While other people celebrate the arrival of fall by buying pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for Halloween, ecommerce store owners focus on preparing for the holiday shopping frenzy. For online stores running on Bigcommerce, that preparation will include knowing how to scale BigCommerce. Your holiday planning checklist will need to include ensuring that your technology can support the increased site traffic and sales volume.
In this guide on how to scale BigCommerce, we’ll help you understand:
- What scalability is
- Why it’s crucial to your growth
- Tips for scaling BigCommerce
What is Scalability?
Scalability is a measure of how easily your business can respond to increased or decreased demand.
Scaling up is about growing and accommodating increased volume. For example, most retailers scale up during November and December for the holiday shopping period. As a result, many companies hire seasonal workers as they scale up in the fall. They then reduce their workforce in January as they scale back down to normal operations.
Scaling technology works similarly. You might need access to greater bandwidth or server resources to handle increased holiday traffic.
Why is Scalability Important?
Understanding and optimizing your business’s scalability is essential to successful growth. If you don’t have the processes, people, products, and technology to scale your business, you could damage it by attempting to grow too soon.
For a comedic take on the importance of scalability, watch the Season 2 episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Work Song Nanocluster.” In the episode, Penny decides to start her own business selling flower hair barrettes. Her friends create a website offering one-day shipping, and they instantly receive an order for 1,000 barrettes. The problem is they have no inventory or process for making all of those hair accessories. In other words, they weren’t ready to scale and had to stay up all night making barrettes.
Many ecommerce businesses start with only one employee — the founder. But, there’s only so much one person can do. So, to better prepare your business for growth, you’ll need to consider adding additional resources. Those resources can be employees or external partners like fulfillment services or web development agencies.
How to Scale BigCommerce
If you’ve built your business on BigCommerce, you can already check one item off on your scalability to-do list. The BigCommerce platform easily scales from small to enterprise-grade ecommerce. Your plan for scaling BigCommerce needs to include business and technology.
Business Changes to Scale BigCommerce
Back to our “The Big Bang Theory” example, Penny didn’t plan for growth, and chaos ensued. You should think through how your company would handle a sudden spike in business.
Be sure your scalability plan includes:
- Shipping and Fulfillment. How will you fill and ship orders? Do you need to expand your carrier options?
- Inventory. Do you have enough product on hand? Are you going to utilize drop shipping to add new products easily?
- People. Will you hire new people? How will you train and onboard new employees?
- Channel Expansion. Will you add new channels? BigCommerce offers you the availability to sell on more than just your website. For example, integrating your BigCommerce store with Amazon is an excellent example of how to scale BigCommerce.
Based on your plan for each area, be sure you set a realistic timeline and goals. For example, if your plan includes new staff, you need to allow time for recruiting, hiring, and onboarding your team.
Technical Changes to Scale BigCommerce
BigCommerce scales well, making it a popular choice for an ecommerce platform. As a hosted solution, BigCommerce takes care of back-end optimization and server maintenance to ensure your online store stays up and running even with a large influx in traffic. This level of service is a key advantage of BigCommerce vs. WooCommerce. All BigCommerce plans include unlimited products and bandwidth. Store owners still play a role in making sure their stores can scale.
Steps for scaling BigCommerce include:
- Updating Themes and Apps. Outdated theme files or apps can cause a site to slow down or even crash under the weight of a sudden traffic spike.
- Removing Unused Apps. Stores will run faster and scale better if you remove any unused apps.
- Test or Remove Customizations. Customizations also can slow down a site or cause it to crash when traffic increases. An experienced BigCommerce developer can ensure your store customizations are ready to scale.
Expert Advice on How to Scale BigCommerce
At Mindsize, our specialty is helping ecommerce businesses scale. We understand how to make technology work for you and optimize your business, platform, and processes for growth. Any agency can help you build a website. Our team has proven knowledge of scaling BigCommerce from helping our clients handle millions of orders and more than $500 million in sales. Contact us today to learn more about how Mindsize can help your business prepare for the holiday season.