We did it! We made it through 2020. Congrats to everyone for overcoming one of the most challenging years. We’re optimistic 2021 will be filled with positivity and growth for your business and the world.
A new year brings new challenges. Changes will have to be faced and choices will have to be made. There’s no reason this year can’t be your most successful year to date if you make the right choices. So we thought we’d be helpful and lay down some 2021 business and marketing tips, tricks, and trends that online businesses will see this year.
Have an Emergency Fund
Think back to this time last year. You check the news and see that there’s a virus circulating in China. Very few would have predicted that the same virus would temporarily shut down the world economy. Businesses that weren’t prepared with an emergency fund were hit the hardest.
While no one (at least no one that we’ve heard of) had a global pandemic emergency fund, lots of businesses had a general emergency fund. Those businesses were the most financially prepared for 2020’s crisis. An emergency fund will be key for 2021 business preparation.
The best plan for creating an emergency fund is to calculate how much you’d need to stay operational for an entire year without revenue. You’re probably thinking that’s a ton of money, and you’re right. So take your time and build it up slowly by banking small amounts on a regular basis.
Aim to have a fund that will last you a year, but even a month on reserve can be the difference of surviving an economic crisis.
Focus on Customer Service
This tip is as relevant for 2021 business and marketing as it has been for the past 100 years. Customer service should and will always be a priority. In fact, 96% of customers say it’s an important factor in determining their brand loyalty.
Some ways of improving customer service this year are:
- Create memorable experiences like videos or online lessons
- Personalize shopping experiences by using your customer’s name or other info.
- Listen to customer concerns on google reviews and through your social media channels.
- Reward loyal customers with discounts and promotions on their future purchases.
Remember, the only people more responsible than you for your company’s success are your customers. Treat them well and they will treat you well.
Improve Remote Working Capabilities
The 2020 results are in. Turns out working from home had a negative effect on productivity of dull (yet necessary) tasks. It makes sense, people would rather spend some extra time making the perfect lunch than enter data into a spreadsheet.
Well, there’s a few strategies you can use to help keep your employees as productive as they would be in the office.
- Set precise deadlines. This will help your team schedule their time accordingly by giving them firm and fixed points.
- Enforce regular working hours. This will both help with productivity and help with employees’ mental health as there’s a clearer cutoff between work and life.
- Keep in touch with your employees. This goes for work and just in general. Times are hard right now, check in weekly to see how they’re doing.
- Encourage work breaks. A brisk walk can be a huge difference maker in someone’s productivity when they return.
- Teamwork makes the dream work. It can be isolating at home. The more your team communicates, the better.
Keep Up With Social Media Marketing
As COVID continues to keep us from being social in person we continue to turn to social media to get our fix. This is where your customers are going to be spending their time, so it’s important that you spend some time here as well.
This is a space where you can really connect with your audience and tell them your brand story. Post content frequently and interact with your customers who are commenting on what you post. It will make them feel like they are part of your company family.
For more information on what you should be posting and when, check out Ripl’s 2021 social media calendar.
Diversify Your Supply Chain
One of the biggest takeaways from 2020 is anything can happen. The best way to prepare for the unexpected is by diversifying. This goes for your markets, your products, and especially your partnerships that you rely on.
Last year, 73% of companies experienced detrimental supply chain disruptions because of the pandemic. Those who weren’t affected as badly were those who diversified. So if you want 2021 business to run smoothly, make sure you’re in the latter.
Smile! Especially as a business owner, your team looks at you for leadership. Self fulfilling prophecies are a real psychological phenomena, and good attitudes will get you further. We learned so much from 2020 that you should be able to take into this year and make it the best one yet.
More eCommerce Means More Competition
The pandemic accelerated the growth of ecommerce in the matter of a few weeks. Everyone saw how many online sales there were, and everyone jumped on the opportunity. The big box stores have really increased their ecommerce which is driving up the average cost per acquisition for everyone.
Consumer Behaviour is Reshaping the Future
People are buying products online that they never would have considered in the future. These items include groceries, health and hygiene, and home essentials. Convenience and not having to leave the home are more important than ever. We’ll see an increase in product testing technologies like being able to try on clothes with virtual and augmented reality.
Fulfillment is Becoming Even More of a Competitive Advantage
People now all expect fast and free shipping thanks to the convenience of the big guys like Amazon Prime. Placing inventory closer to customers, automating returns, and offering curbside pickup will help you remain competitive moving forward.
So as we move on to a new year, let’s try not to forget 2020. It was a rough year, but it taught us so much about being prepared for the worst and the future of online retail. 2021 will be competitive, but we know you can do it. Best of luck! As always, reach out to us with any questions or concerns. And, as always, feel free to check out our helpful videos on YouTube, such as the one below highlighting the step-by-step process of adding curbside checkout as a delivery option!