6 Practical Tips to Cut Costs for Your Ecommerce Store
Running an eCommerce store requires adequate time, investments, and patience.
While there are those who have gained overnight successes with eCommerce, there are those that are just looking to improve one day at a time.
It’s a mix of the successful and the not-so-successful.
The benefits of online selling far outweigh the disadvantages. This very fact has lured countless businesses online. While the potential for success is high, only the brave can sail the proverbial high seas of eCommerce.
If you’re an eCommerce business looking to improve the bottom line without incurring more costs to your business, then keep on reading. In this post, we’ll be discussing the six ways you can cut costs for your eCommerce business.
So, let’s begin!
Learn How to Negotiate with Suppliers
If you’re dealing with high-volume orders from a variety of different suppliers, then you need to learn the art of negotiation.
In general, and for eCommerce in particular, negotiation and people skills matter a lot. It’s an art form that has the potential to give your store popularity among suppliers, and better word of mouth in the industry.
While you can negotiate on prices, more often than not, they lead to problematic results.
What you can do is negotiate on factors important to the supplier. The two major areas of interest for the supplier are payment times and order volume. Accommodating them in these two areas can directly lead to accommodation in prices.
If you have an established relationship with your suppliers, then this won’t be much of a problem. You can offer them prepayment discounts and other value-added services depending on the relationship you have with each individual supplier.
The better the relationship, the better your chances are at negotiation.
Besides that, you can also purchase products in bulk. This gives the supplier incentive to deliver products at discounted prices. Now, while you should focus on supplier convenience, you should also make sure that relationships like these result in a win-win situation.
The last tactic you can apply is to go freight free: a process by which both you and the supplier purchase a specific amount to waive the extra freight cost. This reduces extra expenses on both ends.
Optimize your Packaging
Packaging is a highly underrated aspect that you need to consider if you’re looking to cut costs in eCommerce.
If you’re using standard packaging for shipping all your products, then you need to trim it down to reduce costs. There is no point in shipping a product with a packaging that’s twice its size.
In place of the one size fits all packaging, you need to optimize your packaging to save costs. For smaller products, use a smaller package or vice versa.
Okay, so instead of talking hypotheticals, it’s time we discuss practical tips to get you started with packaging.
- For non-fragile items, you don’t have to add too much protective cushioning. While lightweight in nature, using protective cushioning when it’s not needed only increases the weight of your package and in turn, the shipping prices.
- When possible, purchase shipping materials in bulk packaging rather than singular packages. At higher quantities, you get better price breaks.
- Go eco-friendly. Yes, we know that it seems a more costly investment than the alternative. However, we’ve found eco-friendly packaging to be more cost effective than other types of packaging. Besides being cost effective, eco-friendliness also contributes to consumers favoring your store because of your dedication towards the environment. With more and more young shoppers in the market, going eco-friendly is a trend that you just can’t ignore.
Go for Business Process Automation
In modern businesses, time is of the essence and you don’t need to waste it on repetitive tasks. Business process automation helps free more time for other business processes and cuts out the tedious from your workflows.
There are plenty of ways you can go about automating your processes. From automating manual spreadsheet processes through using a CRM and an ERP, to streamlining email or social media marketing operations – your eCommerce store processes can benefit significantly from it.
Now, you might be thinking that having a CRM and an ERP would make you incur additional costs, right? Well, yes it would. But think of it as an investment for the future. The costs you incur on a business automation platform today can easily be recovered in the future.
The end-goal with business process automation is reducing your business costs, so you can focus more on the bigger picture.
Codup.co provides stellar business process automation services for all sorts of digital business. Our Business Process Automation solutions are engineered to fit your business needs and workflows to help you achieve higher efficiencies, reduce costs and experience growth.
Focus on Existing Customers
Another important cost cutting strategy for eCommerce is engaging existing customers. Why wouldn’t it be important? Re-targeting an existing base of customers is a lot easier than targeting new ones.
But here’s the problem: many would have you believe that targeting a newer base of customers is more advantageous. The more the merrier, right? Well… yes, but actually no.
There is no harm in finding new customers. But if in the process, you’re neglecting your existing customer base, then that’s going to be a huge problem. You’re getting more customers, that’s true, but you’re also losing your existing fanbase.
It’s simple mathematics: at the end of the day, you’re left with the same number of customers.
Statistically speaking, your existing customers are far more likely to purchase from your store as opposed to a new customer. Moreover, they are also willing to spend more money on your product.
Considering all these factors, adding value to your existing customers more value makes a lot more sense. Since you’re not occupying too much time in targeting new customers, you’re also reducing the costs of capturing new customers.
This whole section can’t go full circle without mentioning the importance of good customer service.
It’s very difficult to build trust with a customer only to let all the effort go to waste with poor customer service. Customers aren’t indebted to you; they’ll leave the moment they notice a hint of poor customer service.
If you’re too eager to gain more customers, you can mix up your customer engagement strategy.
While on the one hand, you’re providing a stellar customer experience to your existing customers, you can also focus on targeting new customers, albeit at a smaller scale.
You can go with that, or deliver a personalized customer experience for your existing customers. If you have a specialized product, then you should definitely focus on the quality of the customer you have instead of increasing the quantity.
Lastly, you should create a running log of all your customers. This helps you remember the experiences customers have had with your eCommerce store, as well as their preferences, good or bad. This may be difficult if you’re running a huge eCommerce store, but it’s also doable if you assign user personas to your eCommerce customer base.
Clear & Transparent Return Policy
Managing returns on your eCommerce store is quite tricky. On the one hand, the customer doesn’t want to use the product, while on the other, the owner doesn’t want to reduce his profitability. It’s a conflict of interest, through and through.
To avoid mishaps with returns, you need to have a clear return policy present for your store. This helps reduce operational costs, while also building authenticity and credibility for your brand.
Your return policy should be easy to read, reasonable, and not have any hidden clauses that, when brought up, can make your customers lose confidence in you.
Optimize Your Digital Marketing Budget
The best part about an online business is the fact that you can reduce your marketing overheads significantly.
But while it’s easy to market your offerings now more than ever, you need to know the right channels to market.
Depending on your business niche, you can use a variety of different eCommerce marketing channels. For example, if you have a B2B product, then it’s best to promote it through LinkedIn. Now, you can use paid advertisements or go organically, it all depends on your budget and what you want to do with your eCommerce store.
Ideally, your marketing strategy can be a mix of paid marketing as well as less expensive marketing tactics like:
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Referral marketing
Marketing is all about A/B testing. Whatever tactic or strategy you use, always keep a lookout for the ROI. If it’s not giving out good enough results, then try to avoid it for the future.
Digital marketing is a highly effective way to cut costs for your eCommerce processes since more often than not, you can get by with organic marketing strategies. While slow, they are highly effective when they begin to take effect.
Ecommerce is a growing industry. The retail market has been growing slowly but steadily. In order to get ahead of the competition in the modern competitive digital landscape, you need to utilize modern web technologies to the fullest possible extent.
While focusing on technologies, what you can also do is keep up with the traditional eCommerce activities. Having a mix of both the traditional and modern can help you improve your store’s position by a significant margin.
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