That’s the estimated number of global digital buyers in 2020, which is 25% of the 7.7 billion people on earth. By 2021, that figure according to predictions will hit 2.14 billion shoppers.
Worldwide ecommerce retail sales as well are showing a greater success rate—with an estimated growth of 276.9% over the most recently tracked period (2014-2021).
Even if your online store is already staring down the barrel of this “burdensome” growth, knowing how to handle it is crucial to maintain your brand’s success.
What do you do when your store has more orders than it can fulfill? More traffic than your servers are able to handle? And thousands of customers who all want your attention at the same time?
Upgrade in these five ways.
The Burden of Inventory Management With Multiple Sales Platforms
As every ecommerce store grows, the addition of new sales channels to boost conversions is inevitable.
However, every time a seller introduces a new channel, they multiply their daily and ongoing workloads, including inventory tasks. Ensuring that your inventory is in sync across all platforms can become a huge challenge. As customers purchase on one platform, you need all other channels to register that purchase, which is burdensome if you do not automate the process.
So streamlined and repeatable processes to manage all channels are crucial. There are so many solutions with diverse inventory sync options that can help to ease the stress. For example, you can set up inventory syncing from the fulfillment center data right to your sales channels like Magento and Shopify, or to your inventory management tools such as EcomDash and Skubana.
Using such digital processes will automate the inventory synchronization of your various sales channels and ease demand management. A good inventory management solution will permit collaboration between shipping, fulfillment, and accounting. It should be capable of handling all inventory needs from easy listing management on your various sales channels to syncing all your stores’ accounting.
Outsourcing is the Logistics Victory
Growth in ecommerce can be a nightmare when it comes to fulfillment logistics if you do not have scalable operations in place to handle volume spikes. Without a strong fulfillment operation, growth and seasonal volume peaks can lead to a variety of problems: Slow shipping times, costly pick and pack mistakes, missing inventory, etc. When you’re unable to fulfill customer orders due to the lack of adequate logistics capacity, your customers will start going elsewhere and lose brand loyalty.
So what do you do? Prepare.
Assess whether outsourcing to a third-party logistics partner (3PL) makes sense for your business, or whether you want to build your own fulfillment operations in house. Most small/mid-sized online retailers choose to outsource, as it helps stabilize costs, focus the core business, and gain access to industry best practices.
By outsourcing the fulfillment process to a 3PL company, you can maintain top-notch delivery despite an increase in demand. And outsourcing can more affordably give you the ability to offer the influx of buyers fast and free shipping. Recent data shows that 72% of consumers stated free shipping as their major reason for shopping online.
Consumers (75%) also desire same-day shipping, however, just over 50% of retailers offer same-day delivery.
The right 3PL partner will keep your mind focused on growth and development while ensuring you maintain scaleable fulfillment operations that power customer happiness.
Handle the Burden of Customer Communication
The ecommerce field is competitive; consumers switch between shopping platforms and stores at the slightest inconvenience. This makes it essential to understand how to maintain the flow of buyers to your business and not lose them to competitors.
To do this effectively, you need to meet your customers where they want to interact with you and implement systems that keep them coming back for more.
People will return to a store that satisfied their every desire including customer service quality. When buyers leave you a review on Amazon, email or call you, there needs to be a system in place that allows you to respond fast to their needs.
You also need to track your response times to ensure that the customer wait period is being minimized as much as possible. Statistics show that 70% of consumers in the United States expect quicker responses from messages they send to businesses online than for any other traditional communication mode.
To help scale your customer service, opt for chatbots. They allow you to respond to basic inquiries fast, at any period of the day and throughout the week. While your customer service reps can focus on handling more complicated issues.
Having social communication channels via apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp is also a solid way to meet your customers where they are and solve their needs there.
Design Your Recruitment Strategies
Growth in ecommerce comes with new tasks in varying spheres that demand different skill sets. Some companies require heavy recruitment in engineering talent, others in operations or marketing talent. But whatever your area of need, you’ll want to develop a system for hiring that ensures you bring on quality candidates consistently and efficiently.
When you’re undergoing heavy growth, it can be easy to hire a lot of people quickly, but if it’s not done well the future consequences are serious: Employees that don’t align with company culture, or don’t care about your mission are difficult problems.
Start by defining the culture you want to create and maintain. Then decide how to test applicants on those core values and skills. Identify the core sources of new applicants—your own website, job posting sites, LinkedIn, etc. Then focus on developing physical procedures to process your inbound pipeline of new applicants.
Rarely do the diversity of skills needed in online retail rest in one individual’s head, so don’t be afraid to hire someone with the right culture fit that can learn and adapt.
Why Not Predict Pricing?
Price is a major aspect of ecommerce. Statistics show that 65% of shoppers look up price comparisons online while shopping. That means you may lose new customers because they got a better offer elsewhere.
So how do you ensure that your competitors do not outdo you in pricing? Predictive pricing.
Big data and artificial intelligence can introduce brilliant data-driven automation to the way you set your retail prices online. Instead of deciding your product cost based on soft competitor pricing analysis, multiple innovations can automatically do that for you with precision.
In short, predictive pricing platforms use the brilliance of machine learning to assist you in setting product prices based on in-depth analysis. The idea is to help you set the best price for maximizing profit and sales.
Some aspects considered in predictive pricing for reaching the optimum price include:
- Product sales history
- Competitors real-time pricing
- Estimated item demand based on various market factors
- Customer analytics
The great thing about this is that it’s so easy to incorporate. For example, if you run your store on a platform like Shopify, there are so many apps you can add to incorporate predictive pricing. A great one is Prisync.
You can cut the cost and time of manpower, plus, stay on top of your competitors by introducing predictive pricing to your online store.