If nothing else, 2020 was a learning experience for retailers of all sizes and industries. A lesson in pivoting and experimentation, collaboration and communication.  As we head into a new year, with a vaccine on the horizon and a forever changed consumer landscape, it is important to take time to reflect on where you’ve been, where you want to go, and how you can get there. Below is a checklist of five things to consider as we begin a new year.

Examine Your Website
If 2020 taught us nothing else, it taught us the importance of a quality website with ecommerce capabilities and this is unlikely to change in 2021. At a time when fewer customers are physically entering your store, your website serves as the front door of your business. Websites need to be clean and easy to navigate, customers who get frustrated along the way are likely to abandon their carts. In addition to ecommerce, does your website clearly and quickly communicate important information such as what your current hours are, what types of pick-up/delivery/shipping options you offer?

Check-in with Your Customers
Throughout 2020, there was a renewed emphasis on supporting local – did you pick up new customers as a result? The start of a new year is the perfect time to take the pulse of your customers, both old and new. Sending out a thank you message to your database with a quick 1-3 question survey can help keep that relationship moving forward in 2021 and offer insights into ways you might best be able to serve them moving forward. Programs like Survey Monkey make creating forms easy and painless, and best of all, free up to a certain number.

Evaluate Your Relationships
While you may have always had a business relationship with a specific company, it doesn’t mean that situations can’t change. Perhaps a service that made sense when you were doing more in person sales doesn’t make sense to continue to pay for if you’re doing predominantly online sales. Take a moment to take stock of what all of your options are in terms of the various vendors with which you do business. Many companies, such as Blueswipe, will offer complimentary evaluations regardless of whether you end up switching to them or not.

Embrace Social Media Regularly
Businesses who have been successful in the constantly evolving landscape of 2020 have been nimble. Many have been able to quickly and creatively communicate to their customers information about hours and what they are offering, in part thanks to social media. Customers today, particularly millennials who are now almost in their 40s, often check social media platforms before websites, updating social media daily with new specials and highlight products not only serves to keep you top of mind amongst consumers but helps keep your account relevant in the algorithm.

Practice Self-Care
There’s a reason this buzzword is everywhere – if don’t put gas in the car, there’s only so far it will travel. After a year like 2020, it’s important to make sure that you also take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your business. Self-care looks different for everyone. Self-care can be as simple as holding yourself accountable to set hours for work emails or for going home at night, or something more intentional such as taking one day a month dedicated to family. Self-care can mean whatever boundaries, delegation, or activities you need to perform your best.