|In this interview, we will be discussing:
An in-depth interview with Subivi’s Co-Founder and Product Leader reveals a valuable customer service automation tool for sellers looking to increase their business’s profitability as well as the unveiling of a new knowledge hub which features journalism grade articles complete with actionable insights, hacks and eCommerce news from a customer support perspective.
Subivi is an exciting company which is part of the hi-tech boom currently taking place in the Silicon Valley of The Middle East – Israel. I sat down with Michael Epstein-Lapid in order to understand what Subivi is? What makes it unique in the ‘cyber landscape’, so to speak, and most importantly what this tool can do for sellers…
What is Subivi?
Subivi is an eCommerce CRM which is revolutionizing the way sellers do business by streamlining the customer service process making it simple and easy for sellers.
Here at Subivi we ask ourselves the following questions before planning each new feature:
- Can we save the seller time by automating his business?
- Can we provide the seller with information and tools for boosting his sales?
These are high priority for sellers and therefore every single product feature was developed with these in mind.”
Bottom line: Subivi is a full cycle eCommerce CRM which helps manage the different aspects of customer support for all of your eBay eCommerce accounts in one convenient place.
What features does Subivi have which can benefit sellers?
- Automation – The most important thing for sellers, especially those with multiple accounts and tens or even hundreds of orders is automation. Subivi allows you to save time by using:
- Automated messages and follow up.
- Quick replies with a variety of professional message templates to choose from.
- Smart Tags which automatically insert seller/product info into messages.
2. Analytics & Profitability – Subivi provides insights in the form of analytics which in turn allows sellers to target buyers using cross-selling and up-selling strategies. A good example of this is a seller who sees an increase in sales of products relating to vacations. He or she can then make the connection that a vacation season is coming up for a certain target audience and then use automated cross-selling and up-selling messages to boost sales of items in that category. Say someone buys a suitcase, and then directly after gets an offer to buy a travel toiletry set (cross-selling) or someone places an order for a specific suitcase and then gets sent an email offering them to cancel their current order and buy a more luxurious, more expensive suitcase at a higher price but at a discount because it just happens to be on sale (up-selling).
This feature can really impact a seller’s bottom line!”,
Michael tells me enthusiastically.
3. PWA – Is basically an application which can be directly downloaded from the Subivi website to your phone not through the ‘AppStore’, which is what makes it a PWA (Progressive Web App). In any case it functions the same as an application and according to Michael:
Subivi is one of the only eCommerce CRMs on the market today which has made its tool available to sellers on their smartphone.”
The great thing about this ‘feature’ is that you can always have access to your customer service wherever you go, whether it be the doctor’s office or picking up the kids from school. You will never miss another query again or lose business to the competition because you were away from the screen for a few hours. 4. Single-inbox approach –
Having a single-inbox is key to Subivi’s business and workflow approach”,
With Subivi you can close tickets, queries and returns for all your eCommerce accounts, in one convenient space. And what’s great is that you aren’t limited – you can connect any number of eCommerce stores.
When your whole customer service operation, from all your accounts is laid out in front of your eyes – taking care of business becomes much easier.
Customer’s sense this and this drives buyer satisfaction and ratings through the roof!”
5. International Expansion –
Another feature unique to Subivi is a built-in translation tool which supports translations from and into 100 languages.
This tool along with our analytics has helped multiple clients of ours, expand into France, Germany, Italy and a host of other countries”,
Analytics can help you find your target market abroad, find your niche, whereas the translation feature can be your one-stop-shop tool in terms of communication and customer support.
Before I ask you more about what the future looks like for Subivi and eCommerce in general, I want to ask you about ‘The Subivi Times’, I know that this is a project which has been in the workings for quite some time and which you feel will provide considerable value for sellers.
Tell me about The Subivi Times – What is different about this publication than any other seller resource on the net?
The tagline is ‘Where eCommerce news, actionable insights and quality content meet.’ This embodies the essence of this publication. We have a former journalist from The Jerusalem Post working on these articles so that sellers can read journalism-grade content with flavour and spice. When you combine this with the knowledge the Subivi founders have acquired over the years as former eBay sellers themselves, you have yourself a recipe for interesting, highly actionable content.”
I understand that it will combine journalism, history, culture, and economics with eCommerce from a customer support perspective – Where did that idea come from?
Together, as a team, we sat down and after many brainstorming sessions agreed that our publication needs to reflect our product. Subivi eCommerce CRM 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. Nobody wants to read pages and pages filled with dry metrics, click-through rate hacks and customer service dos and don’ts. People want a story, a narrative, art, history, news and economics all packed into one publication which also provides that necessary information. People want to enjoy themselves even when they are doing business and that sentiment is what we want to tap into.
We could have kept it to a bare minimum but instead:
- We decided to include a hint of history by comparing overseas expansion to explorers like Christopher Columbus.
- Provide statistics on the top growing eCommerce consumer markets (hint: China is set to lead the charge). Picture credits: Shopify, using Data and sources from The Enterprise Guide to Global Ecommerce
- Introduce readers to a fascinating business and marketing case study of the Australian Yellow Tail wine’s success story in the American market.
- Provide information on European VAT Tax thresholds.
- Give readers tools to deal with different time zones as well as how to do research on which overseas markets to target.
- Introduce readers to 6 new international marketplaces to expand into (from Japan to France).
- And give actionable insights into Chinese and international eCommerce consumer culture and trends.
What value will the average seller come away with as a Subivi Times subscriber?
Just as investors read Bloomberg or The Wall Street Journal, viewing them as invaluable resources, so too, I believe eCommerce sellers will come to view The Subivi Times.”
Epstein-lapid tells me with conviction. And so, The Subivi Times is intended to capture the zeitgeist of the present and the future. As journalism moves more and more from print publication to online publication – leisure readers, investors and especially eCommerce business owners are turning to internet-based publications, which are becoming the lifeblood of their business in terms of generating new ideas for growth as well as optimizing their business practices.
According to The Guardian:
One of the few physical newspaper readers left on earth captured by a photographer in India:
Embracing this trend, The Subivi Times will provide eCommerce business owners with:
- Crucial breaking news in the eCommerce world.
- Valuable information about expanding their business.
- Innovative growth hacks and business strategies.
- Insights into consumer culture and global trends.
- Tools such as templates, lists and guides.
- Advise on using customer support as a real engine for growth.
Tell me about 1 post which is coming out at the beginning of June which you absolutely love and why?
I would definitely choose the post entitled ‘6 free customer support templates every eCommerce seller should be familiar with!’ The reason is because it is very different from the post I mentioned before and is pretty unique. It is different in the sense that it is a very practical article – sellers are provided with 6 free templates which they can literally copy and paste, making it actionable in the immediate sense of the word.
It is essentially a tool to help sellers take their customer support from good to great!
Beyond the templates we help sellers determine:
- What the ideal timing for sending correspondence to sellers is.
- What sellers should absolutely not be writing which sometimes is counterintuitive to popular belief.
- The best ways of self expression vis-a-vis writing including correct writing and punctuation etiquette (it’s a thing, trust me).” Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash
What does Subivi’s future look like as a product and as a company?
As a product – The vision for Subivi is to become a central hub where eCommerce business owners either on a marketplace or selling platform can manage everything from A to Z with no need for any additional tools or integrations – from customer support to inventory management, we aim to be a one-stop-shop.
We also believe in innovation, but not the kind people use just to word-drop, in the future we plan to innovate by creating additional tools which create tangible value for our clients and are easy and simple to use. These features, which will be rolled out in the coming months include:
- Support for multiple users which will allow a few reps to be connected simultaneously, be able to automatically transfer them tickets and supervise their progress individually.
- Expanding to additional platforms such as Amazon, WeChat, WooCommerce, Magento and Shopify.
This will have a big impact on how sellers do business by allowing them to target buyers in the present and future and allow customer service issues to be easily identified and dealt with efficiently. It is the future of eCommerce customer service!”
As a company – which helps other business owners manage and improve their customer support, we consider it imperative to provide our own customers with personalized customer service – we want each and every customer to feel valued as a customer and comfortable using our solution.
Additionally, we aim to become a content hub for sellers, from The Subivi Times, to how-to videos, tutorials and potentially even podcasts. Subivi plans on positioning itself as a key seller media outlet over the coming years.
The ultimate goal: providing valuable content which will help sellers grow their business and expand into additional marketplaces.
Lastly, I want to mention CrazyVendor which is another great tool, developed in conjunction with CrazyLister. This tool provides sellers with full-cycle inventory management and synchronization solutions. 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 10 years from now?
Speaking in candid techy style, Michael asserts that he “can’t predict what will be in 10 years from now”, most likely since there is no algorithm at present to consult. However, he does point to 3 trends which may have far-reaching effects on eCommerce as an industry:
- America is and has been taken over by technology behemoths the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and eBay. These companies which once only created waves in corporate America are now creating monsoons in the political arena – treating states and cities as if they were Halloween candy, meant to be picked and chosen at their delight for the location of their next factory or campus. But the truth is there are new political actors in town, specifically Democratic candidate, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who is proposing regulatory reforms which have the potential of rocking corporate America in general and the eCommerce industry in particular.
Picture source: The New York Times
Warren wants to ‘reignite competition in the American economy’ and that starts with forcing eCommerce companies like Amazon who earn over $25 billion in revenue annually to separate their marketplace platform from their product lines in the name of fair trade – to paraphrase Warren, it is essentially corporate Tobacco all over again with a Silicon Valley twist.
2. The second big trend is the rise of eCommerce outside of traditional marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. Traditionally, free economic systems create a winner dynamic where two players dominate a market.Source: APPLICO
Some say Walmart is the other market dominatrix with its recent purchase of Jet.com as well as other significant acquisitions. But in the background, there is a rise in specialty eCommerce marketplaces (think: Etsy for handicrafts and art).These specialty marketplaces can, and do coexist with their larger brother and sister (Amazon and Walmart – you decide who is who in this equation). But just as in the macro of things there is only room for two dominants, this is true of niche verticals as well, and the battle begins, or continues (think: 80 Year War).
Most online retailers who are brand specific (think: Decathlon) are barely getting by. The name of the game is having an online retail space which promotes third-party retailer competition thereby giving consumers variety in terms of products and competitive action in terms of price. That is why, Image source: BGR
I predict more traditional, brand-specific retailers such as Walmart will be swallowing up niche-specific as well as international marketplaces such as Flipkart.com(another one of Walmarts many purchases, picked up on the Indian market for roughly $16 Billion).
Another thing to consider is when eCommerce culture is in the process of developing, at the beginning buyers buy on marketplaces as it is convenient and there is a lot of variety. But as the market ages, people become accustomed to shopping online and stores learn to create online experiences which are better. This leads to growth in online purchases across the board.”
That is why it is important for sellers who currently only have a presence on marketplaces, to create assets and online brands of their own. It is my prediction that this trend will gain more prevalence among mainstream sellers in the coming years”
3. Consumer habits and trends in 2019 are changing and over the coming years we will be seeing an increasing blend of online/offline consumerism. For example, buyers browsing Amazon for a product and then picking it up from a self-service facility for example and vice versa, consumers who browse a physical store and then place an order online with the retailer who offers the most competitive prices. With that in mind and as an extension of this thought, here are my predictions:
- 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 is going to 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. Another great example is the ‘Amazon Go’ pilot in Seattle, Washington – in this store, when you pick up an item you are charged automatically in the app if you return it the charge is canceled. Expect more of this cross-over in 2019 as well as in the years to follow. Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash
- Bricks & Mortar stores will incorporate VR & AR – Virtual Reality and Augmented reality will allow consumers to feel and envision wearing, driving or using a product before they actually make a purchase and can act as a strong tool in terms of converting walk-in traffic as well as online shoppers who have a pair of VR goggles at home. I predict that this integration has the potential to revolutionize entire industries from fashion to leisure travel, from automotive to property as well as and especially eCommerce retail.” Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash