From Side Hustle to Thriving Store: Scaling Your Ecommerce Empire

You've managed to build a pretty successful ecommerce store, but you feel stuck. There's no significant growth. Your online sales have plateaued. 

It may be time to scale. But like any new business endeavor, you don't want to jump in without a plan. 

So, when scaling, you need a strategy. And your strategies need strategies.

You need established processes for market research, localization, logistics, regulatory compliance, marketing, and customer service. 

Why? Because each of these areas requires its own approach to address the unique challenges and opportunities it presents.

So, let's get started.

Scaling or Growing?

Before you scale your business, it's important to know the difference between scaling and growing. It's easy to confuse the two, but they're quite different.

When you grow your business, your revenue increases because you use more resources, such as staff, capital investment, and product line. So, your business is growing. But that doesn't mean it's making profits.

Scaling, on the other hand, means increasing revenue with the overhead staying almost the same. 

Scaling is the best option for an e-commerce business owner. As your online marketplace grows, you must streamline operations to handle increased order volumes, inventory management, and logistics. 

How to Scale Your Ecommerce Store

Without further ado, here are tried-and-true tips to help you scale your ecommerce store and achieve your sales goals. 

Build a Solid Foundation

You can't have a strong scaling strategy without a firm foundation. 

When you think about implementing new strategies and operations, it's important to ask yourself: "Is this scalable?" "Can I do this on a larger scale without sacrificing a lot of resources?"

For example, you might want to scale your customer service team to handle a larger volume of chat inquiries. 

So, you might need to evaluate whether you can hire and train additional support agents efficiently to maintain quality standards and response times as your business grows.

Here are some other tips to follow as you embark on your scaling journey:

  • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.

  • Determine how you'll measure your company's progress by identifying your key performance indicators (KPIs). 

  • Know your budget, and make sure your sales can cover the costs of your scaling strategies.

  • Gather data on your target audience to develop your brand according to their preferences. 

  • Build and maintain a professional, high-performing website that generates more sales leads and conversions.

Invest in Automation

Scaling is all about finding ways to increase output (i.e., revenue, transactions, customers) without proportionally increasing inputs (i.e., resources, costs, or effort). 

One way to achieve this is to automate manual processes. This is even more important as your business scales because you'll deal with a higher order volume.

You can automate different aspects of your ecommerce business, including:

  • Marketing and sales: Marketing automation tools allow you to automate email marketing, segment customers, and personalize content like product catalogs.. You can also automate sales workflows to nurture leads, track interactions, and optimize conversion rates.

  • Customer service: Use chatbots and AI-powered customer service tools to automate responses to common questions, provide instant support, and escalate complex issues to live customer service reps when necessary.

  • Order processing: With a point of sale (POS) system, you can automate order processing tasks like sending order confirmation emails, order tracking updates, and invoices. 

  • Payment processing: Payment gateways and automated billing systems streamline payment processing, reduce manual errors, and securely handle online transactions.

  • Inventory management: Integrate your ecommerce platform with your inventory tracking system to automate inventory updates and ensure accurate stock levels.

  • Project management: You can use AI project management tools to automate repetitive tasks, quickly generate project plans, and even auto-respond to emails. 

OpemCart offers a wide range of extensions to meet your marketing automation needs.

Screenshot of OpenCart ecommerce platform extensions

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Our Marketplace provides service integrations, payment providers, and conversion modules to extend the functionality of your store. 

Screenshot of OpenCart Marketplace ecommerce platform integrations

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Elevate Your Product Descriptions

Improving product descriptions can help you increase ecommerce sales.

That's because clear, detailed product descriptions reduce friction in the buying process. So, when customers know exactly what your product is and why they should buy it, they're more likely to follow through on the purchase and not just leave it in their cart.

Here are some tips for writing product descriptions that convert:

  • Add relevant keywords and phrases that customers might use on search engines (e.g., Google or Bing) when searching for the product to increase organic traffic to your product pages.

  • Break up the text into shorter paragraphs, bullet points, or headings to help potential customers easily scan and digest the information.

  • Use visuals such as high-quality images or videos to help customers visualize the product and make informed purchase decisions.

  • Include detailed information about each product, including its features, specifications, dimensions, materials, and uses.

  • Focus on the benefits and values your product offers to the customer.

To make your product descriptions and videos more professional and accessible to a broader audience, consider creating them with AI text-to-speech. This allows you to produce engaging and informative content without needing professional voice actors.

By converting your product descriptions and guides into spoken word, you can reach a wider audience, including those with visual impairments or who prefer auditory learning.

Text-to-speech makes your content more accessible and inclusive, ensuring that potential customers can fully understand the benefits and features of your products.

Another thing to consider is your product description copy. The tone and messaging should appeal to your target audience and be relevant to your industry. 

For example, David's Bridal's "Lace Applique Mermaid Strapless Wedding Dress" by Oleg Cassini has a well-written product description that resonates with brides. It includes words and phrases like:

  • Most beautiful bride in the world

  • Romantic beach wedding

  • Breathtaking entrance

  • Sweetheart neckline

  • Enchanting gown

  • Create memories

  • Grand ceremony

  • Timeless design

  • Ethereal beauty

  • Lace appliques

  • Special day

  • Gracefully

  • Romance

  • Perfect fit

  • Elegance

  • Exquisite

  • Princess

  • Delicate

  • Charm

  • Allure

Screenshot of David's Bridal wedding dress ecommerce product description

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This product description strategically includes words and phrasing that make soon-to-be brides feel like the wedding dress is just what they're looking for to achieve the magical wedding of their dreams.

It takes great copywriting and a deep knowledge of your target audience to create enticing product descriptions that convert.

Offer a Variety of Payment Methods

Most ecommerce brands allow customers to pay via credit or debit card. 

However, some customers may not be able to complete purchases with these payment methods. Or, maybe they want more convenient ways to pay. 

Manually entering a card number can be frustrating and tedious. 

That's why almost 80% of consumers prefer to use digital wallets due to convenience.

Platforms like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay allow customers to complete purchases with just a few taps or clicks.

This is because their payment information is already saved, so all they have to do is scan the payment QR code and authorize the transaction using a PIN, biometric authentication (e.g., fingerprint, facial recognition), or an authentication code.

The popularity of digital wallets isn't limited to Americans. People across the globe are using these payment solutions. So, investing in digital wallet integration is worth considering if you want to scale your ecommerce brand worldwide.

Screenshot of graph that shows global use of digital wallets

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Or, what about customers who may want a more flexible way to pay? Integrating with buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) platforms like Klarna and Afterpay allows you to cater to these customers' needs and preferences.

This allows them to spread out the cost of the purchase over time. They still get immediate access to their order even though they haven't paid for the purchase in full yet.

OpenCart's platform integrates with a variety of payment gateways to help your online business appeal to a wide range of customer preferences. These include PayPal, Klarna, Amazon Payments, Skrill, and more. 

Amp Up Your Customer Service Experience

Considering that 87% of customers tell others about a good experience they had with a brand, it's crucial to offer customer service that exceeds expectations and leaves a lasting positive impression.

So, when scaling your ecommerce business, it only makes sense to improve your customer service.

To do this effectively, it's essential to understand that different customers prefer to interact with brands in different ways.

Plus, each query, problem, or complaint has its own level of complexity.

So, you should provide different customer service touchpoints tailored to various customer preferences and needs.

For example, imagine you receive a lot of customer service tickets with the same question or problem. To solve their queries, you can create Knowledge Base articles, FAQ pages, video tutorials, user guides, or troubleshooting articles. You could also implement an AI chatbot that provides customers with instructions or answers to their questions.

You can also implement a live chat option that helps customers who can't get their questions answered through self-service resources. They can chat with a live agent who can answer their questions about product features, orders, billing and payment, returns and exchanges, or general inquiries. Additionally, integrating video support can enhance customer interactions, allowing for more personalized and efficient resolutions to their concerns.

Social media is another effective customer service channel. Direct messaging on social media platforms allows you to engage with customers in real-time.

Of course, phone and email can be viable options for customers who don't mind waiting on hold and going through phone prompts or waiting 24–48 hours for an email response.

Amazon has set high standards for customer service in the ecommerce industry. It offers fast and reliable shipping and a hassle-free return process. But what really makes Amazon stand out is that it provides customers with many ways to get help. They can browse self-service options, help articles, or contact Amazon directly.

Screenshot of Amazon ecommerce customer service page

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If a customer's problem doesn't apply to any of the categories Amazon lists, they can click the button that says, "Something else." 

It'll take them to a page with even more options. And if the customer still can't find what they're looking for, they can click "I need more help." 

Screenshot of Amazon ecommerce customer service page

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Then, a window will open where the customer can chat with a live customer service rep. 

Screenshot of Amazon ecommerce store live chat feature

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A business is nothing without its customer service team. So, make sure you're doing everything you can to show your appreciation. After all, happy employees create the most positive customer experiences. 

Take inspiration from Los Angeles RV rental company Cruise America. The company didn't just focus on renting RVs. It builds a thriving company culture by making employees owners through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

This empowered its team, boosted morale, and ultimately led to better customer service and success.


Screenshot of Cruise America landing page for employee stock ownership program


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Remember, your "empire" is more than just products. It's the people who make it thrive. Invest in them, and they'll invest in your success.

Appeal to Global Customers

If you're looking to expand your ecommerce business globally, you must adapt your business model to specific markets.

Conduct market research, implement localized branding and marketing, and partner with reliable shipping carriers that cater to countries outside the US.

Also, your customer support channels should be accessible to global customers who speak different languages. 

Be sure to familiarize yourself with local laws, regulations, and tax requirements in each target market to ensure compliance.

Make your website appealing to global users by offering website content and blogs in multiple languages and displaying product prices in the local currency of each user's location. 

With OpenCart's ecommerce platform, you can sell in any currency, anywhere in the world. You can also choose from over 40 languages.

Screenshot of OpenCart ecommerce platform multi-currency capability

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Screenshot of OpenCart ecommerce platform multi-lingual capability

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Protect Your Business from Risks

Any time you change your business model, you introduce some level of risk. The same is true when scaling.

So, make sure you're taking steps to mitigate risks to ensure smooth growth and protect your ecommerce business's reputation and assets.

This includes implementing strong cybersecurity measures, staying compliant with regulations, and diversifying your suppliers and partners.

Also, as your ecommerce store grows, know when to prioritize asset protection. This will allow you to protect your personal assets from business risks so you can focus on expanding your store without worrying about unexpected problems.

As your business grows, you should also consider investing in a scalable technology infrastructure to accommodate increased traffic, transactions, and data volumes. This helps reduce the chances of downtime and allows you to serve as many customers as possible.

OpenCart's open-source platform allows you to modify, share, and edit to your needs, which means you can add an unlimited number of products to your online store. 

Takeaway

A business doesn't truly scale unless it experiences consistent and sustainable growth.

And this is possible with the right execution.

The main idea to take away here is that the customer rules everything. Your customers are the common denominator, from how many sales you get to how your brand stacks up against competitors. 

So, the customer experience you deliver can make or break your business. When you make your customers happy, it makes your company's pockets happy.

You sustainably scale your business by increasing your revenue faster than your costs increase. And that is the key to long-term success. 

Cheers!