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How to Stay Ahead in Ecommerce

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

Changing and adapting is crucial in ecommerce.

While this statement has always been true and is true in general business, it is even more important in ecommerce where the landscape is changing at a rapid pace. The pandemic in 2020 was a perfect example of the need to be flexible and ready to enact change. 

Don’t look at 2020 as an anomaly, instead look at it as what you should be doing all the time, enacting change and keeping up. Not because you have to, but because you should.

So many stores and sites were forced into things like BOPIS. It was likely on some cursory plan for most, but pushed off for ‘later’. The pandemic made ‘later’ happen now, when all along they should’ve already invested in it.

The same adoption holds true with things like Google’s algorithm changes, where the mobile first indexing threw a wrench in a lot of sites that then scrambled to fix. Had these sites invested in mobile first years ago, this change wouldn’t have been an issue. Instead, so many sites are merely reacting to the market forces and not ahead of them, while those ahead are widening their lead in ecommerce.

Those doing what they did five years ago, because it worked then, are falling further behind. I hear people talking about SEO needs that are now irrelevant, besides, Matt Cutts’ advice in 2010 is still relevant today. Build a great site that people want to visit, Google will find it, hacks don’t work.

The changes from year to year are astonishing and if I ran an ecommerce business today I would be focusing on building what the customers expect. If you are not trying to weave a subscription model or strong loyalty program coupled with personalization, you likely will be left behind. You may have a strong direct-to-consumer business, but what’s your moat? You should be building an experience that people want and expect.

Today’s shoppers are savvy and expect the online experience to be as close to the in-store experience as possible. If your site looks like it did five years ago, you are in trouble. If your digital marketing campaign is on autopilot, you are in trouble. I could go on, but the common thread is that you must be adapting, and fast, if you want to be successful in today’s environment. Do not wait for another pandemic to be forced to invest and catch up, be ahead.