It’s tough for smaller up-and-coming online retail brands to compete with the giants of eCommerce.
Big eCommerce brands have much greater resources. With huge marketing budgets, they can afford to monopolize paid advertising, making it difficult for smaller online retailers to beat their bids on the best keywords.
However, there are opportunities lesser-known online retail brands can take advantage of to expand their business.
Household name brands are seen as being like machines, whereas brands on the rise have a more personal feel. People like to buy from other people, not from machines. Adding a personal touch via marketing, support channels and even packaging builds great relationships with customers, creating loyalty and beginning a groundswell of support.
For most new brands, growth is slow and steady, but some will find opportunities to jump start their success. This is the goal and the dream of many entrepreneurs – that lightning bolt moment where your brand gains mainstream attention and boosts your business to the moon.
It could be a celebrity endorsement on social media, or an influencer mention on TikTok. It could be a perfectly judged, laser targeted viral marketing hit or your product riding the wave of the latest trend within your niche. A flawless blend of preparation plus opportunity can make you stand out in the crowd of business behemoths to take your brand to that next level.
This kind of growth is hard to manufacture, yet it is equally difficult to scale up the rest of your business to cope when it does happen.
Rapid online retail business expansion creates new challenges
Here are some of the challenges a rapidly growing brand will face if suddenly rocket strapped:
1. Stock shortages
If you have a niche or unique product, or one that relies on a supply chain from other businesses, a sudden burst of demand could be impossible to supply in time to capitalize on this popularity.
2. Lack of resource
Many startups and small to medium enterprises are lean on resources, often relying on staff to wear many hats and pitch in when needed, whether that means manning support phonelines or fulfilling orders in the warehouse. This is fine for steady growth but an abrupt jump in demand quickly makes it unsustainable, and finding good people in a hurry is difficult.
3. The website can’t keep up
Most small businesses today rely on the internet to boost their messaging and find new customers; naturally, these patrons will flock to the website to check out this trendy new brand and place orders. But what many companies don’t realize until it’s too late is that, if this rush of interest is too big and too sudden, it can crush their website and waste the opportunity for growth.
Even enterprise level online retail businesses with specialist departments struggle to correctly provision their IT infrastructure for such events. eCommerce businesses can easily find their websites delivering error messages or even crashing entirely when a spike of shoppers arrives, wasting the chance to generate sales and win repeat customers.
How to be prepared for sudden peaks in demand
When trying to grow their brands, upstart retailers must be careful with the time and money they spend. It’s unwise to spend much of either on overprovisioning web infrastructure “just in case” a celebrity tags them on Instagram. A better way to approach this problem is to implement a virtual waiting room.
A virtual waiting room like TrafficDefender monitors how many visitors are visiting your website. Should the number of visitors shoot up to levels your website simply couldn’t handle without breaking, TrafficDefender prevents any issues by placing new shoppers into a virtual queue, controlling the level of web traffic intelligently.
Just like in a bricks and mortar store, guests are served in a fair, first come first served fashion. You can even show off your brand and products on your queue page, or use the opportunity to offer discount codes or grow your newsletter subscriber numbers.
Most importantly, you can keep selling your products and make a great impression on your new fans, even if you are getting a hundred times your usual traffic.
Give your online retail business its own virtual waiting room
The TrafficDefender team is here to guide you through setting up your own white labelled virtual waiting room. Contact us for a demo and we can get your site ready for any level of sudden interest.