Expert Insights: What eCommerce Merchants Should STOP Doing in 2021

By Lena Liberman
TOPICSFeatured, Insights, Marketing Tips

Woe be to we who made predictions for 2020 and had those quickly dashed by the unforeseen and unprecedented. Today we’re supposedly well into the new normal, which feels anything but. So, instead of asking for year-ahead predictions, we’ve asked some of our partners to give us their “Stop, Start, Continue” advice for the year ahead. Their insight was so ample and rich that we’re breaking it out into a three-part series. Here’s the first in that series, “What eCommerce Merchants Should STOP Doing in 2021.” Stay tuned for more!

From EXCLUSIVE: Stop relying solely on automation.

Machine learning is a wonderful thing and getting better all the time, but it’s no substitute for human expertise. AI is great for large-scale number crunching and trendspotting, but it’s certainly not a creative problem solver. Make sure you balance your automation efforts with human expertise and experience so that you get the best of both worlds. AI doesn’t replace human resources, it complements and supplements them. This is your business, don’t just set it and forget it.

From Google: Stop overcomplicating digital offerings and trying to do everything at once.

Focus on what you’re best at and master that. Consumers increasingly search for curated options as demand for expertise rises. This is a key trend that goes against the previous retail belief that consumers are looking for “the most” or “the cheapest” options. Retailers need to focus on being the best at what they offer as they differentiate themselves from the abundance of choices. Consumers are better educated than ever and they want superior quality and deep expertise. Stop trying for more. Master this and you’ll show up for the right consumer at the right moment.

From Klaviyo: Stop assuming that everything is back to pre-pandemic normal.

2020 was a difficult year. In 2021, retailers should resist the temptation to assume that with a new year, all is restored. Before you send that email with the provocative subject line or you post that meme that could be considered insensitive, stop and check yourself for appropriateness. Words and images that might have been okay in 2019 can ruin a brand in 2021.

From Privy: Stop assigning arbitrary sale-end dates and then predictably extending them to meet a sales goal.

It’s crucial to build trust with your customers and subscribers at every touchpoint. Brands that continue to extend time-based promotions are not only conditioning their customers to expect ongoing discounts, they are devaluing their brands. If you set a deadline for a promotion, hold true to that timeframe and train customers to act quickly or risk losing out. You will build trust with your customers and be able to take advantage of the urgency of future promotions.

From Facebook: Stop creating limitations and obstacles for your customers.

Shopping online should be as easy and simple as possible! And stop guessing and start measuring! Start by finding the right tools to answer your most important questions. Ask marketing experts to help you run a brand lift test, conversion lift test, or an A/B test.

From Trustpilot: Stop ignoring bad reviews.

Customer reviews give people a chance to share their experiences and everyone’s got the right to give an honest recap of their transactions. 26% of consumers see merchants responding to reviews as an important part of business activity, and 68% of people trust a business more when it’s got a mix of good and bad reviews (100% 5-star reviews is just too good to be true). Always respond politely and helpfully to both good and bad reviews. Don’t just listen, show other shoppers that you’re listening and making changes to improve based on their input.

From Yotpo: Stop thinking of the buyers’ journey as linear.

You need to adapt to meet customers where they are and do so with relevant and influential content, creating a seamless shopper experience that carries through all the way to checkout. The days when your shoppers followed a straight, universal path from discovery through to purchase are long gone. Today, shoppers are learning about new products and brands through a whole host of channels, both traditional and emerging:   

  • In-person at their favorite retail stores, like Target, Walmart, and Sephora 
  • Online through well-targeted ads on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok 
  • By reading customer reviews on your site, on a retailer’s site, in your ads, in Google search results, and social platforms.

From Bing/Microsoft Advertising: Stop being closed off to new strategies and tactics.

Open up to new solutions, especially those that balance automation and human expertise. Also, stop relying solely on expanded text ads and leverage responsive search ads to serve up your most efficient copy combinations.

Did you enjoy “What eCommerce Merchants Should STOP Doing in 2021“? Hopefully you gleaned some good ideas and healthy habits for your business. Our second installment in the series is “What Merchants Need to START Doing in 2021.” Expect that drop and insight from the same big-name experts, all of who are carefully selected EXCLUSIVE partners, next week. In the meantime, with the info above, you’ve got plenty to start stopping.

Need help building or prioritizing your 2021 stop/start/continue list for your eCommerce business? Our team of digital marketing experts is here to help! Contact us.