The 9 Fundamental Steps of Ecommerce Growth for Store Owners

In this guide, you're going to learn how to effectively lay the groundwork for sustainable ecommerce growth which will, in turn, lead to increased profitability.

Ecommerce growth is should be in the foundation of any online business, and strategies for growth should be interwoven into every area of the operations.

Ecommerce has transformed the retail industry, with online sales reaching a staggering 5.2 trillion U.S. Dollars in 2021. The future looks even better because this number is expected to increase by 56%, reaching an impressive $8.1 trillion by 2026

Ecommerce is here to stay, and as an online business you need to keep up with the technology, channels, and strategies of the time to remain current and maximise your opportunity for ecommerce growth.

The rapid expansion we are currently witnessing is a powerful reminder that retailers must strategically prioritize specific key areas in order to succeed in the constantly changing digital marketplace. This will ensure both soaring profitability and establishing a solid foundation for long-term success.


Core Areas of Focus for Ecommerce Growth

Step 1. Understanding Your Audience

Knowing who your customers are and what they want helps you shape your products, services, and the overall shopping experience to meet their needs. This not only makes customers happy but also builds a good name for your store and keeps customers coming back.

To learn more about your audience’s likes and dislikes, you can:

  • Use surveys to ask for direct feedback about their shopping experience and what products they prefer.
  • Use analytics tools to see how customers behave on your site, and what they look at and buy.
  • Ask for customer feedback through reviews and comments, to get a clear idea of how your offerings are seen and where you can do better.

Step 2. Optimizing Your Online Store for Ecommerce Growth

A well-organized, user-friendly website is the storefront of your online business. It’s the first thing customers interact with, and it significantly impacts their shopping experience. 

A seamless, easy-to-navigate website encourages visitors to explore, stay longer, and eventually make a purchase.

Here are some crucial aspects to consider for optimizing your online store for ecommerce growth:

  • Page Loading Speed: A fast-loading page enhances the user experience, and reduces the bounce rate.
  • Mobile Optimization: With a growing number of shoppers using their smartphones for online purchases, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is crucial. In fact, three out of four customers use their smartphones for online shopping to save time. Mobile shopping is predicted to make up 44% of ecommerce transactions by 2024.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is another crucial aspect to consider when looking to enhance your online store’s performance. Here are some basic steps for CRO:

  • Clear Call to Actions (CTAs): Make it easy for visitors to take desired actions with clear and compelling CTAs.
  • High-Quality Images and Descriptions: Provide clear images and thorough descriptions to help customers understand what they are purchasing.
  • Simplified Checkout Process: Reduce the number of steps in the checkout process to lower cart abandonment rates.

Step 3. Product Management

Effective product management is at the heart of a successful ecommerce store. The way your products are listed, described, and displayed significantly influences customers’ purchasing decisions. 

Providing high-quality images, accurate descriptions, and well-organized listings helps customers easily find and learn about the products they’re interested in.

When it comes to managing inventory efficiently, here are a few tips:

  • Regular Inventory Checks: Conduct regular checks to ensure your inventory levels are accurate.
  • Use of Inventory Management Software: Utilize software to automate inventory tracking. It makes it easier to monitor stock levels and prevent over-selling or stock outs.
  • Clear Communication: Keep your customers informed about product availability, especially when items are out of stock, and provide estimates for when they’ll be available again.

A clear hierarchy of taxonomies and the use of custom fields for dynamic filtering are also important for a user-friendly interface and experience. They allow customers to easily navigate through your product range and find what they’re looking for with minimal effort.


Step 4. Customer Service Excellence

Exceptional customer service is a cornerstone for your ecommerce growth and building trust with your clientele. When customers know they can rely on prompt and helpful service, trust is fostered, which in turn encourages repeat business.

Effective customer communication is also crucial for retaining sales. This is because retaining existing customers is more profitable than acquiring new ones, mainly because it involves lower costs.

Here are some common customer service channels and practices in ecommerce along with a couple of tool recommendations:

  • Live Chat: Provides real-time assistance and answers to customer queries. Tools like Intercom can be utilized for this purpose.
  • Email Support: Allows for detailed communication and provides a record of correspondence. Platforms like Zendesk or Help Scout are useful for managing email support.
  • FAQ Sections: Help address common concerns and questions customers may have.
  • Social Media: A platform for both support and engagement. It creates a community around your brand.
  • Return and Refund Policies: Clear policies make for a transparent and fair shopping experience.

Step 5. Utilizing Social Media and Email Marketing

Using social media and email marketing is indispensable for enhancing your online store’s visibility and engagement in today’s digital world. These platforms not only boost your store’s discoverability but also significantly impact sales.

In fact, online stores that are present on social media platforms tend to experience 32% more sales compared to those that are not. This shows the potential of social media in driving sales.

Consistent communication and promotion are key to keeping your audience engaged and informed. Here are some tips on how you can keep your audience engaged and interested:

  • Regular Updates: Share new product arrivals, special offers, and relevant content to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
  • Promotions: Run promotions and share them on your social media channels and through email campaigns to entice purchases.
  • Engagement: Respond to comments, messages, and emails timely to build a strong relationship with your customers.

Furthermore, paid advertising on social channels is another avenue to explore for boosting visibility. While this section touches on the importance of social media and email marketing, a more detailed discussion on leveraging paid advertising channels will be covered in section 8, “Exploring New Sales Channels.”


Step 6. Analyzing and Improving Ecommerce Growth

Continuous analysis is crucial for understanding how your online store is performing. Regular monitoring through analytics provides a clear picture of your store’s metrics, and helps you identify areas of improvement and success. 

Tools like Google Analytics can be instrumental in tracking user behavior, conversion rates, and other vital ecommerce metrics. Based on the data-driven insights obtained from analytics, adjusting your strategies is essential to enhance performance. 

For instance, if a particular product is performing well, you might consider stocking more of it or using it in marketing campaigns. And if some pages have a high bounce rate, it’s important to investigate and improve those areas to increase user engagement and conversions.


Step 7. Encouraging Customer Reviews and Referrals

Positive reviews and word-of-mouth referrals are invaluable assets in building trust and attracting new customers to your online store. They not only reflect customer satisfaction but also significantly impact purchasing decisions of potential buyers.

To foster a culture of reviews and referrals, consider the following methods:

  • Request Reviews: After a purchase, politely ask customers for reviews. You can offer a discount coupon for their next purchase in return for a review. This can not only provide you with valuable feedback but also encourage repeat business.
  • Referral Programs: Implement referral programs where existing customers can refer new customers and receive some benefits in return.
  • Affiliate Advertising: Engage with affiliates who can promote your products to a wider audience. Affiliates earn a commission for every sale made through their referral – creating a win-win situation. Common affiliate advertising models include:
    • Cost Per Sale (CPS): Affiliates earn a commission for every sale made through their referral link.
    • Cost Per Lead (CPL): Affiliates earn a commission for every qualified lead they generate.

Moreover, using social media for referrals can also be impactful. It is said that customers referred from Instagram tend to have an average order value of $65, while those referred from Facebook have an average order value of $55. 

This showcases the potential of social media as a viable channel for encouraging referrals and boosting your online store’s revenue.


Step 8. Exploring New Sales Channels

Diversifying your sales channels is a strategic move towards advanced ecommerce growth. To boost your sales and reach more customers, use online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. 

Also, consider using social commerce on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. It’s also worth noting that social media commerce is predicted to reach $2.9 trillion by 2026. 

However, when selecting new sales channels, it’s essential to consider the following:

  • Product Suitability: Ensure the channel is suitable for your product type. For instance, handmade or unique items might perform well on Etsy.
  • Audience Demographics: Choose channels that cater to your target audience demographics. For example, a younger audience might be more reachable on Instagram.
  • Costs and Fees: Be aware of the costs and fees associated with each channel to ensure profitability.

Additionally, investing in paid advertising on channels like Google, social media platforms, and Bing can significantly boost your store’s visibility and traffic. 

Tools like Google Ads and Microsoft Bing Advertising provide robust platforms for creating, managing, and optimizing paid advertising campaigns. They allow for targeted advertising to ensure your ads reach the most relevant audience. This ultimately increases the likelihood of conversions.


Step 9. Implementing Automation and Streamlining Operations

Advancements in technology have paved the way for ecommerce store owners to automate routine tasks and streamline their operations. This not only enhances efficiency but also significantly cuts down operational costs, which in turn, can drive profitability.

Here are some areas where automation can be particularly beneficial:

  • Email Marketing Automation: Tools like Mailchimp, VBout, Brevo, or Constant Contact can help automate email campaigns, and ensure timely communication with your customers.
  • Inventory Management: Tools like Zoho Inventory or TradeGecko can help automate inventory tracking and order processing, and ensure accurate stock levels and timely order fulfillment.
  • Chatbots: Incorporating chatbots can handle common customer inquiries without human intervention. It is said that 78% of brands have adopted or are considering using virtual reality or artificial intelligence (like chatbots) in their online stores. Additionally, around 80% of companies are incorporating chatbots into their customer experience strategies.
  • Order Fulfillment: Automating order fulfillment processes with tools like ShipStation or Ordoro can ensure timely deliveries and enhance customer satisfaction.

Moreover, streamlining operations further enhances your store’s efficiency. The impact of such optimizations is substantial, with over 3/4 of businesses experiencing increased conversions upon implementing marketing automation.

This not only boosts your store’s performance but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement, and makes your ecommerce store more resilient and competitive in the long run.


Conclusion

We have just discussed nine important steps for your ecommerce growth. These range from knowing your audience, using social media and email marketing to exploring new sales channels and automating operations. 

Each step is more than just a task. It is a continuous effort that can reveal new insights and opportunities for your online store. Even minor adjustments, if implemented correctly and at the opportune moment, can result in substantial growth. 

Therefore, it is worthwhile to assess these areas, adopt innovative approaches, and stay attuned to market trends. 

This guide aims to provide a foundational understanding of the steps towards ecommerce growth. If there are any specific questions or areas that you feel were not covered, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. I will make sure to respond promptly to your inquiries.

Thanks for reading, follow me, please share this, and subscribe below to give me some kudos.

Chris Bradshaw

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About the author

I created Ecom Uprising because I spent more than a decade searching the internet to find the answers I needed to grow the businesses I was working for, and I wished there had been one easy to use resource with reliable information. So here it is.

Thanks for reading, Chris

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