Every business is different. From its launch to its maturity or failure, businesses go through many stages. There are ups and downs, barriers and successes, all that mark the uniqueness of a business and the strategies used in it.
Just like that, there are many differentiations for the business life cycle of ecommerce stores these days. According to Gartner’s Identify Small Business Opportunities by Understanding Business Life Stage Requirements, there are four key stages that influence the technology requirements of businesses. His differentiation is between startup, expansion, establishment, and business maturity.
That’s just one point of view, really. The Corporate Finance Institute differentiates between launch, growth, shake-out, maturity, and decline.
Before we get too far in the differentiations of life cycle events, it’s important to understand that your business strategy is different from that of anyone else. Reality is, the different phases demonstrate your start, your ups and downs, as well as your successes.
While we cannot tell you what exactly will happen to your business, there are some things that we can help with. In this article, you will learn about the technology requirements that come with the three most commonly defined stages of your ecommerce store life cycle.
The first is your launch and your business’ growth.
The second is the period of slowing growth.
The third is the renewed growth that leads to your business’ maturity.
Whether you find yourself in all these stages or not, this article will help you determine what technology you need to keep your business afloat.
1. Launch of New eCommerce Businesses and Their Initial Growth
This stage would be your early period, the moment when your ecommerce business is considered ‘a startup’. In most cases, new businesses are subject to an early, sometimes very rapid growth. Everything is better than zero, so whatever you succeed at the start is a growth for your new business.
At this point, you need technology to get your business up and running and get your products to your customers. For that purpose, you’ll need to decide what platforms you’ll use. Whether you’ll use WordPress or a different platform, pick between Shopify and WooCommerce, and choose between traditional or headless commerce.
This particular phase is full of experimentation and comes with big costs unless you take wise and well-thought actions. At this stage, we can recommend to make your choices tactfully and take your time while considering what you’ll invest in.
Keep in mind that, the big choices you make now such as what platform you’ll use for your site, what you’ll use for hosting, or what type of ecommerce you’ll opt for – will determine a lot in the future.
For starters, we’d like you to think about whether you’ll go for headless commerce or traditional commerce. The first is a big buzzword in this business world because of the flexibility it offers, while the latter is used by most of the older stores and comes with ready templates and fewer customization options.
Next, we’d like you to consider your hosting options. Will you go for the hosting that your web builder offers or another one that integrates with it?
Of course, at this point you should also consider things like the SSL certificate and how you’ll protect your customers, data, as well as plugins and tools you’ll use to present your products to your audience. You’ll also need to consider things such as payment methods you’ll offer to customers, delivery options, etc.
While you can adjust most of this later on, the technology you use now can help you jump into the ecommerce world with full power and get to that growth stage faster.
2. Slowing Growth of Your Business
As we mentioned, businesses have their ups and downs. If you survive the first stages and start making sales and creating customers, chances are you’ll get to this stage sooner or later. It happens to everyone. This is the stage that will challenge your business and determine whether it will keep existing or not.
Many businesses panic and start searching for some quick-fix technology solutions when this point comes. They invest in things that aren’t effective or long-term, which soon leads to the end of their business.
It is important to understand that the growth of a business will slow down at some point. It is your job to figure out why and find a way to stop declining.
At this point, the technologies that can help you with your decisions and actions are mostly research-based. You are looking at research and analytics tools, fierce marketing and retention programs, and many surveys and customer insights.
3. Renewed Growth and Business Maturity
Every phase of slowing or staggering growth makes your business more mature. Successful businesses overcome many such stages, after which this particular period comes – renewed growth.
This happens when the stagnant phase ends and you start getting new or returning customers i.e. when your business’ success starts growing again. If you overcame the second stage we listed here, this is what comes next.
However, this doesn’t mean that your job ends here or you don’t need technology to keep going. You can easily get back to the ‘slowing growth’ stage again if you don’t tread carefully.
That being said, some technologies that are good for this stage include research tools, which you’ll need to use on a regular basis. It is important to keep track of how your business is progressing and which of your strategies are showing good or bad results.
Research will steer your strategy in this stage, too, which means more customer experience and user testing, optimization of your mechanics for conversions, etc.
And, of course, getting to this stage means that you’ll have more revenue. At this point, you should re-evaluate your investments and, if possible, invest in more versatile, feature-rich tools to replace the simpler ones you had to use before.
Strategic planning is vital for the success and survival of an ecommerce business, but so is technology. Since these businesses operate online, they need a variety of technology tools to achieve their goals. If you use the right tools and strategies at different stages that your business is in, you can get it to a more mature state and keep it successful.
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