Cisco Partners Leading the Way to Digital Selling for Small Business
Marketplace-in-a-Box – best business practices and metrics for success.
To help its partners capture more market share while providing the best possible solutions for customers, Cisco offers a DIY e-commerce platform that creates a virtual “Marketplace-in-a-Box.” One of the first to benefit from this program is Matthew Keeler, President and CEO of KR Group, Inc. a Cisco Partner. He discusses why KR Group chose Shopify as well as how they implemented the platform to sell Meraki cameras and Cisco Meraki Enterprise Support licensing support, along with other Cisco products for small business.
Why is now the right time for a DIY e-commerce platform?
We’ve entered an era where entrepreneurial spirit meets DIY. Companies need to engage customers how and where they live online – but without building complex and costly infrastructure. At KR Group, we have to focus on our existing customers and growing our business rather than burdening our technical people with another system
to maintain. The keys for us are to be nimble, to allow customers to easily research and buy products, and to generate leads – all while supporting our brand.
Why did you choose Shopify as your online store?
We initially tested a robust WordPress-enabled platform that embedded an I-frame on our website. However, that turned out to be a frustrating experience for us and our customers. It didn’t allow us to organize information in a way that made sense, plus to make matters worse, search results load times were painfully slow.
“Rock solid security”
Shopify, on the other hand, gave us everything we needed. It’s not over-designed, it’s easy to use and the SaaS Shopify platform – from a security standpoint – is rock solid. It provides an easy checkout and payment system for our customers.
What’s more, we get a dashboard that includes useful metrics such as total sales, online sessions, returning customer rate, online store conversion rate, average order value, total orders, top product units sold, online store
session by location and social source, sales by traffic and social source, top landing pages by sessions, and total sales attributed by marketing campaigns.
The best part is, there’s no need for system updates or heavy programming that e-commerce platforms ordinarily require. Nontechnical staff can update content and view metrics in a matter of minutes.
How did you implement Shopify?
Cisco sponsored the Marketplace Jumpstart – “Marketplace-in-a-Box” – as a pilot program to manually integrate marketing planning, the project management chronological timeline and the existing marketing roadmap.
With the user interface branded template, we were able to add product information, set up a payment gateway, and sales channel into Facebook. Essentially, that gave us a store inside our Facebook business page, audience profiles, pay-per-click advertising and the analytics.
Customers get to our store via our website’s global navigation and other links. From their perspective the entire user experience is seamless. Social media integration makes it easy to develop posts and targeted Facebook pay-per-click advertising to small business owners and IT professionals in our region. We were up and running within 30 days and getting results immediately.
How we built the digital selling program
Cisco developed a smart business pilot program called Marketplace Jumpstart to help partners reach customers easily through their own e-commerce site with low/no touch sales.
This program reinforces Cisco’s commitment to small business by helping Cisco Partners lead the way for digital selling of cloud and on-premise products with Cisco intel that’s built into the products.
Marketplace-in-a-box provides a way to sell directly to small business with Cisco products that were “no-touch or low-touch” on-prem and cloud-based products under their control, bringing to Cisco Partners the first-ever rogram of its kind to support partners own lead generation program and e-commerce site.
The long-term value will enable partners to work at their pace, hand-off the e-commerce tools to their own marketing department and content development personnel, generate their own leads and sell low margin products while integrating the social media platform into their marketing practices. It generates an additional revenue stream, and use of easy-to- use enablement tools to help partners acquire new customers.
Cisco is constantly finding ways to invest in their partners to help them increase their revenue stream by selling more products, engage more customers and generate leads, training, and best e-marketing practices. For DIY types of entrepreneurs who want an easy way to start a store, there isn’t an easier solution available.
Published by Timothy Fahey; and edited by Howard Schwartz, a freelance user experience strategist and writer. Timothy Fahey is branding and design professional, designer, professor, blogger, videographer and owner of Dirigo Agency Inc., a company focused on helping business owners use branding, design, and content to market their business. He has worked in the agency business since 1986 and served both local and global brands like Sprint and Cisco Systems. His passion is to collaborate with others to create content more strategically so they get the recognition and results they desire through content marketing efforts.