by Amba Wilkes
No matter how hard you work to scale your eCommerce business, you’ll likely encounter obstacles along the way.
With a competitive landscape, the eCommerce space is not easy to scale and succeed in. However, with the right factors considered, an effective growth strategy in place and a robust eCommerce platform to support you, you’ll be well on your way.
in this blog.
We look at:
- the barriers we regularly see stunt eCommerce growth
- the obstacles you may encounter along the way
- how to overcome these obstacles
1) ecommerce platform challenges.
Your platform choice is a big part of success. It needs to be the right choice for your business now and for the future. The features, functionalities and ability to scale all play a key role in fulfilling your growth plans. Without the best platform for your needs, your ongoing success could be stunted.
So, what do you need to consider when choosing the right platform for your eCommerce store?
your objectives and goals.
It’s better to have an eCommerce platform that’s able to support your needs today as well as in the future. With room to grow, you won’t be limited by your choice.
- Consider questions like these to help you make your decision:
- What shopping experience do you want to offer your customers?
- What functionality do you need your eCommerce store to have?
- How quickly do you want to get to market?
- Where do you want your online business to be in the next five years?
- What aspirations do you have for your online store?
- Will there be any major changes such as internationalisation?
What support does your platform choice offer? Some platforms outsource their support which can make it tricky to get the help you need when you need it. If something goes wrong, it’s reassuring to know you can contact a real person whether it’s through email, phone or live chat.
Will your platform be able to handle high traffic demands? What about the ability to cope with different currencies or language options if you expand into new markets?
Your chosen platform should be robust enough to handle traffic influxes without your site crashing and going offline. It should also be capable of supporting your ambitions, whatever they may be.
Your eCommerce platform needs to protect both your brand and your customers. Most solutions today offer comprehensive security standards. However, it’s important to know if you’re responsible for maintaining these security processes or whether they’re looked after by the platform provider.
A payment gateway acts as the bridge between the customer and brand, allowing online payments to be made in a secure, fast manner.
2) fulfilment issues.
If you can’t fulfil your orders with ease, your sales will suffer. The eCommerce shopping experience may take place online but there’s much more than just the sale to consider. How will you get your products from you to your customer quickly and efficiently?
Factors including poor inventory management, shipping delays, miscommunications and warehousing issues can all affect your fulfilment process. Ensuring your logistics and operations are as slick as your online store will help you to meet your customers’ expectations as your business grows. Internal systems and third-party relationships all need to be spot on to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.
3) poor integrations and systems.
Whether it’s third-party systems, payment gateways or internal systems, poor integrations can cause problems including:
- the risk of overselling due to problem syncing of stock levels
- difficulty creating new products onsite
- site stability and downtime
- order management syncing causing slow delivery times
- your site’s ability to scale
These issues can impact the performance and success of your eCommerce store causing damage to the shopping experience, your brand’s reputation and sales. Top-quality, reliable integrations are essential for a high-performing store. Here’s an example of some of the integrations you will likely encounter on your growth journey:
- accounting: To aid with sales, taxes, revenue etc.
- crm integration: To manage data and customer relationships
- site management: To manage data and technical site elements
- reviews: To support social proof and user generated content (UGC)
- loyalty: To offer rewards and incentives for purchasing
- email: To communicate with your audience
- fulfilment: To support stock management and shipping
- site search: To create a more intuitive buying journey
- customer support: To allow your audience to easily communicate with you
4) acquisition strategy.
To grow, you need to acquire new customers. This starts with understanding who your audience is, what matters to them and how you can best communicate with them.
It’s not as simple as just launching an eCommerce store. If no one knows your site exists, how will you generate sales? For your online store to perform, you need to drive traffic to it.
Your wider marketing strategy should factor this in including where you will find your customers, what they will be searching for and how you can reach them at different stages of their buying journey. When putting your acquisition strategy together, consider the different channels that could be used:
- seo: SEO helps search engines crawl, index, rank and display your site for relevant searches. However, it takes a multitude of tactics to grow your organic presence - from technical SEO to content to increasing your domain authority with outreach and digital PR.
- ppc: PPC provides more immediate visibility than SEO and is a great tactic to use while your organic presence grows (and beyond). Allowing you to compete with established brands faster, PPC boosts your visibility in the SERPs and can be used to drive traffic to your site.
- social: Social channels are the place for building communities and establishing connections with your audience. These platforms are effective for showing who you are, what you stand for and what you offer in a more visually engaging way. Paid social can also be used to target more of your audience, grow your following and encourage communication through a convenient customer touchpoint.
- email: A faithful marketing method, as your database continues to grow, email is an effective way of connecting directly with your audience. Even better, it has a range of uses including supporting customer service, gathering social proof, promoting new products, shouting about promotions and supporting customer loyalty.
5) customer service gaps.
It’s reported that those customers who had the best experience communicating with a brand spend approximately 140 percent more compared to those who didn’t. Good customer service is not only important for serving your customers, but it can also support your sales.
Between proactive communication of product availability, delivery timescales, processing orders and refunds, answering queries and handling complaints, your customer service is key to both keeping your customers happy and turning them into loyal shoppers.
The pandemic has seen more people turn online for their shopping needs and, for many, these transactions have been their first online shopping experience. To support their shopping journey and earn their loyalty, it’s important to provide familiarity through your customer service processes. This means translating traditional customer service into the digital space.
This isn’t just about supporting new shoppers. Today, customers expect convenience and fast responses through a range of channels. It’s important to make your brand available where your customers want to speak to you whether that’s phone, email, live chat, social or a good old fashioned contact form.
Your customer service team will also work closely with your fulfilment team to coordinate orders and returns efficiently. As such, it’s crucial to build an effective eCommerce team structure and streamlined internal processes that ensure these activities can be carried out in the most seamless, speedy way.
growing your eCommerce business.
Are your growth plans being hampered by your eCommerce platform? If your ambition is to scale, you need a platform that can support you well into the future.
As an eCommerce agency founded by an eCommerce business, our roots are in retail, and this means we understand the barriers that can prevent you from scaling. From our experience starting as an online retailer, Shopify fast became our platform of choice.
The right choice for high growth retailers, Shopify Plus is designed for ambitious merchants. With world-class technology, this platform empowers you to succeed. But the real potential is unlocked when you combine it with a Shopify expert agency. With our proactive support, you can invest in the right platform for now and for the future.