Barriers to Adoption of E-Commerce by Consumers

With the rise in the adoption of the internet, businesses are increasingly shifting towards adopting a more customer-centric approach to selling their goods and services. E-commerce is one of the many channels that are gaining popularity these days, owing to the prevalence of electronic channels and the rise of social media platforms.

However, despite the rise in popularity of E-commerce channels across the globe, consumers still hesitate in shopping online and making purchases through the internet. This attitude is particularly common in developing countries where internet adoption rates are relatively low compared to developed countries. 

So, what are the obstacles to the adoption of E-commerce channels by consumers? Before we explore the barriers, let us define what E-commerce actually is. 

E-commerce–A Brief Perspective

E-commerce is defined broadly as the “use of electronic networks to exchange products, information, and services for commercial and communication purposes between consumers and businesses”. This e-commerce can take place by using information and communication technology between companies, companies, and their customers, and between companies and government departments. 

Retail e-commerce sales have gained significant momentum in the past decade, and there is every indication that this trend is going to continue in the future. In 2018, the sales of e-commerce in the USA reached $526 billion, and according to analysts, this figure is likely to surpass $893 billion in 2025. Considering the rapid growth, professional translation services can be of great help to facilitate global growth of e-commerce stores.  

Barriers to the Adoption of E-commerce

Despite these promising figures, the market for E-commerce adoption stays turbulent. This is because consumers are still cautious about shopping online. Here are some reasons why:

  • Lack of Trust

As news of data breaches is constantly making rounds on social media and in the headlines, many consumers are wary of providing their personal information to E-commerce websites. Some examples of data breaches in online retailers are Macy’s and Adidas.

Due to the lack of trust, consumers who don’t shop online report that they are worried about scams, identity thefts, and personal data breaches. This is the reason why it is imperative for businesses to establish trusting relationships with customers and demonstrate serious intentions to safeguard the consumers’ private data. One way they can do this is to use SSL certificates and comply with regulations for protecting payment card information.

  • Linguistic Barrier

One of the main reasons why customers hesitate to shop online is the language barrier. When versions of your website are not present in the language of your target audience, there is little chance local customers would shop from your online store. Here, translation services can help overcome this barrier for your websites. If you are targeting the French market for your online products, a French translation service will open the door for your business. 

Likewise, if the Portuguese market is present on your list, you need a professional Portuguese translation service to make your online sales in the market easy. 

  • Slower adoption of mobile payments

Perhaps one of the biggest drivers of E-commerce is mobile shopping, as about 45% of US consumers are of the opinion that their smartphones are an essential shopping tool for them. Mobile devices account for about 19% of E-commerce sales and this figure can further increase with the adoption of mobile payments. Moreover, about 79% of smartphone owners used their devices to make a purchase online in 2009, but unfortunately, the growth in mobile payments has been slow. The reason is that people are unsure about the integrity of data transactions as well as privacy concerns surrounding mobile payments. Delivering the right information to the customers and gaining their trust can lead to greater adoption of mobile payments.

  • Confusing Checkout process

Although the traffic to e-commerce websites may be high, a lot of customers abandon their online shopping carts simply owing to some confusion regarding the checkout process. Some confusions that the customers face are:

  • The hassle of registering to buy
  • Hidden charges at checkout
  • Lack of time to complete the checkout
  • High shipping charges
  • The product may be out of stock

In addition to these confusions, customers easily get frustrated when they are unable to find the online store they are looking for. This happens when the stores do not have a searchable interface or the product categories are poorly laid out. Companies can improve their online store layouts by using the services of website programmers and adapting the layouts according to the preferences of target audiences. 

  • Customers can’t touch or feel the product

One problem with online shopping is that customers cannot feel or touch the product he has bought. This is because people love to touch and feel what they are buying and feel the out-of-home experience that is missing in E-commerce. Companies can reduce this hesitation by offering discounts, as well as testing options at their physical stores. 

Key Takeaway

As the adoption of the internet and mobile payments increase, E-commerce shopping has also gained hold. However, consumers still prefer physical shopping over online shopping. Companies can reduce this hesitation and reluctance by offering a more personalized experience, (like hiring Portuguese translation services for the Portuguese market), improving the user interface of websites, and by ensuring the privacy of customers is not breached in any way. Adopting these measures can result in greater adoption of online shopping by customers. 


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