The eCommerce industry is an exciting place to be in. With nearly 28% of the global population being digital buyers, the possibilities are endless. Given the huge opportunity available to them, ecommerce business owners must focus their efforts on scaling their venture. After all, the more a business scales the easier it is to create a strong brand and generate conversions.
So, how can you get your business on the fast track to scaling? Before getting there, it’s critical to understand the meaning of the term ‘scale’ and how it is different from ‘business growth.’
In business terms, both have a specific meaning.
Scaling versus Growing a Business
Grow your business is about increasing the resources, like staff, product line, or capital investments, at the same rate as revenue growth. The revenue generated will be offset by investing in resources to sell more. So, in this case, the business has grown in size but hasn’t necessarily made a profit.
On the other hand, scaling means boosting revenue by adding zero or minimal resources. So, in this case, you’d increase your revenue with your overhead fairly remaining the same.
For any new business, an increase in revenue is appealing. Hence, scaling should be your ultimate goal. To do this, you need to get more from your existing resources.
Read on to know how you can scale your ecommerce business in the right way.
Step Up Your Inbound Marketing Game
Ecommerce is getting faster, more accessible, and spanning various devices and platforms. Additionally, customers are using voice-assisted devices to shop. Hence, ecommerce marketers wanting to scale their business need to focus on creating exceptional shopping experiences across all channels.
Inbound marketing can help you attract customers to your online store through relevant and engaging content and experiences. It’s a set of activities that when done in tandem can create scalable revenue for your business.
So, as a part of your ecommerce inbound marketing, you should –
- Get found online by potential customers – Create remarkable content and optimize it (on-site and off-site SEO).
- Convert traffic into transactions or leads that can be re-targeted.
- Measure your sales and marketing data.
A solid inbound marketing strategy for ecommerce will ensure that your brand is regularly introduced to your target audience through blog posts, social posts, videos, infographics, and influencer campaigns.
Scaling an ecommerce business involves a lot of effort. There could be several tasks that are beyond you, causing you to spend more time than usual completing them.
If you want to scale your online business you must count on automation to cut down on the time and resources consumed in doing such tasks. This will help you optimize resources and free up time for critical tasks like creating marketing campaigns and content.
For instance, web push notification services like Knowband and Notix can help you retarget abandoned carts, send drip campaigns, boost repeat sales, and promote relevant content based on users’ interests.
Similarly, chatbots can help automate a part of your customer service efforts like responding to customer queries 24/7.
Outsource Where Possible
In continuation with the previous point on automation, several other business tasks can be outsourced to experts. For instance, when scaling your ecommerce venture, you should stop picking, packing, and shipping products yourself. Instead, hire a fulfillment services firm that stores products and fulfills all the orders received. These services save you steep shipping costs as you are no longer paying for packaging, postage, or fuel to drive to and from the drop-off locations.
Similarly, if you lack in-house expertise, technical tasks like SEO best practices or a tricky CMS migration from Sitecore to WordPress are best left to third-party experts. Outsourcing such tasks will allow you to scale up while saving your time for other areas of your business.
Create an Exceptional Customer Service Policy
Considering the rising cost of customer acquisition, retention is a high priority for ecommerce businesses. Poor customer service is one of the huge factors contributing to customer churn today. A research report by Zendesk revealed that 87% of customers tell others about a good experience while 95% talk about poor experiences.
Hence, when scaling your ecommerce business, it’s wise to amp up your customer service initiatives. Customers should get answers to their questions quickly and easily. So, get a well-rounded customer service team on board, allowing you to handle concerns before complaints and negative reviews come in.
Firmoo, the online eyewear store, rocks at offering responsive and awesome customer service. The brand enjoys great reviews on social channels and review platforms like TrustPilot.
Not just this, the firm’s website offers mind-blowing options for customers to get in touch with the support team in case of a query or concern.
Simply put, you need to offer your customers several ways to get the information they require. Also, include several ways they can get in touch with you. And once a customer or prospect does connect, make sure to respond promptly. After all, an overwhelming 90% of customers say a prompt response is important to them.
Implement a Robust Customer Retention Strategy
In the ecommerce realm, retention is 5X cheaper than acquiring a new customer. Hence, boosting customer retention is the sure-shot way to make profits.
Besides offering exceptional customer service, here are a few effective tactics to boost customer retention.
- Encourage Customers to Create an Account
Customer accounts are proof of a customer’s long-term commitment to a brand. They make repurchasing easy and offer customers instant access to past orders and their status.
However, most customers prefer checking out as a guest as it’s quick and convenient. So, how can you encourage buyers to create customer accounts?
Get them to sign up after the first purchase. Send direct invitations to your first-time customers, asking them to activate their account after the transaction.
- Introduce a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are an effective tactic to encourage shoppers to repurchase or increase the frequency of their purchases. The rewards offered are a motivation for them to shop and earn valuable points.
Check out how Zivame, the online lingerie shop, rewards its buyers when they shop for a specific amount. By entering into the ‘Circle of Radiance,’ customers stand to get more value each time they shop while the store benefits from repeat business.
Ideally, you should offer them welcome points for signing up. It will encourage shoppers to create a customer account. Moreover, they’ll appreciate how easy it is to earn rewards, inspiring them to come back to your ecommerce store.
Notice how Zoomin offers 500 reward points to its buyers, encouraging them to start somewhere.
Most ecommerce platforms (like Shopify) offer store reports that let you see the top customers as per their order value and frequency. Use this information to reward deserving customers.
- Send Engaging Emails
Email marketing strategy is the backbone of customer engagement and retention. Use this medium to build a strong relationship with your audience before and after a purchase.
However, it’s important to send value-adding emails, else you run the risk of landing in the spam folder.
Notice how Sprig Gourmet, an online gourmet food store, sends these interesting emails to its customers. The email not just carries a discount but also an interesting recipe on no-bake lavender cheesecake. Now, who wouldn’t love that!
Here are a few quick tactics to send engaging emails to your buyers.
- Send follow-up emails a week after the purchase, thanking your customer for the business. This will make the customer feel good about their buying decision.
- Send value-adding content like how-tos or tutorials related to the product usage.
- Recommend products that complement the initial purchase. This increases the chances of a repeat purchase.
- Share customer testimonials. This will act as social proof for your buyers, encouraging them to stay loyal to your brand.
- Offer Product Discounts
Deals and discounts have long been used by businesses to trigger repeat purchases. Check out how Nykaa, the online beauty store, uses this tactic to its advantage.
Deal-based customer retention tactics can be of two types –
- Discounts that offer specific products at a reduced price.
- Exclusivity that offers products not normally promoted to a specific group.
Regardless of which one you choose, deal-based retention tactics can help get the conversation started with a customer. So, you can communicate with your shoppers at a much higher frequency than before.
Finally, you can also send a discount coupon to first-time shoppers for their next purchase. This will act as a gentle nudge for them to come back.
Collect and Display Reviews
9 in 10 customers globally make the effort to read online reviews before buying products. This means reviews are a critical part of a costumer journey. Moreover, it also signifies the level of trust online buyers have in fellow shoppers.
Collecting and displaying product reviews on product pages can supercharge your ecommerce business. It’s the final push buyers need to make a purchase decision.
Check out what an incredible job Macy’s does by displaying customer reviews on its product pages. Customers can even sort out these reviews based on their relevance and recency. They also allow shoppers to sort the low ratings, bringing in an element of fairness and transparency.
Customers are more likely to trust and purchase from such ecommerce brands.
Scaling an ecommerce business requires setting some smart goals and a serious plan to achieve them. We are sure that the tips and tactics shared above will help you scale your ecommerce business and push you to achieve more in the coming years.
About The Author
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest, She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.