The eCommerce space is fiercely competitive, getting up and running and carving out a space for yourself is a huge achievement. But staying still means getting left behind. As your business develops you’ll need to step up a gear to stay competitive.
It means moving out of your comfort zone, facing new challenges, and developing new skills.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. There is a wealth of expertise on hand to guide you on your journey to eCommerce success.
This piece will provide you with practical small business tips to take some of the pain out of moving up to the next level.
eCommerce Tips for Small Business Owners: Overview
Just like every successful business, eCommerce companies need to grow to survive.
However, the path to growth is a little different if you generate most of your revenue online and there are specific things that you should keep in mind when scaling.
In this piece we’ll cover how to:
- Set Specific Goals
- Keep focused on your niche, even as you expand into new areas
- Develop a multichannel marketing strategy
- Use ERP software to lighten your load
- Keep your customers front and center as you grow
- Map out your sales funnel
Signs Your Small Business eCommerce Operation Is Growing
Whether you’ve just set up shop as a small business owner or you’re a seasoned pro, your business is constantly changing and evolving, But knowing exactly what’s going on underneath the hood can be hard for eCommerce entrepreneurs. In a traditional brick and mortar store, it’s easy to see if you need to expand – you won’t have space for all the customers coming through your door! But if you’re running an online store, trends can be a little trickier to spot.
Here are some tell-tale growing pains:
- Customer management gets harder – You’re generating more traffic, resulting in more customers. Great! But tracking all these new visitors and organizing an enlarged customer base can be a drain on resources.
- Warehousing and fulfillment are increasingly complex – More customers means more orders to ship. If you’re shipping nationwide, or even internationally, order routing and inventory management pose a much bigger logistical challenge than a self-fulfillment operation.
- Your marketing is harder to coordinate – If you’re attracting people from a range of channels, making sure they’re receiving the right messaging at the right time – and doing this at scale – can quickly become too complicated to handle if you’re relying on the same marketing methods that you used in the first phase of running a small business.
Small Business Tips for Scaling Your eCommerce Business
If you recognize some or all of these pain points, then it’s likely you have an expanding eCommerce business. But how do you make the transition to operating at scale smoother? How can you approach operating on a bigger canvas as efficiently as possible and maximize your returns?
Tip 1: Set Specific Goals
Goals are crucial to success in business, they’re what’s got you where you are today. To take it to the next level you’ll need to maintain a laser focus on your targets. But the goals you set yourself when you were just starting out are very different from the ones you’ll need to scale your business.
To take it to the next level you’ll need to:
- Take a step back and make a high-level assessment of where you are. Make a SWOT analysis: What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Write all this down so you can see what’s working well and what you need to improve.
- Once you know where the areas that need attention are, work out a realistic timeframe to go from where you are now to where you want to be.
- Then think about how you can break this down, with achievable goals along the way. Achievable means something you have control of. Instead of saying ‘I want to double my revenue in 6 months’, try ‘I want to run three email marketing campaigns in the next 3 months’.
- Now you can break this down even further into smaller, single steps: If you want to run a new marketing campaign, what steps can you take this week to make it happen? What can you