One of the biggest hurdles most small businesses face is growing pains. As your e-commerce company grows, you’ll have to figure out how to reach new customers, keep more inventory in stock and work with buyers of larger orders. Sometimes you’ll make a sale and not see the funds for a month or two, which creates cash flow issues for smaller brands.
Growing your company is about so much more than just the revenue you generate. You also have to consider your company culture, if you’re attracting top talent and whether you’re retaining your customers.
The Small Business Administration estimates there are around 32.5 million small businesses in the United States alone. Growing your company in the midst of the “Great Resignation,” where a big portion of the population left their nine to five jobs and opened small businesses, isn’t easy.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to support your growing e-commerce business and find success. Some are just common sense and others require utilizing current technology or doing a bit of research. Here are some of our favorites.
Your company’s CX can create customer loyalty or drive them away. Start by studying what your competitors are doing. What is their CX like and where might you be lacking? Also consider their weak points and make those your strengths.
Your growing e-commerce business is driven by your customers. Keep them happy and they’ll not only order from you again, but they’ll tell others about your products.
To really protect your growing e-commerce brand, you need to understand the relationship between name recognition, domain names and trademarks. Spending time with an attorney well-versed in the ins and outs of business trademarks is a smart move early in growing your brand image.
You also should take steps to not only secure your name, logo and specialized terms, but you need to follow-up and ask anyone using them without your permission to stop.
E-commerce businesses are probably impacted by shipping more than any other type of company. Even if you also have a brick-and-mortar store, if the majority of your sales are online, you’ll want to be sure you can compete with the big players.
Stores such as Amazon and Walmart got people accustomed to two-day free shipping. If you don’t offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount, you may lose customers. You also need to try different carriers and figure out which ones are reliable and affordable for your business model.
The shipping for a piece of children’s clothing is going to be vastly different than for a bottle of shampoo. Who do you trust to get the order there in time and safely?
Gartner estimates there will be a 20% voluntary turnover this year. Around 37.4 million people will quit their jobs and go to another company or strike out on their own.
If you want to grow your brand, you have to keep your most skilled workers. Not only does it cost you money to replace valuable staff, but it takes time away from growth as you recruit and train someone new.
How can you keep your best workers? Develop a company culture that appreciates their input. Give them perks they can’t get anywhere else. Pay them as much as you can afford. Give them ample PTO for a healthy work/life balance.
If you want to grow your e-commerce business, you must find new customers while retaining current ones. One way of doing this is improving your marketing methods.
Use social media and online advertising to draw new people to your site. Make sure you’re targeting the right people by segmenting your audience and testing different campaigns.
Repeat what works and lose what doesn’t. Get your customers involved with user generated content. Ask them to share a post, throw up an image on social media of them using your product or just tell others why they love you. Reward them for doing so and watch the word-of-mouth referrals grow.
As your company grows, the weaknesses will become more noticeable. Pay attention to what needs to be fixed before it becomes a massive problem. Over time, you’ll see what works best for your particular industry and you’ll find the key to growing revenue year over year.
Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn!