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The importance of keeping things simple

It’s only a couple of weeks away from Collect launching possibly the most radical change to our product that we have, or ever will, release. But when things are going well already why are we undertaking change?
Well we’ve learnt some new stuff. It may be new to us, but in hindsight it’s a really common piece of advice that we thought that we were adhering to but in fact weren't. And that piece of advice for tech businesses creating products for the mass SME market is to keep your product simple. Otherwise it becomes really difficult to explain to customers, get them to sign up, and to support.

A while back a lot of customers said that they loved Collect but just wanted to start with something simpler until they got their head around how they could best leverage Collect as their marketing platform. They said what they’d love to do to start with is just consolidate their customer databases from the point-of-sale, eCommerce store and any other place customer records resided, like their accounting platform, into one database and then synchronize that database with their email marketing platform. So we build a new product called MailSync. And low and behold people from all over the world started signing up for MailSync and most importantly, started to pay without ever speaking to us.
So why was this happening? We asked ourselves and it’s all due to simplicity. It’s really simple to understand; synchronize your customer databases with your email provider automatically. And it’s really simple to signup and start using.
So we applied this thinking back to Collect, asked some customers and resellers what they thought and it turns out Collects was really complex. We’d built possibly the most comprehensive marketing platform for small to medium sized retailers in the world. But it turns out it was the comprehensiveness of the product that was also overwhelming for most small business owners and they didn’t know where to start. Collect had so much functionality, that for some retailers there were features that they didn’t want or need for their business.
But we’d done so much good work and we knew that as people grew and got more comfortable with Collect they’d want to use the other functionality later, so we didn’t want to ditch all the sexier stuff in the product.
Instead, based on our experience with MailSync we decided to break Collect into smaller, very distinct and mutually exclusive products or Apps. This would allow us to make the products easier to understand, easier for customers to start using and cheaper as you’d only pay for the functionality that you’re using. Now in a couple of weeks we’ll be re-releasing Collect as a platform of four distinct products.
With simplicity in mind we’ve also made it simpler for the end consumer to engage with retailers through Collect. Now when they receive a reward they’ll be emailed it which will include a unique code which can be entered into the POS or ecommerce store to be redeemed. They can even add the reward directly into Apple Passbook. And now when a customer is nearby, Passbook notifies them of coupons they have, encouraging them to visit again and shop.

We think this new simpler approach is going to be a huge success and from what we’ve heard back from our resellers and Beta customers, they think so too. And we now have a new mantra within our business, which we now truly understand, keep in simple!