Powering ecommerce success with the best tech stack

dotmailer recently gathered at the inaugural Shopify Plus meetup in New York City for an evening of fun, networking and education on this very topic. We brought together some big minds and bright ideas from retailers Minbie, dormify and Campus Protein to touch on firsthand lessons learned when negotiating contracts, getting the most out of your partner/vendor support teams, and learning about best-of-breed Shopify Plus technology partners (including Nosto, Addressy and TVPage).

The panel theme ‘Picking Your Ideal Tech Stack’ was moderated by Ben Staveley, dotmailer’s VP of Operations. One of the common pain points shared by the merchants was that they all have relatively small teams that need to wear a lot of hats. They offered some valuable tips that businesses of all sizes should consider when evaluating a technology solution.

When evaluating partners and their technology solutions, Russell Saks, CEO & Founder, Campus Protein, said:

The product needs to be one that is fairly intuitive. Before we actually schedule a demo it needs to be something that we are highly considering. Time is valuable and what typically follows is a lot of sales calls. We also evaluate what kind of extra customization we can add to an out-of-the-box piece of software. This allows us to have a better fit for our business and also gives us a competitive advantage. You have to remember everyone has the same access to the software that you do so it’s really how you utilize and fit it into your business that will truly give you that edge.

Our VP of Operations, Ben Staveley

Nicole Gardner, Chief Operating Officer, dormify suggested:

As partners evolve, others become irrelevant. We are always watching this so we are not wasting time/money as a company on non-performers. Look not just at what the tool does, but what is planned, how quickly the vendor/partner is releasing new features, and how often they have in the past. We expect everyone to be regularly releasing new features – in this day and age, an aggressive roadmap is essential.

 

According to Torquhil Anderson, Co Founder, Minbie:

There is always the temptation to gravitate towards the shiny new thing. Avoid this by applying a framework to rank which tools will actually move the needle most for your business. Once you have made your decision, don’t deliberate, just get in there and get your hands dirty. It’s only through testing the platform that you will truly see whether it adds value to your business.

To summarize the evening, merchants are looking to evaluate solutions that deliver the best ROI and those that continue to evolve as the needs of their eCommerce businesses evolve. For more information, check out why merchants are moving to Shopify Plus.

Not just education, we also said fun, right? Some refreshing Tipsy Scoop ice cream was a welcome treat on this hot summer night shared by many of our friends, partners and colleagues. We look forward to the next outing!

The post Powering ecommerce success with the best tech stack appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 1 month ago from blog.dotmailer.com

dotmailer’s Global Head of Support enjoys success at this year’s Contact Centre Awards

Incredible people power, a rapid response to queries, and dedication on a one-to-one level – these are the elements of customer support that we believe empowers marketers – and it’s what makes us the ESP trusted by brands like Barbour, Fred Perry, Screwfix and VIZIO. So it’s no surprise to us that dotmailer’s Global Head of Support, Darren Hockley, was recently awarded the Special Judges Award at the 2017 London & South East Contact Center Awards.

The team enjoyed an exciting evening of celebrations at The Marriott in Heathrow having entered into two impressive categories: Support Team of the Year and Digital Customer Service Team of the Year. We caught up with Darren back at the office to find out more:

Congratulations on your brilliant achievement, Darren.

Thanks a lot. I’m still in a bit of shock, really – it was quite unexpected. We’d entered into two categories and were unsuccessful this time around. But to be recognized by the judges for an individual award for outstanding performance was really special.

Absolutely – what a fantastic prize! What does the award mean for you?

To be perfectly honest, this is everyone’s award. I was showcasing the work we’ve achieved as a team, and I feel very proud of how far we’ve come in a year. To see us up alongside huge household names like UK Power Networks and Choice Hotels is testament to the incredible support the team provides for dotmailer customers and the impact that made on this year’s judges. So that feels pretty special.

For anyone who might be in the dark about dotmailer Support, can you provide a flavor of some of your team’s day-to-day activities?

The dotmailer Support team are the first line of call for anything platform related. We operate across all of our global office locations, and provide one-on-one support to our 5,000+ customers across 70,000+ accounts. A lot of what we do is technical enablement; we play a crucial role in on-boarding new users so they get the best out of their best-of-breed ESP. Plus, with so many of our customers taking advantage of dotmailer’s ecommerce integration functionality, we’re there to help people get started without a hitch.

Cool! What would you say your best achievements have been in this past year?

We set ourselves some challenging goals this year, which I’m proud to say we’ve smashed. We wanted to improve our Livechat functionality, first and foremost; with email volumes on the rise, it’s crucial that all of our customers can get in contact with Support quickly and easily. We implemented new, super-fast Livechat tech with an impressive look and feel for users. 98.9% of all chats were answered and the enhanced speed means that customers can expect to be answered in less than 2 minutes 27 seconds. As a result, we’ve seen a 21% decrease in customers having to email for support, and those using Livechat to get instant answers has increased by 230%. It’s been such a success that we’re considering expanding the technology and service to other teams across dotmailer.

Those are some stonking numbers, Darren. You must have a great team behind you.

Absolutely. Another key area we concentrated on was in providing the Support team with training and development opportunities. We think this focus was one of the key reasons we were finalists in the Contact Center Awards this year. Seven of our team members have received promotions this year. As the Global Head of Support, I take great pride in this; it’s fantastic to see highly-trained, committed and successful Support members receiving internal promotions for outstanding performance.

 

We’re not surprised! So what’s next for the Support team?

More of the same! We’re hoping to build on the successes of this year, and I hope the award I received on Monday can inspire the entire team to view their work as invaluable to the success of the company as a whole. Not all readers will know that we’re based in East Croydon in dotmailer’s first ever office; we’ve just entered the Croydon Business Excellence Awards 2017 so we’re looking forward to that. Outside of the glittering awards scene, we’ll be maintaining our passionate customer-focused mindset and will continue to ensure that every customer has the best possible experience when using the dotmailer platform.

Check out this testimonial from Customer Direct Marketing Manager at Forest Holidays, Sheri Riddlesworth:

“The results and support we have had for this project has been amazing, Firmin has gone above and beyond to onboard us and make it work with our website. His guidance, testing and knowledge was really appreciated and wouldn’t have been a success without him”.

dotmailer’s Support team are on hand 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday. If you need to get in touch, you can head to the Support Hub, where you’ll find the Livechat and a whole host of other useful information.

The post dotmailer’s Global Head of Support enjoys success at this year’s Contact Centre Awards appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 3 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Meet Dan Morris, Executive Vice President, North America

  1. Why did you decide to come to dotmailer?

The top three reasons were People, Product and Opportunity. I met the people who make up our business and heard their stories from the past 18 years, learned about the platform and market leading status they had built in the UK, and saw that I could add value with my U.S. high growth business experience. I’ve been working with marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners for years across a series of different roles, and saw that I could apply what I’d learned from that and the start-up space to dotmailer’s U.S. operation. dotmailer has had clients in the U.S. for 12 years and we’re positioned to grow the user base of our powerful and easy-to-use platform significantly. I knew I could make a difference here, and what closed the deal for me was the people.  Every single person I’ve met is deeply committed to the business, to the success of our customers and to making our solution simple and efficient.  We’re a great group of passionate people and I’m proud to have joined the dotfamily.

Dan Morris, dotmailer’s EVP for North America in the new NYC office

      1. Tell us a bit about your new role

dotmailer has been in business and in this space for more than 18 years. We were a web agency, then a Systems Integrator, and we got into the email business that way, ultimately building the dotmailer platform thousands of people use daily. This means we know this space better than anyone and we have the perfect solutions to align closely with our customers and the solutions flexible enough to grow with them.  My role is to take all that experience and the platform and grow our U.S. presence. My early focus has been on identifying the right team to execute our growth plans. We want to be the market leader in the U.S. in the next three years – just like we’ve done in the UK –  so getting the right people in the right spots was critical.  We quickly assessed the skills of the U.S. team and made changes that were necessary in order to provide the right focus on customer success. Next, we set out to completely rebuild dotmailer’s commercial approach in the U.S.  We simplified our offers to three bundles, so that pricing and what’s included in those bundles is transparent to our customers.  We’ve heard great things about this already from clients and partners. We’re also increasing our resources on customer success and support.  We’re intensely focused on ease of on-boarding, ease of use and speed of use.  We consistently hear how easy and smooth a process it is to use dotmailer’s tools.  That’s key for us – when you buy a dotmailer solution, we want to onboard you quickly and make sure you have all of your questions answered right away so that you can move right into using it.  Customers are raving about this, so we know it’s working well.

  1. What early accomplishments are you most proud of from your dotmailer time so far?

I’ve been at dotmailer for eight months now and I’m really proud of all we’ve accomplished together.  We spent a lot of time assessing where we needed to restructure and where we needed to invest.  We made the changes we needed, invested in our partner program, localized tech support, customer on-boarding and added customer success team members.  We have the right people in the right roles and it’s making a difference.  We have a commercial approach that is clear with the complete transparency that we wanted to provide our customers.  We’ve got a more customer-focused approach and we’re on-boarding customers quickly so they’re up and running faster.  We have happier customers than ever before and that’s the key to everything we do.

  1. You’ve moved the U.S. team to a new office. Can you tell us why and a bit about the new space?

I thought it was very important to create a NY office space that was tied to branding and other offices around the world, and also had its own NY energy and culture for our team here – to foster collaboration and to have some fun.  It was also important for us that we had a flexible space where we could welcome customers, partners and resellers, and also hold classes and dotUniversity training sessions. I’m really grateful to the team who worked on the space because it really reflects our team and what we care about.   At any given time, you’ll see a training session happening, the team collaborating, a customer dropping in to ask a few questions or a partner dropping in to work from here.  We love our new, NYC space.

We had a spectacular reception this week to celebrate the opening of this office with customers, partners and the dotmailer leadership team in attendance. Please take a look at the photos from our event on Facebook.

Guests and the team at dotmailer's new NYC office warming party

Guests and the team at dotmailer’s new NYC office warming party

  1. What did you learn from your days in the start-up space that you’re applying at dotmailer?

The start-up space is a great place to learn. You have to know where every dollar is going and coming from, so every choice you make needs to be backed up with a business case for that investment.  You try lots of different things to see if they’ll work and you’re ready to turn those tactics up or down quickly based on an assessment of the results. You also learn things don’t have to stay the way they are, and can change if you make them change. You always listen and learn – to customers, partners, industry veterans, advisors, etc. to better understand what’s working and not working.  dotmailer has been in business for 18 years now, and so there are so many great contributors across the business who know how things have worked and yet are always keen to keep improving.  I am constantly in listening and learning mode so that I can understand all of the unique perspectives our team brings and what we need to act on.

  1. What are your plans for the U.S. and the sales function there?

On our path to being the market leader in the U.S., I’m focused on three things going forward: 1 – I want our customers to be truly happy.  It’s already a big focus in the dotmailer organization – and we’re working hard to understand their challenges and goals so we can take product and service to the next level. 2 – Creating an even more robust program around partners, resellers and further building out our channel partners to continuously improve sales and customer service programs. We recently launched a certification program to ensure partners have all the training and resources they need to support our mutual customers.  3 – We have an aggressive growth plan for the U.S. and I’m very focused on making sure our team is well trained, and that we remain thoughtful and measured as we take the steps to grow.  We want to always keep an eye on what we’re known for – tools that are powerful and simple to use – and make sure everything else we offer remains accessible and valuable as we execute our growth plans.

  1. What are the most common questions that you get when speaking to a prospective customer?

The questions we usually get are around price, service level and flexibility.  How much does dotmailer cost?  How well are you going to look after my business?  How will you integrate into my existing stack and then my plans for future growth? We now have three transparent bundle options with specifics around what’s included published right on our website.  We have introduced a customer success team that’s focused only on taking great care of our customers and we’re hearing stories every day that tells me this is working.  And we have all of the tools to support our customers as they grow and to also integrate into their existing stacks – often integrating so well that you can use dotmailer from within Magento, Salesforce or Dynamics, for example.

  1. Can you tell us about the dotmailer differentiators you highlight when speaking to prospective customers that seem to really resonate?

In addition to the ones above – ease of use, speed of use and the ability to scale with you. With dotmailer’s tiered program, you can start with a lighter level of functionality and grow into more advanced functionality as you need it. The platform itself is so easy to use that most marketers are able to build campaigns in minutes that would have taken hours on other platforms. Our customer success team is also with you all the way if ever you want or need help.  We’ve built a very powerful platform and we have a fantastic team to help you with personalized service as an extended part of your team and we’re ready to grow with you.

  1. How much time is your team on the road vs. in the office? Any road warrior tips to share?

I’ve spent a lot of time on the road, one year I attended 22 tradeshows! Top tip when flying is to be willing to give up your seat for families or groups once you’re at the airport gate, as you’ll often be rewarded with a better seat for helping the airline make the family or group happy. Win win! Since joining dotmailer, I’m focused on being in office and present for the team and customers as much as possible. I can usually be found in our new, NYC office where I spend a lot of time with our team, in customer meetings, in trainings and other hosted events, sales conversations or marketing meetings. I’m here to help the team, clients and partners to succeed, and will always do my best to say yes! Once our prospective customers see how quickly and efficiently they can execute tasks with dotmailer solutions vs. their existing solutions, it’s a no-brainer for them.  I love seeing and hearing their reactions.

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself – favorite sports team, favorite food, guilty pleasure, favorite band, favorite vacation spot?

I’m originally from Yorkshire in England, and grew up just outside York. I moved to the U.S. about seven years ago to join a very fast growing startup, we took it from 5 to well over 300 people which was a fantastic experience. I moved to NYC almost two years ago, and I love exploring this great city.  There’s so much to see and do.  Outside of dotmailer, my passion is cars, and I also enjoy skeet shooting, almost all types of music, and I love to travel – my goal is to get to India, Thailand, Australia and Japan in the near future.

Want to find out more about the dotfamily? Check out our recent post about Darren Hockley, Global Head of Support.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Is Australia the land of opportunity for your retail brand?

Australia has a resident population of more than 24 million and, according to eMarketer, the country’s ecommerce sales are predicted to reach A$32.56 billion by 2017. The country’s remote location in the APAC region means that unlike European countries or the USA, traditionally there have been a lack of global brands sold locally.

Of course, we also know that many expatriates, particularly from inside the Commonwealth, have made Australia their home and are keen to buy products they know and love from their country of origin.

All of these factors present a huge and potentially lucrative opportunity for non-Australian brands wanting to open up their new and innovative products to a fresh market, or compete for market share.

But it’s not just non-Australian retailers who are at an advantage here: Australia was late to the ecommerce party because native, established brands were trading well without it. Subsequently, Australian retailers’ ecommerce technology stacks are much more recent and not burdened by legacy systems. This makes it much easier to extend, or get started with, best-of-breed technologies and cash in on a market that’s booming. To put some of this into perspective, Magento’s innovative ecommerce platform currently takes 42% of Australia’s market share and the world’s first adopter of Magento 2.0 was an Australian brand.

The GST loophole

At the moment, local retailers are campaigning against a rule that exempts foreign websites from being charged a 10% general sales tax (GST) on purchases under A$1,000. And in 2013, Australian consumers made $3.11 billion worth of purchases under A$1,000.[1]

While the current GST break appears to put non-Australian retailers at an advantage, Australian-based brands such as Harvey Norman are using it to their advantage by setting up ecommerce operations in Asia to enjoy the GST benefit.

Australian consumers have also countered the argument by saying that price isn’t always the motivator when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

It’s not a place where no man has gone before

Often, concerns around meeting local compliance and lack of overseas business knowledge prevent outsiders from taking the leap into cross-border trade. However, this ecommerce passport, created by Ecommerce Worldwide and NORA, is designed to support those considering selling in Australia. The guide provides a comprehensive look into everything from the country’s economy and trade status, to logistics and dealing with international payments.

Global expansion success stories are also invaluable sources of information. For instance, it’s not just lower-end retailers that are fitting the bill, with brands like online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter naming Australia as one of its biggest markets.

How tech-savvy are the Aussies?

One of the concerns you might have as a new entrant into the market is how you’ll reach and sell to your new audience, particularly without having a physical presence. The good news is that more than 80% of the country is digitally enabled and 60% of mobile phone users own a smartphone – so online is deeply rooted into the majority of Australians’ lives. [2]

Marketing your brand

Heard the saying “Fire bullets then fire cannonballs”? In any case, you’ll want to test the waters and gauge people’s reactions to your product or service.

It all starts with the website because, without it, you’re not discoverable or searchable, and you’ve nowhere to drive people to when running campaigns. SEO and SEM should definitely be a priority, and an online store that can handle multiple regions and storefronts, like Magento, will make your life easier. A mobile-first mentality and well thought-out UX will also place you in a good position.

Once your new web store is set up, you should be making every effort to collect visitors’ email addresses, perhaps via a popover. Why? Firstly, email is one of the top three priority areas for Australian retailers, because it’s a cost-effective, scalable marketing channel that enables true personalization.

Secondly, email marketing automation empowers you to deliver the customer experience today’s consumer expects, as well as enabling you to communicate with them throughout the lifecycle. Check out our ‘Do customer experience masters really exist?’ whitepaper for some real-life success stories.

Like the Magento platform, dotmailer is set up to handle multiple languages, regions and accounts, and is designed to grow with you.

In summary, there’s great scope for ecommerce success in Australia, whether you’re a native bricks-and-mortar retailer, a start-up or a non-Australian merchant. The barriers to cross-border trade are falling and Australia is one of APAC’s most developed regions in terms of purchasing power and tech savviness.

We recently worked with ecommerce expert Chloe Thomas to produce a whitepaper on cross-border trade, which goes into much more detail on how to market and sell successfully in new territories. You can download a free copy here.

[1] Australian Passport 2015: Cross-Border Trading Report

[2] Australian Passport 2015: Cross-Border Trading Report

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

The secret to writing awesome local content

Great content is essential for success in local SEO, but unfortunately, a lot of local business websites are sorely lacking in this area. Columnist Greg Gifford shares his advice on how to write excellent website copy for local SEO.

The post The secret to writing awesome local content appeared…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

The SEO Advent Calendar: 24 Tips For Local SEO Success

Give your business the gift of local optimization this holiday season with columnist Marcus Miller’s Local SEO Advent Calendar!

The post The SEO Advent Calendar: 24 Tips For Local SEO Success appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from feeds.searchengineland.com