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The world of e-commerce continues to flourish, and more and more would-be business owners are seeing this world as the best choice for their entrepreneurial endeavors. If you, too, have managed to capture the moment and create a successful store, then you’re likely well aware of this. You’ve done the work, and now you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
However, even for those who have established a successful e-commerce store today, any kind of business always need to have one eye on the future – and, in particular, the future growth of your business.
Considering the options for e-commerce growth
Some of the most conventional options for business growth, such as opening new offices or moving to a larger store, are not suitable for e-commerce companies. Due to this, e-commerce growth strategies tend to focus around two particular goals:
- Expanding to new customers, usually by selling to overseas markets
- Adding new products in an effort to appeal to different domestic customer groups
The question, of course, is which might be the right choice for your store in particular.
Choosing the growth strategy for your store
Deciding which route to growth you want to explore depends, to an extent, on your existing store. If you have opted for a general purpose-style store that already caters to a variety of different customer wants and needs, then adding new products in order to target a new customer demographic is usually the simplest to manage. However, if your store is very niche and focuses solely on a certain type of product or industry, then suddenly adding new, very different products can be rather jarring – for example, if a baby toys store suddenly starts selling video games in order to capture the gamer demographic, then such a venture is unlikely to be successful.
As a result, many e-commerce stores find that their best option is to seek to expand overseas, as this essentially means appealing to the same customer base as always, but in a different geographical region. You’ll need to figure out international merchant services, explore different shipping options, and perhaps even look to hire a translator, but these are all relatively easily achieved, and you will benefit from the expertise you have accrued when seeking to appeal to domestic customers – which should help to make your new, global venture more successful.
Choosing the best most-affordable Ecommerce platform
Shopify is a great platform for entrepreneurs and startup micro business owners, to sell their products and services. It’s an ecommerce platform that is easy to use, because it’s a template service. This means you can drag and drop pieces of your website into place, so you don’t have to worry about designing or coding the web page. Then simply list your products and add them into the system and away you go. But what kind of plan should you use regarding the fees for Shopify that you can afford?
Shopify Lite = $9 a month
- Sell your products on your Facebook account and website
- Utilize the back-end system to sell products at real-world locations such as events and market stalls.
Basic = $29 a month
- Fully functional version of your online store.
- You can sell any number of products without limits
- You have support via phone, email and live text chat for 24-hours a day
Shopify = $79 a month
- All of the above and more
- Professional reporting so you can track your marketing and sales, etc.
- You will be able to a lot of discounts for the Shopify shipping service, but only to carriers in North America and Australia
- Much lower transaction fees for credit cards
Advanced Shopify = $299 a month
- Advanced reporting building. Very detailed reports on your business plan, sales, marketing, trends and possible improvements.
- Third-party real time carrier, so your products can be shipped and delivered ASAP.
- Discounts for credit cards, allowing you and your customers to do a whole lot more for less.
Considering product line expansion
However, while starting to sell to overseas customers is perhaps the best method of expansion for e-commerce stores, this does not mean product line expansion has to be ruled out entirely. You can always do both, with the caveat that it is always best to focus on new products that are related to your existing niche. Returning to the example mentioned above, an e-commerce store that sells baby toys could consider selling parenting books aimed at parents of older children – new, different products that will appeal to a new type of consumer, but products that closely relate to their existing market so the expansion feels as natural as possible.
Many e-commerce stores find focusing on selling to overseas markets is the way to go when it comes to expansion, though increasing your product line is also an option. However, it’s also worth noting that you could do both at the same time – it’s a lot of work, but could be worth it if you’re looking to really build on your success over the years to come.