Era of Automation: Catalog Machine integration with Zapier

Do you still believe that product marketing is time-consuming, expensive and hard? Wrong! Welcome to the era of automation!   

Today we will share a way how to do your product online marketing in the most efficient way. 

Connect different parts of your business with one app

Going to a modern online business you will see that there are thousands of apps that will help you to automatize your workflow. Most of them are pretty useful, but you will simply have a lack of time to use all of them. 

That’s where Zapier comes up. Zapier is an online platform that connects 2000+ web apps with each other. So, you can automate a business workflow quickly and easily. Due to the efficiency that Zapier allows you to achieve, Evernote included it into the top 10 apps in 2018. 

We can bet that you’ve already heard about Zapier and it’s powerfulness. However, the secret of it is deeply connected to another app. Today we want to show you what you can achieve with a combination of Zapier and Catalog Machine.

Catalog Machine Integration with Zapier 

Catalog Machine is a necessary tool when it comes to presenting products to your clients: creating online or PDF catalogs, building your online store and even managing inventory (product stock). As we have already discussed, this is one of the first steps you should take. As it doesn’t matter how good your product is, unless no one sees it, no one buys it. 

The Catalog Machine integration with Zapier allows you not just to present and sell your product but save a lot of time. You can use this time to focus on more important things and grow your business. 

Zapier connects Catalog Machine with thousands of other apps. Google Sheets, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Gmail, Shopify and Slack are just some of them. Let’s see what you can get them in practice. 

Google Sheets, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox 

Uploading products and managing product database is probably the most time-consuming business process. Simultaneously it’s essential to run the business properly. It gets worth when you have to update your product database across several platforms (ex. Company’s document system, website, social media etc.).

Now imagine how great it would be if you change a single row in Google Sheets, and the product information will be updated automatically at other platforms. Good news! Zapier allows you to do exactly this. 

You can update products, catalogs, online store in Catalog Machine from updates rows in Google Sheets or Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox CSV files. In addition, you may receive a record at Google Sheets once you receive a new order. Convenient, isn’t it?

Gmail  

Don’t want to check the platform every other minute to check if someone has made an order? Easy! Use integration with Gmail to receive an email once your customer submitted an order form. 

Shopify  

Lots of businesses have accounts and product databases on Shopify. However, like any other platform it has, it’s limitations. For example, during the conversation with Catalog Machine customers, he confessed that Catalog Machine allows him to create tiered pricing and target retailers and wholesalers at the same time. 

It would be a pity after updating your product database, start it from the very beginning at the other platform. That’s why Zapier connects Catalog Machine to Shopify, to transfer your data at one click.

All of this is just a small part of what you can achieve as a business using Catalog Machine integration with Zapier. 

Are you excited to start? Sign Up to a Catalog Machine. And follow this link to find out how to connect your Catalog Machine app with Zapier. 

  

 

    

  

          

 

How to keep your business profitable during the COVID-19?

A lot of businesses were negatively impacted because of the coronavirus. However, some of the business owners were creative enough and could make a profit even at this challenging time. Today we are going to tell you the possible strategy to cope with a pandemic. Moreover, we will discuss a real company example that is staying profitable even during this challenging time.

Going Online

McKinsey & Company said ‘The battle against COVID-19 is one that leaders today must win if we are to find an economically and socially viable path to the next normal’. We are offering you not to wait until this battle will be won by the leader, but rather won it by yourself and become a leader eventually.

Due to the self-isolation policy all over the world, the online world receives first priority compared to the physical one. This is why moving a business online today is a necessity, if the manager wants a company to continue to operate.

We believe that is a force for better because going online benefits businesses in various ways. Here is a list what will be improved, if you move your business online:

  • Increase sales
  • Improve external communication
  • Improve companies’ image
  • Higher employee’s productivity
  • Speed up processing
  • Enhance and efficient service
  • Attract new customers

Generally speaking, a business will improve its competitive position.

Majectic Meat Case

However, going online does not mean the creation of the website, it’s a more complex process, that involves an online ordering system, social media, etc. Let us tell you a story about Majectic Meat Co.

Being a meat supplier to Utah’s local restaurants, the company lost most of the clients as the restaurants got closed one by one. Moreover, they had a lot of product surplus that was going to spoil very soon. It means not only no profit but also huge losses. The company’s management was limited in time to come up with a decision. So, they did what has never been done in the company before. Majectic Meat Co started selling meat directly to the community by adding an online ordering system to their website. As a community was happy to show support to a local business, this single move saved the company.

Mike Marsh firstly told this story. We found this case a perfect example for all small business owners, who are unable to sell their products because of the shut-down policy. However, to embed an online ordering system, Majectic Meat Co asked a local IT expert. Furthermore, we can bet that in the foreseeable future, they will ask the expert for another favour or even hire him because this kind of system requires permanent support.

Good news, we want to become that expert for you! With Catalog Machine you can update all the product base at once, integrate online ordering system into an existing website or use it separately, create tiered pricing, and a lot more!

Check the video on how you can start receiving orders online and selling directly from home in this video.

Top 5 factors that stop a small business from selling more

Are you trying different methods to increase sales, but nothing works well enough?

Have you tried Digital Marketing? Have you made the most out of your capacity? Sure?

We will show you what stops the small companies from using Digital Marketing to its fullest extent.

Top 5 barriers

Taimnen Heinin and Karjaluoto Heikki* proved that small companies are struggling when it comes to digital marketing channels usage. We are talking about a website, emails, social media and blog. You, as a small business owner, risk not derive benefits from the opportunities. The first step to overcome this is to become aware of the barriers that stop you. Not other words explore the list.

 

  1. You

Yes, you are the first and main factor that might stop a company from selling. Sorry for being too straightforward; we did not mean to heart your feelings. What is the result of your background, motivation, capabilities and experience?  It is the stop or stimulation of the effective usage of digital marketing channels. Scientifically this factor belongs to a group called “firm-specific and owner-manager factors.”

Heinin and Heikki* talked to 16 small business managers. Some of the interviewees had prejudices about the usage of social media. As you already guessed, it provokes nothing good for a company. Usually, this kind of attitude towards social media was the result of unfamiliarity with different channels and how they work.

The moral of the story increase your digital intelligence. Good news, we are here exactly for this purpose. Keep reading this blog to overcome the ‘You’ barrier.

Let me tell you a story about how overcoming a “you” barrier bring a start-up to success. A few years ago one passioned about tourism girl decided to create a business based on her hobby. ‘Challenging holiday” had a unique business model, they offer a combination of holiday tour with business lectures and extreme experience. Sound fun? You can imagine how many thousands of dollars a girl invested to arrange the first tour… and almost failed. The lack of Social Media knowledge didn’t let her target the right audience. In a week before the trip was supposed to start, she decided to use opinion leaders as a way to promote her business. In couple of days, all trip spots were sold out! This is an example of how crucial the experience and knowledge of business owners is for small business success.

  1. People around you

Here were are talking only about coworkers. In a big company, the lack of knowledge or experience of one employee mitigates by another one. In a small company, there is always a lack of human resources.

What to do? Invest in your people. To grow the business, you should start playing in a long game. Shift a focus from the sales into increasing digital awareness among your employees.

The importance of people around you was nicely described by David Ogilvy in ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man.’ “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

  1. Goal…

… and the way it should be achieved. Due to the research* small companies are focusing primarily on the website, SEO (search engine optimization) and social media. What’s out of focus? Blogging!

Blogging is a two-way communication process, as well as social media. But, compared to the last one, blogging retains more control. The two-way communication channels allow you to engage the customers and create brand awareness.

There is a tricky part here. People are having fun at social media and expect the story to be told. No direct sales! Social media should be perceived as a tool to start a dialogue with the customer and create value for them.

Want to be straightforward and sail right away? One-way communication channels are here for you. Your website, SEO and SEA (search engine advertising) and the emails are an excellent way to sell. You may achieve a better ‘right now’ result, but what’s about the future?

  1. Competitors

They are always here. Especially if your competitors are bigger companies. They might dictate what is necessary at the market to survive. We can be sure of the first rule. Digital existence. If a company cannot be found in Google, it does not exist.

The way you exist (which digital channels are you using) is up to you. You may research your competitors and use the same channels as they are to stay at the same level. The other way is to find your niche, a channel that is not taken or not that popular.

For example, AirBnB is a substitute for traditional hospitality. So, if you are thinking about opening a hotel, you should take into account the prices offered by  AirBnB. Especially if you are not offering luxury class services.

  1. Resources

We’ve already talked about the importance of a human resource, but there is a list of other resources that can’t be overlooked. It is money, time, technology. Each of them is a potential barrier for a small company that holds it away from the bright digital future.

The lack of resources is a common characteristic among all small-size businesses. How to win? Be more efficient than others. We’ve already described one of the possible ways to achieve it here.

 

Now you know what might stop your business from success. Moreover, you know some options on how to overcome these barriers. Forewarned is forearmed!

Be skeptical of yourself as a business owner. Around yourself with people you admire. Keep your competitors and modern trends under the radar.  Use your resources wisely.  Doing all of this will allow to set up realistic goals and grow. Start with yourself. Spend a couple of hours today to think which areas are needed to be improved. Search various education online resources and online platforms to select the most suitable way for you to become a better businessmen/women.  The barriers are needed not to stop you, but to make your way more interesting!

 

* Taimnen, H and Karjaluoto, H, (2015), The usage of digital marketing channels in SMEs. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 22 (4), 633-651. doi:10.1108/JSBED-05-2013-0073

Digital technology. A new way to beat your competitors

Are you the owner of a small company? We know how to beat your competitors online. So, you can improve your digital marketing strategy and grow your business. The answer was given by a group of scientists P. Foroudi, S. Gupta, A. Nazarian and M. Duda in their article “Digital technology and marketing management capability: achieving growth in SMEs”. Long story short, digital technology increases your marketing capacity. Whereas the last one makes it easier to grow. 

Have you ever look at digital technology as a way to expand your business and beat the competition?   Every company, including your competitors, use a business model. To diversify you from the competitors, you should create a unique business model. The most efficient way is to build digital technology in the heart of your business model.

How to find digital technology that will allow you to win?

First of all, going online or using any digital platform is not your (a business owner) choice. Or, it may be better to say, you weren’t the first one. The first was your customer with his or her needs and wishes. Now it’s your move. Go where your customers are and sell. Digital technology will help you to increase sales and decrease costs.

Secondly, you are not the only one who is ready to respond. All businesses have direct and indirect competitors. For example, you own an Italian restaurant. A Chinese restaurant across the street is your direct competitor. Whereas a food market two blocks away is an indirect one. All three of you satisfying the same customer need – hunger, but in a different way. To stay successful, you should identify your direct and indirect competitors. Pay attention to the business models they use to operate and identify the gap. This is your niche and a chance to get a competitive advantage.  

If you can’t find any gap in the current market, innovate. In a fast-changing business world innovation is the most sustainable business advantage. The term innovation can be scary because it usually associates with uncertainty. To create competitiveness you should not risk it all. The implementation of digital technology in a new way can be considered an innovation.

What digital technology is the sweet spot? 

To sell your product you should at least show it to your customer. At most you should present t in the most attractive way. To do that you have to maintain a team of a photographer, a designer and a marketing specialist.  Another way is to waste all of your time to handle it by yourself. Now multiply it by the number of products you have. The first option is costly, the second one is time-consuming. Digital catalog is a digital technology that allows us to save both time and money, and still present your product in a way the customers will like. This is how you can gain a competitive advantage and a chance to grow your business with the use of innovation.     

How does it work in real life? 

Our customer research clearly shows how using a digital catalog increase small company efficiency, saving time and money. We will discuss 3 different cases further. 

Time efficiency

First, the owner of the clothing store struggled with maintaining several digital platforms (such as website and social media) manually. Uploading the same picture of the products to different places took him too much time. Whereas the was no way not to do this because product based were updated super fast. For him, the creation of a digital catalog and simply share it across all the platforms become a solution to save lots of time. 

Cost efficiency 

Second, the company has already relied on the creation of catalogs, however, they were using printed versions. Due to the owner “it’s way too expansive and it’s not that efficient”.  There were two reasons: printing costs and too high and you can’t reach that many customers in person compared to the online world. A shift towards digital catalogs let him save a lot of money. It should be mentioned that for the special clients he is still using a PDF version of the digital catalog and print them out.  

Time & Cost efficiency 

The last example is the small company that relied on the designer. There were three major problems here: the designer couldn’t finish the catalog as fast as it was required by the market, it was impossible to change one product (if it’s out of stock, etc.), and a good designer asks for a good salary. So switching to a digital catalog allowed them to save both time and money. 

There are many more examples of how using the online catalog helped our companies to change their business model for better, save scarce resources and beat their competitors.