What not to do in your online business in 2013

The not to-do list is often as important as the to-do list. As you begin planning your e-commerce strategy for 2013, consider making these New Year’s anti-resolutions...

The not to-do list is often as important as the to-do list. As you begin planning your e-commerce strategy for 2013, consider making these New Year’s anti-resolutions:

  1. Stop relying on discounts

    Pretend that for the next year your business had to survive selling only full price products or services. Would you survive? What does your answer say about the health of your brand? Discounts and promotions are taxes placed on brands for being unremarkable. What truly sets your business apart? Why would a customer choose you over a competitor? If you’ve been overly reliant on deals during last year’s economic debacle, ask yourself when enough is enough. The sooner you start weaning customers off discounts, the sooner you’ll begin cultivating healthy, long-term business.

  2. Stop relying on "best practices"

    Internet business is maturing. It’s not good enough anymore to simply follow the wisdom of the crowd. And, every business is different! We all know we need fast loading pages and easy to use shopping carts. Now is the time to start testing bigger and bolder ideas. It’s ok to imitate for so long, but you can’t always play follow the leader. This year, be the one who makes best practices instead of the one who follows them.

  3. Stop relying on "more"

    When sales are slumping, the most appealing solution is often “do more”. That means more emails, more promotions, more ads, whatever. But more is a slippery slope, and only digs you into a hole for next year. What if your marketing budget was cut in half this year? How would you adjust? Start obsessing about doing better, not just more.

  4. Stop drinking the feedback Kool-aid

    Many businesses think they’re getting good feedback from their customers. The problem is the people who are most likely to give feedback (your best customers) are the ones you need it from the least. Start thinking about how to get the painful, yet necessary feedback from ex-customers or non-customers. Why have they not considered you or stopped shopping altogether? This year, do everything it takes to reach the people you really need feedback from.

  5. Stop the analytics overload

    Dozens of advanced web analytics tools have sprung up over the last few years. Yet we seem to be drowning in data and thirsting for meaning at the same time. How can we make sense of this paralyzing analytics overload? For many etailers, it really all boils down to a few metrics worth tracking:

    • Visits
    • Conversion rate (sales)
    • Average order size

    Start with these 3 fundamental and move backwards, asking yourself what the root problems are preventing these metrics from improving. Take your top ideas and start testing now.