A man has several boxes lined up resting on top of a title. He is preparing several orders for shipment. He holds a computer tablet in his left hand to double-check orders as he prepares them.
There are many ways besides opening a brick-and-mortar store to expand your e-commerce business. For instance, many entrepreneurs offer subscription services to consumers. — Getty Images/Westend61

If your e-commerce store has a steady customer base and positive cash flow, you may be ready to expand your business. Here are five ways to expand beyond e-commerce and diversify your business.

[Read more: Too Many Eggs in One Basket? How to Diversify Your Business Revenue Streams]

Open a brick-and-mortar store

Opening a brick-and-mortar store is a great way to complement your e-commerce business. A physical storefront can increase your brand’s visibility and improve the customer experience. Instead of viewing products on your website, local customers can visit the store to ask questions and talk to staff members.

The location will be a make-or-break element of your store’s success. As you research different locations, consider not only what the storefront looks like but how easy it is to access. Do customers have easy access to parking? How much foot traffic does that area get?

Make sure the branding of your physical store is consistent with your e-commerce store. Without brand consistency, your store will be less memorable, and you’ll have a harder time building a connection with your customers.

Partner with other brands

Brand partnerships help e-commerce businesses leverage one another’s strengths, pool their resources, and access new markets. It’s a win-win scenario for both businesses, and your customers benefit from new and unique offerings.

You can develop strategic partnerships by co-sponsoring an event, developing a new product line together, or offering a joint promotion. Just make sure the other company’s values align with yours and that you clearly outline the partnership’s goals and expectations.

For example, Apple has a long-standing partnership with Hermès. In 2023, the two companies launched the eco-friendly Apple Watch Hermès Series 9.

[Read more: 5 Small Business Owners on the Power of Local Partnerships]

Many e-commerce businesses now offer subscription-based services to generate recurring revenue. You could offer a monthly subscription box similar to Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox.

Host events

Another option is to host an event for your customers. Events allow you to connect with your customers in a new way and generate additional sales. Before planning the event, take time to survey your customers and find out if this is something they’re interested in.

Next, you’ll need to decide what kind of event you want to host. If you decide to host a live event, you’ll need to find a suitable venue that provides the support and amenities you need. If you choose to host a virtual event, do your research so you can find a reliable platform to host it.

And most importantly, make sure you market your event extensively. You can use email marketing, social media, and paid advertising to boost the event registration.

Offer digital products

If your e-commerce store sells physical products, another way to diversify is by offering digital products. Digital products have a huge market potential and much higher profit margins than physical products. And unlike hosting an event or opening a brick-and-mortar store, digital products come with low startup costs.

The type of digital product you offer depends on your business model, but some options you can choose from include the following:

  • Templates
  • Online courses
  • Paid memberships
  • Printables
  • E-books

If you don’t want to create digital products, you can become an affiliate for another company’s products.

Offer subscription-based services

Many e-commerce businesses now offer subscription-based services to generate recurring revenue. You could offer a monthly subscription box similar to Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox. You can also offer a more curated monthly subscription like Stitch Fix.

Start by determining which products would work well as a monthly subscription. Look for items that customers purchase regularly and that have a high perceived value. From there, you can develop different subscriptions with tiered pricing models. And look for ways to offer additional perks, like early access to new products or members-only discounts.

[Read more: 4 Subscription Pricing Models for Small Businesses]

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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