Whether you’re launching a new ecommerce business or looking to expand an existing one, every part of the sales process—from managing orders to marketing—matters. Discover the benefits of an effective ecommerce management strategy, plus tips to help you manage your online store.
What is ecommerce management?
Ecommerce management is the process of maintaining and operating an online store. Whether you have a formalized ecommerce management strategy or not, if you sell things online, you engage in ecommerce management. Most ecommerce businesses use software to keep their customer relationship management and inventory operations running smoothly, and larger online businesses often rely on a dedicated ecommerce manager or team.
Why is ecommerce management important?
Ecommerce management is an essential part of running an online business. Standardizing or upgrading your ecommerce management strategy can help you take your ecommerce business to new heights. Here are some of the potential benefits of effective ecommerce management:
Many modern ecommerce software tools offer automation features like automated marketing or customer service chatbots to replace time-consuming manual processes. Shopify Flow, for example, offers a no-code solution for automating virtually any aspect of your ecommerce business—from inventory management to fraud protection and customer segmentation.
Deciding which tasks to automate and implementing the automation software can save time and money that you can invest back into your business.
Compliance and security
When you run an online store, your customers trust you with their personal and financial information. As your ecommerce business grows, your cybersecurity and legal compliance needs may become more complex. Ecommerce management software typically offers protections like secure payment gateways so that you don’t have to worry about keeping your clients’ data safe.
Collecting data on customers as part of your ecommerce management system allows you to better tailor your products and marketing to your target audience. When you run your own ecommerce site, you’re better able to capture and analyze information about your customers.
“From the beginning, it was clear that I needed to open my own website,” says Camille Ouellette, the founder of jewelry business Camillette, on the Shopify Masters podcast. Why? “So I could get more information [about] my clients.”
Camille decided to expand beyond ecommerce marketplaces like Etsy and invest in a Shopify site, which allowed her to collect customer data and use that information to improve customer retention and loyalty.
“They are your fans. So you need to actually talk to them and see what their behaviors are, what they like, and what they don’t like,” Camille says.
In addition to customer data, ecommerce management solutions can track and monitor your business’s financial performance, allowing you to identify strengths and weaknesses.
Challenges of ecommerce management
Ecommerce management comes with challenges. Here are some of the hurdles you might face:
Inventory management is one of the biggest challenges ecommerce businesses face. Keeping track of inventory from multiple warehouses and avoiding overstocking and overselling can get complicated—especially for growing businesses.
Supply chain issues like shortages, delays, and backorders can make matters even worse. Luckily, there are plenty of inventory management systems—like ShipHero and Stocky—that can help you understand customer demand and set minimum stock levels.
Shipping and fulfillment
If you started your ecommerce business handling order management, shipping, and fulfillment yourself, you know how time consuming this seemingly simple task can be. As your business grows, you may want to automate aspects of the shipping process or offer international shipping options. Ecommerce management software can help.
Water bottle company Que uses ShipStation, for example. “It’s awesome,” founder Jean Wu tells the Shopify Masters podcast. “We’ve used it for eight years now. You can ship with multiple carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and even DHL for international packages.”
For your business to grow, you need new customers. Part of ecommerce management means ensuring there’s consistent demand for your product or services.
Ecommerce managers typically work closely with product and marketing teams to ensure alignment. Once you’ve grown your customer base, customer relationship management software can help you keep those new customers coming back.
How to manage your ecommerce business
- Have a great website
- Develop a digital marketing strategy
- Invest in excellent customer service
- Test everything
- Use software that integrates well
The best ecommerce management strategy depends on your specific business needs, but some aspects of ecommerce are near-universal. Here are some tips for effective ecommerce management:
Have a great website
“People are looking for your website and, until you create one, they’re reaching your competitors or they’re reaching your wholesale partners. They’re reaching someone, but not you,” says Daniel Abramov, chief digital officer of footwear company TKEES, on an episode of Shopify Masters. To capture organic search for your products, create a website that is search engine optimized and easily accessible.
Develop a digital marketing strategy
It’s not enough to simply have a website; you need to make sure people can find it. Digital marketing, from email outreach to social media to search engine optimization, can help grow your reach. Consider your marketing strategy when evaluating your ecommerce management strategy. Is your ecommerce manager (if you have one) in close communication with your marketing team?
Invest in excellent customer service
If you want to grow your ecommerce business, remember to grow your customer service team as well. Online shoppers expect fast and helpful service, and an inability to meet customer expectations can result in lost sales.
Tools like chatbots and automated post-purchase emails can help improve customer satisfaction and encourage repeat sales.
One of the great things about ecommerce compared to physical retail is the ability to quickly test and change the way you present your business online. Make regular A/B testing part of your core ecommerce management strategy to ensure you’re presenting your customer with the best possible version of your website and communications.
“Making the smallest adjustment could make a huge difference in your online sales,” Adam Davis, senior marketing manager of Magnolia Bakery, tells Shopify Masters. “We had so many things that we wanted to test: the checkout experience, recommending certain products to certain purchasers who had specific things in their cart. We A/B tested images, colors, and category-specific landing pages too.”
Use software that integrates well
When choosing new technology to support your ecommerce management strategy, keep integration top-of-mind. Otherwise, your tech stack might increase your workload rather than streamline operations, especially when it comes to connecting different applications.
Ecommerce management FAQ
What does an ecommerce manager do?
An ecommerce manager is involved with all aspects of selling a product online, from conducting market research to developing pricing strategies. An ecommerce manager may have to track inventory and communicate frequently with the marketing team and web team to ensure alignment.
Why is ecommerce management important?
Having an intentional ecommerce management strategy is one of the key components of selling online. Ecommerce management encompasses inventory, shipping and fulfillment, customer service, and more.
What is the best ecommerce management tool?
Ecommerce management typically involves multiple tools for different facets of an ecommerce operation, including accounting, inventory control, website performance, and customer data management. The best ecommerce tools depend on online retailers’ unique needs.