Ecommerce Strategy 101: A High-Level Guide to Scaling Your Online Busines
When choosing an ecommerce platform, one of the most significant factors should be scalability. Often overlooked by prospective online store owners, the inability to effectively scale an ecommerce website can turn out to be a significant roadblock. That is precisely why scalability should be the focal point of ecommerce strategies. After all, expanding your online business should be an effortless task without affecting your website’s speed, functionality, user-friendliness, and most importantly – your profits.
In this article, we will be talking about the most critical aspects of scaling your online store. This starts with setting up a strong foundation and then expands into optimizing user experience, creating new marketing channels, and ultimately leads to establishing a more valuable connection with your customers. Keep on reading to learn more.
Step #1: Build a Strong Foundation
The central and the most crucial part of your online business is your ecommerce website. We are sure you have worked hard on building and optimizing your online presence. However, are you 100% sure that your website can handle effortless scaling? Here are a few aspects to consider.
We don’t have to tell you about the importance of having a brilliantly designed website. After all, your website’s design is the way you communicate with your customers. The ability of your website to achieve this kind of visual communication and connection with shoppers has a substantial impact on the store’s success. However, this is easier said than done.
Experienced Web developers and ecommerce marketers will tell you that three core features have the most significant impact on creating a seamless online shopping experience. These are advanced website search, merchandising, and navigation.
The importance of having an effective website search system cannot be stressed enough. That’s because website search is often the first or last feature that your customers use. They want to find what they are looking for, and they also expect useful suggestions. This is why machine-learning site search is the latest trend that produces the most accurate results. With a bit of effort, you can make machine-learning algorithms to predict customers' intentions. Even if your online store doesn't offer what your customers are looking for, you can still provide the next best thing and perhaps turn your visitors into customers.
Having a capable search engine lets you analyze search data. To scale your website, you need to know which route to take. Analyzing search data can produce valuable conclusions about what your visitors need. This is how you can not only expand your product catalog but also highlight hard-to-find products and improve your online marketing plan.
Last but not the least, making navigation easier is the final piece of the puzzle. Creating an easy to understand product catalog produces a system that is easy and intuitive for your customers. On top of that, scaling your online store by introducing new products, nesting them, or introducing new product categories should be a relatively easy task.
Optimizing Website Performance
When it comes to ecommerce websites, it's often said that simple designs are more effective. This is why we have focused on three critical areas in the previous segment of this article. As you might have noticed, we never advised you to add new features. Instead, we encourage you to refine them by making them more straightforward and more effective. As you are about to see, this is in a direct correlation with your website's performance.
Did you know that Google considers page speed as a ranking factor? And did you know that 70% of websites take 7 seconds to load? And finally, you need to know that 53% of Web surfers are ready to leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Needless to say, these statistics are even more relevant for ecommerce websites because speed affects revenue as well. The bottom line is that before scaling your online store, you need to make sure that you have a highly optimized structure. Simplifying your website and focusing on core areas won’t only improve user experience but will give you a chance to improve your store’s search engine rankings.
Step #2: Deliver an Unforgettable Shopping Experience
Having a fast-performing online store that provides simple and effective navigation is only one part of today's ecommerce strategies. Once you are sure that you've mastered the basics, it's time to think about fine-tuning your online business. Let's see how to scale your website to deliver an unforgettable shopping experience.
The Importance of Content Marketing
The ultimate goal of every online marketing plan is to bring visitors to your website. In the ecommerce industry, this correlates to generating more substantial revenue. It is no wonder why expert marketers usually focus on content marketing. Creating and maintaining a useful blog is an excellent place to start. This gives you an opportunity for your website visitors to get to know you. Focus on your personal story and make sure to publish valuable content. Remember that creating a personal connection with your customers is the ultimate achievement. Once that is done, you can introduce marketable content that focuses on your products.
So, how can you take advantage of the power of social media networks? This is where your content comes into play. By building and regularly maintaining a genuinely valuable blog, you can utilize social media to share your posts. This is where being authentic is your most significant advantage, and this will surely resonate with your target market.
Aside from promoting your content on social media, you can also use social media to re-engage with your customers. In case customers abandon their carts, you can remind them of a fantastic opportunity they missed via their Facebook profiles.
Don’t Forget About SEO
An underlying element to everything we said so far is SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Every piece of content found on your website should be optimized for Google and other search engines. This is yet another reason why blog posts have the power to bring in more visitors. A higher volume of content gives your website a better chance of being visible on search engines. Don’t forget that this applies to product descriptions as well. Generic descriptions are not a way to go, so make sure to show your public persona through every sentence found on your website. Also, make sure that your SEO strategy is optimized for the ecommerce industry. This is how your ecommerce marketing and will yield visible and long-term results.
Utilize the Power of Digital Marketing
When it comes to scaling your business, a refined marketing strategy can be your biggest ally. We don't have to tell you that shoppers love a good sale. However, even the best of promotions and sales can produce underwhelming results if they are not visible. Therefore, make sure to inspect your marketing strategy and make it an essential part of scaling your online store.
If you're making visual changes to your website, inspect the best places for promotional offers. There are tools that allow you to see how visitors interact with your store. This will tell you where you need to place banners and call-to-action elements. Still, don't forget that promotions aren't only about shiny banners. Take a look at software extensions that you can use to run successful marketing campaigns and promotional offers. Quite often, these tools can be used to create custom promotions, discount codes, and serve those not only via your website but social media as well.
Make Other Marketplaces Your Ally
Your visitors probably come from various places on the Web. While some find your online store via Google, many of them come from Facebook, Instagram, or even from other online stores such as Amazon. All of these sources of traffic should be seen as invaluable opportunities to grow your business. We hope that you already have some insight into where your visitors come from. This is an important first step toward scaling your online store.
When talking about scaling an online store, we are talking about growing your business. In many cases, adding more products and making your store more complicated isn't the route to take. Instead, you can focus on utilizing missed opportunities. For example, you can set up an Amazon store or integrate your product catalog with Facebook. You already have your store set up, so why not utilize different channels to present your products to a larger group of users?
Streamline Order Fulfillment
Product shipping can easily become a nightmare for every business owner if not planned correctly. However, offering affordable shipping and making sure your customers can receive their products on time is a balancing act. If you add e-commerce website scaling into this equation, this can quickly turn into overly large expenses.
Before you are ready to scale your business, make sure to take another look at order fulfillment. You can fulfill orders yourself, which can be great for small stores. Once your business start growing, you can take a look at options like drop shipping and using a third-party logistics provider. Your ultimate goal should be to offer free shipping, which is what your customers will value the most. So, take a hard look at your options, be prepared to make some compromises, and streamline your order fulfillment mechanisms.
Step #3: Know Your Numbers
Setting up realistic expectations and goals is imperative when it comes to creating an online business. However, when it comes to scaling your online store, your expectations need to be based on analyzing the data that is already in front of you.
Understanding Key Metrics
Numerous incredibly capable tools can track your customers' behavior. As a result, these tools can provide information on what's interesting for your customers, and what needs to be improved. For example, you can take a closer look at why specific products are more popular than others, and what kinds of blog post create the most prominent user engagement. Metrics go far beyond that and can be applied to the effectiveness of your ecommerce marketing by seeing what kinds of actions (like promotional offers) bring the most noticeable results.
Predicting Your Costs
By having valuable data in front of you, you can not only optimize your online marketing plan. Instead, you can turn this data into an analysis of your expenses. By checking how much money you spend via marketing offers, utilizing social media, generating followers or subscribers, you can know your costs per lead and per sale. The ultimate goal is to find the lowest cost per sale and then turning to your marketing channels to attract even more customers.
When it comes to ecommerce strategies, identifying weak spots and improving them is the way to go. As such, an effective strategy will make sure that the current state of your online business is capable of growing. After all, scaling doesn't only mean adding new features and new products. It also includes eliminating less valuable aspects while focusing your time and effort on things that truly matter.