When it comes to launching an ecommerce business, there are no shortcuts. You need to pay your dues, make a plan, find your customers, come up with the ideal products and services, and obtain the startup capital that will be your lifeblood. However, once you do all of those things, there are additional steps you can take to enhance and grow your company that don’t involve constant work on your part, a concept called scaling.
Spread the word.
If no one knows your business exists, how can they possibly be expected to click on your website or buy what you have to offer? This is where a multi-pronged, tech-savvy marketing campaign enters the picture. The first step is to get a sense of the customer profile you want to reach.
In years past, most of us watched the same channels on television, read our local newspapers, and listened to a handful of radio stations. That homogeneity made it easy for businesses to advertise. These days, media options are seemingly infinite. Therefore, your job as an ecommerce business owner is to grab potential customers’ attention on the websites and social media pages where they spend most of their time.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, you’ll need to do some research. A great way to get connected is to reach out to online influencers who can spread the word about your products to their loyal fans for an agreed-upon price. This may be one of those cases when wise investing in this type of marketing pays for itself many times over.
Delegate by automating.
Have you ever dreamed that your ecommerce fairy godmother would come during the night while you were sleeping and take care of the myriad of tasks that you never seem to have the time to complete? Believe it or not, technology can make those dreams a reality in the form of automation software. Once you set it up, you can use sophisticated out-of-the-box solutions to assist you with sending promotional emails and appointment reminders, generating invoices and delinquent payment statements, repricing products, and eliciting feedback from customers.
Once you invest in automation, you will discover something amazing: You actually do have more time! Now that you don’t need to stress over those pesky yet vital jobs, you can devote your attention to aspects of growing your business that computers can never attempt to replicate.
Invest in order fulfillment.
On one level, processing orders seems like something you should be able to do on your own. It shouldn’t require shelling out tons of money for a human or automated assistant, right? Wrong. Stop for a minute and think about all of the elements that go into order fulfillment, including:
- Choosing and purchasing boxes or envelopes sized to fit all of the items you sell.
- Adding the price of packing supplies into what you charge your customer.
- Printing out and attaching a shipping label.
- Searching your shelves of inventory for the product.
- Packing and wrapping the item in its box or envelope.
- Taking the time to go to the shipping office or to arrange for a pickup.
Delegating these tasks to someone else will add years to your life and allow you to attend to the many other high priorities that arise every day you run a business.
Focus on your website.
One part of your business that is decidedly not set-it-and-forget-it is your website. Failing to optimize it to be the best it can be is tantamount to showing up for a meeting with the president dressed in old sweatpants and a dirty undershirt. Your ecommerce site is a new customer’s introduction to your company and the way that your loyal patrons keep in touch.
Sprucing up your web presence involves many vital components, including:
- Making it mobile-friendly so that visitors can access your store via their smartphones and tablets (After all, this is how more and more people are shopping these days).
- Making it clutter-free. If your pages are too busy, people will become overwhelmed and will quickly click away.
- Taking time to ensure that your textual content is concise yet descriptive. People want to hear about what they’re buying and understand why they should spend their money on your products.
- Using clear, high-resolution images at all angles to give a comprehensive picture of your items.
- Clearly stating all shipping and return policies. This will save you hours of time and stress and reduce chargebacks.
- Making sure that your customers’ checkout experience is as fast and seamless as possible.
- Following up both successful purchases and abandoned shopping carts with emails.
Remember, your website is your top brand ambassador. As you would with any good employee, give it the ongoing support it deserves, including regular updates and time-sensitive promotions to incentivize purchases, and it will do amazing things for your company as it grows.
Ramp up your social media presence.
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Pinterest are just some of the social media behemoths that have become part of our collective consciousness. However, these platforms can do so much more than simply entertain us; they can actually drive customers to your growing ecommerce operation.
The key is to spread the word about your unique brand on the sites that you know your current customers and potential patrons use the most. Provide updates about your business several times a week while posting a how-to video, or featuring a positive customer testimonial. Once you become a fixture on people’s news feeds, chances are you’ll start to receive more visits and experience an uptick in purchases.
Growing your business involves a combination of motivation, skills, energy, and time – but that’s not all. If you want to scale your ecommerce company, you also must distinguish the things you should do yourself, and what can be delegated to other people, or even to automated solutions. Once you get a handle on these concepts, you'll have the time you need to put your multi-pronged business enhancement strategy into practice.