In the midst of the global COVID-19 situation, e-commerce business is definitely on the rise. Almost a year of self-isolation led to growth in online shopping throughout the world. Results from last year show that online sales increased by 44% in comparison with the statistics of 2019. The Digital Commerce 360 research showed that in 2020 consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. retailers. However, some small e-commerce businesses faced difficulties to adjust to rapid growth. Being unprepared for such a jump in sales, they struggled to keep up. Synder editorial team asked experienced business specialists how to stay on top of your e-commerce demands and elegantly address business growth and the issues that it can bring.
Top 5 tactics on how to scale online sales
1. Look for new channels of online sales
The key to gain new customers is to cover more channels of communication with potential clients. Don’t concentrate only on your website as a source of sales, look for new opportunities. The more e-commerce platforms your business supports, the more chances to meet new customers you have. There are plenty of platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify that allow easy and direct product sales for your business.
Michael Astreiko – CEO of Synder, accounting software for e-commerce businesses
In my experience, one very important tactic for e-commerce business sales is to sell in multiple different channels, for example, Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, as well as your own Shopify or WooCommerce store. This way, you can reach as many customers as possible, including internationally, which is an opportunity that businesses shouldn’t be afraid of. The more channels you have, the bigger your potential market and sales opportunities.
To be ready for rapid growth, a business owner needs to have the right technology in place. A key example of this is inventory tracking, which will enable a business to keep up when the number of orders and deliveries starts increasing. A company needs to be able to handle a large number of orders from different channels automatically with inventory management software. This way, a business can always have an accurate account of their current stock and know what they can actually sell. When growing businesses try to manage their inventory manually, it can lead to all sorts of costly errors, such as overstocking or overselling. That’s why the right technology is crucial in helping a business adjust to growth and reducing the risk of expensive miscalculations.
2. Don’t forget about social media as a source of customers
Over the last few years both small and large businesses have paid attention to social media. Now, we can confidently state that some social media is not only a source of customers but also a sales platform. More and more people use social media to find new products and shop. For example, the Instagram Shopping feature gave an opportunity to transform your company’s business account into a real shoppable storefront. Your followers can see the photos of products, prices, descriptions and make purchases directly through Instagram. To make this process even more quick and comfortable you can attach payment links in your profile bio or send invoices to your clients through accounting applications.
Jill Gockel – a certified mentor, business coach, and YouTube Blogger
“People will buy from you when they know, like, and trust you. The fastest way you can increase sales is to get out there on social media to show your face, your personality, your life, your genuine desire to serve others, and sprinkle in what you sell. Video is so powerful because it can build the know/like/trust factor in an instant which can convert to an immediate sale. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have a call to action included with every video or post you share.
Interestingly enough, most SMBs are not ready for great growth because they are reacting to their business rather than operating it as if it were already rapidly growing. They are waiting for success to happen before they make the hard decisions that would support a fast-growing business. If you want to accelerate your growth, you need to make these decisions NOW! When I made this shift, I became aware of opportunities all around me to grow my business and was willing to take these actions because I was pursuing growth instead of waiting for it to happen on its own.”
3. Build the flow of the sales process
A sophisticated sales funnel can streamline the whole sales process. By setting up certain steps you will lead your potential clients to a purchase. To make it effective you need to use different channels of communicating with your target audience. Among the most productive ways of contacting customers are emails, calls, social media, and advertisements.
Tatiana James – an entrepreneur, investor, and social media influencer.
“It’s tempting to drive traffic straight to your Amazon listing or storefront. However, we’ve all heard of the ‘Marketing Rule of 7’ which states that a prospect needs to “hear” the advertiser’s message at least 7 times before they’ll take action to buy that product or service. I venture to say the number is far greater than seven in these days of social media where a user could be scrolling their Facebook feed and easily scroll past 10 advertisements.
Building an email list gives us an opportunity to build a relationship with our subscribers by contacting them on a regular basis. This increases the probability of a sale whilst building a raving-fan audience by delivering them something of value, regularly. Learn how to segment your email lists so that you can send more personalized messages to your subscribers.
It’s critical to establish a strong foundation for your business right from the get-go. A business without a foundation will grow-grow-grow-gone. The growth of the business can be the death of it. The critical pieces to focus on are inventory management, fulfillment, and customer support. Set up systems and processes for those three segments of the business and then business growth will be enjoyable rather than stressful.”
4. Increase your brand awareness
To make your business financially successful, it is important to acquaint your target audience with your product, company’s history, and level of services. If you want to get more customers, you need to make them aware of your brand. There are a lot of companies that produce amazing high-quality products or services, but a great deal of them don’t share enough about it. Their potential customers are just not aware of all these advantages. It is a problem not only for start-ups but also for companies who build up their regular customers but don’t try to source new ones.
Georgette Rowland Osborne – a small business expert, founder of Financial Gym and Precision Services Bookkeeping and author.
“It is a mistake to believe that a potential customer knows enough about a product or service to be confident to buy. Can you recall visiting an online retailer and only getting one or two static images and past reviews with little information? What they miss, is that people are often reading the reviews for tips on how to actually use the product, not just whether it is worth buying.
Work to actively underestimate the potential customers’ knowledge. Contemplate what questions may prevent them from buying and answer them as early as possible. FAQs and product overviews are much-neglected sales tools that can add thousands without any extra effort.
To turn your overwhelmed small business into a growing enterprise, you need to remember about 3 words: Delegate, Outsource, and Automate.
I worked with a start-up online brewery store which illustrates this. Owner A was still in full-time employment and owner B worked in the business on a tiny salary.
Delegate. Takes tasks off your plate that others can do better, faster or cheaper. Initially owner A spent every available moment on sales and marketing, while owner B took care of the logistics and administration. Today they have dedicated staff.
Outsource. As money came in, they reinvested most of it to pay for marketing. The increase in profit paid for outsourced bookkeeping, credit control and third-party handling and shipping.
Automate. Use tools to systemise as much of your business as possible; from sales to financial management. They moved from a buy button on their website, to an e-commerce platform; and from spreadsheets to accounting and inventory software.
Last year, they repaid a business loan in full, 20 months early”.
5. Don’t stop direct communication with customers
Sales and marketing always go hand in hand. Without understanding your customer’s profile and tailoring marketing to them, you will hardly be able to increase your sales. That’s why it is important to keep direct communication with your clients. Find out their pains and fears, get closer to them, and you will be able to deliver your message more effectively. As a result, you will get more loyal and regular customers.
David Lopez – Director of Business Development in National Discount Merchant Services and a YouTube blogger
“E-commerce merchants need to get more direct with customer sales. You can then not only increase your profit margins but also get to save your user data for marketing purposes”.
Each of these business growth strategies will take time and research, but once done, you will be able to boost your company’s growth and get continual passive sales. But keep in mind that the key to stable and long-term growth is thorough preparation and planning. The fastest-growing business is not always a synonym for a successful business. Think over our advice, check your business stats, and then you will be able to make the right decision to prepare for business growth.