This week we are officially announcing our reimagined website service Seedling Commerce. Driven to create an Australian focused website service that not only allows businesses to easily extend their services online, but to also offer a range of built in tools for business owners and managers to better serve their customers online and strengthen their conversion rates and marketing. Taking it back to the basics, we have carved out an eCommerce CMS for small business to grow their online presence all for a simple monthly price.
Why have we gone back to basics? Well, there are a few issues that we are starting to see that have lead us down this road. The first is that there are just too many tools and channels available. In today’s digital world we are spoilt for choice, especially when it comes to online website and marketing services, the list of companies and platforms is endless. Whether it is for website building, email marketing , CRM/Digital marketing, social media publishing, or an ecommerce marketplace and there is more popping up each day. (Then of course, there are more platforms that help users integrate these platforms and share data. ) For someone that just wants to sell a service or product, choosing which platform or how many platforms to use and then managing all these platforms can be a nightmare.
When we talk to business owners today about how one should fit the online pieces together to allow their business to promote and sell online, one can slowly see the “panic” build, as you list off the accounts one needs to aim for online success. From Google Adwords, Google Analytics and Google search console to MailChimp or Campaign Monitor, eBay, and so the list goes on. I understand that ‘web’ people can get their head round these services, and how each of these services fit within the overall picture. However, for the general person or for business owners it can be quite stressful managing and integrating these services, let alone paying the fees.
The second of these issues is online content itself, and the amount of content everyone is producing. Then add to that the amount of content that small business is required to keep up. In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article famously titled “Content is King”, outlining a future where content will be the draw card for online traffic and engagement. The reality is, this has ever been truer than now.
Having content conversations with business owners about the amount of content required to stay ahead of one’s competitors in page ranking, business owners are usually sitting in two camps, the first camp is denial – ‘I don’t need to worry about that, I have great SEO guy’. In the second, the owner blanking stares at you while inside their head they question how they are going to fit that in their and their staff’s week, while not saying a word in hope that you will mention this magical solution that will cost no money, and that will deliver this content by the end of next week. Let’s face it we all would love that! The truth is there is no magical solution for content, and an investment of time is required to produce the content, be it the business’s staff time or of another company that it is outsourced to. Content is critical to selling online, both to gain authority with the end user but also to gain authority with Google and it’s crawling bot army.
The third issue is that of control of engagement and content for a business on third party platforms. For years, email marketing platforms and social media platforms have been allowing businesses to use their system for little or no cost. Yet in recent times, these platforms are starting to reclaimed costs and generate income for investors at the users cost via higher fees or forcing users to advertise to get better engagement, or by changing policies. Frustrating for businesses that have invested heavily with engagement and content in previous years can easily lose their social engagement and content if they don’t wish to keep pouring money in.
The fourth and last issue is the costs to maintain a strong online presence across all platforms today, be it through online advertising, email marketing subscriptions, SEO analysis audits and reports, the list can go on an on. The cost is not just a dollar value either, there is also the huge cost of time to manage and ensure everything is working together.
So after weeks of pondering and brainstorming, and striping back each issue, I realised it was time that businesses need to bring it back to their website and engage with their customers and potential customers within their own platform or web app. Through the use of built in tools within the CMS that allow for better user analysis and user engagement. A business can grow online via it’s own web app without constantly relying on different third party platforms to engage with customers.
Via the one solution, businesses can sell services and products online, run email marketing campaigns to keep customers up to date on the latest news, events and special offerings. Freely available ecommerce extensions offer a huge range of functionality to cater for any type of business, whether your business is a manufacturer, wholesaler, local retailer, food store, take-away shop, travel agency or consultant, fitness training, yoga studio and the list goes on. The best bit is that we will be packaging these extensions into pre-built websites for your business type for ease of set up.
Here are some examples of the functionality available:
- Abandoned cart software to help capture incomplete checkouts
- Select delivery time and date at checkout
- Wholesale and retail based pricing
- Inventory management
- Product reviews
- Bookings and appointments – Sell classes, events appointments.
- Shipping integrations -Shippit, Australia Post, Ready to Ship and Sendle
- Payment integrations – Stripe/Apple Pay, Paypal, AfterPay, eWay & ZipMoney
- Affiliates – Build your own affiliate program to generate sales.
Adding to this list of features, we add both email newsletter marketing and user tracking extensions with each web app deployment. Although both of these functionalities are available through third party platforms for free, we believe that by including these within the web app, a more tightly integrated branded experience can be created for the customer and be more easily managed by one’s business staff.
Email newsletter marketing adds the ability to communicate about the new products or product updates, helpful user tips and upcoming sales directly to the users inbox. Boost your brand’s reputation by highlighting the latest posts on your blog (boosting website traffic), the latest industry news, or customer stories on how they are benefiting from your products and services. Detailed reports allow you to follow read emails and user clicks to track each newsletter’s engagement to help fine turn your communication.
Online user tracking allows you to follow each user’s chosen navigation path on your website/web app. This allows for better understanding of how users are exploring your website, rather than guessing or making assumptions, decisions on website changes to improve conversions and sales can be made through data analysis. Each search term entered by a user is tracked and recorded to allow for further analysis of what user’s are after on your website.
These features are deployed together in a powerful single package, so there is only one login required, one dashboard interface to navigate and manage, and one support team to communicate with. Other the next few months in our blog we will be covering and demonstrating the features and benefits of Seedling Commerce, and how it can help your business grow for a flat monthly fee.