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Strategies for Scaling eCommerce Business

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Estimates predict global eCommerce revenue will total $3,178 billion in 2024. As the industry continues to boom globally, it’s important to build a strategy for scaling eCommerce business that is grounded in real-world evidence and proven tactics.

Growth is crucial for your eCommerce brand to thrive, especially on a competitive marketplace like Amazon. Whether you’re a new seller looking to establish your name or an experienced merchant seeking to expand your product offerings, you can achieve your goals by adopting a combination of growth tactics.

This article will explore some of the top strategies for scaling eCommerce business both on and off of Amazon. From improving your product listings to taking advantage of the advertising and fulfillment programs, we’ll show you how to strengthen your business’s eCommerce presence.

Improve your product listings for scaling eCommerce business

One of the most important steps in a strategy for scaling eCommerce business is ensuring your product listings are clear, informative, and optimized for search. Here are some strategies you can use to refine your product listings:

  • Clear product titles and descriptions:
    Your titles and descriptions should accurately reflect your products and their features. Be sure to include all relevant information, such as size, color, and material.
  • Optimized keywords:
    Insert relevant keywords throughout your product listings to improve your search rankings. Use Amazon keyword tools to research popular words and strings.
  • Include high-quality images and videos:
    High-quality images and videos significantly help draw customers to your products. Feature clear, well-lit images and videos that showcase your items from different angles.

By improving your product listings, you’ll make your offerings more appealing to shoppers and strengthen your search ranking position, which leads to greater sales and business growth. Keep in mind that most marketplaces, including Amazon, have specific requirements for images.

Scaling eCommerce business – Expand your product line

Adding items to your catalog is a sure way to grow your customer base. Just make sure you have the infrastructure in place to research, market, and fulfill any new products before introducing them.

You should also be using SKUs (stock keeping units) to manage your catalog or store offering. A SKU delineates a distinct type of item that’s for sale, already purchased, or tracked in inventory (such as a product or service). It also contains all attributes associated with the item type that distinguish it from other types.

As your inventory grows, your SKU management ensures you can automate fulfillment, consistently deliver the right items, and track which products are being sold through which fulfillment methods. For example, if you sell on Amazon and have the same product listing in FBA and FBM, you’d want different SKUs for each so you can differentiate them on your back end.

New products

Fresh offerings keep your store relevant and attract a wider audience. However, new product development can be costly and time-consuming, so you need to do your homework first and understand which items are most likely to sell well.

Begin by identifying a need. Talk to your customers and scope out what the competition is selling. Then, determine what sales volume you expect, calculate pricing, plan your marketing strategy, and make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly.

To maximize your new product line’s potential, you should:

  • Identify product opportunities:
    Research popular products and pinpoint gaps in the market to uncover new opportunities. You can combine Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank with your sales data to determine which items are in high demand.
  • Evaluate profitability and demand:
    Once you’ve identified potential products to add, estimate their profitability and demand. Look at factors such as production costs, shipping fees, and forecasted profit margins to determine if a product is worth pursuing.
  • Research the competition:
    Before launching a new offering, study your competition to see how they position their products and what pricing strategies they use. This will show you how best to differentiate your release and stand out in the market.

Similar products

Finding products similar to those you already sell is a safer way to add products than building from scratch. You could offer different sizes of the same product or multiple brands in the same product category (e.g., sneakers by Adidas, Nike, and New Balance).

We recommend identifying items similar to your best-selling products that have both higher and lower price points to attract new customers across the spending spectrum. However, you also want to pick a niche and stick to it. Your high-end customers might be put off if you start offering a budget or cheap alternative, for instance.

Note: If you decide to sell products similar to those in your catalog, it’s imperative to verify there are no clauses in your existing contracts that restrict this action.

Existing product bundles

Another safe and easy way to add new SKUs to your inventory is to bundle two or more of your popular products. The main routes you could take here are:

  • Create sets of two or more of the same product. For example, sell two coffee mugs as a set or a six-pack of one-month-supply bottles of vitamins.
  • Assemble bundles of complementary items (think shampoo and conditioner or a day and night cream combo).

Offer a discount on these bundles to add value and convenience, especially since it cuts down on shipping costs while helping you move more inventory. This is also a great solution when you’re trying to move less popular items.

Complementary sets make it easy for customers to purchase everything they need for a particular use, as well as save money on products and/or shipping. Best of all, they give you a new product to market and sell, which contributes to your business growth.

For a deeper dive into selling bundles and kits, check out our article, How to craft your bundling strategy for DTC success.

Increase advertising spend

Increasing advertising spend might seem like a quick fix to attract new customers and sell more. However, you need to monitor it carefully to maximize its efficacy and realize a high return on investment.

Before you dial up the dollars spent to help a scaling eCommerce business strategy take the following steps.

Getting started

Creating ads is the first step, and that requires a strong foundation comprised of the following elements:

  • Ad type:
    Each type has different benefits and costs, so it’s important to understand which kind of ad will work best for your business. For most eCommerce businesses, a display or sponsored product ad is the way to go.
  • Ad budget:
    Determine how much you’re willing to spend on promotions and set daily or weekly budgets accordingly. Monitor your advertising expenses and adjust your budget as needed to maximize your return on investment.
  • Ad performance analysis:
    Look at metrics such as click-through rate, conversion rate, and cost per click to determine which ads are most effective. Amazon provides advertising analytics tools to track the performance of your ads so you can adjust your strategies as needed, as does Google.

By effectively employing ads, you can strengthen your visibility and attract more customers to your products, leading to business growth.

Know when to spend more

Determining ad spend is almost a science. Some companies make the mistake of dialing it up early on in an attempt to boost marketing efforts, but the right solution is to spend strategically. In general, you should increase your budget in the days and weeks leading up to major sales events (e.g., Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Grading Day, Easter).

Consider slowly upping your ad spend and analyzing how that affects your business. You could experiment with increasing it once a week over the course of four to five weeks, then review your metrics. If you don’t see a rise in conversions and your AOV hasn’t budged, you need to look at other elements of your marketing strategy.

Refine your audiences

It’s useless to throw more money at marketing efforts if your ads target people who are unlikely to buy. To reach the right segments, hone in on your intended audience and set strict parameters.

Amazon’s automated ad campaigns can be a great way to test what works and what doesn’t, because you can move high-performing audiences and keywords to your own manual campaigns with larger budgets (while excluding them from the Amazon campaign).

Choose marketing channels wisely

When honing in on your audience, also look at where they spend their time most and select your advertising channels accordingly. For instance, if your largest customer demographic is aged 60 and older, TikTok is unlikely to yield high ROI, but Facebook could be a better option.

Keep in mind though, not everyone is a fan of social media, so advertising through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing is a great alternative.

Learn more about advertising on Facebook and Google here.

Test and repeat

Possibly the most important step in your scaling eCommerce business strategy is to test your advertising constantly. Every time you alter your ads, assess and monitor their success. Doing so will help you optimize your ad spend and tactics to reduce promotional costs and improve efficacy.

Join Amazon’s FBA program for scaling eCommerce business

FBA can be a game changer for your brand. Amazon stores and ships your products directly to customers, as well as handles customer service and returns. This saves you time and lets you focus on other business aspects. Additional benefits of FBA include:

  • Prime shipping and Featured Offer wins:
    FBA gives you access to Amazon Prime shipping, which increases your visibility and attracts more customers with guaranteed fast, free fulfillment. The program can also help you win the Amazon Featured Offer (formerly the Amazon Buy Box), the coveted top position on product pages. Of course, you can offer Seller Fulfilled Prime as well, but it’ll cost a lot more.
  • Efficient inventory management:
    With FBA, it’s easy to monitor your inventory levels so you know when to reorder, which avoids stockouts and overstocking. Amazon further offers inventory management tools to optimize your inventory and reduce storage fees.

Need help navigating FBA? We can help!

FBA can streamline your logistics by letting you take advantage of Amazon’s powerful fulfillment and shipping infrastructure. Shoppers are then more likely to buy from you, which leads to increased sales and business growth.

FBA can even help you fulfill orders on other platforms. In fact, Amazon will increase your stock limits for multi-channel fulfillment to encourage sellers to use their fulfillment services for more channels.

Boost average order value

Arguably the most effective way to scale your business is to increase your average order value (AOV). A higher AOV has multiple benefits:

  • It increases your return on investment (ROI) for attracting and converting new customers.
  • It reduces the cost of fulfilling orders.
  • It earns you more bang for your buck when moving and shipping orders.

Below are our favorite ways to boost your eCommerce business’s AOV.

Offer free shipping over a certain threshold

Consumers (understandably) loathe paying for shipping; an $8 shipping fee is perceived as less tolerable than paying $15 for a new hat, so offering shoppers free shipping over a set payment threshold is an easy and effective way to boost AOV.

To ensure your free shipping offer doesn’t eat into your profit margins though, you’ll need to run the numbers to determine a feasible threshold for your business. A quick look at major retailers reveals this figure can range from as low as $25 to as high as $200. The range also varies based on the products you sell and the requirements for their safe shipment.

Showcase similar or recommended products

Similar or recommended product widgets use upselling or cross-selling to increase AOV:

  • Upselling occurs when you convince a customer to purchase a more expensive option than the one they’re looking at or have added to their cart. A good example of this would be offering a larger version of a product, like a 100-pack of pens versus a pack of 50.
  • Cross-selling is when you offer a complementary product to your customer, such as suggesting a bag of coffee beans to go with their coffee machine. Approach this strategically by categorizing related products like filters or accessories to cross-sell them automatically. You can also bundle those products into one as a great upsell for customers so they don’t have to hunt for what they need for their new product.

Provide coupon codes tied to spend thresholds

Tying discounts to spending thresholds protects your margins and simultaneously encourages higher order values.

H&M excels at leveraging coupon codes with spending thresholds with their regular “X% off over $X” sales that run for short periods of time. Coupon codes can serve as an incentive to buy more in two ways:

  1. You offer a discount for the present order to tempt customers to spend more at that moment. A recent H&M online sale, for example, looked like this: “10% off $80 order – 15% off $100 order – 20% off $150 order”
  2. You could also offer coupon codes on a minimum spend to be used for a future purchase, which has the added bonus of enticing customers to return to claim their prize. Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic are notorious for this with their Cash Coupons, which are used during future sale windows either online or in stores.

Give special deals for larger carts

“Buy two and get the third half off,” “BOGO 50% off,” “5 for $25” — we’ve all experienced the draw of these types of advertisements. Offering special deals encourages shoppers to add more items to their cart, which increases the number of items per sale as well as your AOV. Plus, if you’re on Amazon, these types of sales can boost FBA restock limits before holidays and sales periods.

Extend your customer lifetime value (CLV)

True or false: A one-time customer who spends $500 once is more valuable than a customer who spends $100 every six months for years.

If you said “true,” you’re missing out.

Attracting new customers is expensive, and if they only spend once and then leave, your ROI is shot. Rather than one-time big spenders, it’s more cost-effective to attract regular, loyal customers who may spend less per transaction but regularly come back (although we all like big spenders too).

Enticing your customers to return for repeat purchases is the key to extending and increasing their CLV, which then supports business growth.

Create a newsletter

Communicating with consumers beyond their initial purchase is critical to building a relationship and breeding loyalty, and a newsletter is a great channel for that.

Newsletters keep your customers informed about new product launches and special sales events, as well as offer additional value by providing helpful tips and tricks for gaining the most from their purchases. They also keep you top of mind among your customers.

Prioritize customer service

If you want customers to return in the future, you must give them a fantastic experience from start to finish. To do this, prioritize customer service throughout their journey:

  • Create clear marketing messages.
  • Make your online store easy to navigate and eliminate any nasty surprises — like duty fees or hidden shipping costs — by openly communicating all costs associated with your products.
  • Keep customers informed throughout the fulfillment and shipping process with regular updates and expectations management (and, of course, thank them for their purchase).

If something goes off the rails, work with them on a solution. This demonstrates stellar customer service, which endears your customers to you and fosters loyalty to your brand.

Retarget customers

Once a customer has visited your store, regardless of whether or not they buy, you should retarget them with an approach tailored to their past actions.

If someone purchased a particular item, they won’t want to see ads for it repeatedly. Instead, your retargeting should focus on complementary items and new products. If a customer hasn’t purchased, retargeting with ads specific to the item(s) they viewed is appropriate.

Offer loyalty programs and deals

Keep your customers coming back by offering a loyalty program and special “members only” deals. (You can advertise these in that newsletter we mentioned earlier.)

Loyalty programs can take on several forms: You could offer points like Sephora or a free product after so many purchases — whatever works best for your business. Loyalty programs and special deals entice customers to sign up and return so they can reap the rewards of being your customer.

Scaling eCommerce business – Add sales channels

The more places you sell your products, the more opportunities you have to close deals. It also increases your exposure to expand your audience, so long as you choose channels that are relevant to your target segment and your business.

For example, if you begin selling on Amazon, you can offer Prime perks like free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping. When you remove shipping fees from the equation, shoppers feel more inclined to tack on an extra item or two.

If you decide to sell on other marketplaces, consider setting up your own store. Amazon offers vendors customizable online storefronts, for instance.

This allows you to showcase multiple products in one place and set up recommended items on your product listings to upsell and cross-sell to customers. You can also seamlessly move to multi-channel through Amazon FBA without integrating a 3PL if you’re not ready for it yet — however, the more you grow, the more you’ll need your own fulfillment solutions.

Think outside the tab

If you operate a standalone eCommerce store, it can be hard to attract new customers, and marketing efforts will sometimes fall flat. That’s why it’s important to think outside of your domain when you’re ready to begin scaling your business. Below are some of our favorite ways to see brands expand.

Pop-up shops

Pop-up shops at brick-and-mortar locations provide a unique opportunity to interact with customers and grow relationships in person. You could also launch them online.

A pop-up shop is a low-commitment tactic that attracts consumers with its novelty while inducing a sense of urgency due to its “limited time only” opportunity to buy. Depending on your brand, target audience, and location, you can leverage these shops in a number of ways. Be aware, marketing is critically important to your pop-up plan; you need to create lots of hype and excitement in advance of your event to draw in shoppers.

Often, pop-up stores are the result of the relationship a brand has built with another company or brand. For example, your shoes can be sold at a local clothing boutique, or your fitness equipment could be showcased at a nearby fitness studio. As another avenue, you could consider setting up a kiosk during special events at local shopping facilities around the holidays.

Experiential shopping

Experiential shopping has become a popular eCommerce trend in recent years. It produces immersive, memorable experiences that engage customers in new ways as they get to know your brand and products.

According to Forbes, experiential is the future of eCommerce. While this type of shopping may seem best suited to in-person shopping, you can employ it online as well: For example, you could use augmented reality (AR) for virtual try-ons, or leverage influencer engagement (more on that later). You can also implement experiential shopping in events such as the pop-up shops we discussed above.

The purpose of experiential shopping is to engage with your customers. Focus on their experience rather than their checkouts, and you’ll foster long-lasting relationships that yield repeated purchases and loyalty.

Social selling

As social media continues to grow, so do the opportunities to sell on those channels. Social media is an effective way to reach new customers and retarget existing ones by providing a personalized shopping experience.

Once you’ve honed in on your target audience (see below), you can use social media to present buying opportunities to those groups and individuals who are most likely to be interested in your goods. Since shoppers can buy directly through platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, you can construct seamless experiences that make it easy for customers to check out without needing to navigate away from their favorite social apps.

Social media also gives you the chance to engage with your followers, so put on your customer service hat and reach out to or respond to buyers on your established channels.

Leverage influencers

Influencers are the holy grail of social selling because they provide credible social proof to support your products. Further, you can work with influencers to craft unique experiential shopping opportunities such as Instagram Live events, where an influencer shares products that customers can buy in real time.

When partnering with influencers, work with those who share your brand’s values. Also, establish key performance indicators (KPIs), brand messaging, and guidelines in advance to protect your and your influencers’ brands.

Build your brand

Building a strong presence helps differentiate you from the competition and attracts loyal customers. Here are some strategies for nurturing your brand:

  • Be consistent: Feature your brand name and logo on all your product listings and marketing materials to make your business instantly recognizable to consumers.
  • Get in front of your audience: Consider launching a dedicated storefront where shoppers can browse your catalog and learn more about your brand. Additionally, use social media and email marketing to connect with consumers and build brand loyalty.
  • Incentivize buyers: Offer loyalty programs or incentives for repeat customers to encourage them to keep coming back. Relatedly, respond to shopper inquiries and address any issues to boost their satisfaction; knowing they can expect a great customer experience with you can persuade them to return for future purchases.

Collect customer feedback

Customer feedback is a valuable source of information to help you improve your product offerings and increase buyer loyalty. You can effectively gather and implement consumer feedback by:

  • Leveraging the “Request a Review” button:
    When someone makes a purchase through your store, follow up and ask for a review. On Amazon, you can manually request a review by clicking “Request a Review” in Amazon Seller Central. This sends a templated email to the buyer asking for them to submit their opinions. Although you can’t edit the request, Amazon does translate the text into the buyer’s chosen language automatically.
  • Displaying social proof:
    Positive customer feedback can help you attract more potential buyers and build trust with them. They highlight your product’s strengths, showcase them being applied in the real world, and help remove doubts that may be preventing someone from purchasing.
  • Incorporating negative feedback:
    Although unpleasant to read, negative reviews are an opportunity to transform a detriment into an advantage. Hone in on consumer complaints to identify areas for improvement, such as with your products or customer service.

No matter the type of feedback you receive, be sure to respond to all reviews promptly and courteously. Thank buyers for taking the time to rate your product or service. This serves both to make your existing customers feel heard and show potential ones you’re committed to caring for your audience and remedying any issues.

Embrace tools and analytics

No matter where you sell, you have access to tools and analytics that track data, check which keywords are performing, see clicks, and more. Options like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and Facebook Business Manager are powerful assets in helping you evaluate and better your scaling eCommerce business strategies.

Amazon also provides a range of analytics tools to help sellers grow their businesses. For instance, features like the Sales Dashboard and Business Reports help you monitor your sales and identify trends.

Analyze the sales information they collect to identify opportunities for growth, such as expanding your product line or targeting new customer segments. That data can also help you optimize your pricing and advertising strategies.

Wrapping up — Many roads lead to business growth (and success)

Expanding your Amazon business requires a combination of effective strategies and hard work. By following the scaling eCommerce business tactics covered in this article, you can take your business to the next level. As you go, monitor your progress consistently, analyze your data, and adjust your strategies based on that information to maximize your results. With dedication and effort, you can achieve your goals and drive significant growth for your eCommerce business.

Published: June 14, 2022
Updated: June 10, 2024