Rethinking pre-studies: Do they still matter in e-commerce?

The last year has seen more significant advancements in e-commerce than the previous five years combined. This rapid pace of innovation presents both opportunities and challenges for merchants. Carl Abrahamsson, COO at Geins, questions the necessity of the traditional pre-study phase in such an unpredictable future. He explores how merchants can navigate the unknown, leveraging what they know while preparing to succeed with the unexpected.

Is a pre-study necessary?

Traditionally, pre-studies have been an integral part of planning, providing a roadmap for development and implementation. However, in the current landscape, where technology evolves almost daily, the relevance of pre-studies is being questioned. While they offer a structured approach to planning, their findings can quickly become outdated.

I'm not suggesting we completely abandon pre-studies, but shouldn’t they be combined with something that allows for continuous iteration? Instead of lengthy pre-studies, merchants might benefit more from an iterative approach. This involves continuous testing, learning, and adapting rather than relying on a static plan. By staying flexible and open to change, merchants can better respond to new developments and integrate the latest advancements into their operations.

Is a pre-study in e-commerce dead?
Is a pre-study in e-commerce dead?

Planning for the known - The Easy Part (Often)

When planning for the known, merchants should focus on the fundamentals that remain constant despite technological advancements. This includes:

  • Understanding Customer Needs: Continuously gather and analyze customer data to understand their preferences and behaviors. This helps in creating personalized experiences that resonate with your audience.

  • Optimizing Operations: Streamline logistics, inventory management, and supply chain processes to ensure efficiency and reduce costs. Utilize tools for predictive analytics and demand forecasting.

  • Enhancing user experience: Invest in user-friendly website design, fast loading times etc

  • Data Security: Prioritize data security and privacy to build trust with your customers. Implement robust security measures and stay compliant with relevant regulations.

No surprise there, right? 

Preparing for the unknown - The scary (and fun) part

Sometimes I find myself planning things years in advance. Why do I do it? Because I like to be “ahead of the game.” But all those things we plan for are inherently uncertain, because the future is, as we know, unwritten. I don’t even know if I’ll be alive in a few years (dramatic, but true).

Is there a similarity between meticulously planning life and designing a tech stack? Absolutely. Merchants can only plan to be flexible and acknowledge that they don’t know what the future holds. This is more about mindset and philosophy than detailed planning.

To succeed with the unknown, merchants need to cultivate a culture of agility and innovation. Here’s how:

  • Get into a growth mindset: Encourage a culture of continuous learning and experimentation. Stay updated with the latest industry trends and technological advancements.

  • Invest in scalable technology: Choose technology solutions that are flexible and scalable. This allows you to quickly adapt to new tools and integrate them into your existing systems.

  • Build a resilient infrastructure: Ensure your infrastructure can handle sudden changes and spikes in demand. This includes robust cloud solutions, scalable servers, and flexible APIs.

Start there and you’ll be just fine. Promise. 

Choosing the right platform

Merchants must be cautious when selecting a platform (duh). A flexible, scalable solution that can evolve with their business is crucial. Settling for a boxy, rigid platform may hinder growth and adaptability. It’s essential to choose a platform that offers robust integration capabilities and the flexibility to adapt to new market demands and technological advancements.

Wait a bit, what did you say about that?

One red flag to watch out for is when a platform vendor assures you that a feature "works exactly like that." The term "exactly" implies a lack of room for improvement and flexibility. This kind of rigid assurance can indicate that the platform may not adapt well to your evolving needs. 

And remember: Merchants should NEVER be chained to any platform logic.

Why Geins then?

At Geins, we believe in empowering merchants with the tools and insights they need to navigate this landscape. We ensure that our platform provides the flexibility and scalability necessary to thrive in an unpredictable market, helping you turn the unknown into an opportunity for growth and innovation. Our commitment is to enable businesses to pivot swiftly, adapt to market changes, and harness modern technology to stay ahead of the curve.


Carl Abrahamsson

Chief Commercial Officer