6 ways to Scale Your eCommerce Store
Sep 23, 2022
Putting up an eCommerce store is one of the best ways to earn passively and allow consumers to shop from you regardless of their location. This is why digital commerce has grown exponentially over the last decade and shows no sign of slowing down. According to the most recent Shopify research, the global eCommerce market will be worth $4.89 trillion by the end of 2021.
As the global eCommerce landscape has grown, business owners and product line managers have faced significant challenges when thinking about scaling their eCommerce businesses. This was true even before COVID-19 and the logistical challenges the pandemic posed.
Shopify Plus is a scalable enterprise and SME eCommerce platform, and it significantly addresses the scalability challenges that eCommerce businesses face. Learn more about these challenges and how Shopify Plus addresses them.
Challenge #1: How to Handle Sales Spikes and High Site Traffic
Most businesses dream of having hundreds or thousands of visitors flocking their site. Few, however, are prepared to handle such volumes. As a result, they may lose sales through cart abandonment and poor customer experience.
The very definition of scaling is preparing for an exponential influx of potential customers to the eCommerce site. This may happen during sale events, flash sales, after a media appearance, or after going viral on social media. Failing to prepare can mean lost business. TakeUK fitness apparel site Gymshark, which went offline for eight hours during a Black Friday sale event.
The Shopify Plus Cloud-Based Infrastructure
Events like these can move thousands to millions of dollars within a short time. More importantly, they can become the start of an ongoing customer relationship, provided the customers have a great experience.
The Shopify Plus cloud-based infrastructure is highly resilient, being able to fulfil 80,000 requests per second for more than 600,000 merchants at peak operation. With continuous load testing, your customers are guaranteed 99.99% uptime even when the server is processing thousands of transactions every minute.
Challenge #2: How to Manage Increased Inventory, Order Fulfilment, and Customer Demands
A vast array of critical systems need to work round-the-clock to power the user-friendly and intuitive front-end operations that customers want to see. However, when scaling, this means that the backend operations must be revved up too.
The dozens of moving parts working together must scale proportionately with the same level of efficiency and accuracy, or else everything shuts down. This requires a high level of flexibility and adaptation, which is not available on most platforms.
The Shopify Plus OMS and CMS
Shopify Plus comes with robust, out-of-the-box OMS and CMS capabilities to manage multiple eCommerce stores and order fulfilment centres. You can also manage customer/supplier relationships and offer support easily.
The open API and tech community behind Shopify plus works well for high-growth merchants whose needs may extend beyond the platform’s out-of-the-box capabilities. Shopify Plus also partners with the best technology providers to improve third-party logistics (3PL), inventory management, product information management, warehouse management, order management, and enterprise resource planning, among others.
Challenge #3: How to Stretch Resources According to the Scaling
The average eCommerce store starts with a lean team, with everyone learning to do multiple things efficiently. But scaling increases the volume of work–more orders, queries, logistical challenges, etc. – and there’s only so much each team member can handle.
As customer expectation levels of online experiences are constantly increasing (Salesforce, 2020), businesses cannot afford to drop the ball in order processing or when handling customer queries or complaints. It is challenging to fulfil these expectations without investing in mammoth staffing and specialists for every department.
Shopify Plus Ecommerce Automation
eCommerce automation is, hands down, the most valuable asset in the Shopify Plus platform arsenal. Shopify Plus eCommerce automation works through three features:
* 1. Shopify Flow handles the low-level, repetitive tasks of order fulfilment, inventory management, logistics, and customer segmentation. It is also flexible and adaptable to each merchants’ use cases.
* 2. Launchpad schedules and automates activities during volatile, high-volume events like flash sales and offers real-time analytics to track performance.
* 3. Shopify Scripts eases the process of creating personalised customer experiences, especially at check-out.
Leveraging this automation to handle the large volume of low-level, tedious, repetitive tasks efficiently frees up staff to focus on problem-solving and enhancing customer experiences. Their time can also be dedicated to strategic research for further business growth.
Challenge #4: How to Manage the Complexity of Multi-Channel Inventory and Sales Management
Supply chain management is one of the trickier aspects of eCommerce store management. Overstocking and under-stocking costs businesses nearly 12 percent of sales annually. It is estimated that eCommerce businesses lose nearly US$2 trillion each year in inventory mismanagement alone – from overstocking and under-stocking to preventable returns (e.g., sending the wrong product).
Regardless of the channel of order placement, product managers must have an efficient way to check on the available stock, its location, and how to ship the order to the customer. If you are scaling to multi-channel eCommerce, suddenly you must have multi-channel inventory management, order management, and logistical management solutions you can rely on.
Shopify Plus Integrations and Tools
Shopify Plus provides a robust multi-channel inventory and sales management solution. Should your needs scale beyond its capabilities, the platform offers single-click integration with several top-shelf, multi-channel inventory management solutions.
While there may be an overlap with some features on Shopify Plus, it is critical to provide the additional capabilities of your ideal solution, even if it looks like a wasted investment. Remember to evaluate any supplementary sales and inventory management system within the context of your primary eCommerce platform, in this case, Shopify Plus.
Challenge #5: How to Manage the Increased Risk of Cyberware Attacks
Cybersecurity is a huge deal in the eCommerce landscape, given that merchants use and store customers’ payment details. Recent data shows that the average cost of a cyber attack is over $2.5 million, but it’s more than that – it’s the loss of your customers’ trust.
Product managers, and vendors must be PCI compliant in their storefronts, whether the business uses on-premise or cloud-based solutions. However, the testing and deployment of each security patch uses up valuable resources, which could be directed to your core business without compromising the security standards.
Shopify Plus’s Gold Standard Customer and Data Security
Using Shopify Plus allows your site to be fully compliant under the Level 1 PCI DSS right out of the box. This protocol is the gold standard of security for businesses that handle online payments. Shopify continuously undertakes compliance and risk assessments to ensure merchants’ sites remain secure.
The platform secures the entire shopping experience, from storefront to admin. Sensitive information is encrypted both in transit and at rest. As a bonus, Shopify Plus offers customers a free EV SSL and redirects all traffic through a DV SSL.
Challenge #6: How to Manage the Competition of a Global eCommerce Marketplace
If your site has not been customised to cater to international consumers, you are disadvantaged when facing a global marketplace. Customers want to shop in a language they can understand and pay in the currency of their country. You must also optimise their experience to ensure the site loads quickly to prevent cart abandonment.
Shopify Plus Supports Multiple Languages and Currencies
Shopify Plus is designed for the global marketplace. It supports 133 local currencies and 20 languages. The platform allows you to use international domains, set international pricing, and offer localised payment methods with customers' preferred currencies – essentially a custom experience according to the shopper's locale.
The platform delivers all these without compromising on-site speeds, thanks to a state-of-the-art content delivery network powered by cloud computing provider Fastly. As a backup, merchants can also access Akamai's Media Delivery Network.
Final Thoughts: Finding the Best Scalable Platform
In the digital age, every business should look into making its products and services available to as many consumers as possible. This may not be possible for some products and services. Every business must explore this avenue for growth opportunities.
Shopify Plus offers the right foundation for every eCommerce business, regardless of its size. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, you’ll be able to offer your shoppers a secure, reliable, intuitive, and innovative front-end backed by robust backend features.
WQA provides supercharged digital product development for growth driven companies around the world. Working with Startups, Scale-ups and Enterprise, we design, build and scale digital products, experiences and platforms used by millions of people.
If you want to learn more about a scaled approach to product design, you can chat to us or email us for a conversation and assessment of your unique digital context.