Future-proofing your business

Tips for the upcoming financial year


Easter is fast approaching – I hope you have something nice planned for the break.

Our team’s hot cross bun competition is getting spicy with an appropriate amount of trash-talk circling the office before the judging (and eating) commences tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat, waiting to see who will take out the top spot, so be sure to check out our LinkedIn tomorrow afternoon where we’ll formally congratulate the winner.

Spice-filled buns and heckling aside, I find Easter is always a bit of a mixed bag. This year more than ever.

  • Chocolate = excellent

  • Crisp Autumn days = lovely

  • Back-to-back short weeks = nice but tricky operationally

  • Moving office (yes, that’s this weekend) = exciting but tiring

  • End of the financial year = phew

  • Start of the new financial year = yikes

Reading the headlines last week, it seems this mixed-bag theme will continue into the next financial year. So for today’s newsletter, I thought I’d share my (very top-level) findings and offer a few ideas to weather the proverbial storm, so you’re all set to take advantage of brighter days.

Here’s what I’ve got for you:

🗞️ A snapshot of the current climate

🔮 8 tips to future-proof your business

Shopify update:
💪 Optimising your store’s performance

🗞️ NEWS 

A snapshot of the climate 

Over the past week, I’ve been reading economic reports and articles to get my head around where we’re at as we head into a new financial year. As you’d expect from most crystal ball exercises, there are varying predictions and a plethora of variables – but some common themes too.

I’m no economist, but if I were to sum up what I’ve read in a few words, it would look something like this:

2023 – decline
2024 – decline
2025 – recovery
2026 – return to stability

Last year was hard. Here in New Zealand, the economy shrank while interest rates spiked to combat inflation. People tightened their belts and with spending down, most businesses felt the pinch along with the public. A lot of doors closed but thankfully, a lot of great companies survived too.

While we’re not out of the woods yet, it appears there’s light at the end of the tunnel. ANZ’s Quarterly Economic Outlook predicted that the economy will start to recover in 2025, returning to what they’ve dubbed the “mythical equilibrium” in 2026.

I like this term a lot. Not just because it sounds like a nightclub for unicorns, but because it also reminds us that our “stable” economy is constantly shifting – just as it always has and always will.

So where does that leave ecommerce? If nothing else, these lofty predictions can serve as a good motivator to future-proof your company and focus your goals. If recovery really is a year away, then use this time to prepare. Learn to surf now, so that you’re ready to ride the wave when it comes.

To help you do that, here are some ideas…


8 tips to future-proof your business

Tip 1
Diversify your revenue streams

Now is a great time to consider alternative ways to grow your business outside your core offering. Get your team together and brainstorm some ideas.

Is there a new audience you can reach through a different channel? Can you line up some partnerships or collabs? Can you create a members-only offering?

Tip 2
Make decisions with data

The more data you have, the better decisions you’ll make. Identify your most profitable income streams and successful campaigns, then use those learnings to replicate the results.

Track efficiencies, productivity, and wasted materials – these are all areas that can save your business money.

Tip 3
Streamline your operations with tools and automation

Consider how you can increase productivity, or free up your team to focus on areas that will have more impact.

Last week, I mentioned the AI customer service platform Gorgias to assist with simple requests.

Klaviyo flows

Setting up email flows with platforms like Klaviyo is another great way of saving your team time while improving the customer experience and directly contributing to sales.

Bulk editing products in Shopify is another time-saving hack.

Is there something specific to your business that currently involves a lot of legwork? Get in touch. We may be able to build an automation to help.

Tip 4
Be realistic about your inventory levels

This is another area where data plays an important role. If sales are slower than usual, hold less stock. It’s better to sell what you have than be left with excess items that you’ll have to discount.

For readily available items, enable customers to opt into notifications when they’re back in stock. You can use this information to determine how much to reorder or produce.

Offering pre-sales is another good way of determining stock levels before finalising stock quantities.

Tip 5
Nurture your existing customers

Customer loyalty is more important than ever during economic lulls. Last week, I offered several ideas to add value without sacrificing your margin, including loyalty programmes, bundle deals and great customer service. Revisit those ideas here.

Getting customer feedback through incentivised post-purchase reviews is another way to drive loyalty. By asking for their input, you can gather data about your products and services, then use those positive reviews to boost trust and credibility amongst your audience.

Tip 6
Explore low-cost, high-margin products

Remember, your customers may be feeling the pinch right now. Consider offering a range of products with a more affordable price tag.

Digital products such as courses, e-books and downloads are another way of delivering value to your customers while offering a high return for you.

Tip 7
Do more with less

There’s a lot you can do to drive organic reach and engagement. Improving your site’s SEO will increase traffic while engaging with your customers on social media, posting regularly and encouraging user-generated content will increase reach and engagement, and boost advocacy.

Google Keyword Planner

Tip 8
Optimise your ecommerce store

Comparatively, online stores tend to have far lower overheads than physical locations. Plus they’re open 24/7 and can operate through pandemics and extreme weather events! As far as making your company resilient, it pays to invest in a site that will service your business through thick and thin.

The best thing you can focus on is improving your store’s UX (user experience) as it directly impacts your sales. Navigating a site, finding relevant products and being guided towards a purchase needs to be intuitive and compelling to convert.

Need some fresh eyes on your store? Get in touch for a UX audit.


Optimise your store’s performance

Site performance is a big part of the user experience. Those of you with eagle eyes may have noticed that the Shopify ‘speed score’ is gone from the Themes page. Now you’ll find a more in-depth (and accurate) performance dashboard, where you can analyse your store's speed, stability, and interactivity.

In other words:

  • Loading speed — how fast the page loads for the user

  • Visual stability — how smoothly the page loads

  • Interactivity — how responsive the site is when a user interacts with it

The new tool utilises Google’s Core Web Vitals platform, tapping into real user experiences. It’s a big upgrade.

New Shopify performance dashboard

Not all users will have the same experience with your site. The score you get is based on the majority – or the 75th percentile to be specific.

By clicking the bar, you can access an expanded view to see exactly how many users are having good, moderate or poor experiences.

Detailed view of the metrics

Click each section again, and these metrics will be broken down by date, showing how the scores change over time. This view helps to determine what is impacting your site’s performance. If the score got worse on a specific day you can investigate what caused it. Maybe an app install, theme update, or new code slowed things down.

Time chart, showing a spike in poor performance on Jan 19.

As well as delving deeper into the performance of your site, the new dashboard offers best practice tips to make improvements, such as uninstalling inactive apps, using tracking pixels sparingly and serving the best image to every device.

Need help to understand your dashboard or action some of the performance suggestions? Get in touch. 


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Thanks for reading and have a great long weekend!

Until next time.

Alex Murton
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Studio Almond