Coming up with a great idea and a solid business plan is the foundation of any successful company. With the right products, a strong marketing strategy, and a user-friendly website, any e-commerce business has the potential to succeed. Any savvy business owner will tell you, however, that success is about more than just making sales and staying afloat – it is about building and improving upon your business.

When you first start your eCommerce store, your primary concern is pushing product and recouping on your start-up costs. If you really way to be successful in the long run, however, you need to think ahead from the very beginning. How are you going to scale your eCommerce store?

In this article, we’ll explore 5 of the best ways to scale your eCommerce store so you can keep growing well into the future.

Planning for the Future at the Beginning

In the world of brick-and-mortar businesses, your target audience is limited to some degree by your location. E-commerce stores theoretically have a limitless collection of potential customers from which to draw since they are not limited by a set geographical location. Though there are many benefits to taking your business online, there are also some challenges to consider.

According to Forbes, over 90% of all internet businesses fail within the first four months. The world of eCommerce is a fickle one, and there are no guarantees. The best way you can protect yourself is by planning for the future at the very start, so you have a strong foundation on which to build. The goal of any eCommerce business owner should be to create and build a scalable business with limitless potential.

5 Ways to Scale Your eCommerce Store

Before you even start your business, you need to think about how you are going to scale your business in the future. Having a solid foundation is absolutely essential because everything you do in the future will be built upon that foundation – especially when it comes to scaling your business.

Here are 5 of the best ways to scale your eCommerce store, working from that strong foundation:

  1. Create a strong digital marketing campaign.

The benefit of eCommerce is that your business is not limited by a brick-and-mortar store or by any physical location. The downside is that you can’t rely on customers to find you by accident (e.g. they won’t drive past your store on their way to work). If you want to build a customer base, you’re going to have to go out there and find those customers or be there when they’re looking for your products. No one can buy your products if they don’t know you exist.

Using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies on your website can help your business take advantage of organic traffic. Also, you should take steps to integrate your social media accounts, and you might need to do some advertising as well. Over time, your business may outgrow the marketing strategy you used when you first started your business. If you want to scale your business, you’ll have to reevaluate your marketing strategy.

  1. Increase your focus on customer service and support.

For any eCommerce business, the products are what draw customers to the website, but customer service is what keeps them coming back. If your customers know that they can trust you to fill their orders quickly, accurately, and efficiently, they will always choose you over a competitor that offers a lower price but a poor customer satisfaction rating. Customer reviews can kill a business very quickly while great customer service can keep you alive. Take the time to train your customer service staff and create a policy that will keep your customers happy when it comes to things like user experience, order fulfillment, complaints, and returns.

  1. Switch to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider.

After customer service, the element that has the greatest influence on the success of your business is order fulfillment. As your company grows, you’ll need to start thinking about ways to optimize your order fulfillment strategy to ensure that your customers get their orders quickly and correctly while also minimizing your own costs. Perhaps the best way to do this is to make the switch to a third-party logistics provider.

A 3PL provider is equipped to handle the day-to-day details of filling orders. At the start, you’ll send all of your inventory to the 3PL’s warehouse or distribution center. From there, customer orders will be sent directly to the 3PL where they will be picked, packed, and shipped. You’ll still have access to order information, but the task of actually filling and shipping orders will be on someone else’s shoulders. This leaves you free to invest your time and energy into other aspects of the business.

  1. Update and improve your website.

As an eCommerce store, your website is the face of your business. Many eCommerce business owners make the mistake of only using their website for sales. The world of eCommerce is huge because you’re not limited by geographical locations. Having a bigger audience, however, also means that you have more competition. Improving and updating your website is an important step in scaling your business.

When it comes to updating and improving your website, you want to think about ways to establish your company as an authority in the industry – not only a store but a trusted resource for your customers. This means providing relevant content on your site to provide for your customer’s needs beyond your product line. Search engine results are largely content-driven, so take the time to really build the content portion of your website to maximize your chances of driving new traffic to your site and converting those visitors into customers.

  1. Look for and fill unmet needs in your industry.

The success of any eCommerce business rests heavily on the quality of the products being sold. The most successful online stores are those that offer products that meet a specific need, and they do it better than the competition. If you’re looking for a way to scale your business, take the time to do some competitor research. See what is and isn’t working for your competitors and then take a step back and look at the market to see what’s missing. If you can identify an unmet need in the market and then take steps to meet that need, your business could reach new heights more quickly than you ever imagined.

By putting to work the tips and advice you’ve received here, you can take your eCommerce store from the state it’s currently in and build it into something amazing. The great news about scaling your eCommerce store is that the sky is the limit. As long as you stay savvy and keep thinking ahead, there is no limit to the success you’ll enjoy.

Do you have other pieces of advice? You’d like to exchange with us and eCommerce retailers? Join us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

Image credit : Taylor Ottaway