Let’s discuss the most common digital product risks for eCommerce companies.
These observations are based on years of experience working with eCommerce stores, from fledgling startups to industry-leading brands.
Some of these may sound familiar, but hopefully others will help you learn some of the unknown unknowns before these risks snowball into real problems. Let’s dive in.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance comes up frequently because when websites are not compliant, it makes for a big user experience issue for real customers.
Not to mention, there are organizations who keep an eye out for companies with websites that aren’t ADA compliant. Often they’ll threaten or pursue legal action against non-compliant websites.
Privacy is another important compliance risk to be aware of. There are two privacy compliances that are relevant to most of the companies we work with: GDPR and CCPA.
CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) is California’s version of GDPR and covers similar legislation. If you’re collecting data from visitors and customers on your website, it’s wise to pursue GDPR and CCPA compliance to avoid any privacy compliance risks.
This may be the least flashy thing to talk about, think about, and spend money on as a growing company. Most companies ignore technical debt until it snowballs into a real issue — at which point it becomes very expensive to maintain or fix.
Technical debt is created when you build a website or application (or new features for an existing website) in a way that prioritizes speed of execution over a solid architectural foundation. Over time, this patchwork becomes less and less cohesive.
As technical debt increases, the code becomes more and more expensive to maintain. Companies often ignore it until the pain of maintaining it becomes too big. By then, they have a huge undertaking. They must go through a massive amount of code and features to rewrite it.
And finally, I think the biggest risk that any ecommerce brand faces is commoditization. How do you make your brand relevant to the consumer so that your products, company, and message don’t become irrelevant?
Another way to think about it: Will your business go under if Amazon creates an Amazon Basics version of your core product? This sort of thing happens regularly to even major brands on Amazon. Commoditization — being easily replaceable by a cheaper model — is one of the biggest risks that eCommerce companies face.