Most Scary Risks in an eCommerce Business

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Did you know that Amazon, which is the world’s largest online retailer today, got its first yearly profit eight years after its inception? Yes, you read right, but that was years ago. Online commerce has taken a flight since then — global ecommerce sales amounted more than $1 trillion last year. This may sound great to all the ecommerce businesses out there, especially start-ups, but, along with the sales, the risks associated with ecommerce have also exploded over the years. What are they and how can you take care of them?

Broadly speaking, there are three major risks to running an online store: information, technology and business. Let’s discuss all of them and their solutions one by one.

Information Risks 

This includes copyright infringement, hacking and misuse of customers’ private information and even the leakage of a company’s ideas when some employee joins one of its competitors.

Best Practices:

Using the SSL/TLS security protocol is a must to ensure all information exchanged between a shopper and an online store is encrypted and, hence, can’t be read by a hacker.

Don’t use permanent cookies to save the sensitive data like CVV2/CVC2 number of your repeat customers; you can (and should) use them for non-sensitive data to enhance their user experience.

Don’t worry if your website content is copied; Google has various ways to deal with the scraped/partially copied content.

Technology Risks 

Slow website speed, server crashes, damage due to computer viruses and low bandwidth all come in this category of risks.

Best Practices:

Keep your antivirus and server software up-to-date and back up of all your data regularly, keeping it safe in an encrypted space.

Follow the thumb rule and keep pages under the 20KB mark so your store doesn’t become unnecessarily obese. Embrace techniques such as lazy loading and conditional loading to improve the initial page load time. Keep cookie size to the lowest possible and try to set their expiry date from earliest to none; don’t use cookies at all if they’re not necessary.

Choose a reliable hosting company and keep an eye on if your site’s bandwidth can handle its traffic.

Host your website on a reliable server. If you’re using your own server, make sure you have a firewall setup. Also, save your data on a different server if possible — that can help to better safeguard your database from hackers.

Business Risks 

Cyber squatting, an unmaintained online store, dealing in illegal products and a lack of a proper return policy come under the business risk category.

Best Practices:

Since an online store does not give a tactile experience to its shoppers, it will need things to reassure online shoppers that you have a proper return policy and will replace their product if it’s in any way defective or is the wrong size or color. You must also assure them you will secure their card details; that the information you provide on your site is correct and that they can contact you via phone or e-mail.

Keep an eye on cyber squatters and don’t let them misuse your name. They might create too similar a website address or copy your website design to attract your customers. Warn your customers of such websites.

Don’t deal in products that are illegal or use schemes to delude your customers. These tactics may benefit you in the short-term but won’t give you much mileage in the future.


Ecommerce security begins and ends with a well-thought-through assessment of all the possible risks and how they can be prevented. This is not and never will be a do-it-once-and-it’s-done undertaking. It is an ongoing task.

Mark Wilston works with, an India-based outsourcing and consulting firm. PixelCrayons offers extended teams to its clients, helping them to reduce Time To Market (TTM) and enhance Return On Investment (ROI). With services such as eCommerce development  and Magento development, PixelCrayons helps clients define and leverage their offshore strategy, offering them “value for money.”

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Most Scary Risks in an eCommerce Business

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