Here’s the situation: You put a lot of work into your ecommerce strategy and an initial steady growth in sales proved hopeful. But now, sales and business growth have hit a plateau. How do you feed the next wave of growth and enable long-term scale? When you find yourself in a position such as this, it is crucial to evaluate not only your business strategy but also the tools and solutions you have in place.
Look at Adobe, for example, who recently acquired Magento to better address the challenges today’s online sellers currently face all in one product suite. Proof that big players in our industry are investing in making their end-to-end solutions robust enough to meet the demands of today’s consumers and retailers.
Below are five fundamental elements to consider when scaling your online business, along with best practices that will ensure success at each stage of your business’ growth.
Your product catalog may be broad and complex, or simple and focused. In either case it needs to be up-to-date at all times and easy to navigate. Especially for your mobile shoppers—considering global ecommerce sales will nearly triple to $2.571 trillion between 2017 and 2021.
To better understand the best approach for your online store, ask yourself: How many products am I selling? How do I want to display them? How much information do I need to provide? How long does it take to make changes to a product description or price?
If you are feeling uncertain, start by identifying how you prefer to browse a site as a shopper, and use your own preference as a gauge.
Personalized Customer Experiences
Sixty-four percent of consumers want a personalized buying experience and expect that you can anticipate their next move and adapt the experience to those anticipations.
An easy way to start personalization is through localization. It’s a significant factor in satisfying the growing expectations of today’s customers, and can prove even more successful if you are selling internationally.
That said, it is crucial that you know where your customers are and adapt the experience—description, prices and offerings—to their location.
Modern ecommerce checkout flows must enable shoppers to buy quickly and directly from your product page, without redirecting them to another site or landing page. With a 75.6% cart abandonment rate on average, it is important that you address this key moment of truth during the checkout process to facilitate the purchasing decision—aka clicking the buy button. If there are surprise fees, or the process is too cumbersome and leads your customer away from your site, it is proven you’ll most likely lose them.
Online payment preferences vary locally and especially globally. Where credit cards are the preferred method of payment in the U.S., Europeans prefer a digital payment system like PayPal.
Today’s shoppers have access to use various forms of payment systems, such as Apple Pay, traditional credit and debit cards, or transfer systems like Venmo and fast-growing Zelle, to make purchases throughout their day. Ensuring that you have multiple payment options available to satisfy your customers is key.
Increased Back Office Needs
The back office operations of a growing business will become more complex, and proper management of payments, taxes, and compliance will impact profits. Here are a couple of key things to consider when evaluating the right ecommerce platform for your business:
- Customer Relations: You need more than just a dynamic, personalized storefront to provide a great customer experience. Availability and attention in times of dissatisfaction round out the experience and are a must to build long-term success.
- Taxes: Governments are taking notice that about $23 billion in annual tax revenue is going uncollected through ecommerce channels – making global tax management and compliance that much more complicated. Tax laws differ widely nationally, and especially internationally, so it can be difficult and time consuming to manage these requirements and be compliant. Ensuring the tools and strategies you’re using can handle this for you will save for a lot of time and mistakes made down the line.
- Billing and Invoicing: You provide multiple payment options for your customers, but how about verifying that you are protected from payment fraud, are able to easily process refunds, or manage chargebacks?
- Reporting: Data plays a big role in the decision-making process for product expansions or reductions and offers insight on which product is selling or not. You’ll need to make you’re your solution can track purchases, run rates, measure account and financial data in a way that provide clear insight into the future of your business.
The market is prime. You are ready to jump-start your online business in a scalable and profitable way. The first step is to ensure the tools and solutions you have at your fingertips now can carry you to the level of growth you want to see in 2021. Do you have what it takes, or is it time to reconsider what you currently have in place?
Chris Lueck is CEO of FastSpring