Why Scaled eCommerce Business

Scaled e-commerce system is able to maintain or even increase its level of performance or efficiency when exposed to larger service demands. The enhanced scalability means an ability to address and handle larger volumes of content.

Introducing eCommerce changes everything in your company:

  1. internal processes – stock management, product management, channels, marketing, digital marketing
  2. the type and cost of shipping
  3. the cost of customer service by adding a new communication channel like chat, social media
  4. sales channels – from local to global
  5. pricing policies
  6. digital tools usage – we will concentrate on it here
  7. marketing tactics
  8. data usage
  9. and many others

What is it a scalability

Generally, scalability can be defined as “the ease with which a system or component can be modified to fit the
problem area. A scalable system has three main characteristics, including the following ones:
(i) The system can accommodate an increased usage;
(ii) The system can accommodate an increased data set;
(iii) The system is maintainable and performs with reasonable performances

Source: Improving Performance of e-Commerce Systems by Vertical Scaling (PDF Download Available). 

Building a scaled ecommerce business involves strategic planning, careful execution, and continuous optimization to drive growth and profitability. Here are steps to help you build a scaled ecommerce business:

1. Market Research and Niche Selection:
– Identify target markets and niche opportunities based on trends, demand, competition, and audience needs.
– Conduct thorough market research to understand customer preferences, pain points, and buying behaviors.

2. Business Planning and Strategy Development:
– Define your business goals, objectives, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
– Develop a comprehensive business plan outlining your market positioning, value proposition, revenue streams, pricing strategy, and go-to-market approach.
– Create a scalable business model that allows for growth and expansion while maintaining profitability.

3. Build a Robust Ecommerce Platform:
– Choose a reliable ecommerce platform that meets your business requirements and scalability needs.
– Customize and optimize your website for a seamless user experience, mobile responsiveness, and fast loading times.
– Implement essential features such as product catalogs, secure payment gateways, inventory management, and order fulfillment systems.

4. Product Selection and Sourcing:
– Curate a diverse range of high-quality products that cater to your target audience’s needs and preferences.
– Source products from reputable suppliers, manufacturers, or wholesalers, ensuring competitive pricing, reliability, and quality.
– Consider offering a mix of in-house products and third-party brands to provide variety and differentiation.

5. Marketing and Customer Acquisition:
– Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy encompassing digital channels (e.g., SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing) and offline tactics (e.g., influencer partnerships, events).
– Create compelling content, visuals, and messaging to attract and engage your target audience.
– Implement customer acquisition tactics such as promotions, discounts, referral programs, and loyalty rewards to incentivize purchases and foster brand loyalty.

6. Optimize Conversion Rate and User Experience:
– Continuously optimize your website for conversion by testing and iterating on elements such as product pages, checkout process, calls-to-action, and pricing strategies.
– Implement user-friendly navigation, intuitive search functionality, and personalized recommendations to enhance the shopping experience.
– Utilize analytics tools to track user behavior, identify pain points, and make data-driven improvements to your ecommerce platform.

7. Scale Operations and Infrastructure:
– Invest in scalable infrastructure, technology, and resources to support growth and accommodate increasing demand.
– Streamline and automate backend processes such as inventory management, order processing, shipping, and customer service to improve efficiency and scalability.
– Build strong partnerships with logistics providers, fulfillment centers, and suppliers to optimize operations and reduce costs.

8. Customer Retention and Loyalty:
– Implement strategies to nurture customer relationships, encourage repeat purchases, and drive customer loyalty.
– Offer personalized experiences, exclusive offers, and loyalty programs to incentivize retention and foster long-term relationships.
– Collect and leverage customer feedback to improve products, services, and overall customer experience.

9. Monitor Performance and Analytics:
– Regularly monitor key performance metrics such as sales, conversion rates, average order value, customer acquisition cost, and customer lifetime value.
– Use analytics tools and reports to gain insights into customer behavior, market trends, and performance drivers.
– Adjust strategies, tactics, and investments based on data-driven analysis and experimentation to optimize business outcomes.

10. Adapt and Innovate:
– Stay agile and adaptable to changing market conditions, consumer preferences, and industry trends.
– Continuously innovate and differentiate your offering through product innovation, technology advancements, and strategic partnerships.
– Experiment with new channels, marketing tactics, and revenue streams to expand your reach and drive sustained growth.

Online shop software

Online shops currently are multi-software solutions with many integrations, data sharing and marketing automation for faster and better customer experience with purchasing process and overall customer service including shipping and after-sales experience.

The online shop has to take care of the whole purchasing cycle: pre-purchase, purchase, ownership and after-purchase. The situation is more complicated if we take also omi-channel sales, including brick-and-mortar shops and sales on other platforms like Amazon, eBay or industry specifics: Home Depot, Staples, etc.

Scaled ecommerce business, scaled ecommerce system

All these channels should have one layer – the good IT platform, secure network, and IT management that currently can be partially outsourced – SaaS solutions for hosting, IT operations, security monitoring, etc.

These are the typical questions of online shop owners:

  • Can my online store be hacked? – yes, please use SSL, secure hosting, antivirus, and monitoring, and add all needed security patches.
  • What can I do to make my online store more successful? – great offer, usability, security, marketing tactics, and strategy
  • How do I get more visitors to my site?
  • How do I increase conversion rates in my e-commerce store?
  • How safe is IT outsourcing?
  • What are the best checkout optimized eCommerce retail sites?
  • What is the best eCommerce solution in terms of stability and scalability?
  • What are some examples of growth hacking for eCommerce?
  • How to improve eCommerce website performance?
  • How to improve the SEO of an eCommerce website?

Scaled eCommerce business elements of customer ‘s cycle:

Prepurchase

  • new potentials are gathered via lead generation tactics: Adwords campaigns, referrals, current newsletter subscribers with marketing automation tools, LinkedIn ads or whitepapers, presentations via SlideShare, blog posts, your offer distributed on other e-commerce portals, price-comprising portals, etc.  But you need to have a very well SEO optimized online shop.
  • your shop can get product data from the producer databases or wholesaler databases – typical integration with Icecat, online product database or drop-shipping platforms like Doba.
  • the offer personalization for new and current customers via personalization software like Marketizator and many others for example:
    • Barilliance – Saas Personalisation for Ecommerce
    • Pure clarity – E-commerce Personalisation
    • Bunting Website Personalisation
    • Monetate Personalisation Software
    • Rich Relevance
    • ChoiceStream
    • Personyze
    • Apptus
  • product recommendation tools that recommend most popular products based on previous purchases and other clients visits like Quarticon
blank

Purchase

  • online shop with a fast and convenient one-page checkout
  • the online reservation and pickup in offline shop
  • abandoned carts – you can use marketing automation tool for keeping such clients in touch and not losing them so easily, proposing them a special offer before they leave your shop
  • offline shop is truly integrated with omni-channel platform via POS application, that also sends data to CRM, marketing automation software and loyalty program application ( it can be inside CRM or integrated as a 3rd party software)
  • online purchase with most popular online payments and convenient shipping options, that provide a great experience, simple communication flow with the transactional emails or SMS
  • the customer data can go directly to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Marketing Automation and Sales Intelligence Analytics software that is integrated with your shop online and offline
  • you can also collect data of effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and promotions

Ownership

  • great customer service tools – you can add contact forms, chat, phone and email contact
  • easy return and complaint handling policy – it has to be a part of your legal restrictions
  • marketing automation with special newsletters, smses for your clients – to push them for next purchase – new product version, similar products, birthday discount.
  • loyalty programs for most active clients to keep them around your business and offer more products to buy
  • social media campaigns
  • if you have a subscription model, like Pampers – you need to control the regular shippments, present next steps and more content for your current user.
  • you can build a community around your products and shop – there are very interesting solutions in this space
  • frequent blog posts that will provide a value for your clients – tips, solving problems or mind, body and soul solutions.

After-purchase

  • Predictive Analytics – you should know how long your product ownership lasts – it can be 1 day for food or 3 years for a car. You should know your business model very well. You can use it for next upgrade offer or new offer like car dealers do. Your business intelligence analytics can be very helpful here.
  • Sales Intelligence
  • the customer segmentation – is very important for after-purchase activities. All crm have more or less advanced feature that will help you in building segments, matrixes of segments even. The main purpose is to build a more personalized offer for them that based on many researches has a 2-3 time more
  • loyalty programs
  • Content Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Web Analytics integrated with Cross-Channel Campaign Management
  • Conversion monitoring and optimization
  • Programmatic add buying based on your clients data

The dividing line between these digital solutions of scaled ecommerce system is blurring as vendors make acquisitions and establish partner ecosystems, striving to offer a complete range of capabilities under one roof – like Salesforce or Adobe.

By following these steps and focusing on strategic planning, execution, and optimization, you can build a scaled ecommerce business that delivers value to customers, drives sustainable growth, and achieves long-term success in the competitive ecommerce landscape.

Furthermore I can help in building the architecture for your scaled ecommerce system, omni-channel business. Simply contact us.

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