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Biggest Challenge in E-Commerce - Growth Pouya Boland, CEO

Insight: Biggest Challenge in E-Commerce - Growth

2016-03-15 15:06

Up-and-coming European fashion destination Chiquelle.com tells us all about how to deal with the sometimes uncontrollable online growth.

Starting from 0 SEK, to nearly 20 million SEK in turnover in just 3 and half years, while reaching 200,000 active followers on social media requires an organized strategy, without making crucial mistakes or taking big risks. As a fast-growing and award-winning company, the biggest challenge we face are "capacity problems". We have increasingly been able to build our demands, but ensuring we have the right partners and suppliers to execute on this demand is really tough sometimes.

As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions and decisions. What worked perfectly a year ago, might not be the best approach now and could even be totally wrong. Things change very fast in the e-commerce business. The biggest challenges companies face when having a rapid growth are: logistics, production, storage, renegotiations, employees, adjusting strategies and suppliers and partners which are not able to handle your fast growth.

Everything Can Change

Absolutely everything can change in just a few months, from too little space in your storage, more room needed in your offices, creating more space for more employees, the demand for more studios, active and fast response of your suppliers, productions and partners which can't handle the volume of orders, and logistic partners which can't handle fast growth in packages.

Another problem which we are facing almost daily is that we require fast responses, but unfortunately processes are being very slow nowadays and we're losing a lot of time. We want to move quickly in negotiations, in changing systems, in ordering services, in growing and we ask for an active role from others. 

Moved Almost Immediately

Within Chiquelle, we had no choice, we moved directly within 1-2 months to modern and bigger buildings with an option to expand in the same building whenever needed. The place was crucial and it was a strategic decision. We landed in Rosersberg, Stockholm's main and biggest logistics area with all logistic partners in front of us and the airport around the corner.

To be able to succeed in your upcoming projects you need to plan ahead within your company itself and with your partners and suppliers. We have managed to do this as far as we could and we try to plan at least 2 years ahead. Companies often make the mistake of not planning ahead and looking forward. We are aiming at 100 million SEK turnover (€11M) in a couple of years and we can manage the growth in our current buildings and the area where we moved into.

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You Need Problems

The only challenges left are: can our partners and suppliers meet our demands? In logistics, production, designs, solution providers and systems. Even if you plan ahead, you will face problems. Having no problems would not be a good sign. You need problems, to stay focused on the path you have chosen. You need those problems to learn and you need to make mistakes, to be able to prepare yourself for even bigger decisions and situations.

From the moment you reach the level of being a fast-growing company and getting into the market heavily, through social media, online marketing and an increasing customer base, you will be in the focus of many other companies which can be interesting. You know that you're doing well and having success, when you see other companies or websites copying and trying to be you with every single step. I guess we should be honored and it gives us even more motivation to keep on doing what we're good at.

Requires Sacrifices

Challenges will always remain when you're growing fast, it’s just how you manage your growth, internally, publicly and whether you can drive up the speed together with your partners and your suppliers. You need to have the right persons and team on board for this journey. It requires discipline, dedication and especially sacrifices. You need to move forward and keep on doing what you're good at, keep growing, no matter if others can handle your growth or demand.

Not to forget, we have accomplished this journey with our partners, suppliers and contacts and they've done a tremendous job in the last few years.

Also read: The Recipe for Success Is Doing Things Differently

Pouya Boland

CEO of Chiquelle

Dutch Entrepreneur, Speaker, Founder and CEO of Chiquelle.com.

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