As a business owner and entrepreneur I started my company with a very specific vision and plan for how to achieve it. I always understood the importance of e-commerce, but my strategy was offline.
I envisioned an “old school” organic growth where the legacy was cemented for generations, quantified by stores and physical assets. Call me crazy but I had always dreamed of my logo on a glitzy corporate tower.
My brand was meant to represent me and my vision – a series of stores and experiences with amazing service, a memorable atmosphere, and a range of goods people would fall in love with when they tasted them – yes, literally tasted!
Digital expansion was not something I had wanted to focus on. But with the current COVID-19 situation my business needed to go online in order to survive, and I explored different platforms and software. I looked at all sorts of tools and many words jumped out; communications, social commerce, social media, unified, business messenger, multichannel, omnichannel, customer engagement, API, business phone… It was overwhelming, what do they all mean? Are they different?
In the end I told myself I don’t need digital transformation, at least not for now. I was put off by the confusing terms by seemingly similar software. Everyone has to create some new buzzword it seems to stand out. Most of all, none of those platforms really had what I wanted.
I took a step back and really thought about what I wanted from digital transformation as a small business owner. I wanted to keep my teams connected securely while working from home, answer enquiries from customers about the changes in store times and stock, and provide channels for customers to make online orders that would be easy to manage without increasing workload.
After a few weeks a friend got in touch with me about maaiiconnect and offered to show me how his account works. It was a lightbulb moment when I realised this is what I was actually looking for. Not just for digital transformation, but in meeting my vision for the business.
I needed to be able to talk to my customers – as in two humans actually talking to each other with real verbal ques and emotion like you experience in my stores. I never wanted to provide the sterile and emotionless service you usually find online – I wanted it to be real and personalised. After all of my hesitations about digital transformation taking the life out of my business model, I could actually re-create that feel good emotion and fun atmosphere from my stores, online, to a bigger audience.
Not all customers would want verbal or video-powered communication of course, but to have the option for us to connect with customers and vice versa on a deeper level is surely an advantage beyond measure when building a trusted, reputable and lasting brand.
After all, first impressions count. In today’s age where the vast majority of people are sceptical about good deals and new products online, being able to show the human face of my business the moment they land on my website is important.
I found maaiiconnect to be a great tool for creating an immersive customer journey online, similar to the in-store experiences I envisioned for accelerating my business growth.
From building awareness through marketing outreach, to engaging website visitors and showcasing my products with innovative live video-powered experiences, or just being accessible for human to human contact to guide customers through to purchase has been able to drive up my online customer engagement and sales.
Funnily enough it was due to technology that our customer relationships became more personal and long lasting.
This is the foundation I really wanted. Not stores in every neighbourhood and my logo on a city centre tower. But a legion of loyal brand advocates who are championing my products nationwide with online buzz, social media feeds, and repeat orders.
In the end, the “old school” organic growth I gained was online! When investing in digital transformation, make sure it’s aligned with your vision – no matter how crazy, or not aligned, that may seem.
The results may surprise you!
And lastly, make sure to prioritise your customers. They are the foundation of your business.
How I use maaiiconnect for my business
In terms of execution, maaiiconnect’s impact on my business has been in 3 ways:
- Adding the maaiiconnect widget to my site and being able to get face to face with my customers in the click of a button has been key to our online engagement strategy. Leveraging maaiiconnect’s video calls, we use live, 1 -1 video-powered retail experiences to show new products, gift sets, special packaging etc to re-create those in-real life elements. It’s personal, special, memorable, and converts visitors to paying customers!
- maaiiconnect empowers our teams to work more intelligently. The technology improves operational efficiency by reducing manual work, so my teams have more time to spend on providing quality service.
- We can stay connected to each other as a company, enabling many of my team to work from home or on the go. Through the cloud, video conferencing, multimedia sharing and such it’s easier and smoother for us to work. Even if a staff is on leave or leaves the company, having full communication records with customers centralised means we can pick up the relationship with the customer quickly and keep it going, instead of losing customers when staff leave the company