With E-commerce in our Garden Centre we missed a trick.

Garden centre interview
Tam Duran
Tam Duran Chamber of Commerce advisor in conversation with PJ Quigley MD Newlands.

Precis 18th September 2021

in conversation with PJ Quigley, we underestimated how many of our customers are looking for the trip out, spending money is consequential to the experience.

Listening to a face mask conversation at the check out I heard :

“We cannot take a holiday this year, but at least we can get out of the house and go to the countryside”

With E-commerce in our Garden Centre we missed a trick.

We are a group, we buy together, we share resources and we grow together, and the serious downturn in business we experienced was expected but still a shock.

The repercussions manifested in many ways, staff issues, plant care issues and procurement problems.

One area we knew was future proofed, was our ecommerce website and delivery service.

Future proofing our business was a considerable investment and consistent growth has justified that investment.

We really expected the online store to pick up some of the slack, with a few peaks and troughs, the traffic reports were encouraging but the actual sales didn’t even begin to compensate for poor physical visitor numbers.

The internet project.

in 2019, the decision was made to out source the project with experienced people who really made an effort to understand our business model.

We have a wonderful online store, well thought out, fast, full of engaging photos and information and associated cross selling ideas.

But underlining that project, we felt a strong mismatch with our physical offering and the internet offering, we just couldn’t put our finger on it.

We considered re routing staff to become personal shoppers, a walking tour of the Garden centre with direct purchasing on the website using our staffs own phones.

We trialled that, but the combination of the weather, a booking system that actually worked, client engagement and staff shortages made the project an abject failure.

Sometime the obvious isn’t so obvious

Once a month we have staff and management meetings, this Monday morning was particularly wet and quiet, we decided to meet in the restaurant area.

We had been toying with QR codes to order food, and we had been trialling it for table orders within our predominantly self service restaurant.

The girls told us it simply wasn’t working properly, orders couldn’t be actioned in a timely manner, the menus and the table QR codes didn’t work and they didn’t even come to their PC in the kitchen they went to the checkouts.

What had we missed? why was this such a problem when even the local pub seemed to have a system that worked ?

That very evening I went to Newlands Golf Club and spoke to the Manager there about their experience of QR.

He rolled his eyes and said they had abandoned the entire concept because the QR was always out of date and very often didn’t work at all.

Dispirited, I was browsing the shop store looking at golfing paraphernalia, and a sharply printed QR club was winking at me from a set of Golf clubs that cost nearly as much as my car!

I scanned it on my 4 year old Smartphone and a wee website appeared in the blink of an eye that exactly fitted my smartphone and then connected to a one minute video.

This video was crafted to show the benefits of their manufacturing process, and a professional golfer on the tee, 3 days ago at Championship Wentworth !

What really surprised me was that I could actually purchase these golf clubs immediately through Pay pal.

We were missing a trick, this was the opposite to the way our QR codes worked.

If this QR code was printed, how on earth was the Video so recent?

The answer was to source a professional Smart QR company who produced Smartphone enabled baby websites with optional video and ecommerce built in.

These baby websites are branded and have unique characteristics for all sorts of campaigns.

But more importantly subscribe to a subscription service that allowed us to change the information on the QR after it has been printed.

Much like our ecommerce website the hierarchy had already been thought through, we knew that bit, it wasn’t too difficult to think about permanent weather proofed QR for every section.

It actually wasn’t too difficult to roll the QR codes out to all our centres, if it worked at Newlands it would work exactly the same elsewhere.

Using the flexibility of the baby website templates allows ongoing campaigns with real time reporting.

Two very popular campaigns at the moment are feedback ( situated on the back of doors in the toilets ) Questions on food, sanitation, parking and Christmas.

The second on the restaurant tables €5 voucher for your point of view relates to ‘how can we improve our QR for you ?

What we hadn’t even begun to understand was the importance of QR connected to our customers smartphone on site!

We phased the project, but used different staff to the website, it was more administrative, so we actioned that with a reporting system so I could see progress.

What I didn’t know, was that the Company we use has a reporting system.

It tells us real time how many scans we are getting and from which department, interestingly it’s usually associated with new season product, for example now we are moving into winter bedding and the call to action for QR says ” Scan here for Deal of the Day”

We can change it whenever we need to, but its highly effective for driving promotional sales on site in a way the website simply does not.

We now have a QR in the restaurant that changes almost daily for specials and food deals depending on the weather forecast.

We are so excited by the progress we are making, we are considering joining the ecommerce store to the QR codes on site, add to virtual basket and add to real basket real time.

I will share in February with my next guest invitation

PJ Quigley. MD Newlands Garden Centres

Smartphone for business stats.

And the information lag to implement change is costing business a fortune.

And the information lag to implement change is costing business a fortune.

Read the short report, it will take your breath away.

Research conducted by:

Fliplet.com 

Maltix.co.uk

Research dissertation UWE Bristol Dr Phillipa Coles

Some discovery facts:

The average Smartphone user spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone 7 days a week.

Many more startling facts within research paper:

Latest Smartphone for business research paper
Latest Smartphone for business research paper

If only we had thought deeper about our print campaign

Our failure sent $ 12750 plus GST completely down the drain

Newswire article Baltimore Chamber of Commerce September 2021

Dan Monaghan Baltimore Port comms

Dan Monaghan talking to the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce in their first Breakfast meeting in nearly two years.

I wanted to share my experience about a safety campaign that was thrust upon me by the Port Authorities.

Quite a complex document was issued and the committee wanted a simple message to

“To nail to the wall”

If only I had thought deeper about my print campaign

I’m sharing a mistake I oversaw

We commissioned our normal print designer, worked hard on the message and printed a hundred branded posters in full color weather proof gloss.

It took nearly 2 weeks to get them all in place.

Stating the obvious

We completely forgot QR codes.

And when it was pointed out to me by a safety officer, my head sunk.

The really complicated information issued by the Port Authorities each has a video explainer, there in plain sight on the original document issued to the committee.

15 in fact.

What was missing in our calibration of the print job was our own dedicated QR that we can then link to any information we need to get out there in the future.

And with all the regular changes and rules etc we could actually simply update the QR code back office in the same way we update our website and intranet.

My message of the day guys, get you own dedicated and hosted Smart QR code, get it linked to a simple platform where everything else can be found and shared.

That way you future proof all your print campaigns and avoid unnecessary costs.

Stating the obvious wasn’t so obvious 6 months ago.

Dan Monaghan Baltimore Port comms Newswire September 2021

Our property videos have poor viewing figures.

luxury video on the smartphone

They cost a fortune and it’s difficult to see a return on investment.

Des Woodley
Des Woodley a problem solved

Des Woodley in conversation with Tam Duran on the Newswire August 2021

My brothers and I have a successful real estate company in Utah specializing in up market and bespoke properties.

In response to increasing queries for property video, we allocated quite a large budget within our 2019 financial plans.

And at first sight we were extremely pleased with the quality of our videos and even got mentions from other Agents.

We chose to host our Videos on You tube expecting great viewing figures, but I can tell you we initially had less than 10 views on a Video that cost $5000, the math just didn’t add up.

The clients were not happy either, ultimately these kind of investments are recouped from the sale.

We found this quite enlightening, after all prospective clients had asked to see videos but apparently they were not opening them up or reacting in any way!

We felt really up against a wall and something told us to be careful with future video investments.

Last fall Brian , my brother, got a call from a Company off linked in who posted articles about the very same problem, so I took the call.

Maybe it was just the fact that the problem had been rattling around in my head, but the basic question I had not asked my self came to light.

Who are we targeting to view our videos ?

How much of our business was switching to the Smartphone ?

How are we ensuring the Smartphone users are happy with the video delivery.

Looking back on it now, it appeared differently, but we took stock and made changes immediately.

Our property videos have poor viewing figures.

Our first decision was to reverse our scepticism about the use of Video.

Our second decision was to use Smart QR in all our paper and online brochures and engage the subscription services of a professional QR provider.

We are getting to the point now that our QR investment is less than $100 per property.

This new kind of QR has a tracking system, so we can manage our campaigns exactly to see the scan response.

We know which operating system scanned the QR and from which state and Country !

We also listened to advice and added our Google tracking ID to the system.

In combination we could actually quantify our KPI’s for the first time alongside You tube.

Every property on our books now has a video attached to a QR landing page like this one.

We take care with our brochures thinking about QR to central booking system and our V cards.

We even put QR on every property photograph in our downtown stores and are now adding QR to local press listings.

The Smartphone growth statistics are remarkable

Woodley

And we always provide a link like this one

Our viewing figures now? depending on the campaign, we get as many as 800 views

Tam Duran
Tam Duran Maltix board advisor

Des Woodley in conversation with Tam Duran on the Newswire August 2021

I struggle with my paperless office

Jasmine Woodward
Jasmine Woodward
Jasmine Woodward

I decided to start writing a lot more about my life, my job and my office.

I’m a 32 year old medical secretary from Long beach New York, originally from London England, married to a baker and our household is awake at 4 am every morning!

I finish at 5 pm, so quite a long day, but my husband is home by 2 pm.

Our time apart is a good time for me to write, so here goes

Becoming a medical administrative assistant was a challenging position with significant responsibilities, but my degree leant itself to this kind of job and the salary is excellent.

Although my job isn’t medical or overly patient-facing it doesn’t mean it isn’t one that requires a significant amount of dedication!

The responsibilities of being a medical administrator are rewarded with above average pay, and there is a reason for that!

I have identified some touchpoints I would like to share and I wonder how many other people have similar problems in their office environment ?

Dealing With Difficult Personalities

Communicating with patients very often means dealing with scared, confused, and angry people and the Consultants and doctors themselves can be very demanding in their own right!

A Heavy Workload because of a lack of joined up thinking !

Running a healthcare facility comes with a lot of paperwork and there is my gripe, thats the nub, that’s the rub, this is my complaint.

In a world of wireless internet and smartphones, I fail to understand why its all so complex and why the Printer still seems to be the shrine.

It’s like the kitchen space in a house where everybody congregates next to the coffee machine.

I have inherited a mish mash of paper written doctors notes, a central management system that was commissioned in 2004, files galore and paper doesn’t talk to computers !

It’s not joined up and feels cobbled together rather than strategically compiled.

Why is this a problem when ostensibly, we allegedly have a paperless office.

There seems to be a trust problem, as if “if its not written down it might be lost” culture

The paperwork is an important part of my job to keep the gears turning behind the scenes, enabling everyone else to do their job professionally.

But my day is impeded by file chasing and haulage !

Dealing With a Lack of Physical Activity 

As with most clerical roles, working medical administrative assistant is mostly a desk job.

While there is nothing wrong with working at a desk, most of us do it, being entirely desk-bound can have a negative effect on your health.

If you’re proactive enough to fit in the right kind of exercise to stave off the problems associated with office work, thats ok, I run almost every day, the park is beautiful, that bit I have overcome.

I am the Go-To Problem Solver

A constant never ending stream of requests and telephone calls with zero automation !

Clients cannot book into a central diary and the booking system still relies heavily on incoming telephone, very often into a disorganised Consultants diary shared with a private diary, its a constant problem with return calls and new arrangements .

With all this Covid kerfuffle I noticed such reliance on QR codes.

Quite clever I thought, so if its good enough for Government Departments its good enough for my office.

And here we are.

I identified about 10 areas I could implement QR codes, independently of the office metrics, and it has worked !

It has worked because my workload is much more manageable.

Here is what I achieved:

On my desk and around the clinic

A Brochure with QR linking to a dedicated booking email.

QR on the wall head height and large for:

Parking ticket redemption

Clinic map

Covid rules

Toilets

WiFi

Emergency ( on brochure as well )

Map geo code

Opening times

Staff

Payment ( links to website)

Clerical ( 10 codes )

Advisory ( 20 codes linked to you tube mainly )

Thank you for listening, maybe we will eventually go paperless, but for now using paper to connect to the Smartphone has been an outstanding success for managing my time !

Jasmine Woodward Newswire article August 2021

Business people forget to look up.

look up

It could be costing your future.

A newswire article published 02 08 2021

Deborah Grant Communication advisor and business development coach in conversation with Will Nicholls.
Deborah Grant

Deborah Grant Communication advisor and business development coach in conversation with Will Nicholls.

Modern business is all consuming, and the journey is just like walking, we tend to navigate our business looking down at our feet.

A natural human response in any situation is avoiding obstacles and not tripping up !

Deborah asks some really important questions, especially on her one on one coaching workshops.

She asked me for my vision for my business and I looked up to see the story ahead.

STOP she says, hold that, what else do you see ?

Then silence, that went on for ages.

Deborah asked me to look up even higher so it cranked my neck.

Now do you see she enquired ?

Yes I said, I’m in the clouds looking down, surveying my business.

Do you see things differently now she enquired ?

Business people forget to look up.

It could be costing your future.

The majority of small business people are too busy working in their business to work on their business.

This is especially true in times of pain and stressful workload, and I guess most small business has been through hell and back in the last 2 years.

And in the industry of business tech, past investments are so redundant it’s time to drop them.

Drop them like the burden of carrying heavy water.

App share
Lighting change for small business.

Look up you guys, do this today!

Deborah says take a short high energy walk.

Stand outside and crank your head as far back as comfortable, as your eyes join the clouds in the sky, then look down at your feet and then straight ahead.

The tunnel vision of business ownership will open up like night and day, its like opening the huge doors of a barn to let the sunlight illuminate your future.

The journey you have been on for a very long time is akin to carrying water through the desert.

It’s very heavy its extremely hot, its debilitating.

But looking up you will see an aquafer or a viaduct and your river of change that allows you to stop carrying that heavy water and begin looking straight ahead with clarity and purpose.

Deborah whispers to me.

The water is already on your journey, put trust in that.

A newswire article published 02 08 2021

How I sold £5 million worth of new contracts in a bar !

Tam Duran

Why the Millennials would never buy a contract like this today.

Tam Duran trend adviser and coach on the new digital high street.

Tam Duran board adviser Maltix
Tam Duran ( a towering influence on digital migration for small business )

Maybe I’m an opportunist, perhaps it was luck.

My visions and dreams manifested in just one day.

I was back packing in south Africa 20 years ago and stayed at a timeshare reserve in Kruger park, on a cheap travel deal.

The restaurant was awful and the beer limited, but nonetheless, after a gruelling 18 holes on the golf course I was ready to drink and sleep.

I wasn’t playing, I was picking up stray balls for a pittance.

The guy I was working with that day came from the township, he told me he was so poor they couldn’t afford the mortar between the blocks in his house.

I though he was joking, but one day I saw him carrying bags of carrots from the mall to peoples cars for one rand ( 50 c in those days )

When I visited a couple of days later, I had to step over the electrical cables in the mud that supplied their intermittent electricity.

But he was sharp, he listened and he listened and smiled a lot.

He shared with me that the South Efrican Eccent people with the beards were unhappy with their timeshare at the park.

He said it was a secret, and I had to listen, so I did.

After a whole day of banter, it emerged that the timeshare contracts that the wealthy folk from Johannesburg had signed up to were onerous.

He had taken a crumpled contract from a bin after a heated and angry debate from the sales office which was next to the clubhouse.

Truthfully, he couldn’t read it, but he knew the big guy on the golf course that day was super angry, and he was a lawyer !

I listened and I read, I read it so many times, oh my word.

But buried in the contract was an interminable termination date, in fact it was in perpetuity, which means no end date. I had to look that up!

In addition, on a page un associated with the the contract page, the owners of the park can legitimately add 6% every year to the ‘maintenance charges’ of the property.

At school, I learned about compound interest, my master, Mr Harding, kept on and on about the importance of the rules of compound interest.

It just pieced together in my mind, this contract was designed to collect compound interest forever !

That’s why the Lawyer guy was ready to commit murder, he hadn’t read the contract but instead became obsessed with the dream property on the Golf course.

After extensive negotiations with the Developer, I explained that the value of contracts was in the change of the contract.

It took 3 years to talk to nearly every contract owner, usually in the bar area on the complex.

We charged more than the original value contract, by and large , the additional benefits in the contract outweighed the extra investment.

How I sold £5 million worth of new contracts in a bar !

In conversation with the “wired magazine” Tam Duran talked ‘off piste ‘ about the savviness of the Millennial generation using the smartphone as their life tool.

He has identified a massive shift into the trust of strangers on social media.

He claims that it would be infinitely more difficult to sell a contract like this in the first place.

The first sniff of an problem would be shared and re-shared, or as Tam highlights, made more searchable and more searchable.

Why business has to be developed on the technology that the millennial yearns.

Tam Duran spoke of generational digital divide and the consequences that invoke digital inequality.

Put another way, the Millennial’s have developed an in-built ability to rapidly close any knowledge gap.

They are comfortably self sufficient leading their lives on the internet.

Millennials actively dismiss tech platforms in less than a second.

And they actively and rapidly dismiss tech platforms that fail to deliver their considerable needs in a blink of an eye.

The vast majority of Websites are included in that dismissal.

The DO and DELETE culture of APP usage with the Millennial

The Millennial crave for the simplicity and responsiveness of an APP

An not just any APP, they hate downloading APP’s that impinge on their precious Smartphone memory.

They also search and work on the APP that can be shared on their social media.

And they know that if its an APP from the APP store they probably cannot do that.

It feels like a fabulous opportunity for small business with vision because the production and hosting costs of this new technology are so dramatically lowered.

Gen-z-maltix-pwa
Gen-z-

And before too long the GEN Z generation spending power will impact the digital high street in many shattering ways.

Look out business people, adopt or die.

Tam Duran trend adviser and coach in the new digital high street

Tam Duran a Maltix board member and support partner.

Newswire article 31-07-2021

5 star Hotels are getting burned

Kevin Edwards

Deliveroo deliver on the short comings of Hotel Directorships !

Where hotels are going wrong in implementing technology

Kevin Edwards, business development director at Alliants says properties should better use the tech available by Kevin Edwards Reprint on newswire July 18, 2021

The Middle East has become the primary destination for obtainable luxury when it comes to the hotel sector globally.

The continuous development of hotels continues to drive the bar higher in terms of facilities, amenities, and technology.

However, with the pandemic hitting, the expected impact on top-line spending isn’t necessarily keeping pace.

When we look at the demographic and segment changes in hotel occupants over the last two years, have the hotel operators hit the mark when it comes to savvy technology investment to drive revenue?

For the 12 months prior to Covid, hoteliers had a sharp focus on key technology areas such as revenue management, and with Expo 2020 it made sense.

How can you optimise your inventory for the period of the event? Room nights, meetings, and events were the core revenue generators.

The guest drivers changed overnight and people wanted home comforts.

In-room TV streaming, room service ordering online, electronic keys, and contactless check-in and out.

And if they couldn’t get it from the property they would do one of two things:

  1. Stay elsewhere
  2. Use third parties to facilitate their needs

The first option became a clear opportunity as rates plummeted and with them access to properties with little demand and low occupancy.

The second option is a more complicated issue best explained by a recent real-life stay.

How hotels are failing to use technology

I arrived in typically efficient Middle Eastern style through the airport to a five-star business hotel with 800 rooms split between residences and hotel rooms.

I approached the front desk where service was diligent and warm as they checked me in and cut two keys.

Upon arriving at my room I noted that it had been cleaned to the brand new Covid cleaning standards, but there was no mention at the front desk of the mobile key that could have enabled me to ditch the plastic cards.

Having worked closely with this hotel, I am aware that the owner has invested significantly in mobile key technology (circa US$1m+) but there was no communication before my stay alerting me of the ability to utilise this innovation.

Nor was it mentioned on arrival. The experience wasn’t bad, it just missed the chance to be something better.

As I am now stuck in my room for 24 hours while I await my PCR test result, I am further disappointed by the fact that whilst there is a QR code to get to room service it is just a menu which means I have to pick up the telephone to place an order and hope that I can accurately convey what I require.

Alternatively, I could just follow what everyone else seems to be doing and order from Talabat or Deliveroo and do it all on my device.

Food ordered, work completed for the day, time to catch up on another box set on Netflix… Or not as I cannot stream a thing so it looks like I’m going to have to concentrate on that five-inch screen a little longer.

Technology is here to stay

Putting this all in perspective, Covid has probably simplified the guest journey.

However, it has now enabled a significant revenue opportunity in ancillary spend which many are missing out on due to technology adoption.

In my opinion, the operators have focussed on the whizzbang of technology rather than focus on the business case.

Meanwhile, the Talabat and Deliveroo drivers mount up in the hotel reception giving the hotel guests more triggers to order from them.

The Age of Cheap is Over

Mary-Ann-Dougherty

The bill for unaffordable business methodology is overdue.

Mary-Ann-Dougherty
Mary-Ann-Dougherty Maltix Partner.

Think this through for a minute, and yes Im shouting at you.

As prices continue to fall the value of your money goes up….. correct ?

Technology is incredibly disruptive and causing deflation.


Technology that used to cost millions to build can now be rented for pennies.

App share
App share technology


The smart phone is literally replacing the high street.


Since Covid, technology is doubly accelerating this trend.


The value of our money is going up because prices are going down…… now do your agree?


Government panic is accelerating the reaction to the point that money printing is at the point of by passing banks all together because banks are failing to lend.


Call it furlough, call it helicopter money, our Chancellors are not sleeping properly.


And in a deflationary cycle, obsequious debt deflation inhibits and prohibits the ability to pay off historical debt. It’s literally impossible.


Most people do not understand the difference between a million and a trillion, its time you looked at the 12 zeros in a trillion.

The bill for unaffordable business methodology is overdue.



Two party politics has produced an unprecedented dichotomy for the electorate.
Do we vote for socialism for the rich or socialism for the poor?

Both political divides sit on a system that historically relies on inflation to pay off historical debt.


Covid is forcing us into a scarcity mindset, the abundance mindset is long gone.

The Age of Cheap is Over


But stocks and property are our salvation right ?


Without 220 Trillion of printed money being printed what would the value of your UK property actually be?


Would your stocks actually have increased?


Inflation matches our picture memory.


The notion of deflation goes against our education.


It also flies in the face of everything in our fiscal life, even if we are 90 years of age.

The bill for unaffordable business methodology is overdue.


Questioning the economic picture from the inside is impossible.

It’s like trying to invent a new colour..

Government is preventing a free trade fiscal economy

The clues are all around.

Cash is out of favour.

PROOF: They even stop you on your travels if you carry too much !

Are you a business owner?

The opportunity for business to adapt quickly is only hindered by FEAR.

The tools to adapt to the new digital high street, to conduct A to Z business , remove Fixed costs and survive are in the palm of your hand.

You just have to grasp it before the wind blows it away.

I cannot shout any louder, talk to a partner today.

Mary-Ann-Dougherty Maltix Partner.

The Biggest Problems Recruiters Face.

Mosley article

They cannot get off the hamster wheel because they keep repeating the same mistakes.

Executive recruitment Hallam Mosely MBA
Occupational psychologist.
Executive recruitment Hallam Mosely MBA
Occupational psychologist.

It’s time to be candid about the challenges facing recruiters.

The Biggest Problems Recruiters Face.

They cannot get off the hamster wheel because they keep repeating the same mistakes.

1. There’s too much noise in the market and its difficult to get the candidates attention 

Building a brand is very expensive.

Employee referral programmes tread water.

Advocacy on social media inhibited.

2. Great candidates usually field multiple offers

Bad interviews lose the best people.

Poor smartphone immediacy discourages candidates.

3. There’s a shortage of skilled talent

Like minded and like educated people stay in touch.

Their advocacy is actually hindered with most recruiters technology.

4. Testing candidates skills is tricky.

No automation available to candidate or internal processes.

No skill sets proof available on smartphone interview process.

5. Hiring managers are far too picky.

Poor collaboration, especially in technical requirements.

Zero quality feedback from manager to recruiter.

Poor smartphone immediacy.

6. Recruiters poor technical knowledge required to answer candidates questions.

Poor technical specs provided by hiring managers

Manual slow information transfer.

Candidate immediately smell an incompetence rat and trust their own resources instead.

7. There aren’t enough hours in the day 

Poor data and time management.

Poor APP in APP implementation.

Non existent APP integration.

Poor smartphone immediacy.

Hallams final thoughts:

Common problems can lead to creative solutions.

Recruiting can be challenging.

Without a sophisticated sharing community, recruiters face a real up hill battle with the smartphone generation.

Learning from the experiences of others in your field, you’ll see that you’re far from alone in any of the challenges that you’re facing !

And since someone has almost certainly experienced the same problem before, its good to share your problems, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Newswire 20 / 07 2021