Practical Solutions to Common E-Commerce Challenges


Every online retailer today faces problems. Here are 21 common e-commerce challenges that businesses face and the practical solutions to fix them.

Online Retailers are Facing Increasing E-Commerce Challenges

The online shopping industry has been growing at an incredible rate, and so have e-commerce challenges. By 2040, 95% of purchases will be made online, so now is the right time for retailers to face e-commerce challenges and find solutions.

For example, the rise of digitalization has transformed how online retailers operate. Although the online approach has made shopping easier for consumers, it has also brought unique problems for e-commerce companies, such as website optimization and service over multiple digital touchpoints.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, society’s loss was e-commerce’s gain. Sales soared, business boomed, and vast swathes of the globe, forced to stay inside, turned to online shopping to ease their cabin fever.

Now, in 2023, the tables have turned. As the world edges its way to post-pandemic freedom, e-commerce is becoming an increasingly challenging market to stand out in. Small businesses, going up against more prominent retailers in the areas of price, delivery times, and refund policies, are struggling to compete. What other pitfalls lay in wait?

To help you, we’ve created a list of 21 common e-commerce challenges and their corresponding  solutions.

The 21 Common Challenges in E-Commerce

1. Cyber and Data Security

One of the biggest challenges is security breaches. A lot of information and data is involved while dealing with e-commerce, and a security issue with data can severely damage a retailer’s daily operations and brand image.


Be vigilant and always back up your data. Apart from that, you can install security plugins on your website to prevent it from getting hacked. There are several plugins out there. Pick one that works best for your e-commerce website.

2. Online Identity Verification

When a shopper visits an e-commerce site, how does the retailer know whether the person is who they say they are? Is the shopper entering accurate information? Is the shopper genuinely interested in e-commerce products?

How do you proceed if you do not have accurate details or information? Well, it does become tricky. The solution would be to invest in online identity verification.


There are different ways to incorporate online identity verification. Some examples include biometrics, AI, single sign-on, one-time password, and two-factor authentication.

3. Revamping Selling Tactics

One of the most pressing customer service issues in e-commerce is catching up to modern customer expectations. But unfortunately, many companies lack insight into customer behavior and buying patterns.


Consider offering your products in prominent marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. These ecommerce sites already have a vast network of buyers, so pitching and branding your product (and figuring out what works and what doesn’t) becomes somewhat more straightforward.

Also, segment your data. Visitor segmentation allows ecommerce companies to identify and communicate with visitors based on their customer journey, past conversations, geographical location, browsing behavior, referral page, and other factors.

4. Attracting the Perfect Customer

Shoppers have a myriad of options to choose from these days. If they want to buy a handbag, they can do some thorough research before choosing a particular bag. If shoppers have several options, how can you ensure they’ll pick you? How do you go about finding that perfect customer who wants your product, at your rate and who lives in a place you can ship your product to?


Partner with companies that help you target your customers. Digital marketing is preferred over traditional marketing because it can target your ideal customers. While such partnering might not happen overnight, with A/B testing, finetuning, and analysis, your products could be noticed by potential customers on different social media platforms.

5. Improving the Customer Experience

Customer experience or user experience is critical to a successful e-commerce website. Shoppers expect a similar, if not the same, experience as they would get in a brick-and-mortar store. Therefore, the flow of the website, the segmentation of the website, and the retail personalization of products based on  shoppers’ preferences are imperative.


There are several ways to improve user experience. The most important would be to have a clean and straightforward website so shoppers can navigate easily. Next, have clear CTAs (calls-to-action) so that your shoppers knows what to do.

6. Increasing Customer Loyalty

Without customer trust and loyalty, your business will struggle. But, acquiring and maintaining customers requires massive effort.

One of the reasons e-commerce businesses face a challenge in building customer trust and loyalty is that, often, the seller and buyer don’t know or can’t see each other, which makes interactions less personable.

This e-commerce challenge takes time and effort to overcome. But, across multiple transactions, eventually, a company can build trust and loyalty.


These are a few different methods to retain customers. The first is excellent customer service – a customer is happy to have purchased a great product, but they are ecstatic when the customer service is on-point.

The next step is to keep in touch with a customer through a method they like – email, SMS, or blog posts, for example – to find out what works best for them.

Finally, you can let them know about new products, sales promotions, and special coupon codes for being such loyal customers.

In addition, you should also consider the following.

  • Display your address, phone number, pictures of staff, customer testimonials, and credibility badges on your website.
  • Create valuable content.
  • Make customer service a priority over profit.
  • Ask for customer feedback.
  • Refine loyalty programs.

7. Converting Shoppers Into Paying Customers

One of the biggest e-commerce challenges is converting visitors into paying customers. An e-commerce website might have a lot of traffic, clicks, and impressions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s making sales. So what can you do to get more sales?


The first and foremost solution would be to understand why your shoppers aren’t converting. Are you targeting the right audience? Is your mobile website working seamlessly? Do your online platforms face technical challenges all the time? Does your customer base trust you? Do you personalize your website for your customers?

Always think from a shopper’s perspective, and see if you are doing everything possible to convert them into paying customers.

8. Facing Increasing Online Competition

Many online stores bulk buy products wholesale from manufacturers or distributors, selling them online. This strategy is the primary business model for e-commerce, and it is a low barrier to entry.

But product manufacturers and retailers have also started selling directly to consumers. As a result, the same company that sells your products may also be your competitor. For example, ABC Clothing sells directly to your online marketplace, as well as you consumers, on its website. Even some manufacturers create distributors, which can make the situation worse.


You can’t stop manufacturers from selling products directly to customers, but there are a few tactics to try.

  • First, give priority to manufacturers less likely to sell directly to customers.
  • Offer your product at a low price or with additional benefits to increase sales.
  • Prevent a manufacturer from selling your product directly to customers by setting this out in your  contract with them. It will not be possible for every manufacturer, but you can work with smaller ones in this way.

9. Competing on Price and Shipping Costs

We have all heard of customers who prefer to purchase products from places with free shipping. E-commerce giants such as Amazon provide such attractive shipping deals that customers seldom want to look at other sites. So how does you bring down costs for shipping?


While all e-commerce sites cannot completely get rid of shipping costs, always look to find options that work for your customer base. For example, would a subscription reduce the cost of shipping? Would a specific time of the month give them lower shipping costs? Or is there a carrier that is reliable but offers a cheaper rate? Be sure to research and find the best possible solution for your shoppers.

10. Reducing Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge e-commerce business challenge. But, unfortunately, even e-commerce giants are not immune to it.

For instance, when brick-and-mortar heavyweight Nordstrom started an e-commerce portal, they witnessed significant opportunity losses in e-commerce sales from abandoned carts. In addition, the tedious and bug-filled checkout process was causing customers to flee mid-purchase. Online retailers can’t ignore such a problem.


A few simple solutions can significantly improve your shopping cart conversion rate. First, consider redesigning your shopping cart. Next, fix bugs and remove excessive steps or unnecessarily long forms. Finally, offer instant help tools that customers can use if they get stuck.

Visual tools can also help address customer queries during the checkout process, such as a progress bar indicating the stage in the checkout process.

11. Product Return and Refund Policies

According to Invesp, 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase. When an e-commerce site says “no returns or refunds,” it makes a shopper nervous and less likely to trust the retailer. When shopping online, customers want the flexibility of making a mistake that doesn’t cost them.


Customer satisfaction is the most crucial factor for any retailer. Therefore having a flexible return and refund policy not only helps with customer satisfaction but also helps customers make purchases without being nervous.

12. Providing Customer Support

With the scale of e-commerce increasing rapidly and the rising number of users facing everyday issues with e-commerce services, customer support has been augmented with chatbots, which enable faster processing and response to tickets. However, many customers feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with automated answers from chatbots.


The solution to this e-commerce challenge is relatively simple: e-commerce companies should utilize a combination of technology and human assistance to deal with customer support by tagging specific issues that require human help and distinguishing such issues from queries that a chatbot can handle.

13. Cross-Border E-Commerce

A lot of e-commerce sites tend to stagnate due to a lack of interaction with customers outside their geographical and linguistic range. As a result, users that do not speak the primary language used on the site tend to look for other retailers that can offer them a better user experience. Moreover, differences in pricing, tax rates, and other conditions deter users from purchasing across borders.


Implementing a multi-lingual site for customers who do not speak your site’s primary language can significantly attract customers and improve your conversion rates. In addition, using technology to enable easy conversion of currencies and appropriately taxing the products will also significantly contribute to growth.

14. Tight Marketing Budgets

With digital marketing becoming the norm for most e-commerce businesses, more companies are flocking toward their digital and social media ad spends. Unfortunately, with the demand for clicks and virtual advertising space increasing, so is the price.

As a result, online marketing can become very expensive for small and medium-sized retailers, which is one of the biggest e-commerce challenges they face.


Create specific customer profiles that will help your business target your social media audience and significantly improve the return on investment on your digital ads.

15. Going Omnichannel

Selling your products through multiple channels increases your overall revenue and average order value (AOV). A customer who shops on multiple channels is likely to spend three times more than the average customer.

However, if not done right, some channels might lead to losses if they don’t attract the right customers and the required number of customers.


Use the data you receive from your different channels to identify the top performers. pOptimize them for your customers, and reduce your spending on the platforms that do not gain the traction you need.

16. Data Privacy

Customers today know the importance of their data and the need for data privacy. Manufacturers such as Apple are going the extra mile to ensure that their users’ data is kept safe from third parties. However, user data can also enable platforms to provide a better user experience.


Collect Zero-party data, where your customers will intentionally and voluntarily share their data with your brand, as opposed to collecting third-party data, which is what customers these days are highly cautious about.

17. Logistics

Companies worldwide are affected by supply chain issues every year. Given that it is a layered process, problems and errors can occur at multiple steps, leading to added expenses and delays.


Gain visibility of your entire supply chain. Supply chain visibility enables you to track your inventory accurately and establish a transparent communication system that can help you stay up-to-date with different parts of the supply chain process. This challenge is one of those e-commerce challenges that require extra time and effort but, overcoming it is essential.

18. Store Agility

How rapidly can you roll out new features and post and market fresh content? Due to the rapid evolution of e-commerce, you must implement an agile company model. Staying relevant and up-to-date with trends is crucial for e-commerce businesses to survive, thrive, and provide their customers with the best possible user experience.


Agility is more of a process than a solution. Ensure that your team is adaptable and has procedures to deal with internal and external changes to enable quick decision-making.

19. Meeting Consumer Expectations

Modern consumers are increasingly aware of new technology and the exposure to multiple brands and services that it brings . The modern consumer has high expectations for the products and services they pay for and is constantly looking for better experiences.


If you wish to solve this problem for your e-commerce business, a thorough awareness of contemporary web design trends is required. In addition, a careful examination of current trends will enable you to both recognize the adjustments your company needs to make and assist in making them.

20. E-Commerce User Experience

This e-commerce challenge might come across as surprising – but the design and placement of essential elements, such as navigation bars, tabs, and other elements on your website can significantly impact your conversions and sales. This is because your user interface influences your customers’ experience of your site. Users tend to be wary of e-commerce stores they cannot easily navigate.


Constantly improve your user interface design (UI,) utilize A/B tests to understand what designs your customers respond well to, and remove any unnecessary hindrances that hamper your users from fully engaging with your site.

21. Sustainability

According to Capgemini, 64% of consumers say that buying sustainable products makes them happy about their purchases (this figure reaches 72% in the 25-35 age group).

Retailers are now incentivized to market their goods and delivery services as having a low environmental impact due to increasing attention on sustainability issues.


Improve the efficiency of your supply chains and identify critical areas where you can reduce your carbon footprint for a reduced environmental impact.

E-Commerce Challenges Can Be Opportunities

Surviving fierce e-commerce competition requires outstanding strategies. Be prepared to address all possible e-commerce challenges and focus on building a customer-centric culture. That way, you may address customer service issues, find what makes your customers tick, and offer them an online shopping experience they’ll remember.

As with any era, 2023 – and the years to follow – will present a range of challenges, both new and age-old. E-Commerce businesses are facing up to not only increasing pressures within their sector but also  broader societal, economic, and political forces. And while technology continues to present opportunities for online store owners, it also creates many potholes and pitfalls.

This post highlights the 21 most common e-commerce challenges online retailers face today and how, in each case, you can overcome these obstacles head-on. We are here to help!

Are You Facing Common E-Commerce Challenges?

Are you interested in selling your products online but unsure how to overcome common e-commerce challenges? Our professional e-commerce designers will be happy to help you with this. But first, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.

Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your e-commerce web design needs, reach out to us! We offer a full range of consulting and design solutions for businesses and product brands.

And if you are unsure how to overcome e-commerce challenges, let’s talk! We will listen to you, answer your questions, and help you meet the expectations of demanding online consumers!

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For more content relevant to your business or product brand, check out the range of articles on our web design blog. (This one, explaining how fixing e-commerce design mistakes increases sales, is an excellent place to start!)

Thank you! We appreciate your help ending bad business websites, one pixel at a time!

By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO