Building E-commerce Infrastructure That Scales: Solutions for Growth

For e-commerce businesses aiming to scale up operations, generally, the presence of the right infrastructure is crucial. Overall, this infrastructure encompasses all the tools, technologies, facilities, and services essential to run an online retail business – ranging from storefront setup to order delivery.

As your e-commerce venture expands and order volumes surge, ensuring your infrastructure’s robustness and flexibility becomes imperative. At this point, investing in scalable infrastructure enables your business systems and processes to seamlessly adapt to evolving demands. Moreover, it prepares you for the future, facilitating the onboarding of more customers, exploration of new markets, and the launch of additional product lines.

This article provides insights and tips on constructing a future-ready e-commerce infrastructure capable of scaling alongside your business growth.

Robust E-commerce Technology Stack

ecommerce infrastructure solutions

The technology powering your online store and back-end operations stands as the foundation of your e-commerce infrastructure. As your order processing capabilities and inventory scale up, it’s crucial to ensure that your tech stack can adeptly support higher volumes without crashing.

Some key elements of a scalable e-commerce technology setup include:

  • E-commerce Platform – An enterprise-grade platform like Shopify Plus or Magento can smoothly handle large catalogs, high traffic and order volumes. They offer flexible hosting, built-in analytics, scalable databases, CDNs, caching, etc.
  • Order Management System (OMS) – A robust OMS seamlessly manages order processing across channels. It should easily integrate with other systems like your e-commerce platform, ERP, warehouses and 3PLs.
  • Warehouse Management System (WMS) – An advanced WMS gives you real-time inventory visibility and scalable order fulfillment across multiple warehouses. Systems like Logiwa offer clear workflows, wave planning and labor tracking.
  • SEO and Hosting – Invest in managed enterprise SEO and ultra-fast web hosting (with auto-scaling) to handle increasing visitors and conversions. Use a CDN like Cloudflare for faster load times.

These best-in-class technology systems will cost more upfront but deliver the scalability and performance needed to grow your e-commerce infrastructure solutions.

Order Fulfillment and Logistics

ecommerce infrastructure solutions

For online retailers, order fulfillment and shipping constitute a substantial portion of operations and costs. As your business scales, you require flexible solutions capable of managing double-digit order growth month-on-month.

Transitioning to an in-house fulfillment operation necessitates substantial upfront and ongoing investments in real estate, infrastructure, labor, and technology. However, opting to partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider offers immediate scalability to address seasonal peaks and accommodate sales growth.

Here are some tips for setting up scalable fulfillment and shipping with a 3PL partner:

  • On-Demand Warehousing – Cloud warehouses provide you pay-as-you-go storage space that automatically adjusts to your inventory needs. This saves fixed infrastructure costs while offering unlimited room to stock more inventory as you grow.
  • B2C Delivery Network – Select a 3PL with an extensive delivery network covering your target regions. This ensures speedy B2C shipping and returns even as your customer base expands geographically.
  • Order Volume Ramp-Ups – Have open conversations with prospective 3PL partners regarding your current and projected order volumes. Confirm they can smoothly handle 10X or 100X spikes during peak or as you grow.

Overall, partnering with a top-tier 3PL like Falcon Fulfillment provides you the technology, infrastructure, delivery capacity and accountability needed to rapidly scale your store order fulfillment.

Inventory and Demand Planning

ecommerce infrastructure solutions

For on-time order delivery, you need sufficient inventory to meet customer demand – today and in future. Inventory planning, forecasting and optimization are crucial to scale up e-commerce operations profitably.

Start with safety stock planning to determine minimum inventory levels needed to meet baseline demand and seasonal fluctuations. Take upcoming promotions and new product launches into account as well.

Next, build data models using historical sales data, trends and external signals like holidays, competitor promotions, etc. Also develop rolling forecasts to predict demand changes and optimally scale up stock inventory.

Continuously track fulfillment metrics like order cycle times, stockout instances and excess reserves. In addition, maintain healthy fill rates based on your goals for order accuracy and on-time shipment rates.

As you grow, regularly evaluate inventory policies and restocking models. Make data-backed decisions on whether to scale through physical warehouse expansion or just-in-time inventory via dropshipping.

Overall, leveraging data, analytics and the expertise of a 3PL partner will enable you to fluidly align supply and demand. This is key to managing inventory costs while building e-commerce infrastructure solutions.

Building Strategic 3PL Partnerships

ecommerce infrastructure solutions

Given today’s supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, as a result, developing strategic partnerships is necessary for long term e-commerce success. But choosing the right partners can get overwhelming with so many 3PLs now offering branded D2C solutions.

Here are some tips on finding 3PLs to provide scalable infrastructure and services while saving you time as you grow your online business:

  • Omnichannel Order Fulfillment – Seek 3PLs equipped to handle omnichannel processing and complex order orchestration across your website, retail stores, marketplaces and more.
  • Pay-As-You-Go Pricing – On-demand fulfillment solutions let you easily scale up or down based on real-time business needs rather than forecasts. There are no fixed monthly costs or commitments.
  • Best-In-Class Technology – Choose a partner offering cloud-based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), intuitive dashboards and EDI integrations with major e-commerce platforms and sales channels.
  • End-To-End Services – Look for 3PLs offering a wider range of value-added services (VAS) beyond the core warehousing and shipping capabilities. This saves additional integration and vendor management effort as you scale.

Establishing win-win, trust-based relationships with providers powering critical business functions is key for sustainable long term growth. Taking the time to vet and onboard the right technology and logistics partners will pay dividends as your e-commerce infrastructure solutions expand.

Beginner’s Guide to Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

The world of e-commerce is always changing, understanding the roll of Third-Party Logistics is integral to keeping up. This beginner’s guide to third-party logistics (3PL) will delve into the essential aspects, offering insights into fulfillment services, warehousing, and much more.

Read More…

Building scalable infrastructure is imperative for e-commerce businesses aiming for long-term growth and profitability. By investing upfront in flexible technology solutions, strategically partnering with 3PLs for order fulfillment, and taking a data-driven approach to inventory planning, you can continuously scale up operations to handle double or triple-digit order volume growth.

Remember that scale comes with its own challenges. So focus on actionable metrics like order cycle times, on-time shipments, inventory turnover rates and fill rates. Keep optimizing based on bottlenecks while maintaining profit margins and high customer satisfaction.

With the right foundation and expert partners supporting your systems and processes, your e-commerce business can successfully evolve from a seed round startup to a Series C unicorn venture.

Let’s Talk!

Connect with us!