At Minstoft, we pride ourselves on our long and successful partnerships. We believe there is much to be gained from having experts integrated with us in all areas of the 3PL ecosystem, whether that’s in logistics, warehousing, retail or indeed, in an online marketplace agency, such as Activ8, the focus of this article.
We caught up with Stu Conroy from Activ8 in our podcast series (which you can also find on YouTube) to talk about our recent partnership and the changes in e-commerce and online selling.
Who are Activ8?
Activ8 is a managed service provider that partner with founder-led businesses or brands with a service offering to help them scale across multiple channels. Their ideal customer is an entry-level company looking to trade on Amazon or build a Shopify site. These brands want to build more than a single channel or reseller offering with aspirations toward multi-channel growth.
As many of the SMEs we work with at Mintsoft fit this profile, we thought some of Stu’s insights for the coming year would be well worth revisiting.
Prediction: Linking sales and marketing to operations is key for growth.
Activ8 offers something unique. But why is a marketplace consultancy the right move for growing SMEs and new brands? Stu considers it to be part of a wider trend for operations to be front and centre.
“Many people go to a marketing agency, but they don’t know about operations. It’s been (until COVID) seen as a less important element, with more focus on sales than operational efficiency.”
He believes there is a shift in the boardroom’s focus and that focus is now on operations:
“As when the credit crisis brought risk managers to the fore, right now the boards are seeing that you need all your business elements together. It’s like football, it’s great having brilliant strikers but you need a whole team. Many people are excited about product or sales or brand developments but not about admin or logistics. It may be time to look at what you outsource and what you keep internally.”
Prediction: Selling online isn’t easy – smart businesses have partners in place.
Stu doesn’t sugar coat it – selling online isn’t as simple as many think. Everyone says how easy it is to sell online but there are lots of challenges when you get success you haven’t planned for.
The trend towards e-commerce has shifted recently but the recent pandemic has brought things forward about five years, a Mintsoft estimate. Stu has found that customer engagement and winning new business has also changed.
“A lot of people want it to go back to 2019 but there is a new normal. The world has changed.”
While modern Rest APIs make it possible to have a two-way conversation between systems, Stu believes that there is a need for a variety of partners to get the whole job done, like an assembly line: take the order, get the site working, and get it delivered.
“A website developer will build the best looking site – but if it doesn’t connect with anything, that’s not great. Solutions like Activ8 and Mintsoft team up to streamline the whole piece for a SME. We call it commerce connected. Getting all your components working together.”
As with Brexit, there are changes and there are challenges. But there are also solutions, if you can accept there won’t be a blueprint and if you can seek the right partners to support you.
If you’re an SME looking to streamline but also diversify on multiple channels and territories, now is the time to look at Activ8 and Mintsoft. We’re pooling our considerable industry knowledge and expertise and working alongside Activ8’s in-house specialists, a global network of contractors, warehouses and service providers.
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