If you’ve successfully established your e-commerce business and have grown beyond your initial roots, you should be seeing revenues climb — but your profits are probably staying about the same. In order to start increasing your profit while maintaining revenue growth, you need to move beyond your growth phase and start scaling your business with additional sales channels, such as Amazon, a Facebook shop, an Instagram shop and physical pop-up shops.
Hire the right people at the right time
Hiring is typically thought of as part of the growth phase, but if you want to scale effectively, you need to have the right people and the right culture in place to do so.
Scaling requires your business to do more with what it currently has, and that starts with people — people who love their jobs, love your business, and are dedicated to the success of both.
You probably already have some rock stars on staff — you wouldn’t have been able to grow without them. These are the individuals you want to invest in as you scale; continue to offer them more responsibility and they’ll reward with you with their work, and in turn, they’ll help you establish the type of forward-thinking culture that is necessary for a company as it scales.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to cut ties with employees that aren’t living up to the high expectations of your A-players. B and C players will only slow the speed at which you can scale.
Build your core values and company culture around what your best team members bring to the table, and that in turn will help you identify who’s not fitting in, and what to look for when hiring replacements.
Example: You hired Maria as a buyer, but quickly found she was capable at finance and accounting as well. You were able to take advantage of her skills from both a buying and merchandise planning side — she helped you develop your financial growth plan in a way that made the most sense for your product line.
Now, it’s time to reward Maria for her hard work by promoting her to a leadership position, where dedication and passion for both her personal success and the success of the business can inspire others.
Arm your team with the right tools
Having a team of hard workers is great, but there’s a difference between working hard and working effectively. Does your team have the tools required to make the most of their time?
If you managed to grow your retail business while using Excel to manage your buys, give yourself a pat on the back — but just a little one, because you made your road harder than it needed to be.
A retail business that wants to successfully scale needs a buy management solution that enhances collaboration, reduces manual data entry and reduces the potential for data error and data discrepancies. A buy management system with a centralized database allows your buyers and planners to work collaboratively, using the same data, updated in real-time.
Example: Your buyers have been working in Excel, but despite “sharing” your buy sheets regularly, each has ended up with slightly different versions on their individual desktops. Now your financial planners need to reconcile the differences, wasting valuable time — time that would have been saved had your buyers and planners all been working from the same buy sheet.
Continue to think digital-first
As part of your growth, you may have already expanded your e-commerce business into the brick-and-mortar space, either with a retail store or pop-ups. Physical retail is definitely a great way to grow your business, build your brand and connect directly with customers.
But it’s important to keep your online business top of mind, because it offers the most opportunity to scale up at the lowest cost. Adding more product depth and product breadth to your online offerings is much more affordable than managing the same additions in a physical retail space.
Expanding the range of product offerings online is a great way to drive more sales without making a significant new investment in how you sell. If you sell t-shirts, consider adding new colours and styles, such as long-sleeve or jersey You can offer more colors and styles, and you can expand to more categories as well.
The flexibility and scalability of modern e-commerce solutions make scaling up simpler than ever — it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity.
Example: You’ve made your mark selling t-shirts with prints you designed yourself. By offering different colours and different styles (v-necks, long-sleeved tees, hoodies) you expand the product offering to your existing customers. From there you can expand to different categories: outerwear with your prints, accessories such as hats and bags, and so on, expanding your customer base even further.
Want to learn more about scaling your e-commerce business, including knowing when to transition from growth to scale? Download our free guide, How to Scale your e-commerce Business today!