When enterprise-level ecommerce business is reaching the point of expansion, it is crucial to consider how to scale processes most effectively. Improper planning and short-term thinking are detrimental to businesses looking to scale enterprise ecommerce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ecommerce landscape as we know it. And since consumer behaviour is more volatile and the economic and regulatory landscape is in a constant state of flux, it’s imperative to rely on data and testing to successfully move forward.
In fact, McKinsey research shows that a test-and-learn culture is one of the most important factors to determine the speed of a company’s ecommerce growth.
“Our research shows that more than 50 percent of companies whose revenue growth is in the top 10 percent are more effective than their industry peers at testing ideas, measuring results, and executing changes to products, services, and ways of working,” the McKinsey article states. “A prerequisite of successful testing and learning is an acceptance of failure as the cost of uncovering new knowledge.”
The same article cited a few other elements that accelerate ecommerce growth, including operations to support rapid reaction and a customer-first commitment.
According to a McKinsey survey, almost half of the best-performing companies collect and analyse customer data at least once a week. This act helps them be more agile in both operations and supply chain management.
Likewise, these companies focus on the customer experience, focus on what their customers really want and use data to drive business decisions.
Due Diligence: Know How and Where You Should Expand
Consumers have access to exponentially more products and brands than they did only a decade ago. Global adoption of social media platforms means brands can reach potential customers in both domestic and foreign markets. More and more companies are taking advantage of the opportunity to sell to foreign customers, with global ecommerce sales expected to grow by 250% in the next few years.
Brands must thoughtfully consider which of any number of growing global markets will provide the best chance for a successful launch and long-term growth and scalability.
Putting global expansion plans in place begins with finding a target market. For U.S.-based brands, U.S. Small Business Administration and Export.gov are helpful beginning resources for market targeting, pricing strategies and more.
Data Must Inform Any Strategic Approach to Growth
The largest and most successful ecommerce companies achieve growth through a deliberate constant process of assessment.
As a recent McKinsey article stated, “CX and UX decisions should, above all else, be informed by a deep and scientific understanding of customers and their needs with regards to experience, delivery, service, and product (a “360-degree view”).” Executives can understand their customer needs by leveraging real-time, customer-level data.
Similarly, data should drive all business objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), which act as a “North Star” in any decision-making process.
According to McKinsey, “Achieving profitability in ecommerce requires a move from functional thinking to system thinking, with different parts of the organisation working closely together and making conscious, informed trade-offs.” Data visibility enables those trade-offs and can help any brand make profitable decisions.
Customer data can also inform which aspects of your marketing you should invest in. In short, you can use data to ask two critical questions as you prepare to grow:
- Where do the opportunities for growth lay?
- What areas of the business need work?
Set Up Shop Features to Support Short- and Long-Term Growth
To scale enterprise ecommerce, brands should build the site’s technical and design features in anticipation of growth. Creating and optimising cart and product pages is crucial, but is only a beginning. For growing ecommerce brands, features encompass physical and digital spaces — everything from page design to fulfilment options.
A seamless digital and physical experience is quickly becoming table stakes and should be on every brand’s ecommerce expansion roadmap. According to Kristen Gramigna of Business.com, “Business owners that recognize the different lenses consumers see the world through when buying online versus buying in person can design a channel strategy that aligns with consumers’ needs, regardless of where they buy.”
Brands should test current on-page features to identify scalable digital features. In addition, brands should test different pricing models, shipping fees, account creation processes, calls-to-action and visual attributes on the page. The goal in testing these on-page attributes should be to make the digital shopping experience as frictionless as possible to achieve high conversions. What the customer sees and experiences impacts conversion rates.
But what the customer does not see is just as important as what they do see. Growing ecommerce brands should also ensure their fulfilment processes are prepared for the growth. Many ecommerce brands faced a number of fulfilment and other logistics challenges during the pandemic. It is important now for brands to assess their current fulfilment and delivery ecosystems and address challenges in order to fuel ecommerce growth.
“It’s a seller’s market for carriers, and you’re most likely to control costs by shipping smarter,” said a recent Logistics Management article. “You need to use every tool at your disposal to increase efficiency and optimization.”
According to the same article, ecommerce brands are mitigating fulfilment issues by turning to technology, negotiating rates and switching carriers. Brands are also mitigating labour shortages by raising wages, hiring temporary workers and reducing labour dependency by streamlining processing and implementing automation.
A Strategic Approach to Long-Term Revenue Growth
Crunching data, examining shop features and performing research are tactics that lead to high ROI and long-term, sustainable growth.
Scaling without a strategic plan or means of measurement in place will not necessarily translate into revenue growth, however. Brands must prepare for continuous future growth. Successful brands and retailers that scale prioritise collecting and analysing data to look for opportunities.
Brands looking to expand turn to ESW for reliable, scalable growth. Our customisable platform is built for growth, so you can sell globally, leverage user experience analytics, and more. Schedule a demo today to learn how ESW can integrate your DTC channel under a single software solution.