E-Commerce Web Design: How To Scale & Unlock Exponential Growth
Scaling an ecommerce business is a thrilling journey marked by exponential growth and limitless potential. Competition is fierce (in most but not all verticals) and consumer expectations are high.
The key to unlocking ecommerce growth lies in having a customer-centric website that is designed to showcase your products ability to problem solve user needs. Fail on this front, fail on the shop front is what we say.
It is wise to note that an ecommerce website isn’t just a digital shopfront; it’s your brands primary interface with the world. It’s where first impressions are made, transactions completed, transactions are abandoned and relationships with customers can be forged.
In this article, we will delve into strategies that can help you streamline ecommerce operations, reduce ecommerce costs, and set the stage for sustainable growth in your ecommerce venture.
Step 1: Invest in a robust ecommerce platform (early)
Your ecommerce platform is the backbone of your business and requires analysis upfront before you buy. Don’t leave this decision to your web developer or designer, it’s highly likely they are focused on designing the visuals of your website - not solving your businesses needs (both now and into the future).
It would be like building a house, finding a nice plumber to install your sinks, and asking if he can also do some concreting while he’s there - it’s not their speciality and the output will indicate this.
Instead, work with a digital consultancy who are steeped in product management, to truly understand your needs and document these requirements early on. As a full-service digital agency, we’ve done this many times over with some of Australia’s leading ecommerce retailers. Our approach is based upon beginning at Sprint Zero to truly conceptualise the project needs and prioritise sprints accordingly.
Step 2: Implement an ecommerce inventory management system
Efficient inventory management is crucial for ecommerce businesses. Invest in inventory management software to keep track of stock levels, forecast demand, and optimise reorder points. This technology can help you avoid overstocking or understocking products, reducing carrying costs and lost sales.
Moreover, with real-time data, you can identify slow-moving items and make informed decisions about promotions or discontinuation, freeing up capital for more profitable investments.
Step 3: Automate repetitive tasks
Automation is the key to improving efficiency. Identify repetitive tasks in your ecommerce operations, such as order processing, email marketing, and customer support, and implement automation tools to handle them. For instance, you can use email marketing automation platforms like Mailchimp or HubSpot to schedule and personalise email campaigns, reducing manual effort.
If customers ask a similar question, over and over, you could leverage this insight to update your product information to be clearer on this. Alternatively, if there are FAQs pertaining to how to use or setup a product, you could automate emails to be distributed to those who purchase the product 2-3 days after purchase, to ensure timely delivery of useful instructions. This makes the customer happy and also reduces operational burden upon your ecommerce business.
By automating routine processes, you free up your team's time to focus on strategic activities, such as product development, marketing strategy, and customer engagement.
Step 4: Optimise your ecommerce websites performance
A lightning fast ecommerce website is received well by users. When things are quick to load, snappy, punchy and to the point - it makes buying your products all too easy.
A slow loading website equals customers hitting the back button and visiting one of your competitors.
Ensure your ecommerce site is optimised for speed by compressing images, using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and reducing unnecessary scripts. A faster website not only enhances the user experience but can also lead to higher conversion rates and improved SEO rankings.
At The Product Agency, we’ve developed a methodology to review websites and rectify a range of health related issues that are impeding ecommerce websites from making more sales and improving their SEO rankings. This service is called Search Sense.
Step 5: Utilise beautiful photography
Invest heavily in beautiful photography of your inventory, it will set you a part from your competition. Consider hiring a freelance photographer who specialises in ecommerce inventory photography. Take numerous photos; different angles, action shots, people holding the product and more.
Furthermore, consider doing product demos utilising video for your ecommerce website; many users wish to see the product handled, and interacted with, not just sitting there idol.
I talk about the benefits of video content for ecommerce websites regularly.
Step 6: Prioritise customer experience and support
Efficiency and scalability should not come at the expense of the customer experience. Invest in excellent customer service, provide clear and responsive communication, and continuously gather feedback. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat buyers and brand advocates.
If you look at ecommerce businesses like Amazon, you will note they don’t discuss themselves as ecommerce players - they discuss themselves in the business of crafting beautiful and efficient customer experiences.
Step 7: Outsource non-core functions of your ecommerce business
Tim Ferris, author of the The Four Hour Work Week is a huge advocate for outsourcing key elements of your online business that free up your time. It may feel somewhat wasteful in the early stages, but every ounce of your energy is best directed at driving ecommerce sales, not “playing business” behind the scenes once your core ecommerce business is setup and functioning.
Anything that requires data analysis can be easily outsourced, such as your business reporting or key metric updates. In fact, outsourcing is probably wiser, as you will not only free up your time, but you’ll get better outputs from people are likely more proficient than you at data analysis.
Step 8: Implement scalable marketing strategies
Your marketing efforts should be scalable to accommodate business growth. Focus on digital marketing channels like content marketing and content production, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click advertising, and social media (including brand lockups with key influencers). These channels allow you to reach a broader audience without proportional increases in costs.
One more thing; ecommerce businesses can strongly benefit from a robust email marketing strategy. You have tonnes of customer data, purchase history information and details that allow you to become incredibly sophisticated in your approach. Other websites would kill for this level of data. In my view, once a customer purchases from you - the business goal should be the “one more approach” - which centres around how to entice that customer to make one more purchase from you, getting them a step closer to becoming a regular customer.
Step 9: Monitor and adapt your ecommerce business continuously
Finally, regularly assess your ecommerce business's performance and adapt your strategies as needed. Markets and customer preferences change, so staying agile and responsive is key to long-term success.
Improving efficiency and scalability in your ecommerce business is an ongoing journey. By investing in the right tools, automating processes, optimising your ecommerce website, and prioritising customer experience, you can create a solid foundation for sustainable growth. Remember that successful ecommerce businesses continually adapt to market dynamics and evolving customer needs, ensuring their place in the competitive online marketplace.