Doing business, no matter what it is, doesn’t come without risks—especially when selling online. While the internet has broken barriers for entrepreneurs, it also opens doors to different dangers that can arise when they least expect it.
For those who want to test the waters online, knowing what these dangers are from the get-go will help them prepare their business for the worst. Here are seven of the most common online threats entrepreneurs face today:
Whether businesses sell products or services, they can get sued for virtually anything if they’re not careful. When it comes to e-commerce intellectual property, there are two things to be concerned about:
- Safeguarding one’s own intellectual property
- Violating others’ intellectual property
The former teaches businesses to protect their own intellectual property before disclosing it to the public. The latter tells them to only use someone else’s intellectual property if they have permission or if it’s under public domain or covered under fair use.
Otherwise, businesses should use—and protect—their own property, which includes logos, images, product descriptions, and everything else that’s on their website.
Contrary to popular belief, cybercriminals don’t only target the big guns in the industry. In fact, hackers target small businesses since they’re the most unprepared for cyberattacks.
Some of the most common cyberthreats include the following:
- Data theft
- Content hijacking
- Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)
For online businesses, it’s important to invest in cybersecurity measures to keep these threats at bay. Web-hosting providers often offer security services to bulletproof websites from potential attacks.
There are tons of reasons customers may want to ask for a return or charge-back. It can be due to the use of a stolen credit card, the order not arriving on time or meeting customer expectations, or the wrong product was shipped.
Whatever the reason, entrepreneurs should be prepared to handle such disputes. If a charge-back is proven valid, it’s an added cost and stress on their end, so it’s best to keep disputes at a minimum.
Product Warehousing and Logistics
Another factor that can cause an increase in customer disputes is having problems with warehousing and logistics. When there isn’t an efficient system in place, this can lose businesses time, money, and customer satisfaction.
Here’s a fact: 52 percent of shoppers prefer guaranteed delivery dates over free shipping. This means it’s crucial for businesses to partner with a trusted logistics company that values and exudes promptness.
Selling on E-commerce Platforms
For small-business owners, selling their products online is possible even without having a website. There are e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, that allow them to sell their products without worrying about warehousing and logistic blunders.
These platforms already have a stringent system in place that features smart inventory allocation, intelligent order routing, and demand forecasting. This means goods are sent to buyers faster and cheaper than any other option.
It’s no news that the competition is tough in the online sphere. Whenever a demand for a certain product arises, competitors are quick to cater to the need—and even end up ripping off your offerings.
There’s not much that entrepreneurs can do to get rid of these threats. After all, competition can be healthy too. A business can’t flourish without competition. This only means there is no demand for their product or service.
The only way to get through it is to find an industry that has potential from the start. Often, it’s one that has some competition but spread out across different small businesses. This means the demand is there, and they can even become an industry leader in the future.
Social Media Scrutiny
Almost everyone is on social media. This means that every post or tweet a business makes is under the scrutiny of around 3.8 billion social media users globally. One single mistake, be it a misuse of a term or uploading an offensive image, can take a small business down.
Entrepreneurs should double-check what they publish online if they want to connect with their audience—and keep them in the long run. It also helps to build a strong social-media policy, especially if a marketing team is present.
Take the Risk
There are always risks in anything worth pursuing. Facing a ton of challenges doesn’t set up a business for failure. The only thing that’s keeping them from succeeding is not trying. So learn about these risks, and prepare to face them head-on.