According to estimates, there will be 1.92 billion digital buyers in 2019.
With such a large part of the world already shopping online, there’s never been a better time to enter the e-commerce market and try to carve out a place for your own business.
However, ensuring consistent growth is a challenging task—you not only need to find a way to gain an edge against the competition but also need to streamline your own processes in order to handle the increasing number of orders.
That’s why you must follow a structured and proven process for scaling that can help you sustain your business and ensure that the quality of your services doesn’t suffer.
Let’s explore some of the essential aspects you need to consider when scaling your business.
Figure Out if It’s a Good Time to Scale
Before you jump headfirst into the process of scaling your e-commerce business, you must first figure out if it’s the right time to scale in the first place.
You see, there are a lot of risks and challenges that come with scaling your online business, so before you can make the decision, you need to be sure that you can handle it.
For one thing, you should analyze your current business situation and see if you can handle the number of orders that are coming in daily. Even if you are, you need to consider if you’d be able to handle a significant increase in the number of orders, and what changes would need to be made to help ensure that you don’t run into issues.
Another thing you must look at is the current financial state of your e-commerce store—analyze your margins, your cash flow, as well as your balance, so that you can be sure that being more aggressive in trying to scale and grow won’t drain your budget and reduce the margins that you currently have.
In the end, you need to perform a thorough overall analysis and determine if scaling to a level that you would like won’t put your business at risk of collapsing. Whether you’re using a traditional e-commerce platform, or are planning to transition to a CS-Cart Multi-Vendor type solution that allows you to set up an eBay or Etsy type of vendor model, you need to figure out if it’s feasible right now or if you need to postpone your plans about the future.
Revamp Your Marketing Strategy
Word-of-mouth marketing can only take you so far.
To ensure sustainable growth for your e-commerce store, you need to have a diverse and effective marketing strategy that allows you to attract targeted customers from multiple sources.
That way, even if one marketing approach stops working, you can fall back on others to ensure that your site still gets a steady stream of visitors every single day.
But what types of marketing strategies should you use to ensure effective scaling of your store?
Well, the first and most viable long-term strategy is Search Engine Optimization.
Although it does take some time to set up and implement, as it may take a few months for the first results to show, SEO can become your most powerful strategy once you start ranking for some of the relevant keywords in your niche.
With SEO, you can get a steady stream of visitors to your site month after month, and as your rankings improve, the amount of traffic you receive is bound to grow.
Another effective strategy for attracting eager buyers to your store is Paid Advertising campaigns.
With paid advertising on social media or Google, you don’t need to wait months to start seeing sales and can get targeted traffic to your site in a matter of hours.
However, when trying to scale with an aggressive Paid Ads campaign, you are running the risk of draining your marketing budget on ads that don’t convert, leaving you scrambling to recover.
Finally, if you want to not only generate an influx of new sales but also significantly improve your brand awareness, you can’t go wrong with influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing allows you to leverage the audience and authority status of social media figures in your niche by getting them to promote your products.
If you put together an effective campaign, you can achieve instant results and gain access to a brand-new segment of your audience that you didn’t have any chance of reaching before.
Streamline Order Fulfillment
One of the main reasons why e-commerce store owners want to scale is to increase their profits, but one thing they often forget is that with each new customer, the amount of work it takes to run the store increases as well.
At least, if you’re still fulfilling the orders yourself.
Sure, when starting out, you can get by with sending out orders manually, but if you want to scale, you need to realize that at some point, that will become impossible, even if you get help from friends and family.
Therefore, the only way to sustainably scale your e-commerce business is to find a way to streamline the entire order fulfillment process.
When you outsource the process, you will see that the extra costs that it incurs are well worth it, as that will allow you to focus all of your attention on growing your business and ensuring that each customer is happy.
What’s more, since you have a third-party service fulfilling your orders, you won’t have to worry about how many orders per day you can handle, and can scale your business without any restrictions. If you develop your own products, you also need to consider using product management tools to help you optimize the development process and ensure that you can get new products in front of your audience quick enough.
Focus on Customer Support
There’s one inevitable truth about scaling your e-commerce business:
Just as you increase the number of happy customers, you also increase the number of complaints and issues that you will need to solve quickly.
So, while you could get by answering questions on your own as you were starting out, that won’t be an option once you scale, as there will simply be too many inquiries for you to handle.
Therefore, you must figure out how you’re going to handle customer complaints in an efficient manner.
Whether you want to outsource the entire service or hire someone to handle it in-house, you need to consider this before you launch your scaling campaign, as otherwise, you can cause irreparable damage to your reputation.
Even a few negative reviews in a row can get your target audience doubting your ability to fulfill orders, so you need to have the staff that is trained and capable of not only responding, but helping to solve the issue as well.
|Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me|