It’s safe to say 2020 wasn't the best, but as a new year follows it’s time to look forward to a fresh start. For ecommerce, this means grasping the opportunities that have arisen from its evolution throughout the pandemic. So where do you focus your efforts in the coming months to make 2021 a year worth celebrating?


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Consumer behaviour has dramatically shifted over the last 12 months. Customers now expect far more from the brands they interact with, and as we move into January and beyond, businesses looking to grow need to focus on one thing in particular - authenticity.


How To Create Authenticity in 2021

Authenticity is not a singular concept. It’s a combination of things that transform your online store into a full blown brand experience. We’ve been keeping tabs on changes in the review space during the madness of 2020, and have spotted a few trends definitely worth paying attention to:

  • Making the most of negative reviews

You may see them as the enemy but you can’t have true authenticity without transparency. Mistakes happen and customers won’t judge you for that. What they will judge you for is if you refuse to take ownership and remedy issues with great customer service.

We actually found users are five times more likely to filter one star reviews than anything else. Provided you’ve handled it in the right way, this kind of feedback shows potential buyers that you’re genuine and not hiding behind an illusion of implied perfection.

  • Promoting your brand through user generated content

This has been a major trend throughout 2020 and it’s on the rise. There’s been a shift from bog standard text reviews to video content that gives far greater insight into how products are used in the real world. This is beneficial for both you and your audience.

As a business, you get a rare glimpse of how your brand fits into people's lives. And as for your customers, they get a tangible sense of your products in action. For any eCommerce site looking to offer an authentic experience, UGC in the form of video reviews should definitely form part of their marketing strategy for 2021.

  • Focus on the personal

Generic marketing just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you’re not tailoring your content to suit individual customers, you’re unlikely to see much by way of return. It all comes back to that brand experience.

Powerful tools like Klaviyo can help super boost your marketing efforts moving forward, with personalised communications that build connections between brand and consumer.

  • Knowing what makes Google tick

It’s a competitive landscape out there, and if you’re not working with the search engines, you’re working against your best source of exposure. Get to know the rules around Google Seller Ratings and be sure to collect reviews that count.

Stars on Google increase visibility, boost consumer trust and drive click through rates. They also reduce ad spend, so if you’re looking to lower marketing costs for 2021 they should be a top priority.


Why Set Goals for the New Year?

It may be tempting to take a step back and relax in the quieter months that typically follow the festive season, but now’s the perfect time to build on new ideas for business growth. It’s a bit of a cliche, but the new year really does inspire, and if you don’t make the most of that ‘new start’ mentality, you’ll be falling behind your competition.

Resolutions are easily broken, but if you fix them to long term business goals it’ll cement your commitment and give you the drive to see them through. A strong plan is crucial to business survival and growth. So, set goals that allow you to reach a wider audience, keep your brand relevant in new markets, increase consumer loyalty and boost profits.


How to Kick Start Your 2021 Strategy


Set yourself up for success

  • Keep your customers happy - Customer retention is more profitable than new acquisition, so start by building loyalty. A simple gesture like a thank you email enhances communication and shows your appreciation. It’s likely 2020 brought you a lot of new custom so don’t let it slip away.

  • Plan ahead for forthcoming events - It’s never too early to start designing campaigns for things like Valentine’s day, easter, summer etc. The better prepared you are, the more successful you’ll be.

Improve your review system

  • Take control of your online reputation - brand perception is largely based on what others say about you and if you’re not actively encouraging feedback, you have very little control. Choosing the right solution allows you to encourage positive reviews, as well as giving you the tools to handle negative reviews in the best way possible.

  • Excel at customer service - reviews don’t just give opinion on your products. They also give you an understanding of how customers view your service, and if there’s any areas where you can improve. They also add another element to the buyer journey. Sending an email review request, or SMS review invites, shows you value the recipients custom, helping to generate loyalty.

  • Respond to reviews - your response strategy is important to both new and existing customers. Those that have already purchased from you expect feedback to be acknowledged and any issues resolved, whereas potential customers see your approach as a trust signal. Make a plan of how to respond to positive and negative reviews to help grow your reputation.


Summary

Give your business a jump start for the new year by creating a truly engaging brand experience. If you’re already a REVIEWS.io customer, kick 2021 off with a bang by using the review editor to turn authentic reviews into branded social content, and use the successes of the past 12 months to drive your business forward. If you’re yet to choose a review solution, why not start the new year by signing up with REVIEWS.io? We work on a contract free basis, so if you’re not satisfied with what we’ve got offer, you’re free to leave at any time.