4 major challenges to ecommerce scalability and why Shopify Plus is the solution

| By Kelly Vaughn

4 major challenges to ecommerce scalability and why Shopify Plus is the solution

The bigger your business grows, the more challenges you’ll start to face - especially if you’re on a platform that isn’t designed with scalability as a primary focus. Choosing the right platform can be make or break during periods of growth and key sales periods such as Black Friday Cyber Monday when you really need your store to be online and ready for customers. If a product is consistently out-of-stock or your site is slow during a big sale, you’ll start to see an impact on not only customer satisfaction, but also on sales and long-term loyalty. 

If you’re looking for a platform that delivers on scalability and tackles these common challenges head on, then look no further than Shopify Plus.

Speed, stability, and reliability

From flash sales to a product going viral on social media, the primary challenge that many merchants will face as their business grows is how their store copes with fluctuating volumes of traffic. When that surge hits, you want to know that your store is going to remain lightning fast, stable, and that the platform hosting it is going to stay up 24/7. Providing an excellent experience is paramount to growing your base of loyal customers and ensuring your business continues its growth. 

Equally, high-growth merchants need a platform that facilitates that growth. Some platforms charge more based on traffic volumes, which can prove troublesome when you’ve got a large influx of visitors during key sales periods that you don’t see consistently throughout the rest of the year.

How does Shopify Plus address this challenge?

As a platform, Shopify Plus is built with the importance of these aspects to the customer experience and how they impact merchants at the forefront. To ensure both customers and merchants are happy, they implement a few different methods to ensure that stores stay up and running. The first is through their global Content Delivery Network (CDN) operated by Fastly. This international network ensures that no matter where in the world your customers are, your store’s content loads just as fast as it does domestically. 

Shopify also employs a dedicated team to carry out regular checks and maintenance on key components of their cloud-based infrastructure, ensuring that any potential issues are identified and resolved before they become a problem for merchants. This care and attention is what allows Shopify to boast a 99.9% uptime.

As for the cost of increased periods of traffic, there isn’t one. Shopify Plus is designed to scale with your store, offering unlimited bandwidth to all merchants.

Inventory management, fulfillment pressure, and increased demand

As your sales increase, so too does the pressure on your team to deliver. Inventory management becomes more complicated, demand forecasting is trickier, and the volume of orders can slow down the fulfillment process. These are all factors that can seriously hinder your store and its growth, given their importance to customer satisfaction. It’s frustrating for a customer if an item is consistently out of stock, or if their order takes too long to dispatch. These issues aren’t just a source of frustration for customers, but for your team also. It can take time to grow your team, and increased pressure to deliver during periods of high demand can mean your team ends up stretched thin trying to keep up. The more spread out they are, the more likely errors are to happen as data is passed between departments.

How does Shopify Plus address this challenge?

If you’re a Shopify Plus merchant, you’ll have access to a number of tools that will help assist you and your team during periods of high growth. The first is through the rich store data that you’ll have access to, that will help you to better understand stockouts and forecasting during these busy periods. Shopify Plus also has its own powerful CMS and OMS systems, and for needs beyond their existing functionality the platform integrates seamlessly with a number of other third party systems designed to help manage issues such as inventory management meaning you can choose whichever system works best for you and your team. If fulfillment and logistics are proving to be a headache, you can also make use of the Shopify Fulfillment Network - an end-to-end Third Party Logistics (3PL) solution that will enable you to fulfill orders faster and more efficiently. This takes a significant amount of work off your team’s plate without losing brand authenticity

To take things a step further, you should also consider ecommerce automation - something that is made easy with Shopify Plus in a number of ways. Automation can drastically improve your team’s efficiency, by turning time exhaustive manual tasks into processes that happen automatically. Exclusive to merchants on the platform, Shopify Flow can help you to automate crucial tasks such as customer retention marketing, inventory management and reordering, and flag high-risk orders. 

Launchpad is another Shopify Plus exclusive app that helps facilitate sales by automating a large number of tasks typically involved in these events. Using this app, you can schedule an event and automatically change pricing, add inventory, update theme customizations, and more. You’ll also have access to real-time data as the sale progresses, allowing you to make quick decisions if necessary and better understand how your audience reacts to sales.

Flexibility, functionality and future development

Over time, the needs of your ecommerce business will inevitably change. What works in the beginning may not be the best fit a few years down the road, and it’s vital that you’re then able to adapt and change your store to suit your growth strategy. This flexibility to implement new functionality is vital to the continued success of any high-growth oriented merchant, and having a platform that hinders this will have a negative impact. For example, your team may have identified an issue with customer support times and could make use of a new customer service platform. Or perhaps you want to add real-time tracking to your store to help improve the customer experience. You want to have the ability to implement additional functionality fast, and to be able to change it easily if necessary.

How does Shopify address this challenge?

One of the biggest assets of the Shopify platform in general is its highly developed ecosystem and open, flexible API. The Shopify App Store boasts thousands of apps that integrate with your store easily and quickly, developed by experts who truly understand the platform. Speaking of experts there is also a wide range of Shopify Plus Experts available to merchants, be that to develop a custom app tailored to your store or agencies who specialize in everything from marketing to design. Furthermore you can also utilize another powerful tool called Shopify Scripts which allows you the flexibility to customize and personalize your checkout experience. 

Through making use of all these tools, adding additional features to delight customers and relieve pressure off your team becomes an easy task. The platform’s flexibility allows for even more customization and makes it simple to implement other features in the future as your store grows.

Going global and international development

Given the huge increase in cross-border ecommerce, international growth is an exciting prospect for an ecommerce business. You’ve identified an audience, and you’re ready to take your brand beyond its current borders. However the challenges that face merchants when going global are significant. Catering to a new audience, language barriers, additional pressure on your team, and delivering a consistent customer experience are just some of the issues that many merchants face. And the more your international business scales, the greater these issues become. International development should be positive and encouraging to your team, rather than something they dread managing. 

How does Shopify address this challenge?

Developing an international experience for your customers abroad is made straightforward for Shopify Plus merchants. Localization is key to a successful international customer experience, with 75% of customers saying they prefer to shop in their native language and 98% prefer to pay in their local currency. Shopify Plus allows you to choose whichever approach works best for your team and ambitions whether that’s a single storefront with multiple language and currency conversion options, or a multi-store approach which has a unique storefront and customized pricing structure for each international market. Plus with Shopify Payments even if you offer customers the option to pay in their local currency, you’ll be paid in your own currency making the process of handling international payments much more efficient. With Shopify Plus, you can deliver a tailored experience to different international markets, engaging your customers wherever they are in the world.


When you see the sales flooding in during a flash sale, or you start selling into an international market and immediately see massively positive results, it’s all part of the excitement of running a high-growth ecommerce store. Having a platform that works with your business and actively encourages and facilitates growth is the key to success and unlocking even more opportunities. Shopify Plus delivers solutions to many of the major challenges that merchants face when growing their business, and has established itself as the platform of choice for brands looking to scale.

Ready to take your store to the next level with Shopify Plus? Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help.

Want to know when our next article is published? Sign up for our newsletter!


Leave a comment