It’s 2017. You made it through 2016, the holidays and returns are probably coming in. But what now? Well, we want to help you make some resolutions that’ll get your business in shipshape! In fact we’re going to spend the rest of January and all of February and March providing you with helpful tips and ideas on how you can get your business up to the next level.
So let’s get the year off on the right foot with our top 6 eCommerce resolutions!
- Create a simple business plan, whether you’re brand new or have been in business a long time.
Most business owners think that the most important reason to write a business plan is to get a loan or investor interest. In reality, there is another good reason to write a business plan. As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
If your online business is new, you can make some strategic decisions that will set you up for growth. If you’ve been in business for a while, it can jump-start your business.
The bottom line: No matter when you started your business, you should create a business plan. By the way, your business plan doesn’t have to be 50 pages long. But spending even a few hours putting together a plan can make the difference between a good and a great year.
- Put everything on your calendar.
It’s nice to plan, but executing on that plan requires certain activities. Once you’ve determined those activities, put each one on your calendar. Later you may need to break those activities down into smaller pieces, but at least you’ll have each activity noted on your calendar so it has a place on your schedule.
While your business activities are important, don’t forget to put your personal commitments on your calendar, too. Regular workout times, doctor appointments, vacations and social activities play a big part in making your life (and ultimately your business) better. And if you don’t put them on your calendar, they often won’t get done.
- Keep learning.
We live in a changing world, and it’s moving faster all the time. The online industry is no exception. Making the time to keep learning about changes, new options and more is critical to your business. Check out and attend industry trade shows, subscribe to industry publications, and stay in touch with other online merchants.
- Consider recurring revenue models.
Wouldn’t it be nice to sit back and watch money come in from recurring revenue products? Well, it’s unlikely that any of you sit back much, but achieving a more predictable revenue stream, especially as that is not typical for most eCommerce sellers, would be good for any business. The most common recurring revenue option for online retailers is offering a subscription box (insert link once article comes out on January 9, 2017), or one or more products on a monthly basis, for a monthly fee. Some examples of ShipStation customers that offer subscription box options include Loot Crate, Carnivore Club, and Conscious Box.
- Add new sales channels.
The digital world keeps changing, and more sales channels than ever are available for online sellers. While you may be selling on your Website, and probably Amazon, there are hundreds of other viable channels where you could be racking up sales. Some are large, such as eBay, and others are small and specialized, such as Reverb, which is a marketplace for selling used and vintage instruments. Best of all, ShipStation will help you manage the shipping and fulfillment process for almost any sales channel. You can see our list of partners we integrate with, here.
- Get interactive.
When you’re scrolling through Facebook, what are the odds that you’re going to stop on a video from a brand you follow to see what they’re up to? We’ll daresay pretty high—video content on social media has very quickly become THE way to interact with your customers and followers. How about going live on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook? Why not show off a behind-the-scenes look at how you get ship done? We can speak from our experience with 12 Days of Shipmas and Talk Around Town: we’ve seen more user engagement with these new series than on our typical, picture-based posts. Try it for yourself: go live just to say hello, to reveal a new product, announce a contest winner or just to show off where you work.
So start January off with a bang, by planning for growth and trying some new ways to gain sales. We hope this is your best year ever!