The Biggest Challenges that Keep Ecommerce Stores from Growing Exponentially

At Metacake, our primary goal for every client is to achieve growth in their business, primarily through the ecommerce channel. With the exception of very new brands, most clients have achieved a certain amount of growth but aren’t sure how to unlock their next level of potential.

That’s where Metacake comes in. We help clients break through the ceilings that they’ve hit in their business by developing and implementing strategies from digital marketing to email marketing, store optimizations, and more.

What problems hold ecommerce businesses back?

So what are the challenges that keep an ecommerce store from being the best it can be? Over the years we’ve found the “ceilings” that inhibit growth can be summarized in six categories.

1) Vision

The first one is simple. A lack of vision translates to lack of growth. Often we’ll meet entrepreneurs who had the vision to get their business or product to where it is today, but they’re not sure where to take it next. Without experience, it can be difficult to know what’s possible with your ecommerce business or how to define it.

Questions about vision can be broad, such as “Where are we going? What should we shoot for with this brand?” But it’s also important to cast a vision for the specifics of your business, right down to your revenue numbers.

2) Lack of a complete strategy

Most brands have some sort of strategy, but it usually doesn’t carry through into every aspect of their business. It’s often implemented in just a few tactics here and there. True strategy is crafted with specific goals in mind, such as achieving a percentage growth, revenue growth, product launches, etc.

This complete strategy includes thinking about how your brand is represented and where it’s headed. It involves thinking about the products you create and why you create them. It’s considering competitors in your market and what you can do to be at the forefront. We also recommend thinking about where your business is headed long term, including the potential for exit or acquisition and where you’d like the business to be when it’s no longer in your hands.

3) Lack of a detailed plan

Once a strategy is in place, a detailed plan must follow so your team knows how to execute it. Working out a detailed plan takes organization, skill, knowledge, effort and vetting. If these skills aren’t present or you just don’t have the time to plan, your team’s daily tasks will be on a path to nowhere.

This detailed plan doesn’t just include marketing or sales tactics; it’s important to consider internal planning as well. Think about how much your strategy will cost, because budgeting, resourcing, and cash flow will make or break your success. What about sourcing, supply chain management, fulfillment, and customer service? These are critical elements for an ecommerce business. Actually thinking through them in detail will be what separates you from the rest!

4) Lack of a diverse team

No man is an island, so you need a team with a diverse skill set to execute your detailed plan. This often includes more than just a designer, developer, and digital marketer, although that is a great place to start. Don’t forget that your plan is only as good as the quality of your execution.

5) Fear of failure

As your business grows, it might be scary to try new things for fear of failing. Try to break through that ceiling anyway; the last thing you want to do is to stop innovating and become stagnant. The marketing and growth landscape changes rapidly and you’ll need to experiment to find what works for your product. No matter what, being at the cutting edge and pushing to the next level of innovation will be the difference between massive and minimal growth.

Being willing to try things that might fail (in safe scenarios) is key for winning, whether that’s in product development or marketing tactics. Some of the best brands out there do this well by having a budget set aside specifically for R&D. If you’re looking for a safe playground to try new tactics, this is a helpful way to go so you can afford to fail if something doesn’t go well.

6) Poor organization

Every great business needs organization, from set processes and procedures to a great culture and leadership to a central mission. While some brands could attain success without this in the past, this is now the new floor for competing.

As an entrepreneur it can be tempting to throw organization out the window the minute it feels like process will slow you down or hold you back. However, this simply isn’t true. It may mean slowing down but it’s still the key to building all the elements of a successful organization, such as:

  • Being profitable
  • Having consistent cash flow and stability
  • Attracting and maintaining a talented, committed team
  • Producing great products and having happy customers

Surround yourself with individuals who pay attention to the details and have the skills necessary to get processes established. Allow yourself the time to slow down and get organized— it’ll be better in the long run! You’ll produce better, higher quality products and scale your business in a way that’s prepared for long-term growth.

What happens if these issues aren’t resolved?

If these pain points go unchecked, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for failure on some level. Not taking control of your brand’s future could result in bad products, cash problems, hurting your customers, or the inability to build a team that retains employees and grows.

Simply stated, if you don’t know where you’re going, you will not grow.

How can Metacake’s approach help?

We don’t sell business consulting or services directly— we sell ecommerce growth strategy and marketing. But because these issues come up naturally in the process of setting and implementing strategy, it is part of our job to help in these areas. We’re experienced in pushing businesses toward the next level of growth, whether they’re global, local, or anywhere in between.

These elements may seem overwhelming at first, but we promise it’s worth your time and effort to work through one at a time. We know from experience that harnessing vision, strategy and details with innovation, organization, and a dedicated team will be what separates your brand from the rest.


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