Scaling an E-Commerce Site – The Most Important Steps
One advantage of having an e-commerce store compared to a local brick & mortar shop is that the potential market is so much larger. But in this digital age with an ever increasing number of online businesses, competition is fierce – so getting it right when scaling and growing your e-commerce store is of utmost importance.
This is going to require a combination of time-tested business practices and tech solutions unique to the e-commerce world. It’s not simply the growth that’s important, it’s making sure that growth can be sustained and can be handled effectively. Here are some crucial steps that you’d be wise to take into account when looking to scale an e-commerce site.
Investing in technology
Scaling is all about automation. Without automating different processes it will become very difficult to handle the increasing amount of customers and grow effectively. Technology allows you to automate many different areas including tracking sales and returns, packaging, labeling, customer notifications, email marketing and more.
You shouldn’t forget the technical side of the website too: The e-commerce site itself must be able to cope with the increasing traffic without becoming slow or unresponsive. Setting up load balancing can help by distributing traffic to the most appropriate servers and help ensure a consistent performance. Over time, more servers can be added, if needed.
There are going to be some initial and ongoing costs for the technology. However, the increase in revenue and savings from having a streamlined, less labor intensive business will more than make up for this if done correctly.
Applying marketing strategies
There are so many potential avenues to go down, but as an e-commerce store with a computer literate customer base, online marketing options could work particularly well. This includes pay per click advertising, SEO, affiliate marketing, content marketing and email marketing.
Marketing is an ongoing process and it’s important to always be testing and tracking the performance of different strategies. This constant testing helps you find the most effective ways to reach your target market and how to grab their attention. You want to focus on and scale up the strategies that provide the best return on investment while cutting those that don’t.
Great customer service
Customer service is particularly important for e-commerce stores as many of its users will need assistance when shopping online. Speed is of the essence here and a slow response will leave customers frustrated and could lead to loss of sales. In fact, according to Coversocial’s State of Social Customer Service Report, airline customers would pay up to $19.83 more for their tickets if the company’s customer service responded to them within six minutes. That even goes for complaints: answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by up to 25%.
There are many ways in which an e-commerce site can provide customer support including by live chat, phone, email or even on social media platforms. The more options available, the better as each customer will have their preference. This preference can be influenced, however, by encouraging customers to use a certain option. For example, live chat could be more cost-effective than phone support, and by providing really great support via live chat people may automatically choose this option in the future.
Recruiting the right skills
Growing and scaling your e-commerce business is going to require many different skill sets. It’s important to hire the right people for the job; this could be experts in marketing or customer service for example. Recruiting does not have to be done only through direct employment; other options include hiring freelancers or digital agencies.
There are obvious costs involved with recruitment, however, to ensure the right decisions are being made on important aspects like marketing and you need to have the necessary talent and experience on board.