As the year winds down and the end of the year is nearly upon us, we want to send a big thank you to our loyal customers for your support in 2020. For most of our customers it has probably felt like the week before Christmas for the last 9 months and it has been a challenging period for everybody in the E-Commerce world for you, our customers, our team and our integrators.
Recently Royal Mail summed this up perfectly stating, “that despite taking on 33,000 Christmas workers to bolster their 110,000 permanent staff, Royal Mail have been working at Christmas levels since March and the deluge of online shopping hasn’t stopped for nine months.”
They are not alone. In 2020 Slack, Trello, Zoom, IBM Cloud, Tesla, Microsoft, Royal Mail, Strava, BT, Amazon, Spotify, Instagram, Uber, Facebook, Messenger and more recently Google, Gmail and GSuite, have suffered significant outages or disruption to their services. Just this week the massive Google outage impacted our team as we use many of their services. This is also mirrored at the software as a service level where our competitors have all struggled to cope with the extra capacity as a result of the staggering increase in demand caused by Covid-19. The many lockdown restrictions have resulted in teams across the UK being spread out instead of working closely together, and this has added to the pressures of what has been a difficult year for most.
We appreciate that our system has also faced difficulties and this has no doubt put pressures on your teams which may have been reduced in size due to furlough, or increased due to demand; both scenarios would mean you rely heavily on Cloud Commerce Pro to be reliable and keep your business moving.
We want to reassure you that we have a lot of exciting plans for 2021!
Since April, Cloud Commerce Group has employed over 25 new staff in key areas of the business, notably development and customer support. We will continue to strengthen our team next year with more top quality hires but we will be doing this gradually to put less strain on our wider team. This aggressive recruitment drive was essential to cope with the workload created by the 4x in increase in orders that we have faced across our services. I’m sure you can appreciate that this has been logistically challenging while we have been adapting to remote working.
Onboarding our new recruits and bringing them up to speed is not something that happens overnight when dealing with such a feature-rich system with so many integrations. That said, the vast majority of these new employees are now 6 months into their new roles and are making significant progress, having hit the ground running.
We now have an awesome development team recruited by our CTO, who himself was recruited to the company at the beginning of the global pandemic. Under his stewardship, the Development Team has more than doubled and has acquired a number of industry experts. Despite the calibre of new hires, getting to grips with the technical detail of one of the most powerful systems on the market whilst working remotely has been a real challenge. Their progress has been remarkable and we expect to see both a huge increase in the system’s reliability due to extensive work on the databases, as well as general improvements to core services and features.
For our Customer Support Team we are about to introduce a new, custom built CRM that is already giving us greater capacity and insights into the issues that affect you the most – and we are beginning a Customer Engagement Programme which will enable us to understand what you need from us. We are already getting greater visibility of the issues we need to deal with as a priority and we will be able to address your tickets and day-to-day issues more efficiently and communicate updates to you quicker than ever.
Despite the trend of working from home, we still want our team to work together face-to-face and remain customer facing. We have a new office which we didn’t even get the opportunity to move into in 2020 and we, like everyone, hope for a return to normality so that our teams can get together more often at our offices which will result in better training and idea-sharing opportunities.
It’s a given that you first want reliability. We know that and this will always be our primary focus. This year our team’s focus has been diverted towards building this extra capacity due to Covid-19, and also reprogramming many of our courier integrations in preparation for Brexit.
Next year we are planning many customer site visits. We want to find out what you need from us and we will design new features around you. Visitors to your sites will include our Directors who will visit as many customers as possible (once we are allowed) to understand your needs and desires.
We will work incredibly hard to continue to build the best ERP system in our market. It’s not without its challenges having so many integrations to so many partners, but with the team we have built in 2020 who are becoming more knowledgeable by the day and understanding the issues, we will prosper.
We have great plans for new products that will help you sell more and deliver faster. This year we completed an integration that allows for automated or semi-automated packing lines. We will work with more customers to implement technologies like this which will make you more competitive.
We have also completed an integration with route planning software, Stream, for those of you who are doing your own deliveries in certain areas; we have already had feedback that this is very successful.
Through our digital advertising brand, Cloud Seller Pro, we intend to help you market your business better and make more sales. Watch out for announcements in that area in the next few months.
During the next year we will also be adding more back-up capacity, reworking many elements of the system to give greater performance, and adding new features directly requested by our customers. We look forward to bringing you news of those developments as they happen.
Following our extensive recruitment programme throughout 2020, we have been able to divide our staff into specialist teams in all areas of the business. This has given our teams a greater and more in-depth understanding of the area in which they work and how it feeds into other areas. In addition, this is enabling us to produce the right results for our customers much more quickly. We are excited about the changes we have made and feel we are much better placed to continue to deal with this new world we now live in.
We hope to serve you all in a prosperous 2021 and beyond, where the E-Commerce sector will continue to grow and become more complex. The team at Cloud Commerce Pro and the wider Cloud Commerce Group are ready for the next big push and we thank you for being part of this exciting journey!
We wish you, your team and your families a very happy New Year and we look forward to working with you in 2021!