We just wrapped up our first full year as the new SmartEtailing. The year was very gratifying and I'm happy to say that we are in our best position ever to help your business succeed.
2017 Technology Accomplishments
The most noticeable accomplishments that you've seen in the last year have been our software enhancements.
In January we released an updated merchant admin. This project achieved three major objectives; rebuild the structure of the content management system, refresh the user interface design, and prepare the merchant admin to receive the new responsive editing tools. This refresh was very well-received and you can expect even more improvements over time.
In the spring we began the beta release process of a completely redesigned responsive website environment and the associated content management tools. We built and deployed a handful of test websites, including the website for our highest volume ecommerce retail client. In subsequent months we monitored performance and refined the platform in preparation for the phased rollout that we announced at Interbike.
In recent months we have helped nearly 100 SmartEtailing clients migrate to the new template environment through a carefully controlled process to ensure quality and ease of use.
There were countless software and technology enhancements behind the scenes that may not have been as noticeable but I can assure you they are contributing to better performance for your website and lay the foundation for further enhancements.
2017 Internal Milestones
The accomplishment I'm most proud of happened out of your view, the evolution of our team of exceptional employees and managers.
SmartEtailing is made up of a group of talented and committed people who strive every day to deliver great service and improve our product. Some have been with the company for 17 years, others for only a matter of months, but each is passionate about what we want to accomplish with this company and for your business.
Our Development and Product teams saw the most growth during 2017, which of course is essential for a technology company. We brought in new leadership with decades of experience working with enterprise level software. We recruited talented development and quality assurance professionals who are making our software better with each passing week.
This team has worked closely with our Product department to implement the Agile Software Development process so we are able to deliver more frequent and higher quality software releases moving forward.
The Marketing team grew to nearly 20 marketing professionals managing marketing for hundreds of retailers each month while also populating our library with seasonal graphics.
Our Content team has long been the behind-the-scenes backbone of SmartEtailing, creating tens of thousands of unique cycling products each year to keep your website current and accurate. This team pushed themselves to innovate in 2017, discovering new efficiencies while identifying the best ways to get the right products into the catalog at the right times.
This team has taken the initial steps to evolve their mission to take a more proactive role in optimizing the online catalog to ensure that SmartEtailing clients have ecommerce websites that are as shoppable as any national retailer.
The Client Services group of Sales and Support professionals have continued to deliver exceptional customer service to our retailers. This team has realigned to better serve customers and has grown in order to ensure rapid and personalized responses to support requests. They've played a crucial role in foundational initiatives for our company including a soon to be released updated resource center and the monumental SSL upgrade project.
Full Deployment of Responsive Templates
Since the initial phased launch was announced at Interbike we launched scores of new responsive websites. Through this process we have refined the tools and templates while preparing our Support team to assist all of our retailers with the migration.
Starting this week we will begin enabling new template access for all SmartEtailing retailers. We will be deploying the new tools in phases to ensure we meet our Support standards related to clients needing assistance in migrating their websites. If you don't already have the tools enabled, expect to receive notification soon with instructions on what to do next.
As a reminder, providing access to the new templates and tools is not the same as migrating your website. By necessity, migration is a hands-on process to ensure that you website content is appropriately modified to display properly on mobile phones.
You have choices for migrating your site; you can manage the process on your own using our quick start guide and free Support or you can pay SmartEtailing to manage the process completely for you. We have different pricing package levels available to provide you with the level of service right for your business. Learn more about your options here.
What's Next for SmartEtailing
Internally we will continue to grow and refine our Development team while improving our processes. From your perspective what you can expect to see if more frequent software updates, improved system speeds, and exciting new features.
We are continuing to refine our marketing services and hope to inspire more of our clients to choose to trust their website maintenance and marketing to SmartEtailing. We believe that one of the best ways we can help our clients grow is to empower retailers to do what they do best, run their stores, while we work to attract more traffic to websites and drive more buyers to your business.
In 2018 I encourage you to sign up for marketing services if you haven't already. You are busy running your store, let us maintain and merchandise your website for you.
If you haven't tried direct mail from SmartEtailing yet then you should considering testing that service as well. We have reinvested in the product and are consistently generating positive ROI for retailers. We can use your POS data to target precisely the right shoppers to nurture customer loyalty, or we can use the USPS Every Door Direct Mail tool to saturate neighborhoods near your store and attract new shoppers.
Direct mail works. You see everyday that brands like REI, Lululemon, and Trek trust direct mail to grow sales. Nobody is better equipped than SmartEtailing to help your business participate in this powerful marketing tool.
Helping The IBD Channel Thrive
As the new SmartEtailing gains more momentum you can expect to see many more new and exciting developments focused on helping your business grow in a fast changing market.
We will have new enhancements, features, and products to help make your business more effective at competing for shoppers. We are also working actively with brands and suppliers to further our integrations and maximize the amount of business flowing through in the IBD channel.
I'm confident that SmartEtailing is the most committed partner that an independent bicycle retailer has in growing your business. Our only motivation is to help you succeed. Your success is our success.
Thank you for another great year. I look forward to serving your business to the best of our ability in 2018.