How to succeed during an online expansion

Online retail is a major growth area in Europe, with the UK’s market worth an estimated £78 billion last year. If you trade online, it’s important to have a well-planned core such as a central warehouse that is equipped to deal with demand for your products.

This is especially important if you’re envisioning an uplift in your business and want to know how best to manage increased stock levels; read on for a concise guide to the considerations you’ll need to attend to when expanding your online outlet.
Strengthen your core
One of the most important elements of making your online business work is to ensure you have a strong core. With this in mind, you’ll need to be certain the warehouse or stock room you use will be able to cope with the demands of expansion. Projected sales figure should lead you as a guide to how much stock you’ll need to have ready and also the amount of room necessary for storing the products until they are purchased.

Lay the warehouse out in such a way that it’s easy to navigate and well-ordered through storage solutions like shelving (browse pallet racking at bigdug.co.uk), and make an itinerary of everything and where it is located to avoid problems.
Partner with local firms abroad
If you want to expand your business abroad, it’s important to have good local knowledge and a thorough understanding of your new audience. Partnering with a firm already in situ can be helpful while you establish yourself in the market, as you’ll be able to benefit from their experience.

There are organisations that can help you form links in an overseas market you’re looking to tap, either through other firms or professionals with lots of knowledge. However, it’s worth checking things like insurance policies to make sure you’re covered for every eventuality or have plans in place should you face certain challenges.
Get the right advice
Expanding a business is not without risk, even online, so it’s wise to seek the advice of professionals and authorities when planning to upscale. Head over to the government’s website and find out what support is available in your area and within your sector.

Organisations like UK Trade & Investment can provide guidance for expanding abroad, while the portal is also useful in directing SMEs to information about available grants, rate relief firms and advice and support groups for businesses.

Mentoring is another option you might want to consider, and this sort of service could help you get a better understanding of the market you want to enter, as well as advice in relation to other aspects of your business.
Diversify your product range
If you’re planning to expand your online business, a good way to do so is to diversify the repertoire of products you sell. This is also a useful way of mitigating risk, as some products come in and out of fashion, so a wider range that includes complementary products or services could ensure you stay afloat during periods of little interest or demand for other items you sell.

You’ll need to do some research to figure out whether this sort of step is viable in terms of cost and demand, and make sure your core is strong enough to tolerate a variety of stock and potentially higher orders.