Entirely basing ones business in the online realm leaves it highly susceptible to competition. Low overhead costs(such as web hosting and hiring a web designer) associated with a company based online means it's extremely easy for other people to start their own rival business. An online business mandates a cutting edge competitive advantage to survive. E-commerce sites are also more vulnerable to malicious attacks(such as DoS attacks) than brick and mortar stores, and any downtime suffered by a site severely limits their revenue.
Businesses also have to compete for the trust of their clients, because in essence by shopping online one is handing out his or her personal info to someone they can't nor will likely ever see. Data can be stolen from companies' databanks resulting in identity theft and fraudulent charges. Despite these disadvantages e-commerce sites face, in the end the desired result is achieved; shopping is made more convenient for everybody.
Although there are many perks to making purchases online, here are things to keep aware of.
- Shipping and handling - prices and waiting. There is no doubt that the shipping process can be a disadvantage. Whether you're a e-customer (paying extra for postage), or the seller (shipping the product out), there will always be that online crutch where a brick & mortar store will succeed.
- Product details - before the purchase. When a shopper browses the web for a product, it becomes very difficult to make decisions based on the feel or wear of the product. Hopefully, the seller will provide with enough details on the item before you click that ADD TO CART button.
- Fraud and/or identity theft. Among the millions (if not billions) of those who shop online, many are aware of the possible credit card theft out there. After all, when making purchases, we - as consumers - give out our credit card information, home address, and more to databases on the net. A healthy tip to keep in mind is always ensure that your browser indicates a secure connection when entering personal or payment information. Do not trust locks or other icons on web pages themselves.
- Returns Another disadvantage for consumers is not being able to see and touch goods in person before purchasing them. This is definitely a downside to shopping online. Some click-and mortar stores, such as Old Navy, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, eliminate this concern by allowing consumers to return merchandise they order online to a local store in order to avoid return shipping charges.
- Spending more money An additional disadvantage in shopping online is you may spend more money than you have. If you keep spending money you don’t have, you will have a huge amount of debt. Another disadvantage in e-commerce is you have to wait for your product. Yes, you can get your product cheaper but you have to wait for it to arrive in the mail.
As the industry to e-commerce keeps growing and it may seem that there are many advantages to e-commerce, there are also many disadvantages.
⋅Many goods cannot be purchased on-line.
⋅E-commerce does not allow buyers to view items in reality.
⋅Ecommerce does not allow buyers to have the item right away; buyers have to wait for the item to be shipped.
⋅An E-commerce website can be setup by anyone.
⋅Some E-commerce websites might not all be secure. Many E-commerce sites can obtain credit card information and may lead to fraud, or identity theft.
⋅E-commerce does not provide that personal help that buyers may have at the actual store.
Reference: Ajeet, Khurana. “Disadvantages of E-commerce”. About.com. Web. 21 Mar 2013. http://ecommerce.about.com/od/eCommerce-Basics/a/Disadvantages-Of-Ecommerce.htm