How to Scale an eCommerce Website

March 24, 2015
So your eCommerce store has outgrown its website…

Congratulations, that’s a good issue to have! But where do you begin if you’re looking to scale your website? Well, we put together some tips below — hopefully you find them helpful as you grow your eCommerce site!

First, you need to identify the problem (or likely, problems).

This might sound stupid or overly basic, but it’s vital to the rest of the process. It ultimately comes down to figuring out what you need to change or expand on your website. So instead of thinking about your high-level problem (i.e., you need to scale your website), break it down into individual elements (e.g., you need a more robust catalog system, you need to be able to handle a higher volume of traffic, etc.). As you put together your list, it’ll probably be helpful to have a system of prioritization so that you can quickly figure out which features are need-to-haves versus nice-to-haves later on in the process.

Next, once you’ve put together a solid list of the problems your new site needs to solve, it’s time to start researching different eCommerce platforms.

Hopefully you took the first step seriously, as that will help you to narrow down your platform choices and evaluate which ones might be the best possible fit. Depending on which platform you’re currently on, there might be an enterprise version for you to upgrade to. Otherwise, you might need to replatform completely. Essentially, though, in this step you should compare the pros and cons of each platform and align the platforms’ features to your new site’s needs in order to figure out your platform of choice.

After you’ve found your platform (or narrowed down the choices to just a few platforms), start looking for an experienced partner that will help with any design and development needs that the project requires.

There are obviously a ton of agencies and other companies out there to choose from, but make sure you find one that has a high level of expertise with the platform you’ve chosen — or, if you’re still undecided on the specific platform, find a partner that has experience with multiple platforms and get their expert opinion on which one might fit your needs best. Another common sense side note: you’re going to be working with this company, and the people that make up the company, for quite some time — so make sure they’re going to be good people to work with for the next however many months.

Finally, work with your partner closely to ensure success.

Depending on the scale of your project (see what we did there?), there will likely be a lot of steps in the process. Although your partner’s expertise will be vital throughout the project, your involvement will come into play heavily at the beginning and end of the project as you define the scope of the project and work on taking the site live (and you’ll also obviously be involved throughout the design and development process, but that will probably be more hands-off).

So there you have it — a basic framework of how to scale your eCommerce website. Want to see a real-world example? Then download our Sigma Beauty case study below!

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