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Having a holistic ecommerce growth strategy has never been more important than now. Over the last few years, ecommerce sales have hiked and are expected to double again by 2026. For ecommerce companies to thrive in the upswing, they need to become indispensable to their customers through a laser focus on new, more competitive approaches.

New-age strategies of ecommerce require companies to place digitally-enabled commerce at the core of their operations, creating seamless experiences that exceed evolving customer expectations. But while some companies generate record-breaking profits thanks to digital-first experiences, others fail to achieve ecommerce growth through digitalization.

Let’s see how to grow an ecommerce business despite a perfect storm of market conditions and, more importantly, how to plug digitally-driven commerce into your new growth strategies.

4 factors that necessitate the improvement of an ecommerce growth strategy

Back in the day, businesses got by with a bolt-on approach to their ecommerce lines. However, an afterthought strategy for ecommerce has been rendered ineffective as new variables came into the picture.

Competitive pressures

Today, both B2B and B2C companies find themselves in a situation where competition is growing faster than the market is expanding. Digital natives with commerce dexterity and start-ups with innovative business models threaten the status quo, leaving most old-school retailers behind. Old ecommerce growth tactics don’t open new doors anymore.

Fast-changing customer behaviors

Ever since the pandemic, customers have been rewiring. Today’s customers want to be met on their terms, not the reverse. They want companies that are ready for purchases at any time, any place, and any way they want.

Over 70% of customers even shop in micro-moments, while doing something else. It means that high-performing ecommerce growth strategies should help shape those rewired behaviors, offering availability and convenience to always-on shoppers.

Sky-high customer expectations

In a world of disruptions, consumers are seeking less to zero friction. Therefore, successful strategies for ecommerce should identify, isolate and eliminate the many frictions that get in the way of smooth experiences. This includes meeting consumers in both physical and digital spaces, optimizing retail prices, covering gaps in supply chains, and reducing delivery costs.

Massive advances in tech and data

The advent of Big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G has reimagined detached consumer experiences of the past. Modern digital ecommerce solutions now bundle the latest tech advancements that unlock interactive and personalized experiences. New technologies also prepared the ground for end-to-end automation that saves costs for both B2C and B2B commerce. And if you’re not adopting any of these, you’re in the back row.

New-age ecommerce strategies should factor in the new reality, enabling easy scalability and adaptability for future disruptions. Technology will become the critical enabler of those experiences.

How to grow ecommerce business: 8 strategies to bet on

We’ve seen ecommerce players dabbling into the metaverse, with 70% of users making purchases in virtual stores. We’ve also witnessed retailers availing of cost-effective, crypto payment solutions. Let’s see what other technologies promote the ecommerce industry growth and generate windfall profits for retailers.

1. Personalizing customer journey

Tailored services and offerings are the shortcuts to customer loyalty and ecommerce growth, while generic, sub-par experiences lead to customer attrition. Statistics prove that over 60% of customers want to keep it personal with the brand, and 92% of retailers employ AI-driven personalization to make it happen.

  • AI-based personalization

By using artificial intelligence to understand individual preferences, businesses can provide excellent customer service and increase ecommerce sales. Smart algorithms analyze customer data to generate product recommendations and content at scale, support marketing strategies, and enable dynamic pricing.

AI-fueled virtual shopping associates can transform retail into an online activity for customers to experience the brand. Big market players such as Amazon, Shopify, and other marketplaces also made their move into generative AI. This innovative technology takes personalization to the next level, unlocking new capabilities for chatbots and customer support in general.

Based on large language models, generative AI tools also support personalization at scale and extend brand messaging to larger audiences with almost no human input.

  • Other personalization techniques

Along with AI-based personalization capabilities, companies also apply dynamic content, cross-selling approaches, and user-generated content to add a personal touch to their services. Hard work pays off — half of consumers are ready to become repeat buyers after a personalized experience. Also, hyper-personalization can deliver an 8x return on investment on marketing spend, and ramp up sales by 10%.

Unlock personalization at scale. Serve curated experiences and make more sales

2. Embracing omnichannel commerce

Another way to grow your ecommerce business is through leveraging continuous omnichannel experiences. This way, your customers have unified and consistent journeys across all brand channels, shopping effortlessly via their channel of choice. Each omnichannel ecommerce instance has distinct foundational capabilities that you have to weave into your ecommerce strategy framework.

Overall, an analytics engine, visible supply chain, robust web architecture, and calibrated processes are the main enablers of holistic experiences for omnichannel wannabes. It’s the level of adoption that differentiates omnichannel newbies from leaders. 

Front-runners base their omnichannel strategies on a 360-degree customer view, interoperable ecommerce software, omnichannel inventories via APIs, and state-of-art architectures such as service-oriented solutions and headless ecommerce.

3. Unlocking operational efficiency

Shrinking profit margins make ecommerce businesses size up areas for cost optimization. Operational efficiency is one of the main levers of cost reduction. However, it requires a solid analytics powerhouse supported by end-to-end automation.

  • Analytics-based efficiency

Your online store abounds in Big data that can be leveraged for generating detailed insights. Transactional data, social data, and information from internal business systems can all contribute to operational excellence. All this data can be fed into analytics tools and delivered in the form of comprehensible visuals through business intelligence systems.

Some analytics use cases, such as inventory forecasting, have been long cemented into the business practices of high performers. Maintaining a keen eye on marketing efforts, best-selling products, and the supply chain as a whole will also help you identify weak links and double down on what works best.

Because of this, retailers can predict seasonal demand and align inventory levels respectively. Demand-driven inventory levels, in turn, lead to reduced costs of fulfillment. To make analytics work, commerce businesses need to dig data from multiple, often isolated sources and then consolidate it all into an integrated data architecture.

  • Automation-based efficiency

The modern ecommerce landscape mandates automation wherever possible to streamline critical processes and create internal organizational efficiencies. To enable end-to-end automation, you need an integrated IT stack to connect the back end of the ecommerce store with the rest of your IT architecture.

From a tech standpoint, ecommerce automation can be achieved through the integration of ecommerce apps and systems through APIs to create a business workflow.

For example, you can link warehouse management, inventory synchronization, and order handling into a single system with automated workflows. This way, the system will automatically sync inventory levels across multiple distribution platforms, warehouses, and shops. This visibility of the entire fulfillment process sets the ground for a demand-driven inventory approach, reducing waste and inventory costs.

You can also make an extra step to achieve the ultimate real-time visibility by connecting the order-management system directly to the rugged tablets used in the fulfillment warehouse.

4. Generating consumer insights with advanced data analytics

A detailed understanding of the customer is another pillar of an effective ecommerce sales strategy and ecommerce business growth as a whole. A thorough walkthrough of your buyers’ behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns helps you tap into the mind of existing customers and spot opportunities to increase the average purchase value.

To achieve a 360-degree view of the customer, retailers need a mix of core data-related technology components, such as a data warehouse, a CRM system, and a Data Management Platform.

  • Data warehouses

As the amount of data in ecommerce grows, it’s impossible to manually glean customer insights for retailers. Therefore, businesses have to set up data collection, storage, and processing pipelines for generating actionable insights based on unified and accurate data. A data warehouse can address the data needs of ecommerce companies and act as a centralized repository of data from multiple sources.

  • Customer Relationship Management 

A CRM system records and tracks customer interactions with an ecommerce site. CRM data is essential for big-picture understanding as it enables the owner to supercharge segments with known customer identifiers to support targeting efforts.

  • Data Management Platform

A Data Management Platform (DMP) helps retailers build detailed customer profiles based on aggregating data from online and offline sources. DMPs store customer information, demographics, purchasing history, and other input that gives businesses fine-grained insights into their target audience.

Along with a central point of truth, retailers also need business intelligence tools with customized reporting that turns that data into easily digestible dashboards. Keep in mind that a data-driven ecommerce product strategy needs strong data security and compliance practices to protect sensitive customer data.

Put your finger on the pulse of ecommerce

5. Considering open-source solutions

In a quest for speed and flexibility, merchants make a foray into open-source ecommerce technology. Unlike from-scratch software, open-source solutions can be launched in around 2 months, which allows businesses to accommodate evolving requirements faster. The low total cost of ownership and access to ready-made tools also make open-source a viable option for both small companies and enterprises.

User interface elements such as product catalogs, checkouts, and account management are among the open-source staples for an ecommerce platform. They easily integrate into IT frameworks and seamlessly connect to third-party ERP, CRM, or BI software. Open-source content management systems and product information management software also eliminate the costs associated with proprietary systems and allow companies to configure the software according to the requirements of the product catalog on any platform.

Also, companies that operate a loosely decoupled architecture tend to reap the biggest benefits in terms of open-source scalability.

However, to achieve growth in ecommerce through open source, companies need access to engineering talent. Developers will help the company customize the software to match its unique needs and address potential security risks.

6. Connecting the dots between your ecommerce store and the rest of your IT infrastructure

Complexities of legacy systems can take a toll on your online business growth. Having isolated systems makes it impossible for you to run a unified commerce strategy that drives sales. Conversely, end-to-end integration brings your in-store, back-office, and online retail systems together, centralizing your critical customer and product data.

The easiest way to achieve the integration objectives is to implement an all-in system with the right set of modules that matches your business workflows. If this is not possible, you can set up a two-way data exchange via APIs.

In the context of retail, three core business systems can change the game when it comes to growing your ecommerce business.

  • Warehouse management system (WMS)

A critical part of the supply chain, WMS software offers visibility into the entire inventory and fulfillment operations. By integrating this system with other internal software, companies can bring their resources into perfect alignment, from high-level decision-making to warehouse-level implementation.

Usually, a warehouse management system interfaces the following data hubs:

  • Inventory management software — creates a faster inventory turnover and improves record accuracy
  • Order management software — enables stock level forecasting, simplifies order routing from a specific warehouse, and updates inventory across all sales channels.
  • Enterprise management software – reduces fulfillment time, improves billing speed, and establishes a straight-through transactional flow.
  • Customer relationship management

Syncing your store with a CRM allows you to reflect all customer interactions with your platform in a centralized location, empowering your digital marketing strategy and sales. By integrating your ecommerce store with a CRM, you can automatically keep track of important customer information, such as purchase history and contact details. This valuable data can then be used to personalize shopping experiences, supplement customer support, and increase a conversion rate.

Moreover, analyzing your buyer persona — their buying patterns, payment methods, and more — helps you inform the decision about your product lines and necessary adjustments to the buying process. Combined with inventory data, CRM insights allow for accurate inventory level prediction based on historical turnover.

  • Enterprise resource planning

An ERP ecommerce integration unlocks seamless data flows between a company’s frontend website with its backend ERP system. Real-time communication between the two allows for data syncing on products, orders, shipping, inventory levels, and more.

Integrating ERP, for instance, can make it easier to reward the right salesperson with sales commissions from online purchases. Integration can also remove the hassle of managing inventory data by automatically removing items from inventory after a purchase.

Set your digital transformation in motion

7. Wading into social commerce

A new ecommerce business strategy, social commerce brings together the highly engaging experience of social media and transactional online shopping. With a predicted sales volume of $1.581 billion, this sales channel might make up a lion’s share of all ecommerce sales. 

Considering the number of social media users, this frictionless shopping experience also creates the perfect ground for an interactive and high-grossing purchase journey to flourish.

Social commerce comes in many flavors, including social media checkouts, shopping integrated into social media, shoppable ads, social commerce plugins, and more. No matter the form, each instance requires integration with your main ecommerce website to sync your product and inventory.

Such integration also facilitates tracking, creating comprehensive customer profiles that enhance targeting. Besides, an integrated social buying journey offers a frictionless purchasing experience that compares favorably with scarce selling efforts.

8. Welcoming immersive reality

Immersive technology is another ecom strategy with kindling popularity and profit potential.  By 2030, the global immersive reality market size is expected to hit over $134.18 billion, accelerated by the proliferation of smartphones and connected devices.

3D product images, augmented reality, and virtual showrooms gained a footing in the online stores of top retail companies. Other brands like Ulta Beauty dabble into immersive experiences to make their livestream shopping events more immersive for viewers. With consumers hopping between shopping channels on a whim, a commerce strategy-based on the combination of physical and digital realities delivers 200% more engaging experiences.

  • Metaverse

Standing at the intersection of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, the metaverse allows your ecommerce brand to connect directly with consumers and bring your sales to a global level. 

Along with the opportunity to sell virtual products to avatars, businesses can use metaverse as an extension to their traditional retail website. For example, a user’s avatar can visit an online store in the metaverse, get a consultation from a virtual sales team, purchase the products, and then get the physical items delivered to their door.

While the metaverse market value is predicted to chalk up $13 trillion by 2030, most retailers still view it as a testing ground or a billboard rather than a valid online sales channel. Nevertheless, this virtual landscape presents a valuable opportunity to reach new customers and attract real-life sales.

  • AR/VR

Both augmented reality and virtual reality make the shopping experience more immersive, allowing shoppers to size up a product from every angle. Over 30% of consumers use VR to test and purchase products, while AR promotes ecommerce success through a 94% higher conversion rate.

The types and forms of immersive shopping experiences vary from virtual showrooms to VR payments and AR try-on tools. To sell through AR/VR, companies need to identify the right immersive reality tools and seamlessly plug them into their ecommerce stores or mobile apps.

To wrap things up

Customer centricity and the test-and-learn mindset spearhead the growth of ecommerce in today’s market. Successful e-commerce expansion can be achieved through hyper-personalization, informed decision-making, and the company-wide adoption of the latest technology advancement.

On a mission to the new-age ecommerce strategies, companies need to carefully examine the technology, physical infrastructure, and talent capacity to successfully make the leap. While those resources are critical, it’s also the culture of change within the company that facilitates the adoption of new growth strategies in retail.

Drive profitable growth with ecommerce technology

FAQ:

What are the four C’s in ecommerce?

Customer, Cost, Convenience, and Communication are the four C’s in ecommerce that span and impact every ecommerce business. They determine whether a company is likely to succeed or fail in the long run, making it a priority for businesses to double down on these aspects.

What is an ecommerce sales strategy?

Ecommerce sales strategy is the process of planning and executing a plan to sell products or services online. This strategy can include a variety of tactics, such as the diversification of distribution channels, the adoption of new sales channels, or implementing new technology to support sales units. The goal of a sales strategy is to increase visibility for a product or service, generate more sales, and encourage repeat business sales.

What is the best strategy to increase ecommerce sales?

Focusing on hyper-personalization, enabling data-informed marketing and sales strategies, and incorporating the latest technology trends increase your odds of generating more sales.

Why has ecommerce grown so rapidly?

The industry’s growth can be attributed to the pandemic shift in selling channels, customers’ demand to shop across channels, and the increasing digital literacy among shoppers.

What is the growth of ecommerce 2030?

The global ecommerce market is projected to reach over $62,415 billion by 2030. The growth is driven by a combination of factors, including the rising preference for online shopping, social media dominance, and advancing digital technology for commerce.

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Chad West
Authored by Chad West,

*instinctools USA
Managing Director,
15+ years in IT consulting

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