“Only 21.8% of online cosmetics retailers offer free returns,” according to Digital Commerce 360.
So much happens in eCommerce news in any given week. It can feel overwhelming, even impossible, to keep up with the news and the changes that affect your business. But keeping up is a must for two reasons:
You need to make sound decisions based on fresh (and reliable) information.
If you miss a story, plenty of your competitors will have picked it up and left you behind.
The way to keep up and to make those sound decisions in a fast-paced noisy world is to get curated information delivered to you consistently. That’s why EXCLUSIVE provides “Always Be Growing,” our weekly Friday blog feature all about eCommerce.
Why Always Be Growing? Because the EXCLUSIVE team is driven by 5 core values, the first of which is “Always Be Growing: Continuously strive to learn, share, and grow as individuals and professionals.” And that’s what this weekly Friday round-up is our way of sharing the learning in order to help you grow.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.