10 Questions to Help You Reflect Your Ecommerce Performance in 2016

A lot of people are glad that 2016 is finally over. But before we say goodbye to this eventful year, it’s a good idea to stop and reflect on these past 12 months.

While it’s common to stop and evaluate your personal life when the year is ending, entrepreneurs should be asking themselves some questions about their businesses too.

This exercise will help them understand what went wrong in 2016 and what should they do more of in 2017.

Here’s a list of questions you can ask yourself to reflect 2016 and set the right focus for 2017:

1. Who were your happiest customers in 2016? And why?

Identifying your best customers and asking why they love your store is a great way to learn about your company’s biggest strengths. Focusing on your biggest strengths and letting go of what didn’t delight your clients can be a profitable way to boost sales in the coming year.

2. Where did you spend money that didn’t pay off?

Did you invest a lot in Facebook Ads with little results? Or Google Adwords? Perhaps with an Advertising Agency or a Shopify / Magento app? Going back and looking through your store’s biggest expenses this year and evaluating their ROI is a great way to learn what not to do next year.

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3. Was there something you still see potential in, but that didn’t quite pay off in 2016?

It happens so often. We try a certain campaign, a promotion or a particular product that we believe in, but it doesn’t really bring amazing results. For 8 out of 10 of these, it’s best to move on. But is there an idea that maybe, if you worked on it a little more, would pay off? Why not give it a second go of it in 2017?

4. Did you try to do too much with too little?

Spreading yourself (and your marketing money) too thin is one of the most common mistakes small and medium-sized businesses make. Think about the Pareto principle. What are the 20% of your actions, marketing channels and products responsible for 80% of your revenue? Analyse it and focus on what makes a difference.

5. Do you have the right tools for the job?

The right set of tools can go a long way in helping you grow. We put together a list of the best Apps in the Shopify ecosystem and asked their developers to give you a special discount during the holiday season. Click here to see the Top 12 Shopify Apps for 2017.

6. Did you use data to make fully-informed decisions?

We’ve never had so much data available to help us run our businesses, and yet so many of our decisions are still based on our “gut feeling”. Tools such as Google Analytics and Compass will help you base your decisions on actual evidence, which will lead you to make the right decisions in the coming year.

7. Are you sure you’re focusing on the right target market?

One of the biggest drivers of startup failure is focusing on the wrong market for your products. Is there a different set of customers out there that would be more interested in buying your products than the ones you’re targeting right now?

8. Was your price too high? Or too low?

Price is always a big concern. Doing too many promotions can undermine your brand and hurt your profitability, at the same time that a high price can prevent you from selling. Can you adjust your price in 2017 to become a more “premium” solution? Or should you lower the price of what you’re offering?

9. Did you ignore your customers’ suggestions and complaints?

Get in the habit of listening to your clients in 2017. Reflect on your clients’ biggest complaints and demands in 2016 to prepare solutions that will make them happier next year. While catering for your customers’ every wish is not advisable, ignoring what they’re telling you can be even more harmful to your company’s growth.

10. Are you sure there’s a need for what you’re selling?

If you only sold to friends and family in 2016, it might be a sign that there isn’t a market for your product. There can be too much competition already, and you are not standing out. Or there’s simply no need for what you’re selling. The end of the year is a great opportunity to re-evaluate your choices and perhaps, launching brand a new store next year, with a great offering for a target market that is hungry for it.

Forecast your sales growth rate for the next year

Your growth rate in 2017 will depend on the size of your business, industry and previous sales numbers. At Compass, we take all these factors into consideration to forecast your possible future growth.

To forecast your growth for the coming year, all you need to do is sign up. It’s free, and it takes 2 minutes.