The last two years have seen a huge growth in retail ecommerce across the world – global online sales have grown by 11% year-on-year in Q3 2021 (Source: Salesforce’s Q3 2021 Shopping Index) – and while growth had been forecast, the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated and significantly increased the scale of that growth.

While this has been good news in principle for ecommerce businesses, it has highlighted many challenges for the sector. In fact some of those challenges are causing businesses to falter rather than being able to exploit the opportunity. Here are some of those challenges that you may be all too familiar with.

Ecommerce Challenges

One of the outcomes of the pandemic and resultant growth of ecommerce is the increase in levels of customer expectation. The demands of the customer are now greater than ever. The customer desires low prices, next day delivery, instant comms with the business and 24/7 support.

If a business fails to meet these expectations, then there is very little loyalty shown by the customer and even less chance of them recommending the product or service to others.

At the same time ecommerce companies are facing their own challenges in addition to meeting customer expectations. The marketing team is being asked to grow market share by the business owners because the ecommerce sector is growing so quickly. They are being asked to do so without any increase in resources and at the same time having to cope with new privacy legislation as well as the increasing cost of customer acquisition.

The service team are being particularly challenged by customer demands and are struggling to meet them. In many cases this is due to the inability to track issues until they have been escalated. The likely cause is the use of different platforms which have been added as the company has grown. So they might have separate email, order tracking, livechat, social media channels all operating without the means to see the data collectively. The people responsible for each of the platforms may well be operating in their own silos too – and in some cases working from home will have extended this communication gap..

Add to this the problems caused by Brexit, global supply chain issues and driver shortages then it’s not difficult to see why some businesses are failing to take advantage of the growth in the ecommerce sector. Even giants such as online retailer ASOS are forecasting a significant downturn in their business.

Yet some businesses are clearly enjoying increased growth and market share. So what are they doing right?

There are a number of key factors to being successful in ecommerce in today’s climate.

 

Customer satisfaction is becoming a key differentiator in a very competitive marketplace

Firstly, making customer satisfaction the key metric of success is necessary as opposed to the volume of customers or new orders. This is a significant mindset shift for many businesses but ultimately is the main driver to growing the business. A satisfied customer is much more likely to repeat purchase and recommend the brand, product or service to others which in turn will help grow the customer base and sales.

If you want to measure customer satisfaction as a KPI, having a single customer view is a prerequisite. A single customer view (SCV) is a centralised platform where there is a holistic view of customers across the entire buyer’s journey. With an SCV, it’s possible to identify and track every interaction with current and prospective customers, which allows for the development of relevant and targeted strategies.

A single customer view combines information from every interaction your customer has with you whether that’s on your site, in email, on social media, with your  customer services team or in store. That information can be combined with data about their purchase history as well as information around demographics and other behaviours so you can get a full view of the entire customer journey from initial awareness all the way through to advocacy.

Once in place the SCV is also available to everyone in your company whether in a marketing, sales or service capacity which allows for far greater insights for the whole business.

In order to create the single customer view, a business needs a CRM-based platform that either provides all the functionality or one that can successfully integrate all existing platforms. Platforms such as Salesforce Pardot, Adobe Marketo, Salesforce Eloqua or HubSpot all do the above and depending on the scale of the business will determine the best fit.

Hubspot in particular targets the SME marketplace and is priced accordingly. It’s also designed to scale with the business so there is a low cost of entry with basic functionality that can go all the way to an enterprise level. This helps to de-risk a business that wants to move to a customer satisfaction model in a controlled and affordable way.

Hubspot can also integrate with other existing platforms so the move can be gradual rather than trying to do everything at once. A HubSpot license is usually less expensive than the collective cost of several alternative platforms so there can be a saving as well as digital transformation.

But no matter what your platform is, the same principles apply of being able to collate the data that is needed to give a single customer view and as a result being able to measure customer satisfaction.

 

Increased Touchpoints

Increasing the number of touchpoints for customers is another important factor in conversion success. It’s sometimes referred to as conversation marketing which essentially means allowing a prospective customer to talk with the seller at the point at which they are about to purchase. If there is any doubt in the prospect’s mind or they need clarification about the product or service, then they want to speak to the business. According to Forrester, 50% of adults will abandon a purchase if you can’t give them a quick answer to their question.

It would seem that most companies appear to make it increasingly difficult for anyone to get in touch with them but this is a mistake and only generates frustration for the prospect or customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions can partially help in dealing with issues of concern to the prospect but often they don’t have the patience. So apart from being able to man the switchboard 24/7, which is realistic only for the largest companies, what other options are available?

Chat is increasingly being used by businesses as a solution as it is a flexible option for most businesses. Although chat as a technology has been around for many years, its accelerated growth is doubtless due to the restrictions of people not being able to get to shops as a result of the pandemic.

But it has grown, and is now becoming the preferred means of getting in touch with companies ahead of social media, email and even by phone. Prospects like it because of the convenience, reduced wait times and the anonymity of it. 

More than that however, research shows that companies with chat have higher conversion rates of around 12% (Source: LTV Plus) and that 63% of customers are more likely to return to a website that has chat. (Source: Emarketer).  We can only see the use of chat continuing to increase.

 

We believe that the companies that are undoubtedly exploiting the e-commerce boom are those that have adopted customer satisfaction as a key metric and are focusing on the needs of their customers as a priority by using tools like chat. We also believe that by adopting this approach they will continue being successful even after the pandemic has gone and life returns to normal.

 


If you would like to learn more about any of the above, then please get in touch with us and we can organise a demonstration of some of the key features mentioned.

BOOK A MEETING

 

On October 12th, HubSpot’s leaders took to the stage for INBOUND 21 – well, the virtual stage, since things still aren’t quite back to normal in these post-Covid times. But they didn’t let that stop them – the INBOUND event is one of the world’s biggest and best marketing events, with influential speakers from across all areas of digital and culture. It’s also the forum used to announce innovative exciting new HubSpot updates, and this year was no different. Let’s take a look at the latest HubSpot product updates, as premiered at INBOUND 21.


What did HubSpot announce?

HubSpot is on a mission to become the number one CRM in the world and they believe that means focusing on the three Cs: customisable, well-connected and customer-centric. 

All of the key updates announced at at this year’s INBOUND 21 can be bucketed into these three categories – and all of HubSpot’s new features can be summed up in this simple statement from Libby Maurer, VP User Experience: “You shouldn’t have to work for your CRM. Your CRM should just work for you.”


Customisable

When it comes to customising a CRM, HubSpot reckon it’s important not just to customise the database part, but also ensure that it can be customised to make it easy to use for customers. It can be daunting to roll out new features without testing them, so one of the key new features HubSpot has launched is sandboxes, available for Enterprise users.

What are sandboxes?

HubSpot describes these as “production-like portals where you can try new things without impacting your current setup”. Essentially, sandboxes are a safe space that emulates your actual CRM so you can test out new features to see what the impact is before you actually push anything live. 

Whether it’s rolling out a new sales pipeline, introducing integrations or developing a new theme, sandboxes enable you to run experiments so you can see what works and what doesn’t without impacting your current setup.

 

Attacat’s View: This feature is perfect for HubSpot developers & solution architects who need to ensure that custom integrations & additional automations are put through UAT before being released to production. It is an enterprise feature, suited to HubSpot customers whose business processes are heavily reliant on HubSpot. 

 

Are there any other new customisable features?

The introduction of sandboxes could be a game-changer, but it’s not the only new feature that allows you to make your CRM your own. 

At INBOUND 21, HubSpot also announced new business units, allowing you to easily manage multiple brands across a single HubSpot portal. If you have multiple brands under one roof, this will be big news for your business, making it much easier to keep on top of your different assets.

There’s also a new set of admin features to make it easier to add users to your CRM and ensure everyone has the right level of access.


Well-connected

HubSpot is striving to improve access to data and reporting, and that’s what they mean by being “connected” – connected to the information you need to take your business to the next level. The big news here is the introduction of the Operations Hub Enterprise.

What’s the Operations Hub?

HubSpot knows that for businesses to grow, they need to run more efficiently. That’s why they launched Operations Hub back in April 2021, giving businesses a unified toolset that allowed teams to connect and clean data. It was originally available in Free, Starter and Professional versions – but at INBOUND 21, it was announced that Operations Hub Enterprise would soon be released.

What does Operations Hub Enterprise offer?

The key feature in the enterprise-level version of the Operations Hub is datasets, a new business intelligence feature that allows ops leaders to curate data collection. They can set up reusable tables for their business, including pre-selected fields and calculated values. This saves ops teams time and gives them more control over their data – and what’s more, it gives downstream business users easier access to data. Datasets ensure that the most meaningful data is collected, it’s consistent across the board, and it’s easy for everyone in the business to use and interpret.

Operations Hub Enterprise also offers fast and easy integration of HubSpot data into Snowflake, an industry-leading data warehouse, with Snowflake Data Share. It’s a turnkey solution, giving companies a fast and easy solution for integrating and analysing data from two different sources.

 

Attacat’s View: Ideal for Operations & Marketing teams that need to ensure a high level of data quality within HubSpot, saving time & money by automating the data cleanse process. Allowing them to get on with sparking growth rather than spending time tidying up their data. 


Customer-centric

There were some big updates to make HubSpot even more customer-focused than ever before, including customer portals, custom surveys and, most exciting of all, native payment processing.

Customer portals

This update is designed to put the power back in the hands of customers, freeing up more time and resources for your customer support teams. Companies can create a branded customer portal where customers can log in to easily view and manage their support tickets, find answers to their questions in the knowledge base and, generally, have a more empowered service experience. Your support agents can stop answering repetitive questions from customers, and customers will be happy with the speed and ease their queries are resolved – it’s a win-win situation!

 

Attacat’s view: This benefits Service teams with SLA’s in place, where customer service issues are often handled offline and across departments, where your customers are required to be updated on their issue throughout the process. 

 

Custom surveys

Who doesn’t want to increase customer satisfaction? Well, HubSpot has just made it easier for you to ensure your customers feel valued with the introduction of custom feedback surveys. These can be easily customised to your company’s needs so you can gather insights on what matters most to your business – but for ease, HubSpot also offers pre-built net promoter score (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT) and customer effort score (CES) surveys. Either way, the easy-to-use built-in dashboards ensure you can see at a glance how your customers feel about your business, instantly picking up on any pain points.

Native payment processing

One of the biggest announcements at INBOUND 21 was the introduction of CRM-powered payment processing, called Payments. Currently only available in the USA, we hope that it’ll expand to the rest of the world soon, as Payments is built natively within the CRM, making the purchase journey much easier for both businesses and customers. You can accept payments within your CRM, meaning there’s no need for multiple tools – you’ll have your website, CRM, reporting, automation and now, payments, all in one place.


 

Excited by these updates? Want to find out how HubSpot’s new features can help to streamline your business processes? We can help with HubSpot onboarding and management – just get in touch with us today for a free demo or HubSpot audit with one of our experts. 

Another New Face at Attacat

Say hi to Carina, our new Inbound Marketing Manager. And if you want to know a bit more about her and what she did before joining the team, watch the video below.

Carina Interview October 2021 from Attacat Internet Marketing on Vimeo.

 


…And Still Recruiting

We’re not done yet. We are still looking for people to fill the following roles:

And generally we are on the lookout for anyone with experience of (and a passion for) HubSpot.

For more information on any of the above please visit https://www.attacat.co.uk/jobs

 


Growing Together – Client News

It’s been a busy month for our clients with some of them exploiting the latest features launched by HubSpot in October at Inbound 21. More about that later. As a Platinum Partner, Attacat has had access to some of the new functionality ahead of the launch and have already worked with our clients where there has been a benefit to their business.

London Grid for Learning Trust (LGFL) is a charitable trust whose mission is the advancement of education. Digital transformation is very much part of that mission. Working with LGFL, we’ve recently introduced both the new Operations Hub and CMS Hub into their HubSpot suite.

Operations Hub allows for greater flexibility to automate business processes and easier integration with other industry standard platforms. Using CMS Hub LGFL now has a savings calculator available in the customer portal and on their main website that uses HubSpot CRM data to present real time savings for existing customers and acts as a lead generation tool for new customers identifying their prospective savings.

 


Digital Transformation – Technology News

HubSpot Inbound 21

As mentioned, HubSpot launch significant new features every year in October at their Inbound show. This year on October 12, they announced the following new features which we think many of our clients will find interesting and potentially useful for their businesses.

Customer Portals allows a business to personalise the service experience for their customers. Knowledge base content and ticketing conversations will be at an individual level for customers. Customer portals are also easy to set up without the need for developer resources.

Customer Feedback Surveys makes sure that customers can be heard and valued on every step of their journey. The software allows for a choice of pre-built options such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effect Score (CES) and customer satisfaction (CSAT).

HubSpot has created a Sandbox platform which allows for a testing environment and mirrors the live account. Businesses will be able to sync their live account with their sandbox and experiment with any integrations before going live.

Coming soon is a new Payment Gateway which will deliver the buyer’s experience inside the CRM. We’ll keep you posted as to when this will be available in the UK.

 

If you’d like to discuss any of these new features then please get in touch at grow@attacat.co.uk


Our New Home!

Attacat has moved. We’re now just off McDonald Road in The Stack. You can’t miss it. Just look for the old brick chimney stack. The current COVID restrictions has meant that we can’t fully utilise it with everyone just yet, but we hope to be able to welcome you  to our new offices soon.

In the meantime, here’s a quick tour.

The Stack from Attacat Internet Marketing on Vimeo.


 

New Faces at Attacat

We’ve had a lot of people join the team in the last few months, so if you haven’t met them yet, please allow us to introduce them.

Graeme Orr

Graeme joins as Senior PPC Account Director. Graeme brings a huge amount of expertise and experience to this role having spent many years previously with Amber Green and subsequently 8 Million Stories. He’s looking forward to the challenge of integrating inbound and ecommerce marketing.

Out with work he loves spending time with his dog and his daughter (not necessarily in that order), watching football and F1 and is also a keen runner.

Hannah Porter

As part of our continuing build-up of HubSpot expertise, Hannah joins as Inbound Marketing Manager. Hannah was previously working in a similar role for Indigo Vision which was recently purchased by Motorola Solutions. She also welcomes the opportunity to bring that expertise across into ecommerce.

Normally an ardent traveller, Hannah has had to focus on getting to know Edinburgh better and has become one of the many devotees to wild swimming.

Ryan Lees and Marlena Vollmer 

Ryan and Marlena are recent graduates of the Edinburgh University Business School and join as PPC Growth Executives where we can only assume they were inspired by the “Marketing in a digital world” module that Tim (Attacat’s MD) teaches.

Ryan loves his football and has now taken on the role of coaching the Broxburn Athletics Under 12s.

Marlena enjoys running and hiking so has spent the last 12 months exploring Scotland. She has recently taken up bouldering (climbing without ropes).

Joe Moncrieff

Joe is still studying Computer Science at Edinburgh University but is interning for the summer at Attacat as a developer and has been getting stuck into the HubSpot API.

Away from the computer Joe enjoys parkour (free running) and bouldering as well as competitive sailing in the Squib class (he recently won his class as Cowes week. No mean feat).

Richard Taylor

Richard will be helping to market Attacat.  Richard is a long-time friend of the company and has previously worked in a HubSpot agency in a consultancy role.

Richard enjoys more sedate sports including golf, curling and sea kayaking.

 


…And Still Recruiting

We’re not done yet. We are still looking for people to fill the following roles:

Technical Implementation Specialist to bolster the transformation team

Inbound Marketing Manager to join Hannah and Jenny

And generally we are on the lookout for anyone with experience of (and a passion for) HubSpot.

For more information on any of the above please visit https://www.attacat.co.uk/jobs

 


 

Scottish Development International Webinar – Making the case for CRM in ecommerce

Tim Barlow and Andrew Morgan gave a fascinating insight into the challenges for ecommerce businesses to meet the demands and expectations of today’s customers. They believe that the “single customer view” is critical in creating a database of loyal customers. The key is identifying the right type of CRM that brings all the necessary tools together to make this possible.

In case you missed it and want to watch: Click on the link

 


Attacat Watercooler Day

To celebrate the lifting of some of the restrictions, we organised a fun social day in late June. We’re always keen to try something new, so this year we had 11  Attacats paddle from North Berwick to Seacliff. That’s a distance of just over 6km and took just over 2.5 hours. Our reward was a BBQ and beers on the beach on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Thanks to George and Dun Eideann Sea Kayaking for keeping everyone safe and being a great host.

Here’s a quick video of the day: