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E-commerce is a scary industry. Today’s technology dictates that small businesses are no longer simply competing with their brick-and-mortar rivals down the street — they’re battling on a global scale. Of course, the strategies which you (the business owner) can deploy are nearly limitless and ever-evolving. All part of the fun, for sure. So, with that in mind, we’re here to highlight one of the most important factors to take into consideration: Scaling.
Scaling your business means increasing your revenue while minimizing the costs incurred to grow the business. Suppose that your clothing business gains $20,000 in revenue. Five thousand dollars of this is then spent on marketing your brand to a wider audience, resulting in greater revenue gains in the next quarter. This is in opposition to simple growth — your brand may bring $20,000 in revenue, but 100% of this is then spent hiring a junior developer to redesign your store’s site.
Your business is growing, but it isn’t gaining value. This is why a scaling strategy is so important! So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some ways in which you can scale your business by squeezing the most out of your current resources.
Provide a hook (don’t forget the bait!)
Picture the scene: You’ve attracted the customer to your site, set the bait with your competition-beating product, and landed a conversion. Job done, happy days! Well, if you think that’s where the story ends, you’re wrong.
Your previous buyers are the most important customers. They’ve proven interest in your product and are powerful promoters for your business. Research has shown that the average person distrusts advertising, but instead puts their trust in the brands they know. Harnessing this potential can give a huge boost to your business.
Keep your customers loyal by offering ongoing benefits — these could be loyalty points, regular discounts or exclusive offers for those signed up to a mailing list. Think creatively. Plenty of businesses hold sales on Black Friday, but how many of you knew, for example, that February 9th is National Pizza Day? Use any excuse to reward your fan base. This works perfectly for businesses expanding into global markets — make an effort to recognize unique national holidays for your German market, for example.
A referral system can also quickly fashion your business with an army of promoters. Offer your existing customers the opportunity to gain special benefits by sharing a unique referral discount code to a friend or family member. You gain a new customer, and your existing base is rewarded, too. Everyone’s happy!
Support, support, support
We’ve already touched on the importance of nurturing your fan base, but it’s no use force-feeding discounts to customers if they’re too busy recovering from poor initial experiences. Every customer your business serves is a potential critic, and it bears noting that people are far more likely to leave reviews following negative experiences.
Customer service matters, so make your business easy to contact and offer as many channels as possible — think phone, email, social media and live chats. Can’t provide 24/7 support? Consider investing in a chatbot. Spend some time on creating an easily accessible FAQ page and consider having the page properly translated for overseas audiences.
On the topic of translation, though, don’t stop with just one page. If handled correctly, a website localization project can prove transformative for your fortunes in a new market. Language barriers cause big problems for many businesses looking to boost their customer service potential. Tools capable of mixing complex machine learning with human translation will give you the progress and quality you need without being prohibitively expensive.
Use SEO to your advantage
SEO (search engine optimization) is a subject worthy of its own article, but for the purposes of brevity we’ll sum it up for you: SEO is vital if you want to maximize visits to your site.
Put simply, search engines use bots to crawl pages on the web. These bots travel from site to site, collecting information about those pages and filing them away in their index. From this index, algorithms then meticulously analyze the pages collected and check the ranking factors. These rankings will determine how far up the search results your website will appear. It’s your job to ensure that your page has the highest possible ranking. Why? Put it this way: When was the last time you visited the second page of a search engine’s results?
There are many different methods for boosting your ranking. One method is to carefully select the keywords used in your website content. For example, if you’re selling handmade blankets then “blankets” and “handmade” should both be in your product copy.
Another method is to optimize your site’s loading times. After all, 53% of mobile web users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. With attention spans at an all-time premium, it’s imperative that your website is as fast as possible. Do this by removing any unnecessary plug-ins and replacing any weighty images with low-calorie alternatives.
SEO is key for improving your audience reach. If you’re looking to expand into the global market then SEO can help by ensuring your products or services appear above those of your competition (even in other languages). Don’t ignore it!
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and now TikTok: All of these channels provide opportunities to not only promote your brand but also further establish your brand’s voice and inject a sense of personality. This could involve regular organic posts, promotion through influencers or even live video events. Creativity is key here, so don’t be afraid to use all the tools at your disposal to create a community around your brand. Always encourage engagement and nurture a two-way dialogue. The more you can humanize your brand, the better.
This being said, it’s important to understand that all social media channels serve different audiences. Own a niche clothing brand aimed at teens? TikTok is going to serve you well. Offering affordable lawn mowing to the over-60s? Facebook is your best bet. Keep this in mind and plan accordingly.
Truly, we’ve only scratched the surface, as the tips, tricks and opportunities to scale your business are many. One day, you may even need to enter the metaverse. Hopefully, though, we’ve at least provided some great starting points that can start your business moving along the right path. Now, get out there and put them into practice!