Today we launched our new website, this is the 4th one in the 11 years of objectsource being in existence. It was an interesting experience, as it gave me an opportunity to reflect on the journey and more importantly, where we are going.
Let me start with how I got to starting objectsource
I had worked in the big corporate world from day 1, starting out as an Opto-Electronic Engineering Apprentice with Unilever for 5 years, then a couple of other software development jobs, before it was discovered I could listen and talk to people, this started my Management career! So, I then went on to be Project Manager for NatWest (youngest they ever had, but then this was the scary web for them) to get their website live for the first time. Followed by Head of and Director level positions for Motorola.com, Ocado.com, lastminute.com and then Reed Business Information. I then got a point where I wanted to step away from the big projects, big budgets, money being burnt, it was this point I left and joined the Ampito Group, where I was given the opportunity to start objectsource.
So, what was objectsource to be about…
I had one objective in mind when I started objectsource and that was to help SMB’s. I wanted to provide solutions that would better suit their budgets and make them money! Many of these SMB’s felt they could never get close to the big boys with big budgets, as they could not afford these solutions! This was true, but what they did not realise is that they did not have to have these expensive solutions, there were free or cheaper ones that do pretty much the same job, you just needed to find them.
We were less than a year in before we started to embrace Magento. It was a risk, as Magento was in its infancy and we only had the budget to use the free one. Due to my background of only using expensive platforms that promised the world, I was really surprised at how good it was and so objectsource, the ‘London based Magento Agency’ was born. We went on to successfully design and build many Magento sites.
Then Magento 2 came along and this was a game changer for a variety of reasons. You now had hundreds of thousands of Magento 1 websites that needed to migrate and not all of them were convinced to move Magento 2. So what would they do, what is going to be best for them? This was when we decided that we would now take on an additional platform, BigCommerce.
BigCommerce’s main advantage over Magento is the fact they are a SaaS platform, this basically means that all the platform management like upgrades and site performance is taken away from you, leaving you to just merchandise and promote the site. However, it should be noted that it does not give you the same amount of flexibility in terms of front-end design and integrations with 3rd party systems.
We were now in a great position to cater for the clients that wanted full control of their website and all the flexibility to customise every aspect and the ones that wanted all that taken away from them. However, we still felt there was something missing, something where the merchant can still have all the flexibility Magento offers, but just not the budget. Some would say, use Magento Open Source (free edition), but you are on your own with the platform, no support from Magento. This is when we decided that Aero Commerce would be the perfect addition. Aero Commerce is a licensed platform, but the cost is a fraction of Magento Commerce and it is an open platform, therefore allowing you to make all the customisations you want.
During the latter part of running this agency, we had some of the most turbulent economic times; first with Brexit and then COVID-19. It was during the Brexit times that I saw a trend where merchants didn’t want to spend money on big new fancy websites, but wanted to ‘sweat what they already had’! They wanted to spend little and often, but found most agencies were only interested in the big project. This is when I decided to change the business and move to 50/50, where retained contracts were given the same priority over new projects. This was when I really felt I was doing what I set out to do 11 years ago and that was to help merchants grow! I could now have a team that got close to our merchants, understood their challenges and worked with them to grow their business.
So now we are a full service commerce agency, where we feel we can fulfil the needs of any SMB merchant and at the budget they are looking for. This is where I wanted to be, but…
What is next…
The thing we are doing now is disrupting the way websites are delivered! Due to our vast experience, we have now devised a way of getting you online fast, get you making money as early as possible and then you can reinvest this into growing the online business with new features and technology. We want to get away from protracted requirements gathering and delivery timelines, this is very very old school, it is what Software Development House’s did. They did things like this as they knew once the project was done, this then had to have an installation script and installed on many PC’s/Servers, so if something was wrong or missing, they had a massive job on their hands. The web is different, you can develop and distribute so much quicker and if a mistake is made, you only have to remove it from one place (web server) and job done.
Watch this space, as this business is run by someone that wants to make you, the merchant, successful and will find every which way to do this!