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Rushing Into Ecommerce Can Lead to Costly Mistakes. Here's What You Need to Know.

The few still what's become an all-encompassing way to retail...must tread lightly.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As an online marketer, it's been heartbreaking to watch companies pull down their shutters, but let's not forget there is a silver lining: e-commerce.

Nielsen identified key consumer behavior thresholds tied to the pandemic, which provide insight on the businesses that fared best:

  • Proactive health-minded buying (purchasing preventative wellness products).

  • Reactive health management (buying protective gear like masks and hand sanitizers).

  • Pantry preparation (stockpiling groceries and household essentials).

My social media accounts were getting flooded with ads for products I could have previously only purchased in-person. It was great to see that many retailers made the effort to pivot. However, as the months went on, I noticed many of the newer online stores I came across quickly disappeared. It was then that I realized these stores' short-lived attempts at opening a digital shop may have failed because they set up their online option in haste.
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Cybersecurity concerns

When smaller retailers, who are generally not into e-commerce, suddenly immerse themselves in the space, issues such as fraud and business security become a real concern. Holes in the setup process essentially serve as back doors into the business. This serves as a gold mine for cybercriminals, as it grants them access to data worth stealing, such as customer information and sensitive details regarding payments.

With stolen credit card information comes fraudulent purchases, followed by charge-backs and returns. It's a dreadful scenario that also does a number on the reputation of brands. That explains why 73 percent of customers are increasingly worried about personal data privacy. A major selling point in the e-commerce brand communication strategy for retailers is, unsurprisingly, strong data security.

Lack of digital media savvy

Setting up an online store calls for more than just a listing of products with a single image, followed by a brief description.

All this requires a great deal of effort and cannot be achieved in one afternoon. After all, you can read every book under the sun about tennis, but you wouldn't actually be great at it without playing for an extended period. The same applies to e-commerce.

A recent survey of over 1,000 American entrepreneurs — conducted on behalf of the knowledge commerce platform, Kajabi — found that 67% of the owners polled were struggling to improve their online presence during the pandemic, but didn't know where to go for help.

Thankfully we live in times where such tasks can easily be outsourced.

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Best to leave it to the professionals

I'm a big believer in outsourcing anything that can be outsourced, so the core team can focus more on what matters. Granted, that isn't possible when funds are tight. Even so, when you factor risk management, the trade-off from seeking service via trusted outside parties is absolutely worth it.

Zissu is one of the more globally recognized services for Shopify, admired for being a one-stop-shop that helps brands do well on this well-known platform. Its list of services includes migration to Shopify, plus the development of their websites, custom features, branding, and more. These efforts are tedious and heavily draw upon tacit knowledge. When retailers opt to leave such tasks to the professionals, they can focus more on other initiatives, such as the product supply chain, finances and internal relations.

As I mentioned earlier, I've always been enthusiastic about moving efforts online as soon as possible, but if there is one thing that the pandemic taught me, it is "slow" plus "steady" equals "perfect" when ready---especially when it comes to retailers new in the journey.

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