Lean Ecommerce Is Redefining Online Selling

Learn how to apply this efficiency trend in ecommerce automation, marketing, and selling.

By Vanessa Loughty | March 10, 2023 | 3 minute read
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To stay competitive in a rapidly growing online economy, merchants must constantly strive to deliver better shopping experiences while simultaneously improving efficiency and reducing costs. One major trend that is emerging for sellers is the concept of “lean ecommerce,” a model that focuses on streamlining operations and using automation to empower businesses to go further and faster, using fewer resources. In this blog, we’ll explore the lean ecommerce philosophy and look at ways it can be applied to modern online selling and marketing.

What is lean ecommerce?

Lean ecommerce is a business strategy that emphasizes efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction in online sales operations. The broad concept of lean ecommerce is simple: do more with less. By automating repetitive tasks and using data to better focus resources, ecommerce teams can not only reduce costs and improve efficiency, but also stay nimble and be more agile. Automation is a primary tool for overcoming disruption. By adding a focus on lean operations, teams can quickly adjust their product offerings, customize their websites to hone in on what their buyers need, and pivot their marketing strategies on a dime—all while reducing costs.

What parts of an online business can use lean ecommerce?

1. Order fulfillment

By automating the order fulfillment process and using data to optimize shipping and delivery times, ecommerce businesses can improve efficiency and reduce errors. Long gone are the days of using hand-written ledgers to track orders—this progression is a very clear example of how lean ecommerce leverages technology to streamline working methods.

2. Customer support

By automating routine customer support tasks and using data to personalize interactions, ecommerce businesses can improve customer satisfaction and reduce support costs. This might mean automating responses to common questions, or building a chatbot into the shopping experience.

3. Marketing

By using data-driven insights to create more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns, ecommerce businesses can improve conversion rates and reduce advertising “waste".

4. Website design and user experience

By analyzing customer behavior and preferences to optimize user experience, ecommerce businesses can improve conversion rates and reduce abandoned cart rates. This data-oriented approach is meant to complement the more artistic aspects of designing branded websites.

Lean ecommerce can be applied across an entire ecommerce business to create more efficient and effective operations which drive growth and customer satisfaction. The key is using data-driven decision-making to drive continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

What is lean marketing in ecommerce?

Lean marketing involves focusing on the most effective marketing activities and eliminating non-value-added activities or those that do not contribute to the marketing objectives. In simple terms, that might mean cutting a paid ad program that is not delivering results, or doubling down on campaigns which attract the most buyers. 

The increased ease of running sophisticated ecommerce businesses and their promotional content goes hand in hand with the fact that marketers are increasingly in the driver’s seat when it comes to driving ecommerce growth. One key advantage of ecommerce marketing is that it allows businesses to quickly spin up promotions that easily target their audiences across multiple channels and devices. By leveraging these tools, marketers can better target their audiences, create more personalized campaigns, and measure the effectiveness of their efforts in real time.

Free Guide | How to Create a Profitable Ecommerce Marketing Engine

What role does the ecommerce platform play in lean ecommerce?

An ecommerce platform can play a significant role in enabling lean ecommerce practices. Here are some benefits of lean ecommerce which are fueled by modern ecommerce platform features:

1. Automating routine tasks

An ecommerce platform can help automate elements of routine tasks such as order processing, inventory management, and customer support. This frees up ecommerce teams to focus on higher value work and improve efficiency.

2. Providing data insights

An ecommerce platform can provide businesses with data insights on customer behavior, order patterns, and other key performance indicators. By using data insights to guide decision-making, ecommerce teams can better understand their customers' needs, quickly change promotional strategies, and create faster, more effective shopping experiences.

3. Streamlining multichannel selling

An ecommerce platform can enable businesses to sell their products across multiple channels, including B2B/B2C, physical retail locations, and marketplaces. By streamlining these sales channels and controlling them all under a single user interface, businesses can reach more customers and create more consistent messaging across all channels.

4. Performance and continuous improvement

An ecommerce platform can provide businesses with performance metrics to monitor and optimize their operations. One example of this might be an integration with shipping providers which can issue reports on fulfillment times and customer preferences. By measuring and analyzing performance metrics, businesses can dramatically improve site performance.

The size of a business does not limit its ability to adopt these principles. Independent sellers can compete in a commercial landscape dominated by titans like Amazon by using lean techniques, becoming far more nimble than giant companies are capable of.

Lean ecommerce is a powerful tool for streamlining operations and driving growth

By leveraging automation tools and data-driven insights, ecommerce teams can accomplish more in less time, while creating more personalized shopping experiences for their customers. Streamlining branding operations and adopting a lean marketing strategy can further improve communication effectiveness. And with the rise of omnichannel commerce, businesses that embrace this model are better positioned to succeed—in every channel—in the years ahead.

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Vanessa Loughty

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