9 Ways to scale your eCommerce store faster, smarter in 2022
- •1. Harness a growth mindset
- •2. Use data to drive strategy
- •3. Maintain positive cash flow
- •4. Build product and marketing around an existing community
- •5. Have experts weigh in during your product lifecycle
- •6. Invest in a quality control process
- •7. Continually test your products and marketing
- •8. Find providers that let you future-proof your brand
- •9. Spend time strategizing your supply chain
eCommerce is a dynamic industry that continues to grow quickly, with a revenue increase of 14.2% in 2021 alone. As a brand founder, this means you’ll need to stay nimble in order to seize every opportunity that comes your way.
You’ll also have to navigate curveballs at every turn — 2022 has brought rising shipping costs, increased inflation, global conflict, and more. Having a strategic supply chain plan will help set you apart from your competitors.
An 8fig Growth Plan is designed specifically for eCommerce founders. It lets you adapt your cash flow and supply chain strategy in real-time to adjust to market demands.
Below, we’ve rounded up tips from experts in the industry on how you can scale your store faster and smarter than ever before. This expert advice was pulled from 8fig’s Scale Faster, Smarter webinar series (watch the full episodes here).
Keep reading for tips on how to use data to plan aggressively, scale with product innovation and sourcing, optimize your fret and logistics, and maximize your marketing tactics. You can also jump to a specific section below:
Freight and logistics
1. Harness a growth mindset
To become a successful eCommerce seller, you’ve first got to start thinking like one. Adopting a growth mindset means seeing every challenge as an opportunity to learn or try something new. For some, this means leaving behind a fixed, survival mindset that wants to stick to what they already know.
Brandon Young, a highly successful eight-figure seller on his way to nine figures in revenue on Amazon and founder of Seller Systems, spoke on the importance of tenacity: “When sellers that are going to be successful have a product that doesn’t go as planned, they learn from it, they adapt, they pivot, and then implement that into their next product or into their next venture.”
Here are a few ways to harness a growth mindset as an eCommerce entrepreneur:
Be unwilling to give up: Challenges are bound to arise while you’re running a business and working with multiple partners to achieve your goals. Rather than giving up when something goes astray during product development or shipping, use tenacity to learn from it and optimize your business for the better.
Always keep learning: If you want to succeed in a dynamic industry, you’ll have to constantly learn and develop your skillset. Keep up with industry trends and cutting-edge tools to set yourself apart from the competition.
Build with intention: Know what you want to achieve and what success looks like to you so you can set goals and strategies to work toward.
2. Use data to drive strategy
Understanding your store data and numbers lets you take bigger and more calculated risks. Analyze your empirical data and use it to guide your decision-making when it comes to new product launches, international expansion, supply chain optimization and more.
Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital explains that:
"Our best clients, they have their data, they have their Excel spreadsheets, they have somebody that knows the macro numbers of how business is doing overall. And then for each and every product, they’re looking at: What are my sessions? What are my conversions? What are the keywords that I’m ranking for?"
-Liran Hirschkorn, Incrementum Digital
One important calculation to get right in eCommerce is your cost of goods sold, but it can be tricky because the cost changes with every batch of inventory you order. Plus, ad spend and product return rates need to be factored in.
Check out this formula for calculating your cost of goods:
Starting inventory + Purchases - Ending inventory = COGS
3. Maintain positive cash flow
As product sales begin to take off, the amount of cash flow you need to scale to meet demand rises with it.
A six-figure or early seven-figure business may live off credit lines or loans from family and friends, but what got you here won’t get you to your next stage of growth. Ultimately, most eCommerce businesses seek outside funding for inventory, freight, marketing, and logistics.
Tyler Jefcoat of Seller Accountant has advice for sellers who are hesitant to take on outside funding. “Something is eventually going to happen that will make you happy that you have a clear plan and that your sales, sourcing, and capital strategy all align” he explains. “Yes, it’s scary to take on capital, but it’s scarier to not have any capital when your business is tumultuous.”
There are many types of funding solutions available to eCommerce sellers, and some are designed specifically for the dynamic nature of their business. Here at 8fig, we offer continuous and flexible capital. Building an 8fig Growth Plan lets you adapt your business strategy and cash flow plan to real-time events, so you can easily maneuver around a manufacturing delay, an increase in demand, or a global conflict.
4. Build product and marketing around an existing community
Digital media allows brands to engage with potential customers like never before, connecting on a more personal and emotional level than advertising of the past. Social media in particular is a powerful tool for growing businesses, in part because of the community aspect of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Discord.
You can use the power of community from the very beginning of your product journey. Many brand founders are now partnering with celebrities or influencers to launch new products.
“If you have an existing community that you can tie to a product or if you have a connection to a large celebrity or influencer that you can develop a product with, that will target their audience in a great way that’s going to be a huge win,” said Nathan Resnick of Sourcify.
Take Glitch Energy, a natural supplement brand that catapulted from zero to seven figures in 2021. Two of the founding members decided to engage with YouTube influencer Wildcat and make him the third founder of the company. From there, they were able to leverage growth organically by sharing product knowledge with his audience. Plus, he has a vested interest in plugging the natural supplement and its benefits. Read more about Glitch Energy’s success here.
You can also harness the power of community during product development. Not sure what product to launch or problem to solve? Join a niche online community you’re interested in engaging with and ask them about their pain points and desires.
5. Have experts weigh in during your product lifecycle
As an eCommerce founder, you’ll need to level up fast in multiple areas of your business. Rather than have all the answers yourself, you can lean on experts to help throughout your product journey so you can constantly iterate and seize on new trends.
“Adding in an expert at the right time of your product journey can oftentimes save you weeks, if not months, of trying to figure something out,” Benjamin Hopwood of Gembah said. But this doesn’t mean the expert has to become a full-time employee. “This isn’t somebody that needs to be on your team permanently. It’s somebody that can help you where you need it, and then you can continue to move on.”
For example, an engineer can help you automate quality control processes early on in your product journey and identify areas of weakness. This will give you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses, and you can come up with new solutions to improve your product.
The internet makes finding an expert easier than ever. Following Twitter hashtags in a specific niche, joining Facebook groups, or posting freelance ads on Upwork are all great ways to source experts.
6. Invest in a quality control process
You’ll need to invest in quality control to earn repeat customers. As an eCommerce seller, you likely won’t touch a majority of the products you sell online, but you need to ensure that quality is consistent and scalable.
“I like to ask open-ended questions about a factory’s quality control, their management, and how they handle processes. The ones that have good protocols in place will have machinery there such as labs and equipment to test for that kind of quality on the production line,” said Sajag Agarwal of Movley.
Prioritizing quality control also means turning down the cheapest offer on the manufacturing side. “Sure, a supplier might be 20% cheaper, but that 20% could cost you your entire brand,” Movley adds.
Some brands (such as Spikeball) invest so heavily in their quality control that they offer lifetime guarantees on their products and remain profitable. Could you do the same for the products you’re selling today?
7. Continually test your products and marketing
Increase sales and success by continually testing your products and marketing. Whether it’s a new product launch or a bestseller, you can learn a lot from A/B testing, talking with your community, and listening to feedback and reviews.
“There’s still room to optimize even your best-selling products,” Liran Hirschkorn advises. “Split-test your copy in sponsored brand ads, and use tools to A/B test your main images. Iterate your listing based on customer feedback and reviews. Take the attitude that you need to continuously test — it’s not just a one-time thing.”
Here are a few tips to continually optimize your product and marketing:
Pay attention to your reviews.
Learn from your competitor reviews, too.
Send a community survey to get feedback.
Continually A/B test your listings, product photography, and copy.
Test samples before new product launches.
This continuous testing doesn’t have to cost you your bottom line, either. Simple A/B tests such as running Facebook ads with different copy to see which engages best will give you data-backed results you can learn from.
Freight and logistics
8. Find providers that let you future-proof your brand
Running an eCommerce brand often involves working with multiple supply chain partners to produce, ship, receive, and market your products. Finding the right partners is key to a smooth, profitable, and future-proof supply chain.
Take omnichannel shopping, which involves selling on multiple platforms. The right partner may provide advanced technology so you can create a unified shopping experience across multiple sales channels.
“As consumer habits change, we are going to continue to see a shift from pure play direct to consumer to more of an omnichannel approach,” said Esther Kestenbaum of Flowspace. “Make sure to look for providers that can give you a robust set of technologies and integrations so that no matter what direction you go into, you can future-proof yourself for that.”
9. Spend time strategizing your supply chain
The global supply chain has dominated headlines since the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to increased costs, delays, and other challenges. In a recent poll, we found that 35% of sellers spend at least seven hours a week working on the freight and logistics side of their business.
Experts in eCommerce note that this hasn’t always been the case, but now you can get ahead of your competitors by investing time into your supply chain strategy.
“A few years ago, nobody was talking about freight prices or 3PL connections,” Burak Yolga of Forceget explained. “Everybody was focusing on how to rank a product, how to choose the right PPC campaign, and how to take good pictures. Understanding the entire supply chain and managing the cash flow is the only way to be successful in this business right now.”
So how do you begin to understand your freight and logistics strategy? Here are a few tips:
Calculate your true cost of goods sold.
Nurture relationships with future-forward suppliers.
Consider a 3PL to aid with fulfillment.
“Today, if you focus on optimizing your operations, including supply chain warehousing and 3PLs, it is a competitive advantage against sellers who don’t,” Liran Hirschkorn of Incrementum Digital added.
Contact 8fig to fund your supply chain and scale your online store to new heights
Airwallex partner 8fig is a growth platform built to radically scale eCommerce brands through supply chain planning and funding. We were built specifically for eCommerce and offer a competitive cost of capital along with flexible solutions that allow you to take advantage of every business opportunity.
Sign up for a free 8fig Growth Plan today and submit it for a funding offer to learn more about accelerating your path to growth.
Karlyn manages content and partnerships at 8fig. She's on a mission to democratize online retail by empowering small and medium-sized businesses with resources and tools they need to compete in dynamic marketplaces.