Ecommerce businesses should anticipate a 265% growth rate, from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.9 trillion in 2021. This shows a future of steady upward trend with no signs of decline. To capitalize on this tremendous growth, it’s imperative your business is built to scale. In this blog, we share our top ten tips on how to scale your digital business.
1. MAKE DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS
The best place to start when looking to grow your business is at the data you’ve been collecting. Any previous successes would have been captured, while less successful areas are also noted.
Looking at product sales, performance, and reviewing forecasts are a great start. Product sales help to tell the story of what customers are looking for, while items that historically do not sell well can possibly be discontinued. If you warehouse your own goods, slow-moving products can take up valuable shelf space. Having a solid merchandising strategy is critical for success, and would be heavily tied and influenced by your product sales.
Additionally, reviewing team performance is critical. Reviewing the pick/pack/ship process can help determine if additional staff is needed to fulfill in a timely manner, or if goals are being consistently met (which could be an opportunity to reward hardworking team members.
If you rely on 3rd parties for fulfillment, SLAs are of utmost importance, as these are agreed-upon metrics that must be hit per your contract. If that isn’t the case, a serious meeting would need to be held and you might consider evaluating alternate options. Regardless, it’s imperative your orders are being fulfilled and shipped as quickly as possible as the consumers of today expect their orders to arrive within a few days, max.
2. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
Mistakes happen and are unfortunately inevitable. However, the goal is to never make the same mistake twice. As mentioned above, look at your forecasts and compare YOY/MOM.
Did you run out of stock for a best-selling item during peak season? Make sure you have more quantity on hand for the next year.
Did your website crash on Black Friday? Be sure to do load testing well before the big day and staff up to prepare next time.
While a seemingly obvious suggestion, if you continue to suffer, say, from long page load times or lots of out of stock items, you’re losing valuable customers. Review everything with fresh eyes, and best prepare for the unexpected.
3. ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
A surefire way to encourage customers to become repeat buyers is to continue to engage with them. Being active on social channels most popular with your target demographic keeps your brand top of mind, plus say they discovered new products on the platform. Social is a great way to expand your reach and connect with new potential customers. Hootsuite has a great blog that further dives into the full benefit of social media marketing, check it out in full here.
Email marketing is another fantastic tool to stay in contact with customers and subscribers who may be waiting for the right moment to make their first purchase. Emails also have a huge ROI, as on average, with $40 earned for every one dollar spent. Check out the 6 emails that re-engage customers and promote loyalty here.
Blogging and vlogging/video content are additional mediums to further tell your brand story, share compelling content, and connect with your consumers. Covering a wide variety of outlets ensures you’re maximizing your reach and connecting with your audience in the ways that they most enjoy.
4. HIRE THE RIGHT RESOURCES
Going hand-in-hand with making data-driven decisions is hiring the right people. This means staffing up when necessary, filling necessary positions, and partnering with the right outlets. In terms of filling necessary positions, you’ll want to have a dedicated person or team to run your social channels, create content and handle email outreach.
Additionally, you’ll want to have a great customer care team, as they are on the front line facing your customers. A good experience with support can coax repeat purchases and turn a negative experience (damaged item, sent the wrong size, etc.) into a positive one.
Influencers or brand ambassador partnerships can be a great opportunity as well. When choosing the right individual to work with you’ll want to consider what is most relevant to your brand and your goal(s).
- Increase brand awareness: Top influencers with massive reach.
- Boost brand sentiment: Influencers known for their honest and authentic content.
- Build brand trust: Niche influencers known for creating authentic content.
- Drive engagement: Relevant micro-influencers with high engagement rates.
- Drive conversions: Mix of top and mid-level influencers, as well as micro-influencers across various relevant niches.
- Promote a product launch: Industry experts and niche influencers with significant reach (mention.com).
5. EXPAND YOUR PRODUCT ASSORTMENT AND CHANNELS
Expanding your product assortment has the benefits of both increasing stock and adding new products. Going back to having a solid merchandising strategy, you can add more like-products to your top sellers.
For brands selling direct to consumer, you can not only extend your product offering through partnering with drop ship or marketplace sellers but you can increase your product sales by selling to additional retail channels. Any opportunity to capture more sales is a win for your business, and by adding new products you can continue to delight your customers.
Partnering with drop ship or marketplace sellers enables you to add goods without warehousing them and enjoying low risks.
Plus, you have the benefit of getting up and running with the new goods quickly. To learn more about drop ship and marketplace selling, check out this helpful blog.
6. AUTOMATE WHEN POSSIBLE
It’s no secret that manual processes can slow you down. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to set up retail automation. You can set up automation for just about anything to make work life easier and help you have 24/7 service without having staff work overtime. Additionally, automation helps to cut costs, through a reduction in errors and an increase in efficiency. Stitchlabs has put together a great post that dives further into specific retail automation options.
7. INVEST IN THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
In tandem with automation is the right technology to ensure it happens. All of your backend systems should be connected and communicating to further increase efficiency within your business. And if you do not have systems in place for order/warehouse management, it is worth looking into. These valuable technologies ensure more streamlined processes and better visibility to orders, inventory, etc.
8. SET REALISTIC, ACHIEVABLE GOALS
When looking to scale your business, you’ll want to set achievable goals to measure success. Between growth targets and internal metrics, you’ll want to review the current state of your business as a starting point. Reviewing historic year-over-year data will set you up for a fair growth metric.
Additionally, when setting up shipping and fulfillment goals take a look at your staff and capabilities. While next-day shipping for all is great, not every company is equipped to handle that for every order and if you cannot meet that, it will lead to unhappy customers. Stick with a shipping window you can comfortably meet (and even surpass) to properly set customer expectations and guarantee success.
9. IMPLEMENT AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is a good way to further promote your brand. By paying a small commission for each sale generated by an affiliate, you can reach a wider audience and capture more sales.
In partnering with sites like CJ or ShareASale, you can list your brand and products for relevant affiliates to pick up and promote. You have complete control to accept or reject affiliates based on if their unique brand properly aligns with yours. There is very little risk associated with running an affiliate program and can help increase your brand’s presence in the long run.
10. COLLECT REVIEWS
The best way to get to know your customers is by collecting reviews. This gives your valued consumers a chance to share their honest feedback.
In reviewing said feedback, recurring topics should be flagged for further consideration. If a specific product is found to be prone to damage or there are shipping/return complaints your company can address these and minimize the likelihood of that being a recurring issue.
It’s never safe to assume, and by actively looking for reviews (whether in a post-purchase email or on the product website page) your customers can share the love and let you know what needs improvements.
Working with a platform like Influenster helps to collect many product reviews in exchange for sending samples to a small pool of ‘influensters.’ This allows trusted individuals to test your product and share their experiences.
With the continued expansion of digital commerce, you’ll want to ensure your company can grow, too. By following our top 10 tips to scale your digital commerce business, you have the blueprint in place to run an efficient business, expand your reach, and capture more sales.
About the Author:
Becca McCarthy has a passion for brands and analytics. She brings expertise from working with Fortune 1000 brands and helping them sell directly to consumers online. An avid online shopper, Becca is thrilled to be a part of Logicbroker and help clients provide a better shopping experience for their consumers. As the Director of Marketing at Logicbroker, Becca focuses on building out the Logicbroker brand, strategic partnerships, and bringing customer success stories to light while keeping a pulse on industry trends and best practices.
Becca holds a BA in Communications and English from the University of Connecticut. Outside of work, Becca enjoys cooking, Jeopardy!, and spending time at home with her husband and their two dogs, Zulu and Luna.
This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.