As you scale an ecommerce brand, your needs may outgrow the core capabilities of your system.
Getting more popular is a great problem to have, but it also means you need more resources to support your shop. For example, you’ll need appropriate site bandwidth to manage high traffic volumes and sales spikes. You’ll also need to be able to handle demand for increased order fulfillment, customer support, and returns management.
And while selling across multiple online platforms can create a massive boost in revenue (an average jump of 190% by selling on two marketplaces instead of one), it can also be difficult and time-consuming to manage.
You must factor increased risks of cybersecurity attacks as you collect more customer data, too. A data breach can cost you millions in liabilities and lost revenue, as well as damage to your brand reputation. As you scale your brand, it’s important to prioritize cybersecurity as a key component of your operations.
So, as you take your store from mom-and-pop all the way up to enterprise-level, how can you ensure that you’re delivering a seamless and safe customer experience from start to finish?
Here’s a look at how to build the right tech stack that can help you scale.
Use Shopify Plus’ cloud-based platform for infinite scalability
Few things are worse than getting a massive surge in traffic from new customers and having your site crash from the demand. Many of these customers will be unable to complete their orders, and they may not come back later once you’re back online.
You need a back-end platform that can handle increased traffic with ease. Using a cloud-based infrastructure that can help you scale on demand is crucial.
Shopify Plus is an ideal solution that more than 600,000 merchants are already using. It operates on a multi-server system based on Docker with the Rails app, with some AWS features added. The servers are frequently tested and optimized, resulting in 99.9% uptime for their customers, regardless of the load levels needed.
If you’re planning on growing your business, it’s crucial that you have the infrastructure in place to support your growth. With Shopify Plus, you can get on-tap access to the server bandwidth you need, ensuring that your pricing is based on your current volume rather than purchasing on-premises servers to handle volume that you’ll rarely need.
Using a cloud-based ecommerce platform like Shopify Plus will make it easy to grow your business without heavy investment in back-end resources.
Add-on apps to support your growing business operations
As your brand grows, you’ll need to move beyond fulfilling orders out of your garage, basement, or storage space. It’s also important to deliver orders quickly and with transparent tracking: Customers today expect timely delivery with low or free shipping fees, and if you can’t meet their expectations they’ll likely choose a competitor.
And, if you’re syncing your Shopify store to a broader extended network of partners or resellers, it’s essential to ensure your product data and inventory numbers are current at all times.
In order to provide a best-in-class customer experience as you scale, you can use Shopify’s add-on store to choose app partners to support your entire ecommerce process, as well as other solutions outside of the Shopify platform.
Some of the functionalities that you might take advantage of include:
- Third-party logistics (3PL)
As you grow, it will become important to fulfill orders quickly, no matter where they’re coming from. 3PLs can store your inventory across multiple warehouse locations, ensuring that you’ll be able to deliver quickly no matter where your customers are based. 3PLs can take care of the entire shipping and order fulfillment process, so you can feel confident that customers will receive their orders on time.
- Inventory or order management system
If you’re working with multiple fulfillment partners, you’ll need an integrated system to help you track real-time inventory and forecast demand to ensure that you’re manufacturing or sourcing products based on predicted needs. Using an inventory or order management system that syncs with your Shopify account will help you track and manage inventory across multiple partner networks.
- Product information management
As you grow your network of partners, affiliates, and resellers, it’s important that all of your product data is consistent across different platforms, including your sales and marketing materials, online marketplaces, mobile apps, websites, and other properties and partner networks. In order to do this, make sure to use a product information management system that can integrate product data into a custom profile for each product, which will automatically update the data across all of the communication channels that you use.
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
It’s important to provide a personalized approach to each customer that keeps them engaged with your brand – but that can become more difficult as you scale without the support of a CRM. By using a CRM, you’ll be able to generate a detailed customer profile for each person who engages with your brand, and use that data to build customized marketing and sales initiatives for each of them. For instance, a customer who last made a purchase six months ago might receive a timed promotional email as an extra incentive for them to come back, with some recommended product offers based on their past purchases.
Protect customers’ security
Cybersecurity is also a growing concern as your business grows.
Make sure that your business takes advantage of antivirus scanning software and uses a VPN for employees who are logging in remotely to ensure that your data remains secure from outside access. It’s also important to ensure that they put two-factor authentication on their personal devices, so that unauthorized users can’t gain access in the event of loss or theft.
By using a secure ecommerce platform like Shopify Plus, rather than building your own site from scratch, you’ll be able to ensure that all of your customer data is securely encrypted at every stage of the ecommerce process; helping you avoid compliance issues and greatly reduce the risk of a data breach. As a Shopify Plus merchant, you’ll get access to an extended verification SSL (EV SSL) certificate, helping your customers build trust in your brand.
Optimize your returns process
Returns are a common occurrence in the ecommerce world, with as many as 40% of products ending in a return depending on the product type.
That means it’s important to build an optimized and heavily automated process to manage your returns so that you can provide a great customer experience and avoid a heavy burden on your customer service team.
By using Loop’s automated returns management solution as a Shopify Plus add-on, you’ll be able to build a streamlined self-service portal where customers can instantly initiate product returns and exchanges. The platform will allow them to choose a reason for return, and suggest recommended exchanges directly from your real-time inventory without leaving the platform.
That results in a much higher than average exchange rate, helping you retain up to 40% of customer revenue from your returns.
With Loop, returns and exchanges are simple for the customer to complete independently, helping you eliminate customer support needs. As you grow and process many more returns each day, it’s essential to have a solution that will help you streamline returns and exchanges as you scale.
By optimizing for exchanges, Loop not only retains revenue that would otherwise be lost, but helps you preserve an ongoing customer relationship. That will ultimately result in lower customer acquisition costs, higher brand loyalty, and more referrals, which will help you scale even faster.
Learn how to transform your returns into exchanges with Loop. Contact our team today.