] delivering service to clients, including inventory reports,” he added. The firm may continue serving customers through other channels, including phone sales, by having a response strategy in place.


Small firms face several types of competition, particularly in the e-commerce industry. You must stay on top of the aggressive pricing, goods, and services that are all vying for your target client.

Illuminate Labs founder Calloway Cook stated, “As a small firm, you can overcome pricing competition by having a very distinct corporate value proposition that consumers couldn’t obtain anywhere else.”

It is difficult to separate out from other e-commerce enterprises since the market has grown so crowded, which is your responsibility.

According to Harsha Reddy, co-founder of Small Biz Genius, “Distinction from your competition is vital to distinguishing out and acquiring new clients for your firm.” “You may do this by ensuring that your website appears professional and is adequately optimized to comply with the current Google algorithm. Additionally, you may concentrate on a narrower audience and boost your domain authority by offering a distinctive good or service.

3.Order fulfillment

Not everything needs to be the responsibility of the small business owner. Orders may arrive in greater volume than you are equipped to manage on your own. In this situation, outsourcing order fulfilment and delivery for online stores can reduce your effort and improve the client experience.

For more efficiency, Cook recommended outsourcing order fulfilment to a third-party organization wherever possible.

4.Customer experience

You could find it difficult to provide your consumers with the same degree of experience they would have in a brick-and-mortar store if your company primarily engages in e-commerce or engages in limited online selling.

Pricing and client segmentation are two of the most neglected aspects of the consumer experience when switching to e-commerce, according to George Dunham, CEO of pea CUBE. Customers want to be treated equally well or even better when shopping online, thus this is especially crucial when starting an e-commerce endeavour.

According to Dunham, businesses find it difficult to satisfy these new needs since doing so calls for careful management of pricing, analytics, and client segmentation. The same, if not more, clarity in product offers, pricing, loyalty programmes, and other areas is necessary for successful e-commerce experiences as it is for in-person transactions.

In a world when everything is done online, clients have higher expectations and are more knowledgeable about your products, prices, and rivals, according to Dunham. They expect to be treated equally whether they are shopping online or in person, so if they can obtain a specific price in person but not online, they become irritated and shop elsewhere.

5.Quality website traffic and visitor conversion

According to Lisa Chu, owner of Black N Bianco, creating excellent conversions is significantly harder to do than planning, building, and managing an e-commerce website.

“You need to have a website that is current, clean, user-friendly, trustworthy, and virus-free,” Chu stated in order to convert your traffic into paying clients. Understanding your audience is essential to building a website that appeals to them because every sector is unique.

But creating a successful company website is just the start. The last, and maybe most crucial, step is to optimize the content on your website using SEO.

Driving appropriate visitors to your website might be difficult because the average conversion rates worldwide are less than 3%, according to Phillip McCluskey, commercial director of One Earth.

He advised conducting extensive short-tail keyword research to make sure that your sites were optimized for relevant search phrases. Since it’s probable that the competition for these keywords won’t immediately result in web traffic when they’re first introduced, long-tail keyword research should be carried out to identify the pertinent “what,” “how,” “who,” and “where” in your niche.

According to Shirley Tan, manager of developer partnerships at Yahoo Small Business, many companies formerly adopted the theory that if they built an online store, buyers would eventually find it. “That is no longer the situation today. They might have been able to rely on the stumble-upon effect when there were fewer e-commerce sites, but now the internet is too busy and noisy. As a result, consumer engagement and attention-grabbing strategies need to be more effective.

Tan advised e-commerce SMBs to identify their target market in order to build a client base that would serve as a consistent source of income and a foundation of devoted customers in order to compete in the loud online marketplace.


If people can’t discover your site, how are you going to attract quality traffic and convert site visitors into customers? It’s a serious problem for online retailers and one that might make or kill a company.

It’s doubtful that potential clients will find a firm if it doesn’t appear on the first page of Google’s search results for pertinent terms, according to GeoJango Maps marketing and SEO professional Michael Anderson. “Investing in SEO is the greatest method to solve this difficulty. E-commerce businesses should perform keyword research, use best practices for on-page SEO, and try to increase the number of high-quality links pointing to their website.

According to Anderson, if everything above is done correctly, it will result in increased search exposure and improved lead production.

According to Nicholas Rub right, a digital marketing specialist at e-commerce market research firm Zik Analytics, “influencer marketing works very well for clothing businesses, but if your e-commerce business is based around a product that solves a problem, getting your website to rank on Google for keywords related to that problem through SEO efforts might be your best bet.” To determine which marketing channel will provide traffic that really turns into sales, it is essential to understand your demographic.

7.Return and refund policies

The success or failure of an endeavour may depend on the quality of the return and refund policy. Although that seems severe, it is real.

According to Syed Ali Hasan, digital marketing manager at Film Jackets, “if you want your brand to stand strong, then customer happiness should be the main concern, and whatever you’re selling should be the same as what’s stated.”

Yes, there would never be a problem with the item you’re selling in an ideal world, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes the consumer has buyer’s remorse or discovers that the item isn’t what they expected.

Be open and establish a simple, quick, and easy return policy, said Hasan. So that the client won’t experience difficulties returning an item, make the policy simple to grasp and not overly restrictive.

People are less inclined to believe you are selling anything worthwhile if you don’t have a decent return and refund policy, according to Rub right. “Since online businesses might be less well-known, when a site advertises “no returns or refunds,” the buyer is far more inclined to believe it to be a dangerous purchase or, worse, a fraud.

8.Finding the right market

Finding product-market fit is the first step in every organization, and this is also true of online shopping, according to Rub right. “The degree to which a product meets market demand is known as product-market fit. The fastest method to find that fit is to create a solution that addresses an issue you are experiencing.

Finding the ideal market for your goods is not an easy feat, though. Rub right provided several suggestions on how to make it simpler.

If you haven’t yet identified your ideal client, I advise making some educated guesses about your target market and running Facebook advertising to this group. When you do, attempt to learn as much as you can about the customer who purchased your goods and use every trick in the book to track down more of them. When you have a firm grasp of product-market fit, you can determine the most effective strategy for connecting with your target audience.

9.Making and increasing sales

Making sales comes next once you’ve decided on your items, put up your website, and created a small company marketing strategy. It may appear simple to create a sales strategy and sell your goods and services, but it’s not always that easy.

“E-commerce can boost sales.” SMBs must have the right product at the appropriate pricing and make sure they are at the forefront of the customer’s mind when the time comes to make a purchase, according to Tan. This traffic might be challenging to attract; in order to increase sales, a brand must win over its target audience.

In addition to customers remembering you when they need something and being enthusiastic about your goods, your website has a significant impact on the number of sales you’ll make.

Tan advised you to evaluate your website’s effectiveness by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is it simple to browse the website’s design?
  • Is the checkout process straightforward and easy?
  • Are there any coupons that can be used to receive a discount when clients spend a particular amount?

These kinds of website features, according to Tan, may significantly boost conversions and improve the user experience.

10.Borderless e-commerce

Shopping has grown borderless as a result of the rise in e-commerce websites that are accessible internationally. Customers may simply make purchases from businesses located outside of their own nations. E-commerce companies must thus accommodate clients from diverse backgrounds.

Information in a variety of languages must be made available to cater to a broad consumer base. According to CSA Research, 33% of online buyers could abandon the basket if prices are only shown in U.S. dollars, and 76% would prefer to buy things with information in their own language and local currency.

When integrating multiple languages and cultures, apply thinking and attention to increase your chances of having a successful online store.

11.Augmented reality

By 2025, it is anticipated that the augmented reality (AR) market would be worth $198 billion. AR enables online retailers to show customers how a product will look in their environment. For instance, AR can make it easier for someone to see the couch they are buying in their living room.

Because it gives customers additional assurance that the product will look nice in their homes, this visualization tool frequently helps them finalize their choice to buy.

If the AR model would be compatible with your items, you could choose to integrate this technology into your online store.

12.IoT commerce

Consumers often use Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as smart speakers, vehicles, appliances, and other smart gadgets, to make digital transactions. Business owners may speed up product distribution to additional channels in the present API economy. E-commerce companies must concentrate on their PIM in order to be prepared to answer to API queries and sell through unusual channels in order to support this new method of purchasing.

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