When it comes to starting a successful business, a solid business plan and a great idea are critical to getting things started. Taking the time to find the right products, develop a strong marketing strategy, and properly build a user-friendly website, will give any e-commerce business a chance to succeed.
When you first start your eCommerce store, your primary concern is pushing product and recouping on your costs. But savvy business owners know that the key to real success is more than just getting started and recouping costs – it is about constantly building and optimizing your business.
If you really want to be successful on the long run you need to think ahead and ask yourself “If this works, how am I going to scale my eCommerce store?”.
This week we’ll be looking at 3 of the best strategies to ensure your ecommerce can scale and that your business has a clear path to grow well into the future.
1. Leverage automation in your digital marketing campaign
One of the biggest benefits to running an online store is that your business is not limited by a brick-and-mortar store or by any physical location, but this does come with a downside. Unlike brick-and-mortar locations, it’s much less likely that customers will find you by accident (e.g. they won’t walk past your store walking through a mall or drive past you shop on their way to work). In the online world, if you want to build a customer base, you’ve got 2 options:
- You can go out there and find them or
- Be visible in the places where customers are looking for your products.
Thankfully the modern digital marketing landscape is full of tools that support everyone from the smallest start-ups to the largest enterprises. When developing your first marketing strategy, try to incorporate as much automation as possible so that as your customer base grows and your marketing resources don’t get overwhelmed.
In 2019, many aspects of a marketing campaign can be automated such as audience creation for remarketing, email funnels, ad creation and delivery, and even customer support. By investing a little bit of extra time in the early stages of your business you can create a marketing strategy that can handle a handful of customers or thousands all with out needing to change a thing.
2. Switch to a third-party logistics (3pl) provider
Once you’ve built a framework to identify and engage with the right audience, the next element that has the greatest influence on your ability to scale is order fulfillment. As your organization takes on more and more customers, you’ll need to ensure that your customers still get their orders quickly and correctly all while managing costs. For businesses transitioning from their start-up phase often the best strategy is to take advantage of third-party logistics providers (3PL).
A 3PL provider is a business that’s purpose is to handle the day-to-day details of fulfilling orders. With most 3PLs, you’ll start by sending your inventory to their warehouse or distribution center and from that point on all customer orders will be sent directly to them. Your 3PL will handle the picking, packing, and shipping. The advantage of going with a 3PL is that they’ve already scaled to handle millions of orders, which leaves you free to invest your time and energy into scaling other aspects of the business.
3. Scale to meet unmet needs in your industry
The success of any eCommerce business rests heavily on the quality of the products being sold and the quality of the services provided. When looking at the most successful online businesses, you’ll find they are offering better value products or a better shopping experience (the very best do both).
If you’re looking for opportunities to scale your business, a great place to start with is a little competitor research. Taking the time to understand what is (and isn’t) working for businesses in your industry as well as taking a step back and looking at the market to see what’s missing can often provide clear pathways to grow you company. If you can identify an unmet need in the market and then take the steps to meet that need, your business can differentiate itself and grow.
Building an ecommerce isn’t easy and growing one is just as hard, but when done correctly the sky is the limit. If you stay savvy and keep thinking ahead, there is no limit to the success you’ll enjoy. By leveraging the strategies we’ve provide above and putting them into action you can take the first steps towards growing your eCommerce and building something amazing.