What You Need to Know Before Scaling Your E-Commerce Brand
Whether you’re scaling from local to national, national to global, or just adding more lines to your range, laying the right foundations will make all the difference in your brand’s success.
Whether you’re scaling from local to national, national to global, or just adding more lines to your range, laying the right foundations will make all the difference in your brand’s success. Without keeping all the balls in the air when you scale, e-commerce sales growth won’t always equate to more profit. More sales mean more traffic, more stock, more shipping, and more customer interactions. Drop the ball on one or more of these, and the whole system can fail.
When scaling an e-commerce brand, the idea is to do more with less—or, at the very least, with what you’ve already got. That way, profits grow without costs getting out of hand. That’s why it’s important to do your groundwork, put the necessary systems and assets in place, and scale at a rate that you can manage. Grow too fast and you may even need to close your doors. Before you scale your e-commerce brand, here’s what you need to know.
Consider your Tools and Resources
When business is booming and you’ve decided it’s time to scale your e-commerce brand, integration is essential. One of the key drivers of e-commerce growth is the ability for customers to make a purchase where, how, and when they choose. It's any-time, any-place, kind of shopping, which means having the right tools and resources in place to allow for integration, and maybe even automation.
Your website, mobile store, online store, and call systems will need to work together. Your technology must be able to keep up. Your inventory will need to keep up with stock sold in your Amazon store, your website, and any other outlet you’re enabling purchases from so you’re not caught short. That means systems that can integrate—inventory and order management systems need to be able to ‘speak’ to each other. Your focus shouldn’t just be on speed; quality is equally important.
To scale successfully and push towards e-commerce sales growth, ask yourself about your current processes: Can they be streamlined, or even automated? Do you have enough people, and do they have the right skills? Is additional training required, or should you consider outsourcing some activities? Is automation of some tasks possible, and if so, where is most appropriate?
If your systems don’t already work well together, it’s time to research and find ones you can migrate to that will manage the e-commerce sales growth you’re planning. If they do work well, you need to start checking capacity and see if they’ll be able to stand up to the increased orders you're vying for. You want to avoid the need to migrate systems amidst scaling your e-commerce business.
What is Branding in E-Commerce?
Whether you’re moving from a brick-and-mortar business to expand into e-commerce or simply scaling the business you have, branding is important for connecting with and being remembered by your audience. Preparing for heightened e-commerce sales growth is the perfect time to review your brand, logo, and slogan. A brand facelift that aligns with your current business and looks to the future you are planning for is a great way to lay the foundations for success.
Branding in e-commerce is more than just your logo, strapline, and company colors. Your brand’s style and voice should be consistent throughout the customer’s entire journey. This includes the tone of voice for all communications—marketing messages, customer service communication, content, product offering, the descriptions used for products or services, and even how customers navigate your online store.
When it comes to branding in e-commerce, navigation of your Amazon store (or other virtual outlet) should be clean and simple to understand. Customers are notorious for leaving online stores if they can’t quickly and easily find what they are looking for. As well as refreshing your brand assets (logo, strapline, colors, and messaging), a review of your product offering is worthwhile.
Identify your most successful items so you can lead with these, and focus your marketing efforts to support them at the outset. This will give you a better start as you’ll be putting in the effort where it’s most likely to reward you with a good return. As the business increases in scale, other items can be added to the online offering at a rate that is easily managed by your team and resources.
By creating your virtual storefront and ensuring your brand is consistent across all channels, the supporting marketing efforts will easily fall into place. Email marketing, social media messaging, and other platforms you use to reach your audience will have a solid base to look to. This will aid consistency and help you build a loyal online customer following.
Don’t Forget Customer Service
One of the major limitations of the growth of e-commerce businesses is customer service. Reviews have a huge impact on how potential customers view your products. Unhappy customers can quickly and easily leave poor feedback that will result in future customers being wary of making a purchase.
Timely, efficient, and friendly customer service is imperative for building your e-commerce brand and a loyal customer base. In today’s online world, a timely response means an immediate (or almost immediate) acknowledgement of a request. Live chat on social media platforms and chatbots can help facilitate this, even when your team is sleeping. Efficient customer service means your lines of communication between teams should be clear and open. Customers shouldn’t have to repeat themselves over and again when trying to resolve an issue. Customer calls should be answered with a smile, be that a smile from a chatbot or from a representative in a call center.
When scaling your e-commerce business, order fulfillment can become problematic if you haven’t prepared for it. A good shipping strategy is one that is crystal-clear for customers and delivers value without damaging your bottom line.
There are multiple shipping strategies, but most boil down to understanding your products, categorizing them by volume and weights, and then creating a plan that takes location, size, and weight of packages into consideration. Take the time to put this in place before you start scaling, so your team knows what their goals are and customers receive their orders without undue delays. Drop shipping is one option to explore, but it can end up with you compromising quality for convenience. Most recommendations advise to use drop shipping as a backup plan if you ever run out of items in your inventory.
When scaling your e-commerce brand, you’re aiming to keep sales flowing and customers happy while you grow at speed. Never sacrifice quality along the way, as it will jeopardize your whole business. Prepare your resources, refresh and align your branding and messages, and ensure clear communication channels throughout the business before you begin to scale your brand. Ensure your teams are up to speed with what they need to know and where the business is heading.
Consider automating some processes and ensure your key systems—integrate inventory, order fulfillment, and tracking so you know what’s happening minute-to-minute with your stock and customer orders. Preparing well lays firm foundations for your online success and enables you to put your efforts and focus where it will give the biggest returns to your bottom line. Seller’s Choice is experienced in helping different brands achieve, and exceed, their e-commerce goals. Get in touch for help scaling your e-commerce business today.