Cartoon image of hand tapping a phone screen and ecommerce icons floating above

Whether you own a fledgling eCommerce site or run a large eCommerce brand, you can sell your goods to just about anybody online.

eCommerce connects you with more potential customers, but eCommerce success is no picnic. 

First, you have to set up your storefront. Then, you need to accept payments and fulfill orders.

Even when you do that well, you still need to worry about marketing and customer retention. It’s exhausting juggling all of these complex processes at once.

Is it time to supercharge your eCommerce store? eCommerce management is the key.

As your eCommerce store grows, you’ll need eCommerce management to stay profitable and competitive in your niche. 

Check out this guide to learn eCommerce management and ten best practices to manage a better eCommerce business. 

In this guide, we’ll cover the following:

  • What Is eCommerce Management?

  • Why Is eCommerce Management Important for Multiple Sales Channels?

  • eCommerce Management Challenges With An Online Store

  • 10 Best Practices to Manage eCommerce Stores

  • Tackle eCommerce Management Challenges With Spark Shipping's Inventory Management Software Solution.

What Is eCommerce Management?

Hand holding credit card in front of screen showing an eCommerce store

eCommerce management is the practice of maintaining your eCommerce shop.

This includes all aspects of running an online business, including your marketing strategy, operations, and the technologies necessary to keep your business running.

If you have a small eCommerce shop, you might be able to handle all aspects of eCommerce management yourself.

But if you’re a larger brand, you might delegate eCommerce management to an employee. 

If that's the case, an eCommerce manager can help you acquire new customers, retain shoppers, and improve the quality of your products.

At the same time, eCommerce managers help to make your eCommerce store even more cost-effective.

eCommerce managers oversee complex eCommerce processes like:

  • Product listings

  • Inventory management

  • Order processing

  • Payment processing

  • Market research

  • Marketing

  • Analytics

  • SEO

  • Customer experience

While you could certainly do eCommerce without an eCommerce management strategy, it’s the best way to scale up your business while boosting profit margins.

If you’re looking for a competitive edge in your niche, you need eCommerce management best practices in your corner.

Why Is eCommerce Management Important for Multiple Sales Channels?

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eCommerce management helps you steer clear of common inventory problems.

This includes problems like over- and understocking products — which can be a big hit to your wallet and customer satisfaction ratings.

From stocking levels to the customer experience, eCommerce management helps you step back and see all the moving parts of your business. 

eCommerce management is especially critical if you sell products on your eCommerce website and on platforms like Amazon or social media like Instagram.

It provides a wide lens to help you see what works and what doesn’t, so you can improve every part of your store.

For example, your eCommerce management strategy might help you identify your top-selling products, which can help you prioritize your marketing campaigns.

eCommerce management fine-tunes your operations so you can make more sales with less effort. What’s not to love?

eCommerce Management Challenges With An Online Store

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eCommerce management can make or break an eCommerce store’s profitability.

With that said, eCommerce management isn’t always a simple matter of making a few small changes.

Some barriers make eCommerce management a challenge, particularly for growing online businesses.

If you want to embrace eCommerce management going forward, plan for how you’ll address these four common challenges.

1. Supply chain fluctuations

Supply chains have always been vulnerable to disruption. Even before the pandemic, companies saw one or two-month supply chain disruptions every few years

What tends to happen during a supply chain fluctuation is a shortage of stock.

When there’s not enough stock, prices spike, and online retailers face shipping delays, unhappy customers, and profit losses.

As we bounce back from the pandemic, online businesses still face materials scarcity, high freight prices, port congestion, and increasing inflation.

Since the global supply chain is largely out of your control, it can add a lot of uncertainty to even the most solid eCommerce management strategy.

2. Ineffective marketing

In today’s high-paced world, it’s not enough to simply drive traffic to your eCommerce store.

You need traffic that will convert into paying customers.

Instead of greeting all shoppers with spammy, overly promotional content, it’s important to fine-tune your marketing approach.

That’s no small task, which is why you need a solid marketing plan and follow-through.

For example, your team needs to take the time to conduct research into high-intent keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). 

The issue is that online businesses often have small (or nonexistent) marketing teams, which makes it more difficult to optimize your marketing campaigns.

3. Inability to handle scale

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As an eCommerce store, one of your primary goals is to scale. But growth can be treacherous. 

For one, you need to be able to juggle more inventory.

The challenge is that this increases the odds that you won’t have the right stock levels.

Simple mistakes can become costly when managing more inventory, so scaling can make eCommerce much more high-risk.

This also means eCommerce management becomes more complex as your business grows. That's why it's so important to have a solid approach before you grow.

4. Poor inventory management

eCommerce management is also challenging if you have poor inventory management practices.

This usually happens when eCommerce stores over- or under-stock their products. 

Over-stocking ties up your resources, increases operational costs, and reduces profit margins.

Since you’ve tied up all your money in stock, you likely won’t be flexible enough to keep up with the market or supply chain challenges.

But under-stocking is bad, too. Understocking means you won’t be able to provide customers with what they're looking for.

In this case, you force customers to shop elsewhere, potentially losing their business for good. 

To better manage your eCommerce business, you'll need to manage inventory better. Otherwise, you risk undoing all the progress you made with your eCommerce management strategy.

Ten Best Practices to Manage eCommerce Stores

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While eCommerce management comes with its own set of challenges, you have the power to overcome these barriers.

Follow these ten best practices to overcome any business challenge by improving your eCommerce management.

1. Build a strong technical foundation

eCommerce brands live entirely online.

One technical slip-up could erase your website, products, and livelihood for good. For small eCommerce stores, a single minute of downtime can cost anywhere between $137 to $427

That’s why every eCommerce management strategy should start with a strong technical foundation.

Follow these simple — but effective — steps to build a strong technical foundation and boost your eCommerce website performance:

  • Perform website backups

  • Perform daily security reports

  • Get security (SSL) certificates

  • Test all website code

  • Debug

  • Monitor for downtime

2. Keep your content relevant

You’re busy focusing on product sales and fulfillment, but you can’t neglect the content on your website, either. 

Even though you aren’t a content creator, search engines still expect to see fresh content regularly. So don’t let your website idle. 

Regularly refresh and update your product pages so that you continue to attract new and returning shoppers.

Search engines reward online retailers that update their content, so regularly creating content can boost your website traffic.

Pro Tip: Pay close attention to your product pages. Remove products that you no longer sell from your store. Keep images and product descriptions up-to-date to give shoppers the best possible experience.

3. Know where your time goes

Image on an analog clock with a coffee cup at its centre

We’ve all heard of time management, but do you know actually know where your time goes? Most eCommerce teams don’t. 

If you’re paying for employees to manage your eCommerce store, you need to know how much time they spend on which activities.

When you know how you spend your time, you can optimize workflows and processes to do more with less. 

Use a time-tracking tool to track projects, tasks, and schedules to ensure your team maximizes their time.

The goal isn't to micromanage your team but to find efficiencies.

You might realize it’s time to roll out AI email writing tools, sales enablement software solutions, or smarter eCommerce integrations to help your team save time.

4. Implement tight feedback loops

Customers are the heart of any eCommerce store. Your team needs to implement tight feedback loops to keep your customers happy.

Instead of checking customer feedback every now and then, tight feedback loops help you gather customer feedback and regularly implement it to build a stronger customer experience.

You can gather feedback through the following: 

  • Surveys

  • Emails

  • Reviews

  • eCommerce analytics

If that’s too much manual effort, you can use a reputation management software solution to help you monitor customer feedback 24/7.

With these feedback loops in place, you get a better sense of who your customers are and what they want.

5. Track your eCommerce analytics

Laptop screen showing a line graph

You’re probably collecting analytics for your eCommerce website, but are you using them?

This is the key to making data-driven decisions and benchmarking your performance to see if your strategies are working. 

Every eCommerce business is different, but you might want to track metrics like: 

  • Click-through rate

  • Sales conversion rate

  • Average order value

  • Shopping cart abandonment rate

  • Returning customer rate

  • Bounce rate

  • Store sessions by device type

  • Store sessions by location

  • SEO ranking

  • Top products by units sold

6. Profit from content marketing

Right now, there are anywhere between 12 to 24 million eCommerce stores. If you ask us, that’s a lot of competition.

What you need to succeed is content that establishes your expertise in a niche and keeps your eCommerce store top of mind. This goes beyond product pages: this is about creating non-sales content to attract new site visitors.

Most eCommerce businesses aren’t leveraging content marketing, and that’s a mistake.

A content marketing strategy involves creating and distributing content like blog posts, podcasts, and videos to give value to potential customers.

The goal of content marketing is to provide relevant, helpful content in relation to what you sell.

If you want to maximize your eCommerce management strategies, back them up with solid content marketing. Post regularly on your website to boost organic traffic and give more people a reason to buy from you.

7. Adopt an automation software solution

Lots of colorful gears grouped together

Manual effort is expensive and inefficient. The good news is that there are so many automation solutions on the market for eCommerce.

With automation, you can turn repetitive, routine tasks into automated actions.

For example, you can use automation to bulk upload product descriptions and images directly from a vendor’s feed. This is normally a tedious process, but you can save hours of time with a simple automation tool. 

With Spark Shipping, you can automate everything from pricing strategies to order fulfillment to tracking. This makes it a cinch to scale your eCommerce business without any manual work.

8. Test your website across devices

How does your website look on smartphones? Or on tablets? Seventy-six percent of U.S. consumers shop just with their mobile devices.

But many people also shop on desktops, so it’s important to ensure your eCommerce store displays correctly on all devices. 

Responsive design is a must. If your UI and images look great on computers but bad on other devices, potential shoppers might think your shop is unreliable or sketchy.

If you’re using eCommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, most of their website templates are already responsive. 

You should also pay attention to your site’s load time. Mobile users will bounce in as little as two seconds, so you need a speedy site.

If you haven’t already, test your website on different browsers like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

9. Hire an eCommerce manager

Woman wearing glasses talking on phone whilst looking at computer screen

Sure, it costs money to hire an eCommerce manager.

But at the end of the day, eCommerce managers help your store scale and become more profitable.

These pros can take the burden of eCommerce management out of your hands and tackle the finicky to-dos you need to check off your list.

eCommerce managers play a role in marketing campaigns, fulfillment, and even managing inventory and your team. 

But if that’s too expensive, you have other options. Look into hiring agencies, freelancers, or even AI-powered chatbots to streamline your to-do list.

10. Set specific goals

Goal-setting is essential for eCommerce. The problem is that most eCommerce brands set generic goals.

If you’re too general, your eCommerce management strategy won’t have a tangible direction to lead you to success. 

Sure, all online stores aim to be more profitable and attract more customers.

The real question is: by how much? You don’t know if you don’t track quantifiable metrics. Set more specific goals than “Increase sales this year.”

Instead, go for goals like, “Increase sales for this XYZ product by 25% in Q3.”

Tackle eCommerce Management Challenges With Spark Shipping's Inventory Management Software Solution

eCommerce management can make your business more profitable and efficient, but it isn’t without challenges.

The good news is that you aren’t alone. The right tools will help you overcome barriers to eCommerce management so you can get ahead. 

That’s where Spark Shipping comes in.

Spark Shipping is an intelligent inventory management system that uses automation to simplify vendor data, pricing, tracking, and much more.

We can even automatically purchase inventory from the vendor with the lowest price to protect your margins.

Ready to supercharge your eCommerce store?

Request a demo and see how Spark Shipping can level up your eCommerce management.