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Your business cannot successfully scale sales without scaling back-office systems.
In a previous article, 3-Step Business Transformation (Part 1): Improve the User Experience to Drive Topline Growth, we discussed the first step in our sequence for strategically investing in your business to catalyze revenue growth.
In this article, we discuss step 2 of our field-tested 3-step sequence, which focuses on streamlining back-end processes to make your ecommerce operations more agile.
Your business cannot sustainably scale sales without scaling back-office systems. As you make changes to your website to bring in greater traffic and generate more sales, your back office must be ready to accommodate this increase in demand and adapt to any changes.
To start investing in your ecommerce systems, you’ll want to evaluate your current back office systems, automate critical processes, and transition to more flexible and scalable solutions.
Start your systems upgrade with the back-end technology. Whether you use an ecommerce ERP suite or disparate solutions for inventory management, accounting, customer relationship management and fulfillment processes, it’s important to make sure your systems work together and can keep up with volume increases. Any delay in your business operation is a bottleneck to growth, preventing your business from being able to scale up effectively.
To start, conduct an audit of your back office integrations. Determine the breaking points in your systems, any silos in your processes, and the areas where things can begin to slow down. This could touch any aspect of your processes, from how you’re managing orders and creating invoices to how you’re generating shipping labels and delivering products to your customers. Your business can invest in these areas by streamlining processes, integrating functions, and speeding up workflows.
One of the most important parts of your back-end health is the efficiency, transparency, and accuracy of your fulfillment systems. In an age of ecommerce shaped by Amazon, customers expect to receive their orders quickly and have full visibility into the status of their shipment. These expectations influence whether shoppers want to do business with your company.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean your business needs to start offering free 2-day shipping like Amazon, you do need to create a fulfillment process that is seamless, efficient, and transparent. Customers should have access to their order status at any given moment, and your business should have the tools to streamline the fulfillment process and communicate up-to-date information to them. Any delay and any gaps in information will negatively impact the customer experience and hinder your business’ ability to scale.
To supercharge your fulfillment, you want to automate as many processes as possible so that orders are efficiently picked, packaged, and shipped out to customers. If you’re using a manual process for fulfilling orders and managing returns, this might cause errors, delays, and bottlenecks in your business. Consider automating your fulfillment process to help you improve order accuracy, forecast demand, manage inventory, optimize picking, and provide updates to customers in real time. This allows you to set clear customer expectations and then deliver on them with speed, accuracy, and transparency.
Scaling your ecommerce operations is a key part of your growth plan alongside improving the front-end experience. An improved ecommerce system makes your business more efficient and keeps customers happy, helping you to retain the increased traffic and volume that you’ve worked hard to get for your website.
To determine where to scale, create a roadmap for all the areas in your business that can be elevated—whether that means upgrading current systems, integrating your software and tools, or moving up a level in your solution pricing and structure. Ultimately, you want to invest in your back-end systems in such a way that your warehouse, fulfillment, and sales teams are equipped with the tools they need to double and triple your business growth, without any disruption or obstacles in their way.
Stay tuned for Part 3: Scaling Up Your Marketing Efforts.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.