The E-Commerce Column

2017 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Online Store

New Year's Reolutions for Your Online Store

Every year, we hear the same dreaded question both before and after the first day of the year, “Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?”  For some, this is a welcome question, for others, not as much.  Resolutions often center around bettering your health by quitting vices or exercising more, and can range to personal development things like remembering people’s names.  No matter the resolution, they’re always positive things that appear to be able to better your life.  What about your business and online store?  Why can’t your business also have resolutions this year?

NBC News reported on the most popular resolutions for 2017.  They’re all of the typical things, including spending less, spending more time with family, reading more, health, and so on.  This isn’t so different from what Nielsen reported in 2015.  Here, we’ll piggyback on some of the more popular resolutions, and apply them to your online store.

Cut The Fat

This one is self-explanatory if you’re applying it to yourself.  Basically, you’re trying to fit into one or more sizes lower.  Your online store could probably use the same outlook.  If you apply some essentialism to how your store is running today, what do you see that’s happening that isn’t making any impact?  Do you have a handful of promotions being maintained that aren’t being used?  Are your staff spending too much time on processing orders manually?  Basically, take a look at everything and ask yourself, “Could we be doing this better by doing less of it?”  All too often, we add more of something to try and fix issues, when much of the time we could just as easily fix an issue by getting rid of something.  It could be a process, paperwork, or any number of other things.

Exercise More

Most companies have a similar story.  New employees get greeted and on-boarded, but then everything seems to stop there.  You’ve been there before, I’m sure.  Some of the most productive teams I’ve seen are those that regularly benefit from professional development programs.  Send members of your team to relevant conferences, training, seminars, and other events.  Doing this will help them stay energized about the company, help them grow and they’ll, in turn, be able to help your store grow.

Get Organized

Getting organized is always a goal, but rarely does it have a focus.  Take some time once a month to take a look at your current organization of people, places, and things.  Is everything in the place it should be?  With it being there, is it allowing us to operate as efficiently as possible?  For example, maybe your fulfillment team could cut shipping time by 25% or more by simply reorganizing your inventory or warehouse area.  Maybe a few of the team members could be moved around to sit closer to each other to increase productivity.  Over time, it’s far too easy to overlook these kinds of things as you grow.  People and things tend to get added where they fit.  Now, you can fix that.

Spend Less, Save More

This is probably self-explanatory as well.  After all, who doesn’t want to spend less and save more?  That’s a great goal to have in all aspects of life.  You might find that when looking at this resolution in more detail though, that you maybe aren’t using all of the features of some of your subscribed services and can downsize.  Maybe you’re using some subscriptions services that are currently billed person-by-person.  Contact the respective vendors and ask for group or longer term pricing.  If you’re not already using a VOIP system of some kind for your phones, make the switch.  Recruit some interns to help around with the business, and promote some existing ones from within.

Read More

When you are running a team or an entire business, your learning doesn’t stop there.  Build up a reading list of books and publications that are relevant to your industry.  Consume them, all the while taking notes on how this or that may apply to you, your team, or your customers.  The medium doesn’t really matter either.  Look for videos, online articles, magazines, podcasts, and so on.  Keeping on top of the latest news ensures the success of your online business.

Spend More Time With Family & Friends

Any business that has a great culture will also have highly satisfied customers.  Satisfied customers not only stick around, but they also add on more and more services over time.  Take care of your team by helping them take care of their friends and family.  The more you can make them happy, the more they’ll return the favor to you and your mutual customers.  Don’t make your business work… Make it a fun and exciting opportunity.  Regularly hold team outings.  Make sure you have benefits (these can even be pooled with other companies), paid time off, reasonable scheduling, and prevent everyone from getting into a cycle of constantly “putting out fires.”  Quality of life is key here.

Remember People’s Names

Every company has at least one focus, namely, making the sale.  However, in today’s business world, making the one sale isn’t enough.  You need to build an engine that allows you to sell over and over again, to current and future customers.  Be sure to capture the information of your site visitors any way you can, and like you do with the people closest to you, keep them updated regularly.  Treat them like they’re your friend.  What’s new?  How can they save money?  What’s the latest?  Even if they didn’t sign up for a newsletter specifically, you should be adding customers to your newsletter upon purchase, or when filling out any form on your site.  (Just make sure opting out is just as easy too.)  Every time something interesting is happening, “call” up all of your “friends” by sending out semi-frequent personalized e-mail newsletters.  Doing this not only helps with branding, marketing, and sales, but it also keeps reminding your customer base that you’re here and relevant.  If done correctly, it builds trust.

Don’t Make Any Resolutions

Oh, this moldy chestnut…  Let’s be real.  All of the previous tips are spot on, but you don’t have to wait until the first of the year to apply any of this.  Make it a point throughout the year to do each of these things.  Review what you did, what worked, and what didn’t.  Then do it again using what you learned.  What results is that you’re constantly on the leading edge of ensuring your business is streamlined, efficient, healthy, and growing throughout the year.  What are you waiting for?  Oh, you don’t think you have time to do this?  You have two paths then.  First, you can find a way to apply the first resolution to what you do, then you’ll have more time.  Alternatively, you could also bring in a consultant to do much of this for you.  In fact, the latter may be best, as they’re looking at everything with fresh eyes.  It’s far too easy to become blind to the things you see in front of you on a daily basis.

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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