Trying to be everything to everyone does not work anymore and sometimes the service and skill that we would normally deliver in our niche can be affected by the fact that we are trying to provide services that we do not have the expertise for.

 

Could having the right working culture influence the positive growth within businesses and encourage collaboration across the community? Surely that way everyone gets to play to their strengths, and everybody benefits? Most importantly the end users/customers/clients.

We had a chat with Marcus Wincott Marketing Manager at Media Lounge and Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth all about driving collaboration and where e-commerce fits into that concept.

We will delve into the ideas surrounding nurturing a company culture, owning your ‘own space’ in the market and how you then use the power of social media to back this all up.

The future is bright for collaboration and ecommerce, let’s delve into it with Marcus.

 

Culture – Let The Team Do The Talking

 

We see this word A LOT. As Marcus quite rightly says “I think some people think if you get a ping pong table and some funky wall graphics that’s all you need, that’s your culture nailed, you’ve smashed it.” Perceptions are short lived, your beer fridge isn’t going to help you when your staff are all overworked and unhappy and as a result, the work your agency does is suffering. Culture by definition means “a way of life” not a few fun gimmicks that you can throw in to appear to have an understanding of what people / employees nowadays are looking to get from the work they do.

Your Instagram stories may tell the world one thing, but the hours your staff work can paint an entirely different picture. This can be downfall a for your workforce, leaving them feeling exhausted. Marcus stresses that there can be a change, we just need to move away from rigidness and outdated ideals.  “There was this meritocracy [at a previous agency] applied to staying late, but at Media Lounge we actively encourage staff not to work late because ultimately you have to get the work life balance right and we’re probably not managing our workload properly if we feel we have to work late. Also, you just shouldn’t – it’s not healthy.”

This will look different in every company, but making a culture successful and a team work together is about playing to individual strengths  “When meeting with my team about direction and strategy, I’ll have my own ideas for content and advertising budget and stuff, but I won’t have it formulated because everything has to be discussed with my team because they have to deliver it. I don’t force ideas upon them, but instead let them steer the strategy, change the way they work and be flexible in order to achieve our goals.”

 

How Do We Want To Work, Really Though? 

 

More and more of us are now talking about a better work life balance and having a more Holistic approach to this. However is it really achievable to implement flexible working on a large scale and can every business achieve it?

Marcus sees some positives and negatives in this approach. “Some of the best work we do is when we are all in a room together talking about a project and chipping in which you can’t do if you’re all remote. But for some tech businesses, remote staff works better, some of which don’t even have a HQ.”

Or maybe it needs to be an overhaul about how we work and spend our hours working. “I get it, I think it could be more about bits of remote working, side hustles, and people generally working less hours in a normal job so they have time for all the rest.”

 

 

“I think people still want a baseline salary but increasingly, they also want the flexibility to run a side hustle or a meet up group or something else that they’re passionate about.”

 

 

If we’re going to take this collaborative approach to the next level, maybe this is where we turn to next, where our teams work less hours and pursue passions outside of their 9-5. Could this make for a happier more productive workforce despite less hours in the office? Marcus certainly feels the benefit of this mutual trust between him and his employer and is able to watch his side hustle grow. He is the Chapter Director of Startup Grind Bournemouth which is a series of events for local Entrepreneurs, “Our commitment to the global Startup Grind brand was that we would hold an event every month and since September 2018 we’ve done that. Our only goal is to educate inspire and connect entrepreneurs in our local area to make the startup journey, a less lonely and scary one.”

 

Collaboration In Our Communities 

 

As our community opens up more, and we nurture and support each other’s ideas and smaller business plans, our guards lower and ‘competition’ suddenly becomes less of a threat.

After a few years in London, Marcus reflected on his return to Bournemouth and his surprise at the change. “The extremely active and open meet up an event scene here, just would never have happened 10 years ago. I think the collaborative nature of the digital community here has grown, and it’s because everyone is less guarded now.”

“When I came back from London there was still some of those big names knocking about like BBD, Adido, RedWeb but they were very different, they looked different. They have got their niche and the thing they do and nobody these days claims to do everything.”

The term ‘jack of all trades’ comes to mind but people are not fooled by this anymore. There is a place for’ say yes and learn how to do it when you get there’ but as a strategy this has been proven to fail and these failures do not go unnoticed.

Marcus went on to say that often Media Lounge liaise with agencies that offer similar services, because they know what they’re good at and when a project comes up, if they know they can’t give their 100% they’ll pass it on to the right person or business that can.

“Now times gone on, there is somewhat of a karmic feel to things where kindness and support come back around.”

“The most important thing should be the outcome for the client. Holistically it creates a much better idea of trust.”

 

Online Community And Buying From Those You Trust

 

When we’re pitching to our clients, trust is a key factor in conversion. As we’ve seen the rise in Social Media, Instagram particularly, the term ‘influencers’ is now part of our everyday lingo.

A new feature is on the horizon which we believe could change the face of communities online, making them more authentic. It also opens up the spectrum for the side hustle that is micro influencing.

Individuals within these smaller online communities are now going to be able to purchase directly from their favoured micro influencers posts on Instagram “They are now taking it a step further, so you can now purchase in app. That’s powerful. I think it will make the whole influencer trend more accountable and so-called influencers will have the opportunity to prove the ‘influence’ they have over their communities. Or not.” It’s no surprise that one person having millions of followers and getting paid to post a picture of themselves with a dietary supplement milkshake was going to be short lived. Just like that of a business with a transparent culture, we can see straight through it.

We are hoping this will lead to the rise of powerful and influential micro influencers who are passionate about what they do and have niche, but loyal following. This in turn can be an individual’s side hustle and will help to grow collaboration within our online and offline communities.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This is part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

Marcus Wincott – Media Lounge

 

We asked Marcus Wincott from Media Lounge a little bit about e-commerce, technology and upcoming trends as well as some advice for those interested in getting into industry.

 

 

 

Rise: Thank you so much for being a part of this Marcus. I want to kick off with a bit of an open ended question and ask how has the world of e-commerce changed over the past few years?

Marcus: The biggest challenge for online retailers over the last few years has been offering a service that the typical online shopper has now come to expect. As shoppers, our expectations in terms of delivery, returns, personalisation, payment methods and communication have been set by the giants of eCommerce like Amazon and offering a comparable service or a unique differentiator can be difficult. Advancements in payment methods and personalisation of content and product recommendations have been key in the last few years and will continue to play a very important role in the success of online retail stores.

 

Rise: Have recent additions to apps like Instagram shopping made a huge difference in the way that people consume?

Marcus: Although the addition of buyable pins on Pinterest, Facebook marketplace and Instagram shopping functionality are interesting and will undoubtably work for some merchants, I’m not sure how big the direct impact on sales will be. As an industry we design for ‘mobile first’ as a rule but the fact is that the majority of online purchases still take place on a desktop device so mobile-heavy platforms like Instagram will have less of an impact on buying habits than we perhaps think.

Having said that, it’s well known that over 80% of smartphone users turn to their device to help them make a product decision, either in store on online so the impact on the entire journey to purchase is undeniable, it’s just whether that impact is easily measurable.

 

Rise: As an experience shopping and buying has become much more personalised and easy. How do you see the future of e-commerce panning out, how can we go further than paying for something with our fingerprint/facial recognition?

Marcus: Until new technology is developed that allows us to pay in other ways, I don’t think this will be the biggest area of change in the coming years although widespread merchant adoption of things like Apple, Android and Amazon payment methods is still to come. I think payment options rather than methods are still changing at quite a rate and ‘pay later’  and ‘split payment’  options will become more widespread with solutions like Klarna facilitating an Amazon-style, one click payment method across thousands of websites.

Personalisation of site content as well as product recommendations will continue to improve and eventually each user visiting an eCommerce store will get a completely different experience based on their personal circumstances, browsing history and buying habits.

 

Rise: There are many different types of e-commerce platforms, could you please give me a few examples and why it is that so many types have been developed?

Marcus: There are many different eCommerce platforms out there and put simply, this is to serve the needs of the merchant. An online retail startup would typically use a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce (WordPress) because of their ease of use and lower cost of entry. As a merchant grows, their requirements will change in order to service their customers and these platforms may no longer be fit for purpose. A larger retailer may turn to an enterprise solution such as Magento (Adobe), Hybris (SAP) or Demandware (Salesforce) as they offer scalability in terms of both order volume and site functionality. For example, a business retailing across multiple countries in multiple languages and currencies would not be suitable for a platform like Shopify.

 

Rise: If you were to give advice to someone that was looking to get into the eCommerce industry, what first steps should they take?

Marcus: Working in eCommerce from an agency perspective is as fast moving as it is interesting so the best piece of advice I can give to someone interested in taking their first steps not this industry is to constantly research and monitor the marketplace for new design trends, developing technology and best practices. It’s the only way to stay ahead of the competition and more importantly, add value and remain relevant to you clients.

One word of caution though, the noise about new technology can sometimes be distracting so always do your own evaluation and ideally, real-world testing before recommending a course of action for your clients. We’re lucky at Media Lounge to run our own successful eCommerce store so we have a ready made testing bed and it has proven invaluable over the years.

 

A huge thank you Marcus for giving us his time and knowledge about the world of eCommerce. We also delved into the topic of the importance of being unique, have a read here.