This article is sponsored by Subivi.
Michael Epstein-Lapid, co-founder and product leader at Subivi.
This post is by Nadav Roiter, Marketing Manager for Subivi and a freelance journalist.
Customer support forms such a huge part of the online shopping experience. Sellers that are nailing it with great customer service are reaping the rewards in the form of loyal fans and buyers that keep coming back for more.
Subivi is tapping into this important part of the ecommerce industry with a product that offers customer service automation features, so you can deal with customer questions as quickly as possible while still providing excellent support.
Co-Founder Michael Epstein-Lapid has also unveiled a new initiative called The Subivi Times. This is a knowledge hub with articles that inform and inspire ecommerce sellers looking to grow their business and increase profitability.
Here’s where Subivi came from, what it does, and what makes it different to the other ecommerce customer service tools out there. We also find out what makes The Subivi Times unique.
What is Subivi?
Subivi is an ecommerce Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that aims to streamline the customer service process and make it easier for sellers to answer buyer questions.
The tool integrates directly with eBay and Gmail, and provides a variety of features to help you manage customer support for all of your eBay accounts in one place.
Subivi uses automation features to ensure messages are customized and can upload return labels, issue refunds (full or partial) and update tracking numbers. Subivi is built to support all of eBay’s ticket types, including returns, item-not-received cases and order cancellations.
How does Subivi benefit sellers?
The main goal of Subivi is to make the customer support process streamlined, intuitive, and standardized, and its features all work together to make this possible. They include:
- Automation – sellers with large order volumes can benefit from automated messages, quick replies with a variety of professional templates, and smart tags that autofill buyer and product information.
- Analytics and insights – detailed reports on product trends help sellers target specific buyers with cross-selling and upselling strategies. For example, if a seller sees an increase in sales of vacation products, they can then use automated cross-selling or upselling messages to boost sales in that category.
- Progressive web app – sellers can download an app to their phone so they can have access to their customer service dashboard wherever they are, whether it’s at the doctor’s office or picking up the kids from school.
- Single-inbox approach – the all-in-one message center lets you close tickets, queries, and returns for all eBay accounts in one place. Sellers aren’t limited to the number of stores they can connect.
- International expansion – a built-in translation tool supports translations in 100 different languages, which has allowed Subivi sellers to expand into a host of new countries. You can use the analytics feature to find your target market abroad and then tap into the translation element to create a one-stop-shop for anyone, anywhere.
- The Subivi Times – Subivi’s blog aims to educate and inform ecommerce sellers on the latest trends and tools through in-depth articles.
What makes The Subivi Times different to other seller resources?
The Subivi Times aims to bring together the knowledge of the Subivi founders, and their past experiences as eBay sellers, with professional writing by a former journalist at The Jerusalem Post.
Where did the idea for The Subivi Times come from?
“Subivi was designed to be easy to use, intuitive, useful and, to tell you the truth, downright fun to use. We wanted the same for The Subivi Times,” says Epstein-Lapid.
The publication was born after a brainstorming session. There was a need for content that reflected the quality and features of the Subivi product. This, along with the founders’ vast knowledge of the ecommerce world, led to a blog that aims to dig deep into current ecommerce trends and missing knowledge in the industry.
“Nobody wants to read pages and pages filled with dry metrics, click-through rate hacks and customer service dos and don’ts,” continues Epstein-Lapid. “People want to enjoy themselves even when they are doing business, and that sentiment is what we want to tap into.”
The latest article, 6 Must-Know Ecommerce Customer Support Hacks When Expanding Overseas, is an example of this in action. Not only does it offer details and key information about the six hacks, but it is also peppered with historic facts, statistics, case studies, and actionable guides that bolster and add value to the main message.
Another post, 6 Free Customer Support Templates Ever Ecommerce Seller Should Be Familiar With, provides a unique look into the kind of content Subivi will be publishing. The practical article shares six customer support templates for sellers that they can copy, paste, and send right away.
What value will the average seller come away with from The Subivi Times?
Epstein-Lapid likens The Subivi Times to the big players in the business world, like Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, believing that ecommerce sellers will come to view the new publication in the same way.
The aim is for the publication to capture the zeitgeist of the present and the future. As journalism moves more and more from print to online, leisure readers, investors, and business owners – particularly in the ecommerce industry – are turning to internet-based publications. These are the lifeblood of their businesses, generating new ideas for growth as well as optimizing their business practices.
Embracing this trend, The Subivi Times will provide ecommerce business owners with:
- Breaking news in the ecommerce world.
- Information to help sellers expand their business.
- Growth hacks and business strategies.
- Insights into consumer culture and global trends.
- Tools such as templates, lists, and guides.
- Advice on using customer support as an engine for growth.
What does Subivi’s future look like as a product and a company?
The vision for Subivi is to turn it into a central hub where ecommerce business owners can manage everything with no need for any additional tools or integrations. From customer support to inventory management, Subivi plans on being a one-stop shop.
New tools and features are on the horizon, all of which aim to create tangible value for Subivi clients. These include support for multiple users, which will allow a number of reps to be connected simultaneously, automatically transfer their tickets, and supervise their progress, and the expansion to additional platforms, such as Amazon, WeChat, WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify.
As a company, Subivi is dead set on positioning itself as a key seller media outlet over the coming years. Through The Subivi Times, upcoming how-to videos, tutorials, and a potential podcast, Epstein-Lapid wants Subivi to become the go-to content hub for sellers. The ultimate goal of these elements is to provide valuable content which will help sellers grow their business and expand into additional marketplaces.
Epstein-Lapid plans to build the inventory management and synchronization functions of a software tool called CrazyVendor into Subivi. “We plan on merging CrazyVendor with Subivi over the course of 2020, creating a unique tool which provides both an inventory and customer support solution, all under one roof.”
Where do you see ecommerce in ten years from now?
Although Epstein-Lapid states that he “can’t predict what will be in ten years from now,” he does point to three trends that may have far-reaching effects on the ecommerce industry:
1. New regulatory reforms
America has been taken over by tech behemoths like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and eBay, but newly proposed regulatory reforms might change this. Reforms proposed by the likes of Elizabeth Warren hope to force ecommerce giants that earn over $25 billion in annual revenue to separate their marketplaces from their own product lines, in the name of fair trade.
2. The rise of ecommerce outside of the big players
Up until now, eBay and Amazon have dominated the ecommerce market – much like other free economic systems that have lead to two players dominating a market.
Some claim that Walmart will be the next market leader (helped by its acquisition of Jet.com). However, humming away in the background is a rise in specialty ecommerce marketplaces such as Etsy for arts and crafts.
These specialty marketplaces can – and do – coexist with their larger counterparts. But, with room for only two leaders, a model that applies to niche sites as well, the battle continues. Most online retailers who are brand specific (Decathlon, for example) are barely getting by. The name of the game is having an online retail space which promotes third-party retailer competition, giving consumers variety in terms of products and pushing prices down.
As a result, Epstein-Lapid predicts that more traditional, brand-specific retailers will swallow up niche retailers as well as international marketplaces.
When ecommerce was initially developing, buyers were happy to make purchases on marketplaces because it was convenient and offered variety. But, as the market ages, consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to shopping online. In tandem with this, stores are creating online experiences which are better than marketplaces and, Epstein-Lapid believes, will lead to growth in online purchases across the board.
3. The blending of online/offline consumerism
It’s no secret that consumer habits and trends are changing by the day, and Epstein-Lapid states that this will have an effect on the ecommerce world, particularly the notion of multi-channel ecommerce. This is when buyers browsing on, say, Amazon then go on to pick up their purchase from a self-service facility and vice versa; consumers who browse a physical store and then place an order online with the retailer that offers the most competitive price.
Epstein-Lapid believes this will lead to two major changes in the way we shop online:
- Mobile checkout – self-checkout is nothing new, but having dedicated mobile apps as well as hardware and software in stores specifically designed to support this trend might determine the future of ecommerce. “Imagine browsing an Amazon store, making a purchase on your phone, and picking up the item all in the same breath,” says Epstein-Lapid.
- Brick-and-mortar stores will incorporate VR and AR – virtual reality and augmented reality will allow consumers to envision wearing, driving, or using a product before they actually make a purchase. This can work as a strong tool in terms of converting walk-in traffic as well as online shoppers who have a VR headset at home.
Automation meets education
Subivi’s two-pronged approach, with their software as well as The Subivi Times, aims to provide sellers with the resources and information they need to make sure their businesses thrive in the new age of ecommerce.
Long-form, journalistic articles that combine history, culture, and trends will offer actionable advice and tips, while the features of the Subivi product help sellers put the advice into action.
If you would like to read the full version of this interview, please click here.
Read the latest posts on The Subivi Times or get started with a free Subivi trial.
This post was by Nadav Roiter, Marketing Manager for Subivi and a freelance journalist, and was sponsored by Subivi.