I’ve been getting this question A LOT all year long, but a Lounge member just asked me again on one of our Q&A calls as she was evaluating her performance over the year.
And it’s a valid question because so many eCommerce businesses saw huge booms in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, and now some are struggling because people are back out in the world and feeling the effects of inflation and the economy.
So while our sample size is on the smaller side, here’s what Nicole (my partner in the lounge and ads agency owner) and myself are seeing among our clients and students)
Some businesses are correcting to 2019 pre-pandemic levels. On the surface, this can feel like you’re losing steam and your business is failing, but remember you’re comparing yourself to an inflated year so it’s not a fair comparison.
Other businesses are flat to last year, which might also feel like a loss, but because there was such huge growth during that time this is actually a win because you’re holding onto the unprecedented increases you saw during the pandemic.
And then there is the third group which is still seeing growth, even beyond the growth they saw during those pandemic years.
So, what sets apart group number 3; the ones who still saw crazy growth? They’re super niched and focused heavily on visibility either through organic social such as TikTok and Instagram Reels OR through paid ads.
The only businesses I would be concerned about are those that are seeing big dips from their 2019 numbers, or maybe those who invested too heavily in inventory based on their previous growth and haven’t been able to maintain it.
If you are seeing dips from 2019 then I would start digging a little deeper to see where those losses are coming from. There were a lot of businesses that grew so quickly they got lax about their marketing – so it’s probably time to beef that back up.
If inventory is your issue, focus your energy on moving that shit, especially as we’re at the end of the year. Bundles, deep discounts, and even selling on 3rd party platforms are all ways to move your inventory. Depending on your product, you can look at buy/sell groups on Facebook. There are often subscription boxes and other small businesses that are looking for deals on bulk items there.
When you start thinking about your revenue and profit goals for 2023, remember to set tiered goals. Some people will think of these as good, better, and best. Others might think of them as flat, increase and stretch. It doesn’t matter. Just make sure that you have tiers because there is nothing more demoralizing than only setting one big scary goal, not reaching it, and then feeling like a failure.
And remember that revenue is just ONE part of a bigger puzzle. Profit matters too. In fact, it matters more, so even if you don’t hit your overall revenue goal, if you’re ultimately more profitable it may not matter.
And consider other metrics such as conversion rate, AOV, etc.
Just like the snowball method of paying off debt, setting yourself up to have tiny wins along the way will keep you motivated and ultimately give you a better chance of hitting those goals.
I’ll be releasing more content around this in the new year, but if you want to get a jump on it, check out episode 93 of the podcast, All the Ways You Can Grow Your eCommerce Business.
We get really into the nitty-gritty of the numbers here so you understand all the levers you have in your business to hit those goals that you set.