Business growth is a great success—it means that you are nailing your products, resonating with the market, and building your brand. Growing pains are inevitable with your great success, but with these e-commerce best practices you will be sure to come out on top.
The trick of scaling is to stay a step or two ahead of that growth and adapt your business processes to accommodate the growth.
If your e-commerce business is growing, take a look at the best practices in these four areas: customer data integration, process development, automation, and customer satisfaction.
Customer Data Integration
As your e-commerce business attracts more and more customers, you’ll have a huge influx of customer data including their purchases, opens and clicks on marketing emails, feedback submitted, and demographics.
Your task is to leverage all of the data you’re collecting to fuel more growth. You can use this data to help you develop new products and build better relationships with your customers.
Customer data will be most useful to your business if it is managed effectively. Some of the best data management practices for growing businesses include learning how to:
- Solicit and maintain only important customer information—balance quality and quantity
- Clean, validate, and update customer information
- Backup your data and keep it secure
- Develop policies regarding which employees can view what data
Keeping Up with Increased Traffic
As your e-commerce business increases in sales and popularity, your website will see a huge surge in hits each day. This is great news for your bottom line, but if you aren’t prepared for the increased traffic, your website could slow down considerably or even shut down altogether.
The first thing you’ll want to do is upgrade your web hosting. You’ll also need to install a caching plugin to your CMS and decrease the sizes of your images.
This is also a great time to make your website more dynamic. While this might feel like another overwhelming project, this is actually possible through automation. Automation software can help you generate leads and also remind you to follow up. You can use email marketing automation to collect information about potential customers or create multiple landing pages that each have highlighted content that appeals to specific website visitors and automate follow-ups.
Content can automatically be emailed to new newsletter subscribers or to those who’ve made a recent purchase related to your content. Keep your website content fresh by queuing up quality blog posts and setting them to publish automatically to your blog and across your social media platforms.
Process Development and Refinement
As a successful business, your company probably has a few employees and the freedom to go with the flow and be flexible.
As you grow, you’ll need to define and refine your business workflow processes, including onboarding new hires, inspecting product quality, managing shipments, and more. Efficiency is essential to make sure everything gets done regularly and in a timely manner. Process refinement best practices include:
- Breaking down your processes into distinct steps and looking for ways to simplify
- Involving stakeholders in defining processes, asking for feedback, and establishing roles
- Automating processes using workflow software to avoid mistakes and making sure every step is remembered
- Regularly revisiting and defining established processes
Once you have mastered developing your process and fine-tuning it to fit your business, the next steps are as follows:
- Let the process “normalize.” It is important to not make any refinements to the process just yet.
- Review the breakdown of your process and keep watch for any parts of the process that no longer make sense as your business grows.
- Implement the changes you have found that need to be refined
The last step is especially important. Your business will continue to evolve, grow, and shift. You must be continually repeating the process and never lose sight of what it is important.
Committing to the process will ensure you are prepared to take on an ever-changing industry.
Increased amounts of customer data means that you have more power to keep your customers happy. The more you know about customers, the better you can adjust in order to meet their needs and expectations.
You can customize promotions, marketing emails, and shopping experiences to build a more personalized relationship with each customer. Requesting feedback from customers will help you improve your customer service and better refine your marketing strategies and materials.
You might consider coming up with a rewards program to develop closer ties with customers and show your gratitude for their continued loyalty.
Even as you deal with the new challenges and headaches that come with a growing business, step back and remember that the influx of purchases and interest in your e-commerce company is a good sign: It means you hit on something great. Efficiency and automation will be your best friends as you manage your current growth and prepare to expand more in the future.