1. as Principal of Capitol Media you get to work with some of the best performing ecommerce sites online. What would you say is on their agenda's for 2013?
The three areas of focus in 2013 will be mobile traffic, social media and email. In 2012 we witnessed a huge increase in mobile traffic which continues to this day. A variety of strategies have evolved to address mobile traffic from responsive web design to mobile websites. The approach we recommend is based upon our client's target audiences and strategic goals. Social media continues to be crucial to client's interested in maintaining a close relationship with their customers. And finally, we continue to recommend email marketing to client's internal lists as both a direct sales and marketing tool.
2. With that in mind, how are you positioning Capitol Media to take care of these clients when they are ready to move in those directions?
As mobile traffic began its rapid ascent in late 2010, we went to work researching best practices in addition to monitoring our client's website traffic. We also began the process of educating our clients about the changing landscape and the importance of addressing mobile users. Depending upon the client and their specific goals, deploying a separate mobile website may be the best solution. In other instances, Responsive Web Design may be the best approach. As with all clients, we first identify their strategic goals before we recommend a technological solution.
3. Back in the Wild Wild West days of Internet sales anyone with a website and some grit could make a lot of money. Now that big business has set its sights on online sales the competition is fierce, how do you stay one step ahead of the big guys?
This question has more to do with general business practices than on-line strategies. I believe that if a client has a solid product offering, good follow through and stays attuned to their customer base they have a good chance of succeeding. Finding and owning a niche market can certainly help as well. If you have loyal customers, you are more likely to survive an economic downturn. From an on-line perspective, we find that it's very important to refresh a website every two years and a complete redesign no more than every five years. Technology and design styles constantly change and users expect companies to remain relevant.
4. Internet companies are known for making quick changes but we share some mutual customers that go back almost a decade now, what would you say are the ingredients in this magic sauce?
As I mentioned above, companies that use best practices should continue to succeed. Using tools that help to make a business more efficient, like UltraShip and UltraBooks are also helpful. Both those tools streamline the order and fulfillment process by receiving a customer's order, handing it off to QuickBooks and than generating the appropriate shipping documentation. What may have taken multiple manual entries is now accomplished seamlessly.
5. Capitol Media seemingly does it all yet you are also very accessible to your clients. How do you juggle all the competing priorities?
That is a great question. One of our biggest challenges is handling a variety of client requests. Some of those requests are more urgent than others. We have worked hard to select technological solutions and hosting partners that minimize disruptions. We also have a person on staff that is dedicated to answering client questions and following up. This has freed up our workflow to concentrate on larger projects and stay on track.
6. You've set up a lot of clients on UltraCart, and it's a very robust cart. What do you do to help them get ready to take the reins once you're team has setup their accounts?
We like to train our clients on how to use Ultracart and other technological solutions when it makes sense to loop them into the process. A good example would be when we are preparing up upload inventory or implement Ultraship or UltraBooks. And of course we are available when clients have questions in the future.
7. Finally, what UltraCart features or tools do you find the most helpful for your clients?
I think that UltraCart's customization is really the key. When we want to use a tool that UC doesn't currently have and UC pro Services can make it happen, it allows us to keep serving our client's specific needs and not have to worry about another company offering something that we can't quickly provide in a better fashion through our relationship with UltraCart.
Plus the integration with QuickBooks and UltraShip keeps the process as easy as possible. Our clients are already using and doing these activities but we can then provide them the tools that integrate with their already in-use systems and it makes it that much better. There is a value proposition already in place just because of those two systems, not to mention all the others.
8. What would you tell new merchants using UltraCart to take advantage of right out of the box?
The challenge with that questions is it's such a large and flexible platform that it's hard to strategize without knowing more about this hypothetical merchant.
In our case I think that since we are not boxed into one particular format or one particular sequence of running business we can do pretty much anything. I think that is the key for anyone especially business owners that are serious about succeeding in their industry. Tell them that UltraCart can give them the ability to do what they want to do and any business owner worth their weight will want it.
Even today we have clients that are very insistent we work with the shopping cart that they are used to using, and even though we see that UltraCart has some great competitors, the flexibility that allows us to do what we want to do is what seals the deal on using UltraCart every time.