Five ways to future-proof your online brand

The online world changes at a rapid rate and that means your business needs to be constantly looking to the future. Staying adaptable and flexible is key to help your digital company thrive over the coming years. The global pandemic shone a light on this in multiple ways. It meant quick, sudden changes to many aspects, from the customer experience to actually delivering items, not to mention keeping a close watch on local and global responses. 


Looking more broadly though, we can identify five trends that are practically guaranteed to impact your online business over the next ten or so years. Here’s how to prepare for them. 


Ethics Are Everything

Think about the values of your company. Gen Z and Millennial consumers are becoming a vitally important consumer market and they hold businesses to high moral standards. Show how you’re behaving in ethical ways, such as supporting environmentally-friendly projects, and this positive behaviour will be rewarded by your customers. 


Emerging Markets Will Play An Enormous Role

The internet is beginning to have a huge impact on the developing world and this will only grow over the coming years. Experts say this could lead to 3 billion potential new customers in the next five years alone. For example, fintech companies are already working to make online payments easier in these markets, taking advantage of the fact that this has historically been difficult. 


The nature of being an online business means you can reach people many thousands of miles away as easily as those next door. Look at what your digital company can do to reach customers in emerging markets as these could soon prove to be a vital new source of income for your business. 


The Pitfalls Of Automation

Using automated processes is widespread, whether it’s based on signing up to subscription lists or acknowledging sales. This is key for practically every business, both physical and online. The key comes from making this automation feel safe and trustworthy. Online scams are rife so if the customer sees a link between robotic marketing mails and dangerous spam emails you’ll lose their trust. Automation is important for any growing business but it needs to be implemented cleverly, with an organic, honest feel. 


Think Physical

The trend in recent years has been for physical businesses to focus on online sales at the expense of physical locations that people can visit. We are seeing signs of this trend reversing, with huge companies like Nike opening physical stores where people can put a human face to the brand.


This emotional connection can’t be overstated particularly as Gen Z  and Millenial consumers value the in-person experience much more than previous generations. It’s less about providing a bricks and mortar place to buy products but more about face-to-face contact and an authentic experience. This won’t be applicable to every digital business but don’t underestimate the power of the physical. 


Look To B2B

Online businesses have exploded in number in recent years due to how easy they are to set up compared to physical businesses. This means there’s a new whole market to focus your attention on. B2B means ‘business to business’ rather than ’business to consumer’ (B2C), and if you can target these companies with your products you’ll establish a whole new income stream.