What is the best way to succeed in a competitive marketplace? Your business will need to be able to adapt to change using technology to engage and improve efficiencies. Plus your business will need to be mostly online, and do all it can with quality content to remain relevant to its target audience.
But it doesn’t end there there’s the need to grow your market share and offer more to loyal shoppers.
However, you have to walk before you can run. If you’re currently a small store and your aim is to go global there is no quick fix to becoming a behemoth overnight.
Everything worth having is worth fighting for as the saying goes therefore start with a business plan and include a strategy to scale up over time.
Your business will need to address key areas for growth before making any major leaps. This way, you’ll be able to accommodate your current customer base while anticipating their future needs.
Understanding the challenges associated with scaling up your eCommerce business will help you anticipate sticking points and mitigate them effectively. The result? A smooth experience for visitors, whether it’s their first time on your website or their tenth.
Handling Inventory and Order Fulfillment
Exclusivity can be a useful tool, but shoppers tend to be frustrated by constant ‘sold out’ notices on a website.
Scaling up means more than just accommodating extra website traffic; it’s important to manage the back-end logistics accordingly. This includes maintaining an inventory that can support demand and keeping up with order fulfillment as transactions roll in.
At some point, many merchants find it useful to outsource order fulfillment to a third-party center.
Fulfillment companies handle processes like packing, shipping, and storage. This leaves your store free to concentrate on front-end issues, website maintenance, customer service, marketing, and more. Of course, the success of this setup depends entirely upon choosing a reputable fulfillment center, as your store’s reputation depends on timely and accurate deliveries.
Downtime is one of the biggest hiccups eCommerce stores face when scaling up. Your website must be equipped for an influx of customers, especially during sales and holiday promotions.
There’s no use growing your store if shoppers will experience slow load times, delays, crashes, and error messages. It all starts with your choice of a cloud eCommerce platform. The closer to 100 percent uptime you can expect, the less you have to worry about losing out on valuable sales.
Does your website has enough bandwidth to handle an ever-increasing volume of transactions? Website speed is important to keep customers focused on completing their purchases.
Growing Your Customer Service
Many eCommerce operations start small; meaning handling customer service is relatively simple at the beginning. But as you grow, it’s not always possible to stay on top of responsive customer service and all the other functions your store needs to thrive. So, scaling up means some combination of hiring customer service specialists and implementing alternative channels.
As one Entrepreneur contributor points out, scaling up simply means dealing with more customer complaints. When only one out of 100 customers complains, it’s manageable. When the ratio expands to 1,000 or 10,000 customers, suddenly you have many more to address in the form of emails, calls, and social media posts.
The first step is providing customers with a number of channels to ask questions and provide feedback.
You can not second guess which channel your customers will use to reach out to your business. Make sure your customer support is available on:
- Live chat
- Site messaging
- Social Media
Many merchants turn to artificial intelligence-powered chatbots to handle front-line inquiries rather than handling them with human specialists. AI live chat can answer frequently asked questions, help customers conduct searches, and elevate more complicated tasks to humans.
Being mindful of these challenges associated with scaling up your eCommerce company will help you avoid growing pains.