Running a Risk Assessment of Your eCommerce Business
- Compliance, eCommerce, Project Management

Running a Risk Assessment of Your eCommerce Business

E-commerce is the trend in the modern economy. Many businesses are now specializing in online transactions, seeing a plethora of opportunities. However, like any other business, establishing an E-commerce business comes with risks. Some of these threats are serious enough to warrant strong countermeasures, while others are less significant.

Risks range from hacker attacks, data breaches, website downtime, and price competition to compliance violations. To secure your online business’s future, you must have a solid plan for evaluating and managing these challenges. Here’s what you need to know about assessing eCommerce risks.

Create a Risk Assessment Matrix

Every business needs to be risk savvy to avoid being caught on the wrong foot. You need to develop a risk management plan to lay out business goals, document your assets, define threats, assess risks, scrutinize risks, set risk tolerance levels, and find ways to counter the threats.

Risk assessment is part of the risk management process. It helps businesses to learn the magnitude of threats and shed light on them. Here, an organization checks for the more likely risks and their effect on the company and creates a rating. Risks with a high probability of occurring and severe impact are rated highly. Conversely, low risks are unlikely to happen, and the effect is minimal if they do.

A risk matrix is a visual diagram of the risk analysis. It shows the threat as a graph, ranking the risks by probability and significance. For example, the severe risks are on one end, the moderate ones in the middle, and the low ones on the other. Color codes are utilized in a risk matrix to increase visibility, help businesses track threats, and improve decision-making.

How to Evaluate Your E-commerce Risks

A key to E-commerce success is evaluating and understanding the threats you are up against and how they affect you. This process will act as a basis for your risk mitigation plan. Take your time to identify the risks most likely to impact your business, and then think of ways to react to these situations. The main categories of risks are assumptive risks and operational risks. Assumptive risks are the assumptions you make when planning your venture; they include estimates of;

  • Market demand
  • Site traffic
  • Conversion rate
  • Average sales
  • Order volume
  • Costs of marketing
  • Costs of Website maintenance

You need to test and validate your assumptions if you are new in the E-commerce sector. You can do this by performing intense industry research, observing your competitors, surveying prospective customers, and interviewing E-commerce experts. This knowledge will help you make informed predictions and avoid increasing risk exposure. When evaluating risks, you will realize that not all of them can be controlled. Some uncontrollable risks are driven by;

  • Market forces
  • Economic conditions
  • Competitor strategies
  • Industry regulations

Instead of waiting for such scenarios to play out, you must prepare a contingency plan to minimize the damage. For instance, if competitors slash their prices, you need a ready response plan to deploy quickly. Then, you can either reduce your price, market your product as superior, or give your buyers incentives.

5 Inevitable E-Commerce Risks You Should Watch Out For

  1. Online Insecurity. E-commerce businesses are in constant danger from hackers, credit card fraudsters, extortionists, phishing attackers, and other cyber criminals. You could also encounter system failures, such as a server crash and errors on the payment site.
  2. You are violating Intellectual property. Since there are many similar businesses to yours, you may unknowingly use a logo, motto, slogan, or product description related to another company. This can lead to lawsuits and penalties. Therefore, always perform a legal intellectual property audit and safeguard yours by registering it.
  3. Customer Disputes. From time to time, you should expect to encounter customer disputes. For example, some buyers will complain, return products, or ask for refunds. Some conflict points include late delivery, wrong product delivery, failure to meet expectations, and accidental double charge.
  4. Warehousing and Logistics. If your customers make large volume orders and you don’t have enough stock, you can end up losing money and having dissatisfied customers. Other challenges include misdelivery and late shipment. You should use an inventory management tool and work with an established drop shipping service to avoid such risks.
  5. Taxation. E-commerce taxes are complex and confusing since they vary across different delivery locations. Failure to understand what is required can lead businesses to expose themselves to tax risks.

Bottom Line

If you are an E-commerce company, you are bound to encounter some risks. Some require your utmost dedication to mitigate them, while others are nonconsequential. To guarantee your business’s long-term survival, use a risk assessment matrix to quickly identify what could go wrong and estimate the potential damage that could arise from the event. This way, your eCommerce business will be in a position to prioritize the most significant threats and mitigate them early.

Running a Risk Assessment of Your eCommerce Business.

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