Future Proofing: What it is and how to apply it in your eCommerce

February 1, 2024

The world of e-commerce is changing and uncertain. Today we are competitive, relevant and innovative, but tomorrow we run the risk of becoming obsolete and lagging behind the competition. How can we anticipate the future and prepare for any changes? The key is to integrate the «future proofing«, a strategy that focuses on anticipating and adapting quickly to changes, helping to maintain the value of our electronic commerce over time, even if new technologies and systems emerge. 

What is Future Proofing in ecommerce? Know its definition

An online store that implements Future Proofing recognizes that its long-term success and viability depend on its ability to constantly update itself. This ability to adapt is essential to staying relevant in a digital environment that is unpredictable and rapidly changing.

The Future Proofing philosophy encourages e-commerce businesses not to settle for their current achievements, that is, not to "rest on their laurels." Instead, they are encouraged to be proactive, integrating improvements and updates regularly and systematically into their daily operations. 

This proactive approach allows them to anticipate and adapt to future changes, minimizing the possibility of having to face a complete restructuring or start from scratch.

Benefits of applying Future Proofing in an eCommerce

  • Prevention of technological obsolescence: guarantees that the technology used is not outdated and unsupported, keeping ecommerce up to date with the latest innovations.
  • Greater operational efficiency- Optimizes operations, improving efficiency and reducing costs.
  • Anticipation of customer needs and expectations: allows you to anticipate and adapt to future consumer demands and preferences.
  • Long term sustainability- Ensures the continued value of e-commerce over time.
  • Reduction of time lost in restructuring: Avoids the loss of time and resources associated with frequent restructuring of technological solutions.
  • Independence from external suppliers: reduces dependency for the implementation of new solutions or touch points in ecommerce. 

Importance of Future Proofing

The online commerce environment is immersed in fierce competition that is advancing by leaps and bounds. The rules of the game are constantly changing due to the emergence of new technologies, trends and changes in consumer behavior. If our online store does not adapt and evolve with these changes, the result is inevitable: we become obsolete in the eyes of customers, who will not hesitate to opt for the competition.

This philosophy acts as a shield against obsolescence that e-commerce businesses can use to ensure their viability, progress and relevance. By adopting Future Proofing strategies, we shield our online business and gain a competitive advantage that allows us to stay at the forefront of our industry and deliver contemporary and rewarding shopping experiences.

»With Future Proofing, e-commerce businesses do not passively wait for a radical change in the future to take action. "Rather, they get ahead of uncertainty, embracing proactivity and reinventing themselves with each new day."

MidRocket

7 signs that you need to implement Future Proofing strategies in your eCommerce

We cannot improve weaknesses that we have not identified.

According to SiteCore, a digital experience platform, these are the 7 obstacles that IT leaders face and that drive them to adopt a Future Proofing philosophy.

  • You have to fix broken systems.
  • Your customers find it difficult to do business with you.
  • You are unable to meet established deadlines.
  • You constantly reject requests for new features.
  • You are avoiding customizations, updates and improvements.
  • You're missing out on integrations with new and existing technologies.
  • You see how your business consistently falls short of established revenue goals.

Future Proofing: How can I achieve it in my eCommerce? 

The practical implementation of the Future Proofing strategy in your online store requires being open to 3 key aspects:

  • Investment in cutting-edge technology.
  • Implementation of innovative marketing strategies.
  • Monitoring emerging market trends.

To meet these requirements, you can start by optimizing your e-commerce platform to improve user experience. 

One approach may be to improve the search system, making it more efficient so that users can easily find what they are looking for. This not only makes navigation easier, but can also increase sales.

Another way to integrate Future Proofing into your e-commerce is by investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. 

For example, Ruti, a women's fashion store in New York, has implemented "Feel", an AI tool that incorporates ChatGPT. This tool assists your online sales advisors, improving efficiency and customer experience.

This technology learns from customer interactions and offers personalized assistance based on that information. For example, if a customer asks, “Can you recommend a red outfit for a dinner date?”, the AI-powered virtual assistant can suggest products suitable for the occasion and specific style the customer is looking for.

Becoming an online store that applies Future Proofing also means adapting to changes in user purchasing habits. 

Imagine that, in an analysis of your data, you discover that more and more customers are using their mobile phones to buy clothes. 

In response to this trend, you decide to improve the mobile experience of your website, implementing a responsive design and a mobile application to facilitate navigation and purchases from mobile devices. As a result, your customers can easily browse and purchase your products from their smartphones, improving customer satisfaction and increasing online sales.

A flexible and adaptable mindset is essential to implement Future Proofing in your online store.

What does this imply? It means that you must be willing to reconsider and adjust your strategies and business models as your customers' preferences and needs evolve.

The ability to adapt can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as modifying the selection of products available, changing the structure and design of your website, or renewing customer communication tactics on social media platforms and other means of contact. This evolution is important, even if existing practices have remained unchanged for years.

Pillars of Future Proofing in eCommerce: 

The implementation of Future Proofing in an online store is based on several fundamental pillars, which are crucial to keep the store adaptable and relevantly updated in the long term.

These pillars are:

1. Technological flexibility 

For an ecommerce focused on Future Proofing, it is essential to have flexible systems and platforms. These solutions should enable seamless integration of new functionality and updates. In practice, this means choosing software with scalable architectures, employing open source APIs, and having the ability to adapt and extend its functionality as needs arise.

Imagine an e-commerce store that opts for a platform that supports a wide range of electronic payment methods, such as PayPal, Stripe, cash payment and even Bitcoin. This diversity of options not only provides convenience and security for customers, but also allows the store to quickly adapt to changing consumer trends.

To be technologically adaptable, it is important to stay up to date with digital advancements. For example, an online clothing store could use augmented reality to create a virtual fitting room, allowing customers to see how clothes would look on them without leaving home. 

It could also use artificial intelligence to predict customer preferences and suggest tailored products. These technologies not only make the shopping experience more attractive, but also place the store at the forefront of the digital market.

2. Be sustainable and efficient

Sustainability and efficiency are essential for Future Proofing in e-commerce. It is crucial to reflect on the environmental impact of our actions and look for smarter and more efficient ways to operate. It is not just about selling, but about doing so in a way that respects the environment and uses our resources in the most effective way possible.

For example, we could opt for servers that consume less electricity or for packages that can be recycled, thus reducing our environmental footprint. 

It is also essential that we make our daily work more efficient. As? There are many ways. From using software that helps us know exactly how much stock we have and when to replenish it, to finding ways to ship our products faster and less expensively.

3. Innovate and anticipate, the heart of Future Proofing 

Innovation and anticipation is the essence of this strategy. Online stores have to be almost fortunetellers, anticipating what customers will want before they themselves know it, and satisfying these new needs in the most innovative way possible.

A concrete example of this strategy would be an online store using market analysis and data to identify emerging trends and opportunities. If, for example, you detect an increase in demand for products without ingredients of animal origin or that contribute to the economic development of local communities, you could increase your offer of these products and make them a key piece in your marketing strategies.

Customers look for online stores to not only introduce new products, but also offer an improved shopping experience through the use of cutting-edge technology. 

In the case of a furniture and home decor store, this could translate into implementing augmented reality to enrich the shopper experience. This interactive tool would allow customers to visualize how the furniture would look in their own spaces, helping them determine aspects such as size and style, and how it would integrate with the rest of their decor.

Steps to implement Future Proofing in your eCommerce 

1. Analyze the current situation of your online store

In our checklist of requirements to apply Future Proofing, the first thing is to carry out an exhaustive analysis of our online store. Where is this? It involves carrying out an in-depth evaluation of how it works, from technological infrastructure, such as the e-commerce platform we use, to online security and website loading speed.

Likewise, it is essential to take a close look at our daily operations, which include inventory management, logistics and our customer service strategy. This process plays a vital role in keeping us at the top of our game in the world of e-commerce.

2. Make a plan that points to the future 

We have completed the evaluation of our online store. What is the next step? It is now imperative to develop a long-term strategy, focusing on ensuring its future adaptation. 

In this process, it is essential to identify areas for improvement and establish goals and objectives clearly. Furthermore, we must be aware of market trends and changing demands of our customers, as this will significantly help us in effectively adjusting our e-commerce business.

3. Execute strategies gradually 

Planning is complete and it is now essential to take concrete actions to turn our plans into reality. 

Among the most critical are the update or even the complete renewal of our e-commerce platform, as well as the integration of new technological tools. We must not neglect strengthening online security, optimizing our website performance and constantly improving customer experience. To ensure their success, these strategies must be executed following a plan and gradually, so that we avoid interruptions in the operation of our online store.