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Need To Create A Big Impact With Your Innovation? Think Smart Scaling!

Three stages at which eCommerce can help startups scale up:

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Think of an idea that has changed the world. It could be anything, even something like the all-pervasive Smartphone you are in all probability reading this article on! Covering a journey that started with mobile phones allowing voice calls, texts and emojis, today’s Smartphone is an exciting compressed wonder enveloping the thrills of a computer, camera, television, radio and internet all rolled into one device. To millions of people, smartphones are driving deep impact by providing them their first ever experience of the internet.

The question then arises, how do we take ideas and innovations that we have today and scale it in a way that can create the maximum impact?

When ideas are incubated within larger organizations, the surrounding paraphernalia already exists for it to grow, right from resources and manpower to marketing and mentorship. This can often be harder to come by in smaller, bootstrapping startups which are often founded by 1-3 people who are specialists in their own fields. A simple workaround to offset some of these problems is to partner and explore the ubiquitous eCommerce universe that brings to the table a host of solutions for budding startups. 

Three stages at which eCommerce can help startups scale up:

  1. Concept Stage: Startups can conduct concept testing on the digital framework that an eCommerce platform offers. Prior to the launch of either a product or a service, smarter brands will engage to do real-time testing to find out which categories to enter, benchmarking etc. thus foregoing the need for consumer panels.
  2. Launch Stage: Through the eCommerce route, innovators can decide the right launch strategy. Whether the focus should be on awareness or trials, what the pricing strategy should be, will a ‘subscribe and save’ model work? Such questions can easily be answered through the eCommerce metrics.
  3. Growth Stage: Once the innovation has reached the market, learnings from eCommerce data can help determine the best moves forward. If your primary target segment is active on social, then a digital-heavy performance marketing strategy can be devised. If data supports an offline ATL-first strategy, then eCommerce numbers can help you justify the marketing spends accordingly. If your customers are showing measurable interest but conversion is low, then you need to deep dive on the reasons for same.

While scaling up your startups, it can be appealing to look at eCommerce purely as a means of customer acquisition. A short-sighted entrepreneur will only look at it in terms of immediate transactions. 

The difference that smart scaling includes is to never forego the learnings behind what your numbers are showing you. A forward-looking entrepreneur who is invested in making a larger impact knows the importance of constantly analyzing real time data and tweaking strategies according to what the metrics are telling you. The easiest assumption to make is that eCommerce is a ‘one size fits all’ solution across the board for innovations. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the process of scaling up, every venture must pick and choose from the benefits that these platforms offer. From demand testing to inventory management, there are different aspects of your businesses that can be integrated through the eCommerce platform, but at the end of the day, innovators need to decide what can be left on auto-pilot and what needs more direct intervention. 

For innovators that are looking to create a big impact in the market, what eCommerce does best is give you immediate and direct customer connect. The various evolving ecommerce models, give you access to multiple touch points in the consumption cycle. With the largest geographical reach, scalable sales avenues and positive unit economics, smart scaling is simpler and making a bigger impact is easier with eCommerce as a partner in your innovation journey. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sumant Kakaria

The author is Marico E-Commerce Business Head and Mentor of MIF scale-up program

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