Right now, we call it e-commerce. However, in a few decades, the e- won’t be necessary anymore because it will be the normal method of commercial transaction all over the world. People would not think of getting out of their house just to go buy things. Instead, from wherever they are, they’ll just whip out their handheld device, shop, and get their thing delivered to their door. If there are those who still want to go to a brick-and-mortar shop, most likely they’re only going either for experience or to check the overall quality of the line of products offered – like going to a showroom for imported car or furniture.
Such future is inevitable. Today, most companies still combine the modern and traditional way of selling. They maintain the physical store, but also provide online service. If they don’t, they may experience a significant drop in sales because brick-and-mortar store simply can’t keep up with online store. Business owners then scramble to follow the e-commerce trend, not wanting to be left out.
However, e-commerce, just like any other business out there, has risk and threat, particularly those that are related to technology. People have heard a lot about cyber crime, but they tend to forget or don’t have enough knowledge about it to prevent. This could lead to a lot of dangerous situation in e-commerce – from data theft to bug that could make the entire system of your e-commerce down, costing you million of dollars. Also, while technology contribute many risk and threat dangerous for the continuity of your business, other factors such as human resources and competition still remains as well.
Today, let’s look at five major threats for e-commerce and what to do to prevent them.
1. Online Security
This category alone has many sub-categories due to many ways people can utilize internet to commit crime. Some of the most common threats are:
- Personal Information Theft : When buying thing from e-commerce with mobile payment, customers give their personal information to e-commerce site, including full name, address, credit card numbers, as well as sending encrypted PIN or password to authorize the payment. Hacker can breach the site and steal this information if the security in that website is weak. Knowing the last four digits of credit card numbers as well as its encrypted PIN or password allows them to steal money from these credit card holders.
- Malicious Code: Malicious codes include but not limited to virus, worm, Trojan horse, and time bomb. Weakly protected e-commerce site can be infected with malicious code with various degree of severity. Some virus, worm, and Trojan horse may lock the system forever or even self-destruct.
- Cyber Vandalism: Some hackers don’t steal personal information. Instead, they prefer to disturb your business and leave some cyber vandalism at your site. They can change the user interface of your site, manipulating the product displayed as well as the review, and all sort of tricks that destroy your consumer’s trust.
- Spoofing: Spoofing means sending malicious message from a source disguised as a source the recipient is familiar with. Pretending to send message from ‘official’ email or other messaging system, the criminal would ask the recipient to reply with their personal information, which then they could use for bigger crime.
The only way to prevent cyber crime in your site is to build a strong and well-protected system. Hire a reputable IT company to set up the site and the system and then hire the best people to run the system later. Speaking of best people, the second major threat to your e-commerce business is this: poor human resources.
2. Poor Human Resources
Technology develops and changes so quickly, it’s possible for you to be left out. If you don’t have big capital in your business, you may not be able to get employees with the required knowledge and capability to handle online business. They may be not up to date with the newest software and antivirus and you unknowingly have been running your business with outdated technology while your competitor gains new customer with faster system. At the very least clueless employee may accidentally open a spam email containing virus and in an instant all the data your team have been working on disappear.
To prevent this threat, it’s important to select the best person out there to do your job. The key for successful business is to get the right person in the right place, and without the right person to help operating your business, it won’t go anywhere. Invest in the best employees and don’t stop there, send them to IT training if there is one you think worth it. For lower-level employees, give them the basic introduction about the importance of online security and its threat.
3. Logistic and Shipment Services
E-commerce isn’t just about selling, but also about delivering. One of the few things e-commerce can’t win over brick-and-mortar store is the delay between the time the customer buys and the time the product actually arrives. Most of e-commerce customers understand this, but recently giant e-commerce player like Amazon and eBay has provided same-day delivery service. Being able to deliver the product to the customer in the promised time is a key to maintain their loyalty and increase their value to your business.
To be honest, it’s pretty impossible for smaller player (except for the very creative one) to imitate same-day delivery service of Amazon and eBay, especially to the remote location. Instead, make sure to choose delivery companies with reputable punctuality as partner. Thankfully, like we’ve covered above, most of e-commerce customers don’t mind waiting – as long as it’s not past the promised time. Other idea to catch up with Amazon and eBay is to partner with other companies specializing in building network – like what Walmart did with Uber.
So far, the most common and dangerous threat for e-commerce business is online security, since the stake if any breach of security happens is pretty high. Never compromise for quality when setting up the security system for your e-commerce system, including.