Kabbage Blog

Looking for more resources? The Kabbage Greenhouse brings together all the best advice, trends and information for small businesses.

Looking for more business resources? Check out the Kabbage Greenhouse.

Check it out
Visit Us

Retail & Inventory

Scale an Ecommerce Business

grow online business

One of the biggest challenges faced by all entrepreneurs who do business online is scale.  In order to grow your business, you have to be able to scale without throwing more of your own personal hours at the business. You need to scale your ecommerce business, but you can’t do it all yourself and you don’t want to do it all yourself!  Knowing how to scale your ecommerce business is no simple task, it requires you to know your business well.  Being able to scale your business includes leveraging the right systems, technology and people that can help your business grow.  And like everything else in life, timing is everything.  Scale too soon and you may end up spending more than you are making.  But, scale too late and you’ve missed the mark.  In the beginning of the ecommerce age, many companies suffered this fate.  Not being prepared for the business to come is like not being in business at all.

Rapid business growth usually means scaling operations, and for a growth business’s ecommerce system, this requires more than a shopping cart. Massive increases in sales without the ability to expand operations quickly can be a stressful mistake to make, so small business ecommerce solutions should be adaptable enough to evolve as well. It is important to choose scalable ecommerce packages that can accommodate all business needs, large or small.

Scale your ecommerce business with automation
In a nutshell, eCommerce automation means using computer software to control processes to ensure greater efficiency and reliability.  What business owner doesn’t want that?  The software eliminates human error and helps you run your online business more automatically.  Human intervention will always be required, but the more your systems are connected and interconnected, the better.  Automating your ecommerce business can include automatically and seamlessly connecting to online payment systems, creating inventory lists, maintaining logs, printing shipping labels, and recording sales.  This automation will drastically reduce the time spent on doing these tasks manually, allowing you more time to invest back into your business.

For example, if you are running an eCommerce business you are likely shipping product.  Daily, weekly or monthly, no matter the frequency; it’s a part of your business.  This is one area where eCommerce automation is crucial.  If you are still copying and pasting addresses from orders to labels, or handwriting shipping addresses, you need to automate!

Scale your ecommerce business with a focus on fulfillment
A large part of scaling your ecommerce business is making sure you are ready to fulfill orders current and future.  Sloppily fulfilling orders can lead to errantly shipped packages or damaged goods that turn first-time shoppers into last-time customers.  You may find that your slow order turnaround time is due to the fact that you aren’t notified quickly enough about new orders. This is one reason to invest in a shopping cart solution with great notification functionality.  Or, if you find yourself regularly having to explain to customers that their purchase is unexpectedly out of stock, you may want to invest in a more robust barcoding and inventory management solution. But as you invest in technology and your operation grows, you’ll need to hire more employees to keep order fulfillment running smoothly.  At the end of day, managing the entire fulfillment-side of your business may be stifling your company’s growth. If your time, employees and capital would be better spent on running the other aspects of your e-commerce business, you should consider outsourcing fulfillment to third parties that specialize in e-commerce logistics.

Scale your eCommerce business by investing wisely in technology
Any technology investment should be tied directly to a weakness in your operation.  Don’t pay for expensive toys, or things that you can get for free.  Remember, the rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t spend more than fifteen percent of your revenue on your non-revenue driving e-commerce expenses. Keep everything in perspective and economize where you can. But, smart technology investments will ensure you can scale your eCommerce business beyond tomorrow.

Selecting the right e-commerce application for the long term can be a difficult exercise. Selecting one that can scale your eCommerce business is a worth investment.  It’s not easy to base a decision on both current requirements and a vague, undetermined set of future needs.  Plus, at first glance, all eCommerce website functionality can seem pretty simple: all e-commerce websites have product catalogs and offer ways to search for and navigate, they all have shopping carts, they all offer special promotions like free shipping, and they all offer secure transactions.

But, an eCommerce website is only as good as its ability to handle its peak traffic. As your website popularity increases, it needs to scale with minimal effort so you can avoid incurring disproportionate infrastructure management costs.  Finding the eCommerce platform that can work for you now and later is critical to success.

Growing a business is hard work, getting funding shouldn’t be. The old adage is you need money to make money. Kabbage can get you a business loan to grow your business in under 10 minutes. It’s free to sign up with no obligation to take money. Don’t believe us? Give it a try.