Last Updated

Last Updated

When planning for the future, it’s no longer enough for your business to just establish a growth strategy and focus on setting goals and objectives. With society developing at a pace no one could have imagined, setting your business up for the future needs to be a priority. This involves anticipating future risks and adapting to change before it even happens.

Your eCommerce digital strategy will almost always be in development. This is due to the nature of eCommerce constantly evolving. However, there are some things you can do to help solidify a more stable future for it.

Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Don’t just monitor trends, utilise the data

If you’ve never heard the term ‘futures thinking’, it might be time to start paying attention. As a concept, futures thinking focuses on how society is interconnected. It also aims to highlight how we can anticipate what’s ahead by examining how current systems function. Without falling down a rabbit hole (trust us, we’ve already been there!), let’s just say that futures thinking is all about monitoring current trends and learning to predict how these trends might evolve.

As an eCommerce business owner, monitoring market trends is already a process that you’ll be familiar with. However, even the trends you might not think are relevant to your industry can have an impact on how your customers’ behaviour changes over time.

For example, many eCommerce businesses have been left trying to adapt to increasing demands from consumers for more eco-friendly policies. This includes biodegradable packaging and lower carbon emissions for deliveries. While some eCommerce businesses resorted to greenwashing in an attempt to meet these demands, this has been widely condemned and regulations are now in place that force businesses to be more transparent.

As many eCommerce businesses struggle to keep up with these changes, others saw these developments coming in advance. For years there has been a significant shift in how consumers view plastic packaging and single-use products.

The idea of consumers seeking additional value in the form of eco-conscious goods and services is far from being a new concept. And yet, many eCommerce businesses still haven’t managed to catch up with even the basics.

2. Website audits are always a great idea

It goes without saying that having a great website is the first step in futureproofing your eCommerce strategy. Seamless design, good functionality, and a strategic use of tools are all core themes your business should be focusing on.

Customers now expect more than ever from your website, so keeping on top of how your website presents to them is essential. A good way of doing this is to conduct regular website audits to establish where your site might be lacking. For example:

Accessibility audits

If your eCommerce website aims to reach as many people as possible, you need everything in place to support this goal.

The Digital Accessibility Index finds that 72% of leading Irish companies do not have accessible websites. Not only is this a frightening statistic in a world that claims to be striving for better inclusion, it’s also a stark reminder that your eCommerce business might be contributing to a significant social issue.

To ensure that your eCommerce business reflects positive and open values, your website must carry these values. Digital accessibility audits are a great way of doing this.

During an accessibility audit, some areas of examination might include:

  • The fonts being used across your website
  • How clear your page layout is
  • How well the contrast on your pages can be adjusted
  • If sound plays a role in how you deliver your message
  • If pages can be zoomed in on
  • How well keyboard navigation works on your pages

Performance audits

More general website audits are another great way of ensuring that your eCommerce website is giving off all the right signals. Without regular website audits, it’s easy for small issues with your website to make a bad impression on buyers. This can result in higher bounce rates, cart abandonment, and even a complete dissatisfaction for your brand.

Security audits

Security audits are another area that your eCommerce platform should prioritise when it comes to website audits. Stakeholders are now more aware than ever of what good online security looks like. This is why nobody wants to associate with an eCommerce business whose security policies are under par.

3. Secure your digital platforms

Following on from the previous point, securing your digital platforms is an essential part of owning an eCommerce business. Without securing your website, emails, and other online spaces — you’re putting your customers at risk.

The Irish Computer Society notes:

  • More than half of Irish companies have suffered a data breach within the past year
  • One in ten companies cite “insecure third parties” (such as cloud services) as posing security concerns

Unfortunately, some data hacks are unavoidable. That said, being able to inform stakeholders that you had the correct policies in place is vital for maintaining your reputation.

Further reading: The Irish government has published the National Cyber Security Strategy 2019-2024. The publication contains cyber security baseline standards and can be read here.

4. Regularly update your customer personas and conduct customer needs analyses

As your eCommerce business grows, so will your ability to target a broader and more lucrative audience. That said, the process of adjusting your customer personas is often overlooked by eCommerce owners at each growth phase.

This is usually because eCommerce owners don’t see all movement for their business as a growth phase. Instead, they focus on hitting large KPIs before refocusing who their target audience is.

With society moving at such a fast pace and eCommerce scrambling to compete, what your customers want can change from day to day. To keep on top of this progression in customer needs, it’s vital you learn to analyse your customer needs on a more regular basis.

It’s important to acknowledge that even micro-level changes to how your customers behave can significantly impact how they view your eCommerce business. This is why consistently refocusing your approach to these customers will be essential for the future of your business.

Instead of waiting on KPIs to tell you that your business isn’t hitting the right spot with customers, make it part of your process to update your customer personas and analyse their needs more frequently than you currently do.

5. Have a good company culture

For your employees to want to go that extra mile for your business, your business will have to go that extra mile for them. Positive company culture isn’t exactly a new concept, but it is one that’s dominating discussions about why certain companies are more successful than others.

During times of adversity, commitment from your employees is essential. This is why building rapport with your employees and creating a sense of comradery is vital.

Our suggestions for creating a better company culture within your organisation include:

  • Actively recognising your employees for their achievements
  • Having a good DE&I strategy to help employees from all walks of life feel like a welcome addition to the team
  • Building stronger relationships with employees through effective communication and better rapport between senior and junior members – a corporate LMS that provides internal messaging, company forums, and ongoing training is a great way to do this
  • Showcasing a willingness to adapt to employee needs
  • Arranging regular team-building days that employees actually want to attend
  • Offering wellness perks for employees if possible

Before we go:

The truth is, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ to futureproofing your eCommerce digital strategy. Ultimately, the best approach will come down to how you want your business to be viewed in the future, and how much your business is willing to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape.

However, as we’ve discussed, there are things you can put in place as a baseline for helping your eCommerce strategy stand the test of time.

If you’d like to get started on futureproofing your eCommerce strategy with a website that’s built to be timeless and adaptable, you can contact us to find out more.

We also provide services in branding, digital marketing, strategy and more — so your entire digital presence can be developed all under the one roof!

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