Our editor's picks for 2021 include thought-provoking posts on marketing, e-commerce news, humorous takes on popular culture, and wellness tips.
In the kindest of terms, 2021 has been a sort of liminal space across the spectrum of time.
2020 (The Before Times) behind us; 2022 and lord-knows-what ahead of us, as we wait suspended in this moment of wondering what comes next; neither here, nor there.
Nearly all transitional spaces are uncomfortable in ways, and perhaps that plays a small (or big) role in the massive success that we’ve seen in 2021 – we’ve worked for years to create a place where all are welcome, where we tackle not just e-commerce and enterprise news, but also stories that speak to the heart – and much heart was needed as the world navigated our second year of a global pandemic.
In building something with the spirit of holding doors open to everyone, we’ve had the wonderful honor of assembling a longer table with more contributors than ever, and more posts published than before.
In 2021, FCEE:
- Surpassed one million page views
- Published over 520 posts (all of which were personally edited and optimized by two folks)
- Won another Content Marketing Institute award
- Touched millions in pipeline
- Delivered massive wins for early awareness and search campaigns
The heart of what matters: The people behind the curtain
Before delving into our most-viewed posts of 2021, I’d like to shine the spotlight on two people who work tirelessly to make this site what it is today, but often don’t receive the accolades they deserve.
The views, awards, and pipeline – none of that could be possible without Marcia Savage, Managing Editor and Aaron Graham, our developer.
Marcia has been working on the site for nearly two years, and offers an editorial eye and pure writing talent that’s rarely seen – I truly don’t know what I’d do without her.
If you’ve not read her incredibly moving and beautiful tribute to her favorite picks of the year, please do so, as it gives you an idea of both all the topics that we cover and her immense heart:
Aaron has been the developer for FCEE before I came onboard – he worked at an agency then, but as fate would have it, landed here. This year alone he’s built a tool to help us track our most-clicked assets on the platform (which WordPress asked him to turn into a plugin), created several different types of content pages, including this kick-ass quiz on e-commerce, and helped us to stand up sections for several languages and events.
Nearly everything you see on the site starts as an idea, me asking Aaron if “we” could do something like that, and Aaron turning into a reality. It’s truly a joy to work with them on a daily basis, and so many of us are all the better for their existences.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Our most-viewed posts of 2021
The amazing thing about our content that garnered the most views this year (as it is every year), is that most of the top content wasn’t written in 2021; in fact, 8 out of the top 10 most-viewed pieces were written years ago.
This proves a few points that are critical to how business evolves in The After Times:
- Thought leadership and authentic content matters, and can drive a lot of pipeline – and loyalty
- Evergreen content should be the norm, not the exception – and you should staff so that your content can be revamped and re-optimized if you want to stay competitive
- Hire. More. Writers.
Posts with the most views in 2021:
Written in January 2020, this primer on all things e-commerce was also a hypothesis that proved a theorem when it comes to SEO, explainer content, and how to engage audiences. In fact, the post had more page views this year than the entire site did in 2016:
Learn all about the benefits of e-commerce and see examples of the best e-commerce sites out there.
No person or company is successful at everything, and failure can teach us a great deal. In fact, you cannot innovate without learning from failures.
Speaking of the Amazing Mr. Moffat, the content he wrote in 2017 explaining the difference between multi-channel and omnichannel still draws tremendous readership, and inspires many copy-cat posts – the truest form of flattery, I’m told (but most of the time it just feels like straight-up plagiarism.)
Most retailers are now multichannel, where they sell their products across more than one channel. Very few, however, are truly omnichannel. Discover what it means to be considered an omnichannel business.
Lisa James crafted a powerhouse piece on earning customer trust in 2020, and it clearly resonated with readers, who also viewed the content inside the post to follow the full story:
Wondering how to earn customer trust in a wary world? From search optimization to seamless engagements to great service, we've got answers.
“Consumers expect more from the brands they buy from than ever before, and an ethical supply chain is now a requirement in the experience economy.” When Sharon Goldman wrote those words in early 2020, COVID-19 hadn’t yet brought the world grinding to a halt – later that year, the supply chain – and how to manage it sustainably – became a critical focus that continues to be top of mind today:
Consumers expect more from the brands they buy from, and an ethical supply chain is now a requirement. Learn what it means and how to get started.
2021 brought another year of epic growth, with the site averaging 1,000 more page views a day than 2020.
Entering the third year of a global pandemic, one thing that hasn’t changed is what consumers expect from brands. Angelica Valentine broke down what the future of retail entails in a post-pandemic world in a stellar post:
What COVID-driven consumer behavior trends can retailers expect to last beyond the pandemic? New research reveals three top trends.
Enter experience: As CX became more important, it was only natural that folks began searching for what customer experience roles meant, from developers to the C-suite, which is why Sharon Goldman’s post on the Chief Experience Officer rose to the top of the rankings two years after it was assigned to her:
A CXO is the Chief Experience Officer, an executive responsible for best practices in UX, design, and customer experience to drive market share. Learn how the role differs from that of the CMO.
Marcia Savage knocked it out of the park with her primer post on customer service, and also accomplished an incredibly rare feat: not only was this post written in 2021, it didn’t run until August of this year. I hypothesize that this post will overtake the e-commerce post that’s held our number one position in 2022, as customer service rises in importance to e-commerce companies:
More than pricing, and even the product itself, customer service is the biggest driver of customer loyalty. Discover all you need to know about customer service in this deep dive.
Someone mentioned customer service? Tracey Wallace wrote a much-mimicked post on the brands with the best customer service in early 2020. Have no fear – she’s got a refreshed version running in January of 2022:
Brands hoping to provide the best customer service for their industry need to answer two key questions about their audience before creating a strategy.
In December of 2020, Sharon Goldman wrote a prolific post on what CPG retail would look like in 2021. Guess what? She was 100% correct:
Here are five CPG retail trends to watch in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to impact the way CPG companies do business.