Now that you’re done ringing in the New Year, it’s time to look ahead to make 2017 even more successful than last year was for your business. If you haven’t already developed an ecommerce plan for 2017 then you definitely need to start now! There are a few key things that will fuel your growth this year as an industry-leading ecommerce store. Here are our top tips for achieving success:
1. Establish Goals and Set Benchmarks
The most important thing you can do for your online business this new year is to establish measurable goals to guide your business strategy and operations. Some examples might include:
You can do this any time of the year, but establishing goals in January is especially helpful because it allows you to create a business roadmap to follow for the calendar year.
Similarly, setting benchmarks across KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) early on will allow you to track how successful your efforts are as the year progresses. Common ecommerce KPIs include:
- Unique site visitors
- Newsletter subscribers
- Time on site
- Shopping cart abandon rate
- Average order value (AOV)
- Cost of goods sold (COGS)
By knowing what you want to measure and how you’ll gauge success, you’ll be able to lay a firm foundation for your business investments.
2. Solicit Customer Feedback
Encouraging customer feedback is incredibly valuable for ecommerce businesses both internally and externally! Customer feedback can identify your business’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can continue to improve internally. Top ecommerce stores will ask shoppers to rate their:
- Website usability
- Live chat experience
- Time on site
- Product selection and pricing
- Ordering experience
- Order packaging
Whether the feedback you get is regarding your customer service representatives, website usability, checkout options, automated transactional emails, or anything else, it’s an invaluable glimpse inside consumers’ minds to understand how your business is perceived.
External customer feedback in the form of reviews can help encourage future sales. After new and returning customers have received their orders, ask them to provide:
- On-site product reviews
- Reviews on Facebook
Whether it’s a review of your business as a whole, or a product-specific review, the honest things that your customers say publicly can sway comparison shoppers.
3. Update Website Content
Ecommerce sites shouldn’t be created and then left to age like a fine wine. Your website is a living collection of content that needs to be maintained regularly! Ensure that shoppers are getting the most up-to-date content by routinely updating the text on your:
- Category and subcategory pages
- Product pages
- About us page
Nothing turns shoppers off faster than incorrect information, so pay particular attention to areas that have the potential to change frequently, like your FAQ page.
4. Swap Out Design Elements
Much like content, your website design needs to be updated regularly as well to keep it from getting stale. Take the opportunity during slower times of the year to swap out:
- Homepage and product images
These small changes will ensure that your site continues to excite even your most regular customers. The new year is also a great time to make more major design changes such as:
- Changing your overall layout
- Substituting a new navigation menu
- Selecting a new color palate
- Updating your business logo
Consider hiring a web design agency to create the professional look that your website needs.
5. Leverage Social Media Channels
Social media is instrumental when it comes to providing top-notch sales and customer service. Today’s consumers expect that brands will interact with them round-the-clock regarding their concerns and questions, which means that a social media presence really is no longer optional. A well-executed social strategy will allow you to engage with consumers to attract more customers and turn existing customers into brand advocates. The most popular social media platforms for ecommerce sites to be on are:
The really exciting part is that social media pages also aid your SEO efforts, which makes them a win-win for ecommerce businesses in more competitive industries!
6. Launch New Marketing Programs
The new year is a time for resolutions… and launching new marketing endeavors! Kick off your year by doing the research to figure out which marketing programs will benefit your business the most. Don’t know where to start? Some of your options include:
- Paid search (PPC)
- Affiliate networks
- Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
Let’s raise our glasses to 2017 – Together we’ll make it a fantastic year for your business!