When you start an eCommerce business, the possibilities are endless, thanks to billions of people on the internet. E-commerce businesses have the potential to become a brand if the right types of strategies are implemented. When it comes to scaling an eCommerce business, it can be a challenging process, even if you are growing on your own. However, to keep up with this growth, numerous things need to be set in place.
The costs of running an e-commerce business are always rising, so profits need to follow suit, which means more leads and conversions for your business. To understand the fundamentals of scaling your eCommerce business, think of your company as a building. Whether you are starting a business or constructing a building, you have to build a solid foundation first. Next, you need building materials and labor i.e. your team to help build momentum and finish the task.
Scaling your business without a strong foundation can be very dangerous since it can be very difficult to get positive returns on your investment (ROI) unless you can maximize your revenues. Here are some of the parameters that can play a key role to scale your e-commerce business.
1. Digital Marketing
It’s no secret that the online medium is important to marketing e-commerce businesses. After all, there are billions of users on the internet, so it’s no surprise that digital marketing has a high demand. This means that digital marketing is a crucial component of scaling online businesses. However, this sector is constantly changing. New marketing trends seem to come out every few months; it almost seems like something is being invented every day.
A digital marketing strategy is a large term. It is challenging to master it on your own. You need to stay focused on the basics of digital marketing, which usually involves two parts – forming a strategy & executing that strategy. A few objectives need to be considered while devising a digital marketing strategy.
a) Target Group > Must decode the 5Ws
Answering these basic questions can assist you in setting up the foundation for your marketing strategy. To obtain information about the target group, one should first ask “5 W’s”: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Who is the target audience for your advertisement?
You need to consistently ask yourself this question: Who is it that you are trying to target? The answer will drive everything else you do. Even the desired outcome shall revolve around your target audience. Hence, keep the target audience in mind as a guide to the rest of the process.
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Adwords already have multiple options for offline to online targeting. Hence, you can target and precisely segment the audience on these platforms as per your business needs. Regardless of which platform you employ, once you decide the target audience, next is to decide What?
What format of the ad will be shown to them?
The digital marketing industry offers a variety of options today. So, how do you decide in which format to show your message? Text, display, and video ads are the common formats available, but native ads, like those found on Facebook, are also favored choices. You can target your desired audience and spread your message through these ads.
The next big question is Where?
Where will you target people with your ad?
Think about where your message will appear. You can place an ad on a social network and it will appear there. As mobile devices become more popular, there are also options offered tailored specifically for mobile device users. Facebook has developed several interesting ways for marketers to reach their target audiences via mobile devices using messages that are designed to fit those devices. After knowing the Who?, What?, and Where?, it’s crucial to think about When? and Why?
When are you showing your audience your ad?
Getting your messaging to people at the right time can be just as important as anything else in your campaign. A lot of this can be determined by the answers to your other questions. For example, If you’ve decided to use Facebook ads to target the audience, they can only see your content when they are active on that particular platform. Do you have a preferred frequency of displaying these ads? It’s important to maintain consistency to avoid dropping off the radar completely, but you don’t want to lean too far and spam the users.
And finally, Why are you showing this ad to the audience?
While everything up to this point is important, you should never lose sight of why you’ve made the choices you have! What is the goal you’re trying to attain with your marketing?
Advertisements and messages should always serve a purpose. Why are you serving the advertising or message to your target audience? Those who see the ad must be guided to accomplish the goal. Always keep your “Why” in mind when creating a campaign or running an ad. By focusing on why a campaign has launched, you can surely prosper. To learn more, refer to this video here,
b) Revalidate your Niche
eCommerce businesses, especially startups should offer unique products, focusing on specific gaps in the market. Thus, an e-commerce business should think of revalidating its niche to scale the business. Knowing your industry, the business you run within that industry, and the audience you intend to sell to is the first step to finding your niche.
The number of Amazon.com visits is around 2 billion a month and eBay gets about 1 billion visits a month, according to Similarweb. Many countries around the world rely heavily on these two sites for eCommerce as they have set up a niche as per the industry and the target audience. So if you want to scale your eCommerce business, you need to have a unique niche that can set you aside from both the big players as well as the smaller players of your industry.
Increasing their customer base and attracting new buyers are some of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face in the eCommerce industry. But if you can find a niche or tucked-away spots where loyal customers can come to shop, you might not have to waste a lot of money on advertising. To say it all, if you have a unique niche, it may be worth it to push it. Refer to this video to know more,
c) Competitor Research
eCommerce is a growing industry and internet access has made it easier and more lucrative for everyone to shop from e-commerce websites. However, it is easier to think of starting an e-commerce store but very difficult to become a brand in this industry and that’s where competitor analysis can be useful. The purpose of a competitive analysis is to determine the potential advantages and barriers that businesses could face within a target market for a product or service and to monitor how competitors are implementing various tactics, such as marketing, pricing, and distribution. Learn more here,
Startups often fail due to poor management because they ignore the importance of standard operating procedures in the e-commerce business. SOPs are useful for streamlining business processes and ensuring efficiency. Creating SOPs can be the first step to helping you achieve business excellence since they will enable you to work “on your business” rather than just “in your business”. SOPs help your business to excel as they can help your employees understand the different tasks and processes of the organization, thus improving productivity in the operations.
The new-age technologies and e-commerce business model are prioritizing the consumer needs, hence SOPs also need to be created with a customer-centric approach in mind. Without a doubt, the top-notch innovations have automated business operations and offered convenience to the customer, but to survive in the e-commerce industry, having efficiency in the process and proper strategic decisions is equally essential and that’s where SOPs fit in! Therefore, the use of technology, automation of the business process, and the old-school methods of SOPs for efficient operations are crucial to scale an e-commerce business.
3. Good Team
A company can never sustain itself if they don’t have the support of a good team that’s working hard for the business to flourish. Hence, it makes sense to hire the right talent and potential employees for the growth of your business. However, this does not mean you can overburden your team with a plethora of tasks. There are recurring tasks in almost every organization, and if those can be automated properly, this reduces the burden on employees so they can focus on revenue-related objectives.
According to a McKinsey report, about 60% of businesses can easily save 30% of the time with automation of processes. Each business has several regular tasks, such as paying monthly bills, generating weekly reports, and storing data, and business automation can help you there! Even with this, SOPs can again prove to be very helpful. You can easily guide your team to refer to the SOPs to know what processes need manual intervention and cannot be replicated using an automated process. Similarly, if you have a new member in place, SOPs act as a training manual so that the teamwork does not get affected and the new employee can be trained without micromanaging.
4. Digital Customer Experience
Due to the fast-moving world where everything is just a few clicks away, e-commerce businesses need to stay competitive by adopting new technologies to offer the best customer experience. Consumers today prefer convenience over anything else, thus new e-commerce startups need to improve their digital customer experience if they do not want to bear the loss in the business.
Providing seamless and hassle-free customer service is the key, be it through your website, social media handles, chatbot, customer support – basically, every point of contact directly with customers has to be top-notch. Similarly, take care if the response time is not up to the mark or the website does not load properly or if any page on your website shows an error. All these factors can affect the customer experience negatively and also your brand image. Instead, work on how you can transform the checkout experience for the customers by adopting new software and technologies. Those who work on improving the digital customer experience can easily attract or retain customers and evolve as a big brand in upcoming years.
Money is the backbone of any business! An e-commerce business can grow only if one has expertise in managing the cash flow or else, the business can result in huge loss. Business owners should ideally be keeping comprehensive details about the cash flows and budgeting. This is because cash flow can act as the biggest hindrance in scaling an e-commerce business. Thus, cash flows need to be planned proactively to avoid a situation where you run out of cash!
How can YRC E-commerce Consultants help?
Wondering how to run a successful eCommerce business? At YRC, our e-business consulting services and our professional eCommerce consultants are there to guide you at every step. We offer a variety of services to help our clients scale their e-commerce businesses. These services include working on business strategy, business plan, streamlining the team roles, KPIs and KRAs, digital marketing strategy, e-commerce website design or development, SOPs, e-commerce softwares selection & implementation, inventory management & ecommerce fulfillment, process automation, launch strategies, etc. To explore more, contact YRC E-commerce Experts to start and/ or scale your e-commerce business.