SME Survival Guide: A practical Cyber Monday guide for SMEs

Managing Director

Fav thing about the office

Good banter

As a child I wanted to be a ... when I grew up

Plumber/Electrician

Guilty Pleasure(s)

Strictly come dancing

Favourite Holiday

Crete

If I had a superpower it would be...

Mind Reading

Describe yourself in three words or less

Methodical, Energetic, Reliable

An interesting fact about me

Started “Work” life as an opera singer

Likes

Horse riding, fillet steak and a good curry

Favourite Band

…into Classical Music

Karaoke Jam

Desperado- The Eagles

What I do at Q2Q:

My role is to provide the overall direction and “eye on the compass” as to where we, as a team, are heading.

I’m still very much focused on the customer and will often get involved in customer solution discussions. As a techie at heart, I’m regularly seeking to understand industry developments and directional changes that may affect our customers, so we and our customers can remain on the front foot.

Background and Achievements

I started out in an I.T technical department of what was then British Rail, following which I joined a large construction company to re-organise their I.T infrastructure.

I then spent a couple of years as a business systems analyst at P&O Nedlloyd designing, developing and implementing systems within their Bulk and Tank Carrier companies.

In 1999 I was appointed as I.T Manager of SockShop and subsequently as of Head of I.T. at the Tulchan Group, comprising then of 300 stores. Due to a Year 2000 compliance issue, we were required to seek an alternative system, which we were able to more cost effectively write ourselves. This product subsequently became known as RAWHIDE and we later sold this product into a number of other businesses. At the time it was quite cutting edge as all the warehouse function was undertaken using handheld, wireless scanners, rather than the batch scanners that were dominant at the time.

In 2003 The Tulchan Group was acquired by Harris Watson. We were then asked to take responsibility for the I.T. of Viyella Ladies wear and in 2004 the demands of two MD’s and two FD’s (Tulchan Group + Viyella), resulted in the sensible decision to break out of the group and Q2Q was born. This then enabled us to also get involved with a number of other group companies (Harris Watson owned companies) as well as other non-group parties.  At one stage we were managing the I.T for almost 500 stores across a number of businesses.

Today Q2Q retains some of the group customers that we acquired along the way, as well as a substantial number of new and diverse customers in almost all industries including accounting, business development organisations, legal marketing, medical, retail and wholesale.

Hobbies and Interests

Horse riding, running (Jogging), motorbikes, reading any of the Detective Rebus stories.

By now, you’ll have probably seen the Coca-Cola trucks on TV, which can mean only one thing… Christmas is coming. With each festive season comes the influx of sales – and there’s no escaping the buzz around Cyber Monday.

Falling on November 26, the UK will inevitably see news headlines dominated by bargain hunters locking horns over the best deals, and internet sites struggling to cope with the demand from online shoppers.

But, it’s not just consumers who should be benefitting from the rock-bottom prices – there’s advantages for SMEs to shift stock, grow their customer base and instil customer loyalty too.

Prepare to get stuck in

Participating in Cyber Monday can sometimes seem overwhelming for SMEs, but it’s important not to be intimidated by high-street brands offering 75% off left, right and centre. Your product will be right for your customers, so by creating targeted deals for them, you should be able to reap the rewards too.

It’s simply not practical for SMEs to offer huge discounts on many of their products. While some businesses might be willing to roll the dice in the hunt for increased brand awareness, you know better than anyone what your customers want, so pinpoint a handful of products you can feasibly run promotional offers on.

Email exclusives

A good way to boost your email marketing list – while complying with GDPR regulations – would be by encouraging people to sign up to a mailing list to hear about any Cyber Monday offers before anyone else.

This relatively low-cost option boosts customer loyalty, and can be bolstered by a simple website pop-up, displaying a message relating to your forthcoming sale – and how to get exclusive access to your online-only deals.

Out with the old or best foot forward?

Lots of SMEs choose Cyber Monday to shift older stock which is clogging up space in offices or warehouses. If you’ve got a new product in the pipeline, this is a great way to make room for the new collateral at a relatively low cost.

On the flip-side, making the most of your top-selling-inventory is a great strategy for Cyber Monday. If you don’t want to try and offload the things no one really buys anymore, simply identify your top three products or services and create a real buzz around them in the lead up to sale-day, then offer those as your sole discounts.

Simple yet effective

One easy yet powerful Cyber Monday hack is the age-old discount code. It’s an effortless strategy with minimal set-up time. In the run-up to the event, send out a good batch of promotional content – shouting about your savings – and let the code take care of the rest.

Free delivery can also push a buyer over the transaction line. By feeling like they’ve beaten the sale system through not having to brave the traffic, the queues or the winter weather – and not having to fork out for a delivery fee – they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Small Business Saturday

Cyber Monday’s second cousin, Small Business Saturday falls on December 1st this year and celebrates all things local – a great resource for flourishing SMEs and even better if you’re a service-led business.

This grassroots, non-commercial campaign highlights small business success and encourages consumers to 'shop local'. In the run up to Christmas, members host special events and discounts online and in-store. It’s certainly one to consider.

Better to be safe than sorry

Unfortunately, the bottom-line boost also comes with an increased risk of cyber-attacks and data interception attempts. So, it’s more important than ever that your business is well prepared to defend against – and deal with – any pesky online criminals.

As the influx of website traffic and elevated sales attract an elevated level of attention from the darker corners of the web, we recently looked at how to protect yourself online this Cyber Monday, and it’s important to have any necessary measures in place before the big day.

Make sure your systems can cope with demand

It’s all well and good quadrupling your web traffic overnight and having your biggest day of trading, but are your systems robust enough to deal with the increased demand? In 2017, even the large retailers such as Debenhams and Game struggled under the weight of increased numbers of site visitors.

The strength of your IT infrastructure plays a pivotal part in your SME’s success, not only on Cyber Monday, but on the other 364 days of the year too. Therefore, if you’re in any doubt about how ready you are for a sudden increase in business activity, why not sign up for our free IT audit, to make sure your cyber-structure is supporting you as it should?

If you’d like further advice on how to protect your IT infrastructure against malicious cyber-threats this Cyber Monday, contact our friendly team of experts today.

SME Survival Guide: A practical Cyber Monday guide for SMEs SME Survival Guide: A practical Cyber Monday guide for SMEs