Five Challenges You Face When You’ve Outgrown Your eCommerce Platform
If you’re a business that sells online, you may have started by selling on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or Etsy. As time elapses, and your numbers grow, it’s likely that you’ve already taken steps to build your own eCommerce website on Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, or Shopify. These platforms are great, easy to use and will certainly help you in your quest for continuous growth. However, the (literal) million dollar question is: will these eCommerce platforms be able to support you long-term? The answer is complicated; In this article we’ll take you through a few scenarios to help you determine the answer for yourself.
People start businesses a wide variety of reasons, but there are two common themes among all entrepreneurs: (1) they want to boost their cash flow, and (2) they want to grow their business. In order to achieve these goals, there are hundereds of thousands of boxes that need to be checked (with some more important than others). For an eCommerce business, one item that is commonly overlooked is the online sales platform that you decide to use.
On your path to success you’ll inevitably experience growing pains. You may find it difficult to scale your business and refine your processes as more and more orders roll in. You may also feel like you’re being stretched too thin. Let’s be honest, you didn’t start your business to decrease cash flow, so let’s make sure you avoid these challenges by choosing the correct platform that is powerful enough to grow and scale with you.
Here are five challenges you’ll face as you outgrow your current eCommerce platform, as well as tips for what you can do to solve each one.
Challenge #1 You don’t have enough time to manage your website on your own anymore.
In a 2018 survey of over 250 eCommerce business owners by Ecwid, 32% of respondents said that their biggest barrier to success is lack of time. As you continue to gain traction in the market, your attention will be required elsewhere and you’ll have very little time to do the “smaller tasks” yourself - tasks that once saved you on overhead. Some may categorize managing their eCommerce website as a lower priority task, yielding negative results. Tech giants like Amazon, Uber, and Netflix are setting the stage for consumer expectations. The number one thing they all have in common is a strong user experience. If you’re at a point where managing your site or platform is an afterthought, you’ve likely outgrown it.
How to help: Hire professional help. Look for someone with experience in eCommerce website management, or partner with a cool development agency like Podsix to do the legwork for you!
Challenge #2 Receiving too many orders could derail you.
It’s common (for a successful, newer) eCommerce business to feel overwhelmed with the amount of orders coming in. If you run an eCommerce business you know that fulfilling orders can be an “all hands on deck” affair. But what happens when order fulfillment takes time away from more important tasks for strategic growth? Receiving an abundant amount of orders should feel like a good thing. Having automated processes in place will give your customers the “Amazon experience” they’re looking for, while enabling you and your staff to focus on more revenue generating tasks. If you’re feeling like this, it’s probably time to consider upgrading your eCommerce platform.
How to help: There are a few options that give you the ability to customize workflows after an order has been placed - we recommend Magento.
Challenge #3 Your third-party integration options are very limited.
Believe it or not, there will be times as you grow when you will need to integrate with a third-party service or vendor as a value-add to your customers. Integrations enable you to more securely accept payments, provide more buying and delivery options for your customers, and more. If these integrations aren’t available to you, or securely developed, it could cost you some serious cash. We won’t even mention the hassles related to a broken patchwork integration with a partnered vendor. These can add more time and cost to your overhead than necessary.
How to help: Find a platform that provides ample opportunity for integrations, such as Magento. or NetSuite, or partner with a development team that specializes in building strong, high-performing, custom integrations that save you time.
Challenge #4 You’re relying too much on additional plugins (at an additional cost).
The nice thing about a lot of these simpler platforms like Shopify is that they have a low initial cost. However, as you realize the need for additional features and automation, you begin to explore the add-ons and extensions. For example, if you want to add modules like returns, abandoned cart, and a third party shipping calculator… Congratulations, your monthly spend for your platform just went up significantly. Because you’re a business owner who is likely wearing too many hats, you might fail to realize that your margins are actually shrinking despite increased sales, and at this point, it could be too late to make a swift recovery.
How to help: Step away from the costly plugins! Take a hard look at the specific core functions that you need from your platform and find one that can accomplish most of, if not all, of those functions. No platform will be able to bake every feature you need right out of the box, but you can find something that is powerful enough to do what you need as is.
Challenge #5 You’re experiencing headaches with reporting.
If you have goals of becoming more digitally agile in your eCommerce business, having insightful, automated reporting is essential in helping you respond to your customers’ ever-evolving needs. If you find yourself struggling to keep an eye on accurate data pertaining to the health of your business, you might be in trouble.
How to help: Find an eCommerce platform that has powerful reporting capabilities, like NetSuite. Some platforms allow you to create top-level reporting dashboards very easily, while others are more focused on specific, detailed reports. Find one that is the best fit for your needs.
If you’re feeling like your current eCommerce platform no longer fits your needs, don’t wait to look for better alternatives, it only becomes more challenging as more time elapses. If you’re feeling lost, but you know your platform has the capabilities you require, reach out to us. We live and breathe this stuff so you don’t have to. We’ll work with you to refine your current systems or find new ones that will put you on a path to greater success.
Contact Podsix today to get started on an eCommerce platform that best fits your growing business!