Although you may not operate from a physical store, there are still just as many costs involved with running an e-commerce business. Everyone wants their business to be successful, and that success depends on making money. As product and operational costs continue to rise, it’s essential that you keep not only your prices competitive but that you also find ways in which to increase your profits. The first strategy that comes to mind would be to find ways to boost sales or grow revenue. Although cutting operational costs is another critical way, you can put money back in your pocket.
Won’t reducing operational spending put strains on your business? Not if done strategically and practically. Costs can get out of control if not monitored. Here are some great strategies for cutting the operational costs of your e-commerce business.
1. Contract your staff
The top way in which you can reduce your operating costs is by contracting your team. While hiring a full-time employee may be necessary for certain aspects of your business, it probably isn’t for the majority of them. By contracting an employee, you can cut all sorts of costs. Firstly, you will have less to pay for wages. You can pay for exactly how many hours you require the employee to work. Beyond that, you will not have to pay benefits or holiday pay.
Tasks such as web design, admin, and social media management do not take 40 hours a week. Having a salaried employee for these areas will end up costing you way more than is necessary for these tasks. An admin assistant can jump on 30 minutes a day to answer emails. A social media manager can put in an hour a day to schedule posts and engage with your social communities.
High-salaried employees, such as those in your IT department, are huge budget suckers. While it’s nice to have someone on hand to fix inevitable tech problems, many companies contract out IT support. Companies such as Capstone IT Services handle any technical issues that you may have, at whatever time you need them.
2. Make strategic and quality investments from the beginning
While it may be tempting to take the cheap route when setting up your business, it may lead to financial losses in the long run. Investing in quality options from the beginning will mean that you won’t need to keep paying for constant updates.
When it comes to your website design, an investment in a high-quality web designer is worth it. The site is the virtual storefront and, therefore, the most important investment that you can make as an e-commerce business. Investing in quality design from the beginning will mean that you’ll have a great foundation to work from. Web design can get quite costly if you need constant updates and revisions. Start with an excellent base from which you can make small changes as required.
Your branding is another area that is worth the initial investment. Continually changing your logo and brand identity will only act as a deterrent for potential clients. Take the time to develop a well-thought-out brand identity that you are confident about and can stick with going forward.
Always choose quality over a cheap price tag, because in the end, it will end up costing your business more. Try to avoid opting for an inexpensive designer and instead hire experienced, trusted professionals with a proven track record.
3. Know the market
The more products you offer, the more it’s going to cost you. If all your products are flying off the shelves, then that’s great, but this is not usually the case. You need to know the market and understand what your target consumer is looking for. Stocking products that don’t sell is a waste of resources and the physical space that it takes up in your storeroom. Stay updated with current trends in your industry. What’s the competition like? What products are selling the most? You’re better off offering a smaller range of high-demand products than a massive range of items that don’t sell.
The same goes for if you are selling a service. If you offer tons of services, but only a few are selling, then focus on them. While they may not take up physical space, you’re probably wasting valuable marketing budget and your time promoting them. Know when to offer discounts or coupons to help clear out stock that isn’t selling.
Focusing your efforts on the products and services that the market wants will save you tons of money on storage, marketing, production, and more.
4. Limit your payment methods
While it can be tempting to offer as many payment methods as possible, it can cost a lot of money. Payment processing fees will add up very quickly, and the more options you provide, the more expenses you’ll pay. Identify the most popular payment options among your consumers and stick to them. Since the majority of people have more than one payment type, it shouldn’t limit you from converting sales.
5. Choose the most effective marketing channels
Spending on marketing is significant for the growth and success of your business. That said, if you are spending in the wrong channels, you may as well be throwing money into the wind. Marketing costs can be high, so the key is identifying which channels deliver the highest ROI. It will vary for each e-commerce business, depending on their specific industry. The most effective way to find out where you should be allocating budget is through web analytics.
Web analytics will show you exactly where all your website traffic is generating. It will let you know which of your marketing efforts is paying off the most. Maybe you’ll notice high traffic from link-building via relevant blogs, or perhaps it’s from Facebook ads. Regardless of how your visitors get to your website, you will be able to identify which channels aren’t converting and discontinue those campaigns.
You can dramatically cut costs on your marketing by basing your campaigns on your web analytics.
6. Customer retention
Converting sales from current customers costs seven times less than converting new customers. Retaining the customers that you already have will save you a lot of money on marketing. Not to mention, loyal customers exponentially increase your reach through referrals. It’s free marketing at its finest. By engaging with your customer base, offering loyalty programs, and using email marketing to stay relevant, you can encourage your consumers to keep buying.
The quality of your e-commerce business does not need to suffer for you to reduce your operational costs. You can still employ expert, qualified staff who will help your business to run efficiently and productively for a fraction of the cost. Your website design can make an impact and create a brand identity that will help you to stand out against the competition, helping you to form a loyal customer base. By running strategic and analyzed marketing campaigns, you can minimize your budget and convert more sales than ever before.
By making some small tweaks in your current processes and choosing investments wisely, you can cut your operating costs and increase profit in your e-commerce business.