Great news: your online store is thriving. Traffic is up, and so are conversion rates. You’re selling more products every month.
But it’s not easy. The challenges of running an online store are like tentacles, expanding as your success increases. If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you’re likely to want to manage it all yourself. That independent streak, after all, is a big part of your success.
But when your business is growing in all directions, it’s important to take a step back and examine how other tools can help you manage it more efficiently. Trust us—even if you take special pride in your 70-hour workweeks, it’s not admitting defeat to get some help.
Let’s look at some ways you can make managing a successful eCommerce business and your online presence a whole lot easier. Not to mention more profitable.
Make sure the copy is doing the heavy lifting.
There are few things more disappointing than pouring effort into your products, building a visually enticing and functional site, and then finding you have a lot of visitors who leave without making a purchase. You launched your online store to produce sales, and you’re not getting as many as you imagined.
What’s to blame for this problem? Well, it could be your sales team. After all, your eCommerce site has a salesperson on every page—the product copy.
Informing, enticing, convincing—your copy needs to be all of these and more. Your potential buyers want to be convinced that your products are not only great but can add value to their lives. That doesn’t matter if it’s a 100% cashmere throw or a pair of hedge clippers—luxury, utility, and everything in between still need an emotional connection.
You might find that you’re great at crafting copy. After all, you’re fully invested in your products. But be brutally honest about your talents in this area. It’s easy for product copy to veer off course, often because the people writing it have spent so long obsessing over the details of a product that they lose touch with what will actually motivate someone to buy it.
Once again, there’s also a time element here. Evaluate how much time you can devote to crafting great product copy and whether other aspects of your business need more attention. If you have the time and the talent, go for it. If you don’t, hire freelancers and develop effective relationships with them. If they are more plugged into your company and its products, the copy they produce will reflect that. When your company enjoys major growth, you should consider full-time hires or contracting with an outside agency.
Manage social media well. Or get a pro to do it.
Whether you sell everyday consumer products—Instagram! Twitter! TikTok!—or you have a business-to-business— hello there, LinkedIn—social media can power the growth of your online store. If this is a task you enjoy and want to take on yourself, then go for it—social media efforts can benefit when someone like a company founder takes it on.
But this isn’t posting a few vacation photos on Facebook, and it requires consistent work. Ask yourself if you really have the time to write posts, manage comments, and court influencers – among a host of other things that are involved in effective social media marketing. Chances are, you simply don’t have the bandwidth to do it yourself.
If you believe in the power of social media to bolster your e-commerce store, consider hiring someone to manage it for you. This can be a full or part-time staffer, or an outside consultant or agency. Track the ROI by regularly reviewing the source of your site traffic—you should do this constantly anyway—to see if social moves the needle for your sales numbers.
Invest in collaboration tools.
When you’re developing a large eCommerce site, you’ll be connecting lots of different talents. UI designers, strategy professionals, developers—it takes a team if you’re building a comprehensive, product-rich online presence.
To help manage your team and keep everyone on track, invest in a collaboration tool that allows them to share ideas, work-in-progress, see changes, and seamlessly hand off design work. There are a number of different solutions available—choosing the best one is going to come down to finding software that suits the type and the scale of your projects.
The bottom line is that the best ones require some investment. But don’t forget that time is, indeed, money. Every day that your site remains in development is a day you’re not recording online sales. If a potential customer pores over the offerings on your eCommerce stores but fails to make a purchase because the experience is too slow or confusing, you need to make revisions—fast. Collaboration tools can speed up both the initial launch and ongoing improvement.
Work with an order management provider.
You’ve built a great online store. You have invested to bring in visitors. And you’re getting all kinds of orders.
Orders are the lifeblood of your business. No orders, no business. But when you start getting a lot of them, you’ll need a process to manage and fulfill them. If you’re spending all your time just getting products out the door, you’re not devoting any hours to future growth.
When orders are overwhelming—a good problem to have—look at cloud-based, SaaS software that can make managing them a seamless part of your business. If you’re already working with a provider but finding it’s still soaking up a ton of your time, it’s probably time to start looking for one that will deliver what you need.
The best providers can handle both online orders and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transactions. Even if you’re currently handling nothing but orders that come directly from your online store, there’s a good chance your business will grow and you’ll find yourself selling to major retailers. And those clients will not only ask that you use EDI—they demand it. EDI remains the most popular data exchange format for large-scale retail.
But seamless EDI and online order management aren’t the only challenges the right software provider can help you resolve. You should also be able to integrate orders into the system that powers your business, whether it’s an ERP like NetSuite or accounting software like QuickBooks.
It’s even better if they offer additional time-saving features such as connections to shipping providers—it makes labels so much easier—and, if you use a 3PL, it should be able to integrate with them, too. Do you also sell through online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay? Great, but make sure you can bring those orders into your system without a hitch.
Finally, get the customer support you need. The best providers will have an expert team to back you up when things get tricky. Ask about their hours and if they’re contracted or in-house. When a company invests in its own support team, it indicates they want to provide a great customer experience for you.
Ready for a more efficient online store?
The internet and eCommerce have opened marketplace opportunities that have never existed before. You can have customers from all corners of the globe, people can shop in their pajamas, and a brand can grow faster than ever before without the major investment that it took in the past. But it’s work—and success can often breed more work. Make sure your eCommerce store is working as hard as you are but also find solutions that will carve out more time for you.