Top challenges for e-commerce business in 2020

Corinne Kutz
challenges for e-commerce business 2020

2020 will go down in history for having a rather long list of unique challenges for all of us, but what are the top challenges for the e-commerce business in 2020? It isn’t just COVID that has thrown up difficulties to navigate. Here are some of the less favourable circumstances e-commerce entrepreneurs will have to navigate this year, and how to do so.

For some e-commerce entrepreneurs, 2020 is the perfect environment to concentrate on their business and make growth a priority. Other income streams may be on pause, you may be furloughed, and the “new normal” has created new opportunities in lines such as face masks. Stay on top of these challenges and you can have a flourishing e-commerce business in 2020.


Prior to COVID, Brexit was the elephant in the room, and it remains a pressing concern for many e-commerce entrepreneurs. We are currently in the “transition” period, but with COVID redirecting resources the situation is fluid until we formalise the deal and exit the transition period at the end of the year.

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E-commerce businesses need to do a full review of their products. If you are selling within the EU or importing product from outside the UK, check your contracts for price clauses. You need to ensure your products will remain profitable once we fully exit. If product lines need to be replaced or sourced elsewhere, now is the time. Don’t let pressing deadlines lead you to less than ideal choices.

Borderless e-commerce

E-commerce business in 2020 is very much an international affair. While consumers have been purchasing from across the world for many years now, they are tired of calculating exchange rates and slow lengthy shipping times. Successful international e-commerce businesses now need to provide an experience that appeals to people in all nations, not just the UK.

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If you are selling through your own site, now is the time to invest in some borderless architecture. Install code that recognises your customer’s location and switches to local currency and appropriate language choices. Make sure your customers see measurements that are used in their country as they can be put off by having to convert them themselves. Set clear and realistic expectations for international shipping and deliver within that window or offer a discount on a follow-up purchase.


Whether you want to talk about it or not, COVID-19 has been the main story for Q2 and will remain so for Q3 at least. With supply chains in tatters and delivery times extended due to a massive influx on online purchases, e-commerce businesses can slow to a near halt. Even as things start to pick up, it is worth remembering that future spikes may cause localised lockdowns and a cease to manufacture or delivery. We are far from past these issues.

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Mitigate the damage. Add clear messaging to your site and any e-commerce platforms you sell through explaining how COVID has affected your business. Customers are more forgiving if you explain from the start and meet their expectations than if they order and don’t receive their product for weeks. Keep a clear eye on the situation and how it affects your product lines. If something changes, send an email to affected customers to keep them appeased as they wait for their goods. Maintain goodwill and your customers will stay with you while you weather the storm.

challenges for e-commerce business 2020

Payment Options

Consumers are getting more tech-savvy and wearier of traditional payment methods. In the past, if you had payment options of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal you had covered your bases – that is no longer the case. Options such as Apple Pay, and Google Pay are thriving and the top competitors in e-commerce business 2020 have leapt to include these other options.

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If a favourite payment option is unavailable, you will quickly lose potential customers at the last hurdle. Investigate what options are available for your chosen e-commerce platform. Shopify allows for Google Pay integration and Apple pay so it may not be as tricky to get this one fixed as you may think.

Augmented Reality

AR is becoming the next big thing with more and more online retailers adding in the tech to make online shopping more immersive. In the next few years, we can expect a massive uptake of the tech, with it becoming a key part of the e-commerce experience.

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With the bigger issues of 2020, this may not be a priority to implement but at the very least, e-commerce entrepreneurs need to be looking at how it could be used with their products and seeing what the architecture would entail. The Shopify app may be all you need to show you are at the front of this trend.

Next Steps

If you want help to concur the financial challenges for e-commerce business in 2020, we are here to help. Our team of dedicated e-commerce accountants will advise you and help you maximise your business’ growth this year and beyond. Get in touch today to start accelerating your business.

The best time to act is now.