There are not many areas where, if handled correctly, sales can by multiplied by a factor of 10.
Be it £100K to £1 million, or even from £1 million to £10 million, the online arena allows you to do this.
The reality is that — for the right companies — it can happen, because online markets are so large. We have proven that it can happen, providing the right elements are in place to achieve success.
Our experience of providing technology and consultancy for a small mail order company and helping to catapult it to become a market leader — in just over a decade — gives us some insight into how it is possible to achieve sustained online growth.
Online success is more achievable than it first seems. The principles used can be applied to almost any online business.
While online markets are becoming more competitive all the time, for the right type of product, the right company can see radical results.
While not every company is suited to online success, those that are should find out sooner rather than later, while markets remain more open.
In order to give your business the best chance of sustained growth, here are the key factors that need to be in place.
The Right Market
The market in which you sell needs to have a window of opportunity. Online markets are quickly accessible and are larger and much more international than traditional retail markets.
Choose products that are well suited to mail order by internet — light, high value, needing repurchase. This means that you can sell more quickly and more often.
It is also effective if your company operates in a large market that is not well serviced as this gives you the opportunity to capitalise on the competition.
While online markets are large and accessible, it is important to be competitively priced and to provide great customer service.
The Right Team
Having a strong team is a major factor. If you are an entrepreneurial company with aspirations for online growth, then you have covered a key element.
Your company directors need to have drive and determination, good commercial instincts and an ability to take continual calculated risks. If you think small, you will remain a small company.
Having a good ecommerce manager with the right skills to react and put ideas into action is vital. This role is a key hire, but granted it can be a difficult position to fill. The ecommerce manager needs to have a complete focus on sales generation, watching to see opportunities that appear and ensuring that the opportunities are taken.
The Right Technology
With the above elements in place, the technology is the final piece of the puzzle. Success in the online world relies very heavily on technology. Having the right ecommerce software platform is a key differentiator between one company at £1 million and the next company at £10 million.
Choosing the right platform — with international reach that can handle languages, currencies and localised markets in a systematic way — is what pumps the oxygen round the system.
You are competing with your competition and you are also competing with their technology.
Online markets and techniques are becoming more established. The internet fundamentally allows much quicker access to international markets and the formula and software required in all markets is virtually identical.
The rapid change when new sales channels appeared has greatly slowed down. Now it’s all about maximising implementation of the channels for online sales and using the right digital tools to reach your customers.
Not all companies have the unrelenting drive and manpower to achieve the top level of growth. However the formula for online success will hold true: when the right company combines with the right technology in the right market, the results are still all but guaranteed.
Note: The original version of this article was published in August, 2015.