SMEs warned to beware of digital snares this Christmas

SMEs warned to beware of digital snares this Christmas

Digital marketing technology may be more of a time waster and productivity killer than a panacea this Christmas because it could ty your staff away from other important activities like customer service.

Wasted time can be crippling for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar companies, both of which are hoping to capitalise on the revenue injection during the Christmas shopping rush period.

This holiday season, a lot of retail companies will be testing new online shopping systems that were set up to survive Covid-19. Now that the worst of the pandemic is over, those companies are about to see if these online systems can cope with the biggest sales month of the year.

The pandemic forced many companies to switch to online shopping. As a result, competition is at record highs in the e-commerce space.

But many of these online adaptations are being foiled by over-complicated sales and marketing systems. Many companies chose third-party backend marketing software that perhaps wasn’t best suited to their needs, was overly costly, and has become clunky for both retailers and their customers.

Over-complexity is always bad for businesses, particularly with e-commerce companies wanting to extend their digital marketing capabilities. These usually comprise third-party marketing systems bolted together onto a business website to try and follow the buying habits of customers, increase sales and exposure, and help create loyalty.

To stand out in the current environment you need to optimise your business processes, including sales and marketing. Complexity adds up to time wasting for the staff, and annoyance for the customer. That’s the last thing you want during the Christmas rush.

It can be tempting when creating a new sales channel in an existing business to include all kinds of online tools and software, each with a promise of simplifying operations.

Advice comes from all directions about setting up things like Shopify for e-commerce retail, Mailchimp to deliver newsletter campaigns, adding a complex CRM, integrating ExoNet or Xero, adding Ask Nicely for polls, and maybe even a loyalty rewards programme— the list is endless. While these are all great, it is far better for a company to be strategic about what it needs, and even better to use software that simplifies the entire Customer Experience (CX), and the retailer’s time and costs.

The simple fact is, the more components a website deploys, the harder it is to follow user information seamlessly and create an effortless customer experience. It’s also a lot more time-consuming for businesses.

With overly complex systems, your marketing is less effective because you're not as responsive. The company and the customer are both wasting time tangled in a mess of clashing software which inevitably increases the cost for the business and frustration for the customer.

Often, to reduce these costs, companies make the mistake of treating customers in a generic way, which makes things even worse. People don’t like receiving blanket emails in this competitive environment.

It may seem like a good plan to pick the most well-known, big-name software suites to build the back end of an e-commerce store and digital marketing experience. However, it’s often better to choose a single all-encompassing package that optimises all the major operations, even if some components are not precisely what a company needs at that moment.

Reduce your platforms and marketing software to an optimised package that is more seamless, if possible. It is hard to sew different software packages together since they’re often not meant to connect. Using a premium digital marketing platform with eCommerce means you can spend more time delivering results for customers and have more manageable customer data.

If customers feel they are just one out-of-the-box, they won’t be as invested in the company. Automated responses and generic emails can make customers feel small and unwanted, and they eventually unsubscribe.

It saves a huge amount of time and money to integrate inventory, accounts etc., but by optimising your customer data in one place your business can better manage customers and create better, and more targeted marketing decisions.

We see many companies that have had 6-7 different systems all trying to talk together and becoming a bit of a tangled mess. By simplifying and optimising customer data, we can often capture more of it and manage it efficiently. This allows the staff to create targeted automation that is more personalised to each customer. This helps to create loyalty, as customers are more genuinely interested in the company’s marketing campaigns.