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Healthy Growth vs. Rapid Expansion

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Rachel Espazien

Healthy Growth vs. Rapid Expansion

No one in the ecommerce business wants to settle. In fact, we often measure the success of an ecommerce company by how many clients they serve yearly. Or by what percent they increased in sales in the past year. 

Though the goal for any business is growth, sustainability matters, too. There is a difference between healthy growth and visionless rapid expansion. 

In the first, growth is sought after in sustainable and steady ways that produce long-term repeat customers and satisfied consumers. The latter chases after expansion at all costs. This could lead to making hazardous uninformed decisions that kill off true success at the end of the day.

In order for an ecommerce business to grow and scale successfully and sustainably, they have to make strategic decisions in every single aspect of their operation from the small to the great. Most notably, there are three areas of ecommerce business management that can either hold the key necessary for brand growth or be what stunts growth and kills success. 

What are these elements of operations that can cause growth for your ecommerce business without over-expanding in a way impacts your business? They come down to: optimizing your internal operation, go international with efficient and cost effective methods, and building a dream team.

Now that you know the three areas of operation that directly impact your brand’s growth, let’s break them down below.

Optimize Your Internal Operations

Imagine you go grocery shopping at a local market. Each time you walk through the aisle to get what you need things are moved around. Not only has the location of the product you are looking for been displaced, but the shelves hold a jumbled assortment of products.

Instead of having one aisle for bread and another for paper products, you find loafs of bread strewn about on all of the shelves in every aisle and the plastic forks you need are nowhere to be found.

Though this may be a dramatic example, how well do you think this market will function? How likely are you to return to this location next time your pantry runs low? Probably not so likely!

Just as that messy market might come to a grinding halt without streamlined, organized operations, a growing ecommerce business would not be able to thrive without proper order and management of all its complex layers.

This is one of the secrets to growing your ecommerce business in a sustainable and organized way. Reducing your stress and increasing your profits. As a reliable 3PL partner Viable Shipping prioritizes this need with the use of software that tracks inventory, expiration, location, and order fulfillment with great accuracy.

Day to day, your brand needs to have control and transparency over their orders, inventory, warehouse, and shipping management. You don’t have to be shipping out of your garage to accomplish this. Our platform makes this possible. We provide all the access you need in one place with a user-friendly account that allows businesses to save time and rest easy.

Everything you need to know about every step of your operations is accessible. You have oversight into all the data about each order, each sale, each shipment that comes in, inventory changes, and every package that goes out. This data is vitally important when it comes to making future decisions for your brand.

For instance, how will you know how much product to order for peak season sales? By going over the sales statistics of last year's peak season plus taking into account your growth at the start of this year from last year.

What shipping method will be the best choice for your brand? You’ll gain insight into this question by examining what was most important for your customers with past orders, whether it was speed, cost, carrier reliability, or a mix of all three.

Growing your business takes making smart decisions, making smart decisions includes using past data. Data which a 3PL partner’s reliable software can provide.

By studying real statistics from your own company you’ll be able to make these smart decisions without being distracted by what everyone else is doing. It’s simple; you don’t have to do everything! Choose your options based on what has worked for you, for your brand, for your customers.

Don’t waste time, resources, and effort on every opportunity just because other companies might be using them. This can lead to over-expanding and spreading your funds thin. You don’t want this extra weight on your work load or resources. In fact, that is what will prevent company growth.

Go International With Efficient and Cost-Effective Methods

Shipping internationally is a goal of most ecommerce brands. After all, can you really boast of a product's success when it’s only being consumed in the US? However, as you may have already figured out, international shipping can come with a whole host of issues for your brand. In order to effectively expand your operations globally there are many things to consider. Several aspects of international sales can be a headache.

- Expensive shipping

- Shipping delays

- Rising import duties and taxes

Though going international may seem daunting and you're worried about how it will affect your brand that is currently thriving in the US market, you don’t have to stress. This is where a 3PL partner like Viable comes in.

You may be new to shipping overseas, but we’ve been doing this for years! 

And the good news is by using our 3PL services for international shipping a lot of the headache is alleviated. 

Here are a few pro tips to efficiently shipping internationally:

1. In the question of expensive shipping, Viable Shipping has competitive international rates with several major carriers. We are in constant communication with these shipping carrier companies to negotiate even lower rates. If you choose to ship abroad it’s imperative that you select a shipping partner that is able to get those rates down for you.

2. When it comes to import duties we are able to estimate these charges up front so that you won’t be shocked by the cost. This allows you to cover these fees by adding to your shipping cost. We also offer the option to let your customer cover this cost upon receiving the package. Depending on your brand, this could be the way to go.

3. In order to keep your customers happy with shipping times it is often wise to set the delivery window a little wider than expected to cover any delays. For example if the carrier says they will deliver to Mexico in 3-5 days, setting your delivery window at 5-7 days leaves room for delays without your customers getting anxious.

Building A Dream Team

It’s exciting when you start to see your brand expanding, sales increasing, orders flooding in, and operations reaching outside of the US. You should be proud of yourself for making it to this point.

All of these things are great, but don’t just focus on the growth of this moment. Each of these mountain top statistics could easily be your downfall if they are not achieved with organized execution and wise team choices.

We’ve all heard it said that raising a child takes a village. Well, I am here to tell you that raising a business does even more so.

It takes a dream team to execute the dream. Finding those people who will carry out your vision on a day to day basis when you are out of the office is imperative. Building this team looks like detailed interviewing and monthly/yearly employee evaluations. It looks like rewarding those who are thriving in your work place with incentives and giving them opportunities for them to reach their professional goals. Unity between staff and managers is going to take frequent meetings and openly sharing ideas and concerns with the group.

Having a reliable 3PL partner that truly grasps your dream goes a long way in making that dream happen. Ultimately, you can chase after rapid growth in your ecommerce business and maybe you’ll reach those numbers for a brief moment of time. But when you have those strong team members surrounding you, heading towards the dream together (whether you have just a handful of employees or a whole 3PL team), that is when you will reach the point of healthy sustainable growth.

By optimizing your internal operations, going international with wisdom and caution, and building your dream team, growth is possible. Not only quick and fading growth but truly sustainable upward progressing growth.

Let’s talk: Have you experienced a spike in sales in your ecommerce business that quickly died out? What do you think caused this? If you knew outsourcing to a 3PL partner like Viable would sustainably increase your business’ growth in the coming year, what would keep you from onboarding today?