Don’t groan, I know New Years resolutions are overrated but we’re moving even further into uncharted waters. I think it’s safe to say that 2021 will be another huge year of change for B2B and B2C e-commerce.
2020 saw some huge giants succumb to the pandemic and at the time of writing this I am deeply saddened by the further damage done to our economy with Arcadia filing for administration with the loss of up to 13,000 jobs. Topshop is one of the labels owned by Arcadia and whilst Covid has certainly proven difficult for the brand it was sadly already in trouble. Topshop had been celebrated as a fashion forward store that enabled its customers access to affordable “cat-walk” styles. However, over the years Topshop was unable to compete with online stores like Boohoo and Misguided and was too slow to act on changing shopping habits.
The pandemic was by no means the catalyst but it certainly sped up the inevitable. For those that are interested, what Boohoo did wasn’t just about having an online presence. It created limited clothing ranges and then increased production only on those that sold quickly. Boohoo was able to offer more of the styles that customers wanted and quickly ditched those that weren’t. In 2019 this boost in sales led to an overall revenue increase of 48% (£856.9 million). Unfortunately Topshop couldn’t do this because they needed to stock the shop floors and this demise was compounded by the closure of all its retail stores during lockdown.
Scenarios like this are common across all sectors where technology and data is often at the heart of rapid growth.
It does mean that for the entrepreneurs among us though there is opportunity abound.
Businesses that have paid particular attention to their website and how their customers are using it will be reaping the rewards. For those that didn’t or haven’t yet now is the time to focus on making those improvements for 2021 and beyond because digital is here to stay.
So to help your business weather the continuing pandemic economy well into 2021, your website must be ready to pass standard best practices to ensure e-commerce success.
I have narrowed it down to 3 easy to implement resolutions.
Resolution One – I shall not forget about my mobile version
Our phones are never far away from us but how many of us have actually looked at our own website on our phones? For some reason the mobile version always gets forgotten, left behind and generally seen as the lesser. But we all know that this isn’t the case. Mobile-Friendly is not a new term and with “50% B2B enquiries being made on mobile” we should definitely be paying more attention.
It’s also no secret that website users aren’t the most patient. They want information quickly and they don’t what to search for it. So let’s make their lives easier by removing a lot of the unnecessary content. On mobile page designs I often ask myself “what would happen if I removed this [block of text/image/carousel/button], does it stop my customer finding a product/service?”. If the answer is no then I remove it. The objective is to try and reduce the amount of options available. The less choice the easier it is to quickly signpost customers to the content they want.
Resolution Two – I will regularly check my website for updates
Most websites are built on an open source CMS like WordPress or Magento. This means that the code is available for all to see and use. Whilst this might sound scary it actually means that websites benefit from the power of collaboration and innovation. By giving away the source code developers are able to build and expand the platform giving website owners the latest tech, flexibility and complete control.
Like with most things websites need updating though. Just as you would have maintenance on your car your website needs it too and now more than ever. With most websites being the first interaction a brand has with its customer imagine if it goes down, causing huge losses in already reduced sales.
This is also particularly important because there has been a surge in hackers exploiting the chaos caused by the pandemic. So by keeping WordPress files and plugins up to date any vulnerabilities in the code will be patched over. 15 minutes a week is all it needs and will save hours of problems and time in the long-run.
WordPress website owners should also consider using a plugin called WordFence. It’s free to use and offers a wide range of protective measures.
Resolution Three – I will be bold
Things will never be the same again. So I’m urging you; now is the time to be brave and to be bold.
Throughout the year always keep an eye on your customers, ask them how they found you or what it was that compelled them to call you. Insight like this can be invaluable and will help you to make informed decisions.
Don’t be scared about making changes and don’t stand still for too long. Gain momentum by quickly iterating on key messages, designs and or processes. Gather the feedback and go again. The best thing about digital is that you can take a back-up and if you make a mistake just click undo (ok maybe not that simple but you get my point).
Take control of your website and make it work for you during 2021.
Happy New Year – Let’s smash it!