What is our primary use case?
It is definitely one of the top eCommerce providers in our company with whom we have worked for many years. For each region, we have different eCommerce providers, which is our business strategy. We don't sell directly to end users. For every market, we have our own eCommerce provider, and Softline works with us for Russia and some countries in the Baltic. They also work with the Latin America and Brazil, but it's not part of our responsibility.
The eCommerce providers host our shopping cart and oversee that transaction as well as maintaining the relationship with customers, e.g., protection and support. Funds are protected on the Softline site. From our side, we direct all the traffic from our website to the shopping cart, which is protected by Softline. They also handle manual renewable emails and outgoing renewable emails. So, they charge customers in cases where they are out of subscription.
They respond as customer support using online chat: through emails and mobile phone. Customers can call them with any issues in terms of their orders or processing.
How has it helped my organization?
Softline reached us with the suggestion to collaborate with top Russian banks and implement a cashback service. Right now, we have cashback opportunities for our clients. We also have some bonuses, which customers get for purchasing our products through the shopping carts. This use case demonstrates villages of all sorts. Using the full integration with banks on their side, they process the financial and legal part. We have started to show very good results, increasing in the commercial rate and shares of those payments methods. This also gave us the opportunity to collaborate not only with top banks, but also with other banks with whom new payment methods are being collaborated. They are very proactive in proposing partnerships, like when you consider all these use cases mentioned with banks from the perspective of feature improvements for the user experience in shopping carts.
We use Softline eCommerce in Russia, the Baltics, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. We have local languages and currencies in the shopping carts, e.g., in Russia, the shopping cart is in English and Russian. It is also possible to change currencies. Our website understands GeoIP, showing you the right currency for your country, though the Baltics' currency is currently Russian. The ability to change language and currency provides additional value and personalization.
What is most valuable?
We can customize shopping carts according to our needs. We constantly review with Softline the features and shopping cart templates that we need. Softline eCommerce is flexible and can provide additional features, e.g., the design of the shopping cart, disclaimers, and some customized emails to clients.
They have the maximum amount of payment methods in our cart. At this time, we don't have any specific requirements for implementing other payment methods. We currently have Visa, bank transfer, and mobile payment methods, such as, Google Pay and Apple Pay. So, they provide us with a wide variety and range of payment methods.
What needs improvement?
We get support from them to implement different scenarios. Some technical things that our sales operations team work on should be done a bit faster as well as the analytical part. However, we also understand that we are not the only client. We know that Softline works with other Latin American offices. We also know that we can actually request some additional analytics from Softline and get them, but it's always better to receive them faster. Speeding up the analytics and implementation could be improved.
There is an opportunity to do A/B tests inside the shopping cart. This could be an option.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using it for at least six years.
I started to work with this solution in September.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
In the time that I have been working with the solution, I haven't experienced any stability issues.
In general, the control panel and shopping carts are stable. There have been no technical issues when shopping carts were not working or people couldn't reach shopping carts. We have warning signals for this. We constantly track the traffic in the shopping cart and the conversion rate of the shopping cart. For the past several years, we have never experienced it where the shopping cart was just not available or there is an error in the shopping cart. It works without any technical issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Softline eCommerce has the same shopping cart design globally. They use their service to process payments in other countries, making it absolutely scalable. I have also heard good feedback from my colleagues in Latin America and Brazil about the solution.
How are customer service and technical support?
It has 24/7 support. We can reach managers from Softline through Telegram, WhatsApp, or mobile phone. It is very easy, client-oriented support for us to use as a vendor.
They are quick to respond, always online, and available as well as ready to help, answer, and take care of the required data reports. We really enjoy working with them.
They are very professional. We have several account managers that we know personally. We can discuss any questions with our account manager and they are super professional. They can tell us if there is a better scenario or solution for our customers. At the same time, they know the Russian markets very well and have worked with other brands in this market. They can tell us best practices, what is the benchmark, and the better way to act in this or that situation without breaking any disclosure agreements.
How was the initial setup?
I can compare Softline eCommerce with another eCommerce provider that I worked with eight years ago. The implementation and processes on the Softline eCommerce side appear very logical and flexible. It's always good to have an even more agile, flexible approach. However, taking into account that different eCommerce providers have their own features, Softline is very international.
They follow global international standards, even if you never had experience working with the Russian market like me. It was easy for me to adapt to how Softline eCommerce works, what regulations they have, and what processes they have, because it looks very international. It looks very close to what other eCommerce providers have. There are no specific peculiarities which completely differ from global standards. For me, the globalization and these international standards made it easier for me to adopt it.
What was our ROI?
Softline eCommerce has helped to increase our eCommerce sales and conversion rate in our shopping cart. Our customer satisfaction is now at 95 percent, which is huge.
We started to offer auto-renewable subscriptions last year. This functionality helped us improve retention rates. How it works: People accept the subscription rules and buy the auto-renewable subscription. Then, in a year, they are automatically charged by Softline eCommerce. We sent several notification emails, based on Russian law, informing people beforehand that we are planning to charge them. This functionality has actually helped us to improve retention rates because we know that some people may delay purchasing their subscription or don't want to make this decision again. In this case, we just charge them. This helps to improve conversion rates. Also, some additional emails, like follow up emails, which Softline sends the customers before expiration of their license, are also designed in a way that people are motivated to prolong their license, because we highlight a discount that we are offering of an additional 25 percent.
Right now, we're in the process of moving manual emails to our own CRM system. This is the decision made by the company. In the future, all the menu notifications will be processed by us, but auto-renewal notifications will be still processed by Softline eCommerce. This is where we plan to optimize different scenarios: how we inform people, when we inform people, and how it actually influences retention rate. In total, our retention rates increased because of Softline.
We have a very interesting functionality where people order first and pay later. So, if they can't make their decision to purchase the product right now, then they can place that order and have several weeks to think. At the same, Softline eCommerce is reminding them about this unfinished order. This also helps improve our conversion rates.
What other advice do I have?
You need to understand the specific features and peculiarities of your business. Be ready to participate in that process, because you know your business best. Softline can actually help and support you, giving you some advice, but you should be the one who knows what is best for your business. Don't hesitate to request some specific requirements, customization for the cart design, and other things, because Softline eCommerce can do it in different ways, but you should know what exactly will work for your business. Be ready to test and change if something is not working.
Softline continues to optimize and improve this solution. For example:
- Adding additional payment methods.
- Adding different cross-sell and upsell scenarios for promotional campaigns. When we needed to show partners' incentive in the shopping cart, then they have customized and added designs to make it look how we wanted.
- Constant review of features, such as, different optimizations. We are looking to improve the speed of the code delivery and optimize emails.
This is critical for us, because we are trying to change all the time. We also have some modernization projects related to how our website looks as well as some plans for changing our product portfolio and subscription model next year.
We try to have more product features than our competitors and stay up-to-date with the market, so we need our partners to change with us and adapt to this changing world. At the same time, we always want to improve the conversion rate of our shopping cart, showing better conversations. This is why we need our partners to change with us. So, we are constantly developing.
Right now, we are in the process of reviewing if we should add taxes or not. There is a new law in Russia where software produced in Russia shouldn't have taxes, thanks to our government. So, we are not going to have any taxes next year. However, for some services, e.g., B2B support and some customer support as a service, we have to add taxes and this is done in separate agreements. In general, for all consumer products, we haven't been asking for additional VAT from our customers. We don't plan to have it, except for the services. The solution is very flexible here.
I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10). This is a very high mark because definitely there is some room for improvement. In general, we are satisfied with service.