5 disadvantages of ecommerce business

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Disadvantages of ecommerce: Recognising these disadvantages gives you a head start to overcoming the drawbacks and pitfalls of selling online and the best chance of success.

In the dynamic world of retail, e-commerce has emerged as a vibrant and booming sector, offering a plethora of opportunities for both budding and established entrepreneurs.

While the journey is often marked with excitement and potential, it’s essential to approach it with a well-rounded perspective. While many are quick to highlight the numerous advantages, it’s equally vital to consider the potential hurdles that lie ahead.

In this blog post, we aim to shed light on some of the significant disadvantages of e-commerce, offering a nuanced view that can help you navigate this bustling landscape with informed foresight.


  • Ecommerce Disadvantage #1 – Technical Implications
  • Ecommerce Disadvantage #2 – competition within the ecommerce industry
  • Ecommerce Disadvantage #3 – missing personal touch and instore engagement
  • Ecommerce Disadvantage #4 – customers can’t try before they buy
  • Disadvantage #5 – shipping times

Disadvantage #1 – technical implications



In the digital realm, safeguarding sensitive data becomes a paramount concern. As business owners, it’s crucial to be technically adept to ensure the safety and security of your online platform. The exchange of personal information, including card details and addresses, necessitates robust security measures. EKM steps up to this challenge by offering trusted payment gateway solutions and a complimentary SSL certificate, instilling confidence in your customers that their data is well-protected.

SEO Challenges

Achieving visibility in the crowded online marketplace is no small feat. It demands a deep understanding of SEO dynamics and a commitment to continual optimization. The task, while rewarding, requires a blend of technical knowledge and time investment, which can sometimes be a steep curve for newcomers in the industry.

Tools and Integrations

The e-commerce landscape is intricately woven with various tools and integrations that facilitate seamless operations. However, the reliance on technology can sometimes be a double-edged sword. Technical glitches and compatibility issues can disrupt the smooth functioning of your online store, leading to potential customer dissatisfaction and loyalty issues. Moreover, managing stock levels across multiple platforms can be a complex task, with errors potentially snowballing into costly alternatives and refunds.

Disadvantage #2 – competition within the ecommerce industry


Market Saturation

The UK’s e-commerce sector is bustling, with a surge of new entrants capitalising on the relatively lower barriers to entry compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. This ease of entry, however, has led to a saturated market, where standing out amidst a sea of competitors, both local and global, becomes a significant challenge.

Advertising Competition

In the UK’s vibrant e-commerce landscape, securing prime advertising slots is becoming increasingly competitive and costly. The challenge extends beyond just establishing a unique selling proposition; it involves carving out a distinctive space in a market where customers are spoilt for choice. According to Feedvisor, a staggering 89 percent of buyers are more inclined to purchase products from established platforms like Amazon, making the competition even fiercer for emerging e-commerce sites in the UK.

If you are struggling to think of ideas then we have 7 ecommerce business ideas you can do from anywhere. Just be sure to think of ways you can stand out from the competition and offer something unique that other sellers cannot.

Disadvantage #3 – missing personal touch and instore engagement

pottery hand made ecommerce platform

Consumer Psychology

One of the pronounced disadvantages of ecommerce is the absence of personal interaction, a facet that many UK shoppers cherish. Despite the convenience of online shopping, there exists a segment of consumers who prefer the tactile experience of retail shopping, where they can see and feel products firsthand.

Customer Service Challenges

Providing personalised customer service online can be a complex endeavour. While tools like live chat and email support offer a semblance of personal interaction, they often fall short of the genuine engagement experienced in physical stores. EKM bridges this gap to an extent by offering integrations with platforms like Facebook Messenger and tawk.io, fostering a more interactive and responsive customer service experience.

Disadvantage #4 – customers can’t try before they buy

ecommerce disadvantages

High Return Rates

The inability to try products before purchasing is a notable drawback in the e-commerce sector, often leading to higher return rates. Businesses need to factor in the potential costs associated with returns, striving to offset this through exceptional customer service and accurate product descriptions.

Virtual Try-Ons

However, the industry is witnessing a transformative phase with the advent of augmented reality (AR). This technology allows customers to visualise products more vividly, offering a 3D representation through their phone cameras.

Despite this being relatively new technology for ecommerce businesses, there are a range of online ecommerce businesses using this. For example Sephora allows you to try on makeup virtually. IKEA also allows you to virtually see the furniture in your room before checking out. 

These are just a few examples of how technology is reducing the disadvantages of starting an ecommerce business. Closing the gap between the highstreet and online shopping.

Disadvantage #5 – shipping times


Logistical Challenges

In the fast-paced e-commerce industry, shipping times have become a critical factor influencing customer choices. UK businesses face the dual challenge of not only ensuring speedy deliveries but also managing inventories efficiently to meet the high expectations of online shoppers. The race to match the prompt delivery services of giants like Amazon Prime adds another layer of complexity to the logistical operations of emerging e-commerce platforms.

Environmental Concerns

The e-commerce boom has also brought to the fore significant environmental concerns. The UK market is increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of online shopping, including packaging waste and carbon emissions. Businesses are now tasked with finding sustainable solutions that not only meet customer expectations but also align with the growing emphasis on environmental responsibility.

EKM offers a range of fulfilment partners that can help you with shipping. Making it not as much of a disadvantage to ecommerce, and allowing you to focus on other aspects of your online shop.


Despite the hurdles, the e-commerce landscape in the UK presents a fertile ground for innovation and growth. Many businesses have navigated these challenges successfully, carving out a niche in this bustling marketplace. Aspiring entrepreneurs should approach this venture with a well-planned strategy, acknowledging the potential pitfalls while capitalising on the numerous opportunities that e-commerce offers.

Don’t let the Disadvantages of ecommerce hold you back.