So you’ve hit 7-figure sales with your business. Congrats, that’s great! But how do you go from merely a successful business to brand-name business? That universal recognition, global household name. The product reached for on the shelf. The must-have gadget or beauty accessory that everyone’s raving about. Forget 7-figures. We’re talking about $100 million dollar mega-success. The secret to this kind of success lies in the right growth strategy.
The e-commerce market continues to increase year-on-year, especially in post-pandemic times. In fact, according to the US Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division, in the last part of 2021, e-commerce sales accounted for 13% of all sales. It’s clear that learning how to scale an e-commerce business has never been more important.
There’s also no denying that shoppers now expect to be able to have a choice whether to shop online or in-store, and any online offering needs to be just as convenient, thorough, and seamless as they would expect from a traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Online, shoppers enjoy an ‘endless aisle’ of products to choose – whether they are searching for a particular product, or just browsing trends, it’s essential that your brand stands out and is seen, trusted and appealing.
For a business to continue growing in this new world, it is imperative that brands keep up with online shopping trends and capabilities. And this is where the key to growth lies. Selling your products online across new and varied platforms combined with the right knowledge & resources to deliver your scaling strategy. Get this part right and you can propel your star product and a carefully curated brand to global superstardom.
How Can Multi-Channel Expansion Accelerate Growth For Your E-Commerce Business?
Although undeniably exciting, getting your business to the next step can seem daunting and be beset with challenges. From a reliable supply chain that can deal with an uptick in demand to acquiring the right kind of experienced personnel, there is a long check list of resources you’ll need in your armory before you move forward. So, where to begin?
To borrow a phrase, the key is to move your brand beyond e-commerce to everywhere commerce.
Some of your customers may already be shopping from you on multiple platforms, some may have only found you through third party marketplaces, while others will prefer to purchase from you directly. In 2022, the dawn of ‘social shopping’ shows no signs of slowing with younger consumers especially citing the influence of social media when it comes to following product suggestions or trends. Statista reports that as many as 63% of shoppers report making impulse purchases through social channels, due to the ease of purchase and the immediacy of purchase gratification. They see it, they want it – and within a few clicks they’ve bought it.
Ensuring that your growth strategy encompasses every channel that meets the needs of your customers is key to kickstarting, and maintaining momentum.
One of the best ways to do this is to consider seeking a partner who can bring the next level of expertise, resources, and knowledge to complement and amplify your existing strengths.
BRANDED offers our brands the benefits of being part of a platform, with key differences to exit options like private equity or strategic buyers. One main differentiator: when you come on board with BRANDED, you have the opportunity to see your business growth accelerate, additionally with the option to stay on with your company. We give the flexibility for you to continue doing the parts you love, offloading other functions, and becoming one of our valued partners.
Common Challenges E-Commerce Businesses Face When Implementing a Growth Strategy
There are several key elements to consider when beginning the journey to expand your horizons beyond marketplace selling. But first, we’ll start with common pitfalls we know a lot of business owners face when they first start considering their growth strategies.
Understanding Your Customers
If you’re selling on the Amazon marketplace, you are at a bit of a disadvantage and might be missing out on a lot of information about your customers.
Even if you are selling well, your interactions with your customers are limited to what your third-party allows, and your provider (Amazon, Walmart etc.) only shares a little, if any, information with you about the people who are buying your products. This makes it very difficult to really get insights on your customer base, who they are, why they are engaging with your brand and buying your products, and how you can connect with them once you go off marketplace.
A challenge many businesses face when they are ready to grow outside of their original platform is getting to the crux of who your audience is, and how you can talk to them when you go off marketplace.
Large Companies Have an Edge
Large companies who have invested heavily in online selling capabilities for years have a head start over smaller retailers. Small and mid-tier businesses are still seeing a smaller proportion of e-commerce sales, especially those in consumer packaged goods and fashion sectors. However, evidence points to the continued strength of online selling and with the right know-how and resources, this shouldn’t be a roadblock to growth.
Undoubtedly private equity backed e-commerce companies have an edge here, both in operations and with capital spending power at their disposal. As your company grows both in size and ambition, you will find that your direct competitors are also in another league, and you’ll need the firepower to go head to head in the market.
Aggregators can add a significant amount of oomph to a business at this stage. Being able to leverage synergies in building operational technologies, tapping into business intelligence, and employing marketing efficiencies, you’ll find the road is paved to success when you team up with the right partner.
What To Do?
For businesses who already have a strong online presence with a third-party seller such as Amazon, this can present a double edged sword. While sales through your platform may be strong, or growing, to really reach your full potential and make that leap to the next stage, you need to make sure your brand is also strong, recognizable and trusted by your customers outside of that platform. Read some of our recommendations on how to strengthen your brand here.
For established e-commerce businesses looking to grow outside of online platforms, moving to an omnichannel model brings a multitude of benefits. Not only can you rediscover who your customers actually are when you go off-marketplace, but by embracing different ways of connecting with and engaging your customers you can strengthen your brand reputation. Over half of customers like to research and purchase products both in store and online, and of course, social media plays a massive part in influencing trends, for customers discovering new brands and forming stronger connections with their favorites.
Combating Challenges and Moving Your Brand into the Next Growth Stage
When your business has hit the point where scaling is a feasible and sensible option, you’ll find that a period of intense activity is about to take place. Founders and directors will be focusing on finding those key performance indicators that continue to accelerate the business and ensure that your growth strategy is working.
Once you’ve reached this point, you’ve hopefully also asked yourself ‘what do we need to achieve this in a reasonable timescale?’
The speed at which you will be able to implement your growth strategy, and the success of it, will depend on what resources you already have to dedicate to your goals, and where you want to focus your energies. Scaling-up needs precision and clear direction – quantifiable growth targets and clear objectives are crucial.
Perhaps you want to increase your product range, offer new products, or expand on existing best sellers? Things you may want to consider are:
- How to add new products that complement existing ranges or how to explore a new direction that fits in with your brand?
- Will you be looking to move to selling in stores, whether that is opening your own or affiliating with a larger multi-offering store?
- How to attack a plan to grow your customer base and acquire new customers?
- What do you expect your revenue growth to be, and how much of this will be profit?
- How to enter and ramp up DTC e-commerce?
- How to tackle increasing complexities of your supply chain?
Maybe you want to physically grow your business and look to launch in new markets or in new sales channels. In which case, don’t forget to look at
- Growth in employee headcount
- Expansion of real estate – office spaces, warehouse and fulfillment centers, other retail spaces
- Entry into new regions, markets and countries
- Cash investment you may need to achieve your growth objectives
- Expertise and funding gaps with an investor or acquisition partnership
To be successful with any growth strategy, embracing new skills and introducing new capabilities will allow you to meet your goals. Anticipating and developing these needs will smooth your path as you scale.
In order to implement these novelties it’s essential that all key decision makers and stakeholders are on board with any change. This may take the form of comprehensive learning programs to fill any knowledge gaps in the company, or new hires who can build on existing skills and refresh mindsets.
You may also need to think about funding for the next stage of your growth. Partnerships and acquisition could also open up any resources missing from ambitious scaling plans, both in terms of an input of cash and filling in missing areas of expertise.
The Case for a Multichannel Growth Strategy
The value of global e-commerce is estimated to reach at least $5 trillion by the end of 2022, accelerating to $6 trillion by 2024 according to Insider Intelligence reports. Strengthening your business by adding new sales channels is absolutely essential to any growth strategy, as well as making sure your brand appears where your customers expect to find you.
There are many advantages to opening up multichannel selling for an already successful e-commerce business. Firstly, it enables you to meet your customers wherever they’re shopping. Whether they are marketplace shoppers who, out of habit, choose and research products and a brand carefully before buying, or are purchasing from you due to convenience or are following the latest social media trends – you need to be there, bigger, better and before your competitors are.
Multichannel selling also allows you to market your products where your customers already are looking. Research has shown time and time again that the more convenience pathways consumers find to your sales channels, the better your conversions. 76% of consumers cite convenience as their top priority when buying – the more effortless the buying process, the more likely your customers are to complete their purchases.
As well as giving you the advantage of connecting with your existing customers, expanding into new sales channels also gives you the opportunity to further increase your customer base, tapping into a whole new audience for your brand.
Ways in Which Particular Sales Channels Offer Exciting Opportunities for Business Growth
Direct to Consumer (DTC)
Direct-to-Consumer sales (DTC) is a powerful sales channel for a strong, established brand with well-tested and successful products. A DTC strategy gives your business complete control over your customer’s interaction and purchasing journey with your brand – you can shape their whole experience with you from first click to final purchase.
It may be that a customer comes to your website from other places, such as a third-party marketplace arena, but then moves to your own website to complete their purchase. The outcome is still the same – you have control over how your brand is showcased on your own site, and can personalize their interactions with your brand. A carefully crafted brand journey is at your fingertips, and you have many more opportunities to encourage repeat customers, reviews and UGC, and encourage positive buying experiences.
However, if reaching a new customer base or audience is part of your growth strategy, then a multichannel approach should also be considered. Although a potent way to build your brand and manage your customer’s experience, to find new customers DTC is most effective when used in conjunction with other sales channels (such as social media or third-party marketplaces).
Other Third-Party Marketplaces
Beyond Amazon, consider other marketplaces for your scaling strategy. Some could potentially be implemented without too many additional resources or knowledge. However, there are distinct limitations to growth in this manner – your B2C customer interactions are minimal, you are unable to control the purchasing journey as closely as with other methods and there is little scope for employing tools to retain customers for repeat purchases or brand loyalty.
Business to Business Distributor Sales Channels
In the US, Shopify predicts that the Business to Business (B2B) sales market is performing well, with sales expected to hit $12 trillion by 2023. Expanding your business to include B2B and retail offers a neat and relatively straightforward way to scale.
There are two primary ways you can achieve this.
Selling wholesale into retail, to be included in a successful chain of retail stores or department stores such as Target, Walmart etc. is a great way to grow. Not only are you able to move higher volumes of stock at one time, but you are still able to market and showcase your brand as you want it to be presented to your customers. Don’t forget however that in this environment you are going head-to-head with competing brands at the same store so it’s all the more important to ensure you are brand building at every opportunity.
Another way to grow your business offline is to sell into B2B – namely, distributors that could get your brand featured in beauty salons, hospitality industries and specialty stores. Again you are able to move high levels of stock, but you also have the advantage of being able to reduce some everyday costs, such as fulfillment and marketing.
Social Media as an E-Commerce Sales Channel
As previously mentioned, convenience is a huge factor when it comes to converting sales, and social media shopping is fast becoming one of the big players as a sales channel in its own right. Whether it’s through targeted ads with a tempting ‘shop now’ button, or through influencer marketing strategies, social media shopping is ignored at your peril.
Whether you decide to target specific social media platforms that you know are popular with your customers, or if you decide to take all social media channels as an advertising/sales opportunity it’s almost impossible not to include some kind of social media selling in your scaling strategies.
Like with other sales channels you may be considering expanding into, social media commerce has its downsides as well as benefits. Yes, you have the convenience factor nailed, but your customer will likely be completing their purchase off your website and on whichever platform you have utilized. You’ll also have to make sure you have provision and the capabilities to keep up with ever-evolving and emerging social media trends and platform changes. Read our tips for making your social selling successful here.
How Joining BRANDED Could Accelerate the Growth Your Business Deserves
When e-commerce companies rush into expansion without a sufficient roadmap to properly see them through their scaling ambitions, they’re likely to fail. Having a structured and comprehensive growth strategy, combined with the right resources and a talented team will lead to success.
BRANDED are renowned experts in rapidly scaling e-commerce businesses into global powerhouse brands. With decades worth of international experience and an incredible 250+ strong in-house team, including world-class marketers, strategists, and e-commerce pioneers, we’re perfectly placed to help you rapidly grow your business into everything you’ve dreamed of.
Once you come on board with BRANDED, we set clear targets with a focus on profitability for you, while embracing and cherishing all those aspects of your brand that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. We encourage our brand founders to stay onboard, working on areas of the business they love and helping us to retain the best of the brand. You can expect honesty and thoughtfulness from a professional team throughout every deal with us.
We prioritize fairness and give generous valuations for premium brands, and take pride in our partnership mentality. We value you as an entrepreneur, emphasizing a win/win approach as we grow your business together. For further details, read our full blog post on what you need to know during this process.
What Does a BRANDED Business Partnership Look Like?
Joining BRANDED is a smooth, streamlined process, and you can expect a careful transition time with a structure that meets your needs. Our friendly, experienced acquisitions team takes care of all the details, from due diligence, financial verification, legal support and documentation to a seamless migration process.
When you become part of the BRANDED family, we bring our powerful blend of industry experience and financial and technological expertise to truly scale your enterprise, providing the resources to grow and amplify your brand across a variety of channels and markets globally. Our leaders have previously scaled companies generating $12B in market revenues.
We choose to partner with successful entrepreneurs and provide the resources to accelerate and amplify their brand across channels and geographies – leapfrogging your competition with international expansion and unlocking your brand’s potential.
To find out more, don’t hesitate to contact us and see how you can grow your business with BRANDED today.