Sunsetting refers to the practice of intentionally discontinuing a product, service, or feature that a company provides. In website marketing and e-commerce, sunsetting often refers to shutting down parts of a website, app, or online store. Some reasons a company may decide to sunset parts of their online presence include:
- Focusing resources on newer or more popular products/services. If an older feature isn’t being used much anymore, the company may decide to remove it to focus on maintaining newer or more utilized aspects of the site.
- Removing outdated or obsolete features. If part of the website is based on old technology or refers to a product line the company no longer offers, sunsetting allows the removal of these irrelevant or nonfunctional elements.
- Streamlining user experience. Eliminating clutter, confusion, or redundant sections of a site through sunsetting can simplify navigation and usage for customers.
- Cutting costs. Maintaining seldom-used or complex sections of a site incurs expenses, so sunsetting can reduce operating costs.
- Transitioning business strategy. If a company’s offerings or target audience change, sunsetting parts of the site that no longer fit allows for a transition to new strategies.
The decision to sunset parts of an online presence is usually made carefully, with consideration of customer engagement, analytics, and business goals. Overall, sunsetting allows brands to deliver a more focused, effective online experience by pruning what is outdated or unnecessary.
If a business repeatedly sunsets products and services it can gain a reputation for not being reliable. Recently for example, Google has sunsetted its domain name service and is currently in the process of sunsetting its conversion optimisation service called Google Optimize. If Google launches new services, users are going to start thinking twice about relying on them precisely because Google may take them away again in the future.