One of the most important things to understand about business is it never stands still. There is no such thing as maintaining the status quo. If your company isn’t growing, it’s shrinking. There’s always going to be someone coming up behind you, hungrily eyeing your market share. This is why continually assessing your opportunities for growth in ecommerce is essential to the long-term health of your business.
In other words, the smart ecommerce retailer is always looking for ways to grow their business. The best opportunities for doing so usually exist in three areas: marketing, fulfillment and customer service. Striving to constantly improve your organization’s performance in these three areas will lead to steady growth.
As an example, let’s say you’re running an online furniture store. Your business is doing pretty well, you’ve got good traffic and your conversion rate is pretty solid. You’re comfortable. However, any successful entrepreneur will tell you comfortable is dangerous. Comfort seeds complacency. Always look for chances to be even better.
When things are going well, it’s a great time to redouble your marketing efforts. Whatever you’ve done to attract customers in the past, look for ways to build upon that success to keep drawing new customers in case word of mouth starts drying up on you. A huge part of your marketing effort when you sell your furniture online is the look and feel of your website. Survey your current customers to find out what they like about your ecommerce store. Ask what you can do to make shopping the site easier and more efficient for them. Run special offers and incentive promotions to get your customers to buy more. Instituting rewards programs for referrals is another great way to stimulate growth.
If you’re running an online furniture store, you’re probably working with a strong roster of drop shippers. The upside of this strategy is the elimination of the costs of warehousing, maintaining inventory and conducting shipping operations on sizable goods such as sofas and the like. However, you might consider buying the smaller accessories you sell at wholesale and using a fulfillment center to get them to your customers. You’ll still be free of the logistics of shipping, but you’ll also get the product at a better price. The difference could well be margin you can apply to other endeavors.
If things are going well at your online furniture store, odds are a big part of this is the efficacy of your customer service department. Now that you have a solid system in place, take some time to study it to see where you can make it even better. If your reps are primarily focused on solving problems and keeping orders straight, offer them rewards to make product suggestions to customers based on what they’ve ordered.
“Ooooh, you got the red leather sofa with the Mediterranean cocktail table set! Did you see the beautiful lamps we just got in? They’d go perfectly with that combination!”
Turning your customer service department into a profit center represents an outstanding growth opportunity. They’ve just solved a customer’s problem and established a good rapport with them in the process. It’s the perfect time to leverage those good feelings into an additional sale.
Taking a second, third and even a fourth look at these areas of your business—assessing additional opportunities for growth in ecommerce—will help you get more customers, improve your conversion rate and keep competitors at bay.