With the availability of Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, setting up an eCommerce business is relatively straightforward. Expanding an eCommerce business is a different matter. If you’re looking at taking your eCommerce business to the next level, decreasing your cart abandonment rates, and increasing your sales figures, you need to look at these top eCommerce expansion tips from multi-channel eCommerce software expert Expandly.
Expanding your eCommerce business
If you’re running an eCommerce startup, you’ll likely be looking towards local expansion, national recognition and, in time, global significance. But taking your business from small scale to world domination requires more traffic, more customers, more sales and more time to achieve all of these. But how?
Increasing your store’s reach
To get bigger, you need to be bigger, which is why expanding your eCommerce business requires:
According to the Future Shopper 2018 and Beyond survey, more than half of online shoppers head straight to online marketplaces when looking to make a purchase. Multi-channel selling is a way to catch these customers by selling your products on a combination of different sales channels, for example, selling on Amazon, eBay, Etsy and you’re own website.
After expanding to multiple sales channels, you can start expanding globally. Start by offering international delivery options on each of your sales channels and then consider listing on international online marketplaces and setting up regional websites.
Finally, you need to ramp up your marketing on social media, PPC advertising, and relevant publications. The more a customer comes into contact with your brand, the more they will begin to recognize and trust your brand.
Increasing your store’s visibility
Once you’ve expanded where your online business is selling, you next need to increase your visibility in those places.
There are plenty of eCommerce SEO optimization tips and hacks out there. Start by ensuring your website and product descriptions are correctly optimized with relevant keywords, alt image descriptions, and fast loading speeds. Then start delving into the world of blogs, high-quality backlinks, and Google-worthy content.
M-commerce (shopping on your mobile phone) is predicted to become as popular as shopping on your computer this year, which is why mobile optimization is so important. Whether a customer is conducting a price comparison while on the high street or flicking through their phone while on the sofa – if your website can’t be seen, you’ll be missing out.
Once you’re selling via online marketplaces, you’ll want to stand out from your competitors as much as possible. Sign up for fast shipping programs (such as Amazon Prime and eBay Guaranteed Delivery) for fast-shipping tags, utilize PPC advertising to become a “sponsored” product, and make every effort to win the Amazon buy box and win the eBay our pick box.
Improving store conversions
So, you’re selling in more places, and more online shoppers are coming across your brand and your products. Next, you need to convert those shoppers.
Customer service is still number one – and don’t forget it. Eight in ten customers are willing to pay more for better customer service, and 74% of millennials would stop shopping with a brand if they experienced poor customer service. Process your orders quickly, deliver your items on time and quick to resolve any problems – not only will it help to retain customers but it will improve your customer ratings too.
A quick way to lose a potential customer is to be out of stock. A quick way to lose a potential customer forever is to let them buy an out of stock product. Keep on top of your inventory across all of your sales channels and set minimum re-order points to help avoid out of stock items and, even worse, overselling items.
An expanding eCommerce store is going to see an increase in orders, which means an increase in deliveries. Do not let this affect your shipping standards or order turnaround times. Process sales orders quickly, streamline your shipping processes, bulk print where possible and consider outsourced fulfillment when things start to get big.
Improving business processes
Ok, so selling on more channel, check; becoming more visible on those channels, check; and improving conversion rates when people buy on those channels, check. Now how to handle all of these additional sales channels and orders without letting it impact upon your hard work.
Automating manual tasks
Sometimes we complete tasks because we always have done them; often we complete tasks that are unnecessary. Many simple tasks such as bulk listing, sending sales orders to Xero and processing sales orders across multiple sales channels can be done quicker with:
eCommerce software exists to make expanding your eCommerce business easier, more successful and less time-consuming. Consider using:
- Multi-channel management software that combines all of your sales channels, shipping carriers and accounting into one platform, to list, process sales orders, manage your inventory, ship, report, and send sales orders to Xero.
- Cart and browse abandonment software that automates email campaigns and increases your conversions.
- Cloud accounting, such as Xero, to make your accounting “beautiful”.
- Inventory management software to prevent overselling and selling out.
Understanding which of your products are selling well on which sales channel, and when, can save you a lot of time (and money) in planning your eCommerce strategy for the next yet. Keep manual reports or ensure that your eCommerce software performs this functionality for you.
If expanding your eCommerce business is the next step on your startup journey, follow these top tips to do it confidently, simple and successfully – learn from the experts. Happy expanding.
Niki Tibble is a multi-channel eCommerce software writer for Expandly – the multi-channel management tool that integrates your shopping cart with online marketplaces, over 100 shipping carriers, and Xero accounting software to let you expand your eCommerce business with confidence.