By:Michelle O’Sullivan, Global Customer Success Director for Awin Access:
It has been somewhat of a familiar tale over the past 18 months or so; there has been an incredible amount of creativity in the ecommerce sector, with new businesses popping up in pretty much any given space, to then hit a wall when it comes to scalability. For many of these new business owners, this is their first foray into the ecommerce sector, so this is not perhaps hugely surprising. Below, I’ve outlined six top tips on how you can scale up your small ecommerce business.
Customer support is key
Unless your business has already scaled up beyond your capacity (which is unlikely if you are reading this article), then you should be handling customer support functions yourself, rather than leaving it down to any form of automation – at least not fully, in any case. There is a danger that your business can lose its personal touch when you scale up, and this can lead to a loss in customers; keep tabs on your customer service and make sure you are playing a small hand in it.
‘The customer is always right’ is a bit of a tired mantra, especially for those working in the hospitality or retail sectors, but when it comes to being a business owner, there is some wisdom to be taken from these words. Building a business is all about relationships, and managing these effectively is the key to success. Repeat customers are a goldmine – not only because they keep giving you business, but also because they can big up your company via word of mouth or by leaving reviews.
Identify your repeat customers and thank them – whether this be a personal message or even a gift. The affiliate channel in particular champions these relationships, and this is something that Awin’s solution, Awin Access, has a big focus on. Encouraging these customers to shout about you on social media is a great method to get your business out in the ether, and you can even use social media platforms to create private groups to bring all these people together to create a sort of focus group.
Don’t be afraid to pivot
‘Pivot’ has probably been one of the most-used words in business throughout the pandemic, and has likely never been uttered as much as it has been in the past year (except for Friends fans, perhaps). One of the key benefits of being a small business – other than the proximity you have to your customer base – is agility. In comparison to a large corporation, you have the ability to make tweaks and changes to your business offering to keep up with the competition. Use this to your advantage, and watch word of mouth spread and grow your business.
Encourage websites to send customers to you
The essence of affiliate marketing lies in entities redirecting customers to each other for the benefit of both parties, and it works! Whether you do this via an affiliate marketing platform or go direct to key websites, this can be a mutually beneficial tactic that can scale up your business. Our dedicated SME solution, Awin Access, has already helped thousands of businesses around the globe scaled up, so it does work!
Don’t neglect your website
Whether or not you sell your wares on other websites (like Amazon, for example), you mustn’t neglect your own site, as it will be the first point of call for many customers. A shoddy, slow-to-load website is a big turnoff for consumers, and will also affect your SEO rankings (how far up you appear on a Google search). Get your website sorted: make sure that the load speed is quick enough, the site is free of grammatical errors, and the user experience is as good as can be.
Ensure your content marketing is up to scratch
Online ‘media fame’ is easier said than done, but is a genuinely fantastic way to drive traffic, customers, and sales. It’s not as easy as it used to be – when ‘going viral’ was something that happened frequently, but there are methods you can employ to ensure your strategy works for you. Having landing pages on your site packed full of relevant, informative data can drive traffic to your site in terms of customers, as well as links (which is another way to boost your SEO ranking as well). Inspiration for content marketing is all around you, but there is a high chance you will be able to use your own site data to find interesting information; buying trends, regional variations in purchases, trending products, are all things you can use to form a good piece of on-site content.