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E123: Ian Moore

How eCommerce Retailers Can Create A Valuable Customer Experience To Fuel Their Business

Ian Moore

Podcast Overview

Is your eCom store struggling to reach specific customers or just taking that next step within retail? We know how you feel. But not to worry, there are many things you can effortlessly do to retain more customers. 

There are many areas in retail that are crucial to success, but where do you need to put your focus? In this episode, Ian answers these questions and more. 

eCom@One Presents:

Ian Moore 

Ian Moore is the Head of Services at Excellent Zephyr, The world’s #1 cloud-based ERP, integrated and automated to create a truly end-to-end retail experience. Excellent Zephyr aims to rapidly growing eCommerce stores with positive retail solutions. They have worked with many top-class companies such as Gym Coffee, ALDO, Lulu Guinness and many more.

In this episode, Ian talks about the biggest mistakes he sees within eCommerce stores, the most important areas in retail and how you can create the best omnichannel experience.

Tune into this fantastic episode to find out how you can grow your eCommerce store to fuel your business and create a healthy system within. Lastly, Ian discusses how you can deal with the cost of living crisis in the eCommerce world. 

Topics Covered

1:40 – Ians Journey In Ecommerce

3:58 – How Can Ecom Stores Create The Best Omnichannel Experience

5:10 – The Most Important Areas In Retail Right Now

11:39 – What Are The Biggest Challenges Facing eCommerce Stores Right Now?

17:00 – Mistakes Ian sees businesses repeatedly make that are impacting their bottom line

23:30 – Clients That Have Grown With Excellent Zephyr

31:00 – How Will Retail Service Be Affected By The Cost Of Living

32:20 – What Is Next For Excellent Zephyr

33:20 – Book Recommendation 

 

Richard:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One. Today's guest, Ian Moore, head of services at Excellent Zephyr, how are you doing Ian?

Ian:
I'm very well, Richard. How are you?

Richard:
I'm very good. I'm very good. As you can see, I think the sun is shining through the window aside of me today. Beautiful day, which is always a bonus. So great to have you on. Thank you so much for agreeing to come on. Now, Ian's somebody we work with, and our agencies and our businesses work together on a day-to-day basis. So I thought absolutely. Let's get Ian on and talk all things omnichannel and various other things. So I think it'd be good for you to kick off and tell us how you got into e-commerce and your journey into the industry.

Ian:
Thanks, Richard. So all began really with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Our original income stream from just pure consulting had really dried up as a lot of uncertainty came in and we were looking around for, I guess trying to just diversify the business and look for other ways of doing business remotely, because of the mass disruption the pandemic had caused. And a project came up that was actually my wife's business, and she just wanted to get online in some form or another with the eCommerce. So we started to explore what that meant and looked at the solutions that were available, and just through that process began to understand the challenges that a independent retailer would face, and how that was relevant to us and how we could potentially help. So that was kind of the start of it. And then really we built off the back of that since that period.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. So an interesting, what, it would be a two and a half years sort of thing?

Ian:
Very much so.

Richard:
Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting times, obviously a bit of an understatement, but obviously a lot of, I hate to use the word pivots, but a lot of change. Our business, almost unrecognizable from two and a half years ago in that.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly.

Richard:
Sort of the depths of things that we're doing now. And obviously a lot of people we've had on the podcast that have either launched separate divisions or different things within their business or obviously brand new businesses. A lot of people, we have people on that started during the pandemic and gone to 500 employees in two and a half years or whatever, or two years. It's just some crazy stories. Absolutely, brilliant. Great to obviously recognize that, which is what we talk about a lot, when there's potentially something when... We'll probably get into it as we do the episode, but something that is a very daunting time. There is ultimately opportunity there. Just focusing and getting stuck in and trying different things, looking and exploring things rather than potentially burying your head in the sand-type thing. Yeah, yeah. So I think what will be a good of kickoff will be, I think we talk about omnichannel a lot on the podcast, but from your sort of perspective, how would you describe what is omnichannel and how can retail stores create the best omnichannel experience?

Ian:
I think omnichannel from our experience and when we're talking to customers and what their definition is, is being able for any consumer to order a product, whether it be in store, online, on a mobile device to them at their time, ultimate convenience and then return the item back for convenience. So the point being that there's selection and convenience of that purchase, and that a retailer can fulfill that purchase in the best possible way regardless of how it's ordered. Provide the best customer service. So follow-up as well is something that we'll talk about later on, which we are just really starting to get into, and scratching the surface of the after-purchase experience for customers, and the returns are really, really vital. But prompt availability of stock for omnichannel really is the key. And selection for the customer.

Richard:
There's a lot of things there I'm itching to get stuck in, to be fair. So I think, yeah, it just sort of, that completely connected ecosphere of touchpoints.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly. Yes.

Richard:
Yeah. So what would you say are the most important areas in retail right now?

Ian:
For us as a business and having, talking to our customers, it's dependent on the type of business. So through the pandemic, a lot of people were really focused on the eCom for obvious reasons. Since the pandemic has eased and stores have reopened, a lot of retailers started to focus on their point of sale. So if it's an in-store offering, people are looking for flexibility about using their point of sale and that point of sale, being connected to stock, customer details, being able to put promotions and offerings and detail about the customer when they're making a purchase. So it's about the flexibility at the point of which the customer's making the purchase.
If it's online, for a e-commerce, which although that has dropped off, it's become very much a mainstay and accepted part of the retail industry. For us it's really about managing the whole end-to-end cycle from the order being taken through to fulfillment, and then the coming back piece again, which is the returns. And what used to be an afterthought is now absolutely central to that experience. So I think to answer the question, it depends on where you are and what you're doing.
If it's in store, it's very much the point of sale. And I know that's probably a traditional answer, but very much now they want more from a point of sale. It's being able to perhaps go to the shop floor with a client, be able to spend more time with them, explain the product, what are you actually looking for, maybe an upsell opportunity a cross-sell opportunity. So yes, I mean it just depends on the retailer and their circumstance.

Richard:
Obviously there's a lot of different retailers listening in, but I think returns. I mean, we'll probably touch on that a couple of times, but returns is an absolute key sort of area of any, whether it's an e-commerce, retail, obviously in theory, both that you should be doing. In theory, you're doing that if you're listening to this. Returns, what are some of the challenges or maybe some of the things that you are seeing there that are actually real opportunities for stores to tighten up and improve on with their returns piece?

Ian:
I think returns as an area traditionally was an afterthought and that's only based on what customers are telling us. With the onset of the pandemic, and I keep going on about that, the returns became absolutely critical to the buying actual habit. And it's about confidence, that if you've got a robust returns policy, which offers either an exchange online for available stock... And that's really been a really important option. So if a customer's bought something and wants to see an alternative product. Could be a different size, different color, could be any reason, more often than not, they'll swap that out for an existing product and then obviously return it. But actually that won't discontinue the purchase. They won't ask for full refund, they'll just substitute it. But also I think having the convenience whether to pick that parcel up from home, being able to drop off at a locker, being able to take it back to a branch if it's open. So it's about really convenience again, but having the options.

Richard:
Options, yeah.

Ian:
Yeah. And the flexibility to do that and being able to, instead of having to print something off at home, like a return label, QR code sent to your phone. So slickness of that returns process and also the options to do it and flexibility.

Richard:
I think that must resonate with our listeners and about, I just think about the things I buy, and I'm at home, today I'm at home recording this podcast, but three and a half days a week-ish I'm in my main office with my team. That flexibility of where is it going to get picked up from? When you think about from day-to-day, you might not know exactly where you're going to be to a couple of days before, where's it getting picked up from? That ability to use lockers, which I think you do see more and more obviously vendors and e-commerce stores using, but a still vast, vast majority don't have that option still. And I think just the simple thing, like you say about the QR code, the amount of people that just don't have a printer anymore. They just don't. We have a printer in our house and my son is in and out of my office, which is where I am now cause he sells online as well and he's printing various things.
He really should by himself a printer to be fair. But obviously, QR code, those options, just simplifying it. And I think also just making things very clear on the website in the first place. Cause I think to get that order in the first place, obviously depending on what you're selling. Certain verticals obviously there's a higher returns rate, clothing and things like that. It's making it super clear on the site. Cause I think so many merchants still, it's like returns, that is buried somewhere. Whereas they should be very, very close to the actual product page, buy buttons. There's obviously various options.

Ian:
Absolutely, if you've got the confidences do it and you're doing it well, having that returns there actually becomes almost another selling channel really, because it's opportunity sometimes to at the exchange, and some of the partners we work with and decisions we have. We have a live exchange where it says okay, you've got this product in this shape or color or size. Here are alternative products. And more often not you'll find that actually pick that than the original one, but take that. So the sale actually is completed and you're not missing out and offering a refund at that stage. So again, you're right, it's clarity, ease of use and have the conference to do it properly are huge bonuses for retailers. No doubt about it.

Richard:
Yeah, I do I think we'll see a shift more where there will be more focus on that. There definitely has been, obviously it's about the lifetime value, ultimately. People aren't going to come back, they're not going to start the journey let alone come back. But obviously then they've started the journey, if they had a bad experience, that's it, you're done, sort of thing obviously.

Ian:
Yeah, and you're right actually Richard, it's also segmenting your customers and recognizing those that are like a VIP customer. If they've been made several purchases over a couple of years, give them perhaps an incentive. Maybe give them a gift card whilst they're in exchange or and incentive to stay in exchange, rather than a full refund. So again, it's the information you have and really utilizing that and looking at the value of that customer transaction in the first place. Yeah, no it's a real massive opportunity.

Richard:
So what are some of the other, if we're saying that's a challenge, which it is for many, many retails that maybe aren't doing it right, what are some of the bigger biggest challenges at the moment that e-commerce stores are facing and how can they maybe implement things to overcome those?

Ian:
I think from, if we've been looking in the last two years, growth has been a real challenge. So again, for all of reasons we've been talking about, people went from having virtually no online sales having overwhelming demand, and it's how they set their systems and processes up to actually deal with that. And the scaling aspect of it was a real challenge, and dealing with the growth and the volume of business that was coming through. So integration is an area that has caused massive challenges for business and kind of order management. It's how that information flows through and then the fulfillment of taking that order and passing it either to your in-house warehouse for distribution, or to a third party logistics company like 3PL.
And what we've found is as we've been doing this, a lot of companies either don't appreciate the level of time it takes to get the integration right and support that volume of growth, or they don't do enough testing. So getting it right is absolutely critical because it's the unseen part of the business, it's the part that allows you to put that order online and box will turn up in a timely manner. If that isn't done then it just doesn't work. So I think integration, absolutely from eCom sites into ERPs, and then into third party logistics or your own warehouse has been a massive challenge for businesses. And that's where we spend a lot of time looking at a solution and working out what work works and what doesn't work so well. Yeah, it's not to be underestimated.

Richard:
Yes, I think we'll have a lot of listeners that'll be sort maybe started a few years back not too long ago with that, Oh, if we just sell one of these a day... Fast forward two and a half years later, they're doing a hundred a day, maybe a thousand a day. And they maybe up their warehouse space, and team and some infrastructure technology wise. But then they may still using, to be fair, an outdated tech stack, if people want to call it that.
So those that are listening in that are thinking, right, we want to make that jump from, we want to invest in a more robust ERP system. They're over here at the moment and they're trundling along and doing very, very well, but they're literally breaking at the seams. They need to get more organized, what would be some of the things they need to do as next steps? Obviously they have things like reaching out to companies like yourself. Yeah, I think there'll be a lot of people that have had an exceptional growth. I know we've had an interesting few months where things are slowing down and shifting around, but still there's a lot of businesses doing exceptionally well compared with a couple of years ago, clearly. So those that are looking at that next step, looking at those bigger integrations, cause some of them are quite costly, what would you say to those guys?

Ian:
I would say when you were looking at investing in anything, what are the reasons for it? Because you can look at technology and think it'll be the answer to everything, and it's not really, it's really what is right for you at that right time. So I think if you are looking at investing into an ERP, it's making sure that you are ready internally because an ERP won't give you all the answers. It will certainly help streamline and give you one place to which kind of all the back-end process of the business are done. But businesses have to be ready and committed to do that. So I think having the resource either if you take on somebody to do that, that knows what they're doing, or making yourself available. Thinking that a company like ourselves can work in isolation, we don't do that. We very much, it's an in-partnership process with the company, because we really need to understand what they want. And so be clear about why you're making that change and being ready to do it.
So making sure you've got the right resources in-house, you've got a clear expectation of cost, so budget and a clear expectation of timeline. If all those things are equal, and do a little bit of research, then there are companies out there like ourselves that then can help you to do that. But don't underestimate that transition. But what I would say is if you are going to make that decision to do it, the rewards are huge, it's just being ready to do it. And manual process are okay. Obviously when you get to a certain size you just are... As you say, you've got multiple processes, multiple spreadsheets, it's hard to keep a handle on really what's going right or wrong in a business when things are moving quickly. So I would say kind of key points are, just take your time to assess their options, look at getting help really, or making yourself available to do that and creating yourself time, because it does take time to get it right. But yeah, if you do get it right, the benefits are huge and that gives you a very solid platform to move forward.

Richard:
Yeah, brilliant. Thank you for that Ian. So you must see a lot of reoccurring issues, a lot of reoccurring things that really do affect stores and retailers as well. What are some of the mistakes you see time and time again, that our listeners maybe need to be thinking about that they should be avoiding?

Ian:
I mean an off the look piece and the petition before is integration. So if people got an e-commerce website and let's take an example, Shopify is a very, very popular platform out there, it's then where does that order go? When that order comes in, is it connected to any other systems afterwards? And people then just take the orders that come in, and then will take them and try and process them manually, and that's fine up to a certain level. And then if you're doing 20, 30 orders a day and it's a relatively small operation, that's fine. When people scale and they don't integrate and look to the automation piece, that's when things start to fall over. Because there's an expectation you'll have next-day shipping and that'll be an incentive for somebody to buy it. When the order comes in... Excuse me, we've got a new dog and...

Richard:
No problem.

Ian:
It gets bit excited. If an order comes in, you've got an next day ship, their expectation with customers that it will be fulfilled. And unbeknown to them the order's still sitting there, the customer experiencing that, it up and that might be just one or two people. So I think what I would say is if you are seeing that phenomenal growth, it goes back to the planning piece again. Make sure that you are thinking about this integration. And integration is as complex as you want to make it. And by all by no means is it easy. But again, you can link that up to a system then to check your stock, to automate that order fulfillment, to send it either to your in-house team or to an external courier company. But I just would say if you are seen as really high growth and you're doing very well, just think about that connected piece of your business, to make sure that the journey from the consumer's perspective and communications back to them are met, and that you can deliver that. Excuse me.
Because there's nothing worse when there's this is great product online, the site looks great, the product's good, the pricing's excellent, but then you fail with the fulfillment piece on it. And either it doesn't turn up or it's broken or damaged or it's the wrong one. That piece can really be detrimental to that reputation of that brand and that experience. So I would say for us that is a key piece that we're working on.
Reporting as well. If you have got a business which is doing very, very well, it's trying to bring all that information together and have consistent sets of data to report upon. That could be sales, it could be cash in the bank, it could be money that you owe, it could be outstaying shipments, it could be anything. Anything that you know do on a day to day basis. You can automate that in one place again. That's fantastic. So automation integration reporting I'd say are three absolute key areas. I mean there's lots, Richard, there really are.

Richard:
Yeah.

Ian:
And depending on the customer, it depends on their scale. International selling is a problem, tax is a problem, duty paid is a problem, thanks to it thanks to Brexit and all the obstacles that's created. So there might be well-known ones but it just making sure that you get it right and you plan again. So the planning piece is crucial.

Richard:
Well thanks Ian.

Ian:
There's a lot there.

Richard:
There's a lot, and I think listening in as a listener, there's obviously a lot there. Maybe a little rewind and have a replay at the last two minutes or they'll say, but if I pick one thing there... Like automation, obviously they're all so important, but automation, I think if you are sitting listening to this, and you are doing and your team are doing the same thing day in, day out around a manual process... I mean just an example, this is an example from my business, but we use a lot of different tools and aggregate a lot of data, and then our account managers will go to these tools and check and pull data into different project management software, shall we say. That's a bit of a broad explanation but I don't want to give all the detail. But ultimately there's quite a lot of manual process cause that can go into a certain thing that we do.
So using Zapier, which is a very base tool, but it's incredibly powerful. This is a really sort small example. I spent two days to be honest, over the last couple of months trying to get something to work in Zapier and I couldn't get it to work. And on and off, not two days solid, but two months ago I spent four or five hours on it, I couldn't get it to work but I knew I that these tools would integrate and do this thing. I just couldn't get it to work. And then I tried again about four or five days ago and I couldn't get it to work. I was very... I was like right. So basically I hired somebody that is an expert in this and I jumped on Zoom with him and as an example, it took him 15 minutes to fix.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly.

Richard:
And this is a very, very, very crude simple example but how that relates to all our listeners... Ultimately, working with experts that are absolutely focused on trimming the fat, the wastage around, and using automation as an example. To shift what will be go from a hundred orders to a thousand orders. You can't use the same systems. And it's the same in my business. Our business is growing at a hell of a rate very, very, very well above on track, and we've got to use more automations in our business. Obviously we're not an eCommerce store but we obviously work day in, day out. But using automation in the right place and I think there's so much time wasted in stores where they're just, there's a manual process, manual process, manual process. How much time? Of course those people that are doing those manual processes, they can be trained to do other things and things change, don't they?
It doesn't put people out of work, but it just means we look at things in a different way. So yeah, automation I think is an absolute key one which gets left. But then I think you touched on when somebody's ordered next-day delivery, if that's not identified, it's just getting pushed through... It's just getting pushed through with all the other orders and there's no flag to say, and I assume the majority of orders are probably... So just a simple thing like that but the knock-on effect of that order not getting there, I think that is literally as extreme as your business will fail, eventually. Because it's about that lifetime value of that customer.

Ian:
Absolutely.

Richard:
That customer could order next, the next day, four days, five. If it's a brand that sells baby clothes, that baby is going to have a journey of clothing and things, it's going to come back 10 times. If you're good at you're that, they're going to reckon all their circle, half of them are probably having babies. Oh, I bought that from, it's maybe 50 orders that you are losing because you didn't get that next day delivery to them. It's not just that one, that a five that you might have made on that product, it's that lifetime.

Ian:
You're right, it goes back to understanding your customer and their needs, and the next-day delivery, because their need is there, they can't leave the house not because of pandemic reason, but because of just life, being able to order things the next day. That's why Brands like Amazon do so well. That is absolutely guaranteed. So getting it right, segmenting that data, knowing that that's flagged as next day and then fulfilling it. So things like that, just rooting of the data goes back to the automation piece you just highlighted. That's absolutely key.

Richard:
I think when reporting as well, I spend a lot of time looking at numbers for my business and I think that's a massive downfall of probably 50% of the people that are listening to the... Bit of an extreme statement, but ultimately you got to have your finger on the numbers. And if you can't get to them in the first place, they need to be brought to you. The correct things for the different departments, depending on the size of your business that you listening to. Before we know it, the fourth quarter's over, hang on, we're sitting here in January, Oh, what's happened? We've got no cash left, Well, you know, you sold a lot of stuff, but you didn't make any money. So having that reporting in place just around the bigger picture.

Ian:
Yeah, I agree. And depending again on the size and the scale of the business, understanding that and knowing your numbers, and doing a clean month-end close, and being able to put together a reporting pack with all the key numbers on it, absolutely critical. One of the products we use is a company called NetSuite and it's a system that we know very well. We use a verticalized version of it, and built kind of key information on dashboard. So all you have to do is log onto the system and you see what's relevant to you, where you are in that business. Whether it be a financial controller or you're heading up accounts receivable, accounts payable. Those key numbers will always be there. So it's just really been able to access that key information when you need it. So absolutely dashboards from an ERP system like that are a prime example of it.And going back to your point on automation again. One of the decisions we look at automating is, if you think about stock invoices. And if you've got stock based business, how many invoices you'll get from a supplier, and then trying to match that to a purchase order to get a payment. Some businesses don't use purchase orders, they go on what was on the invoice about what they've received.
So being able to automate picking up an email invoice, to you being able then to create that and route it to the right person for review and approval and then match that to a purchase order, if you do use purchase order, it's hugely time saving. And if you've got hundreds of thousands of those a week or a month, then that is hugely very, very massive productivity gain. And I think to one of the points you're saying about automation, it doesn't necessarily mean that people are losing jobs, it means they're freeing people up to do more value-added tasks. And I know that sounds as clichéd as they come, but it's true. It just means that they can spend more time on the things that matter to them. Whether it be negotiating new suppliers, looking at new products, making sure that things are working as they should, not doing repetitive tasks.

Richard:
In theory they become more valuable to the customer.

Ian:
Absolutely. Yeah, and the way automation tools are developing now is absolutely incredible. You've gone from machine learning to AI, and we work with two or three key partners that provide this. And to see and action and see the product actually learn as it progresses and has more and more data to assimilate. It all sounds very sinister but it actually is, it's really good and very, very impressive how that solution works.
And you can extend that to other parts of the business. Like bank reconciliation, and I know that's a very, very dry subject, but for a finance department it's absolutely critical, knowing what you've spent versus what's come in absolutely critical. So there's a lot there and I think it depends on where you are in your growth, but I think automation is... You can do it very small. As you said, Zapier, that you have, powerful tool but it's all relevant to the size of the business. But again may seem that buying in expertise sometimes is expensive, it is. However, the mistakes that you can make by not doing that and wasted time and effort can be even more costly. I think it's a balance and just knowing when the right time to get somebody in.

Richard:
So obviously you work with a lot of retailers over the last few years, so what would you say, can you give us a client that you've worked with? If you can say their name, great, if not, it's not the end of the world, and what you've done to improve their retail omnichannel solutions.

Ian:
So one of our recent customers is Trinny London. So they're very, very successful eCommerce brand from Trinny Woodall who's been very successful launching our own cosmetics line of solutions. And I think that they've had incredible growth, absolutely incredible growth and we've helped them really implement an ERP solution and take it from where it was, which was taking time. The implementation was stalled for various reasons. And when we joined we were able to get focus back onto the project, and bring in people that knew what they were doing, and really provide clarity and a plan to enable them to go forward, to start to get that implementation. So in the end I think we spent about three months with them, getting them live. And they're now live and we're now working with them. And it's just bringing knowledge to help them and support them and get them confident, and to the adoption of that solution and then this was NetSuite that they're using.
So from that perspective it's really getting that base system standardized processes, going back to that standardized process and looking where possible to tackle blockages that they have in terms of processes. So I think it's all of the above, but it's just that they're a very, very fast moving business. They have a lot of challenge, lot of volume, lot of complexity, international selling and multiple websites, tax calculation. So for them and for us it's been a real experience about managing that growth, and doing the knowledge transfer from our team to them. And then that's just the start. So that stabilization process and then helping them understand the roadmap forward to enable that growth, because what they've done the time they've been doing, it's absolutely phenomenal. So yeah, I'll say pausing for breath there, it's been quite the journey.

Richard:
Sounds it. Yeah brilliant. I'll have to, it's not a brand obviously I'm aware of. But not a brand I've used or been mentioned before, so thank you for that.
So cost of living seems to be... You can't turn on the TV and without hearing about the latest increase in the X, Y, Z and it is, it's a very real thing. So how do you think retail is going to survive, adapt over the coming of months with the cost of living of changes?

Ian:
Yeah, I think it's a really pressing question for a lot of businesses. I mean I think the honest answer is none of us know exactly what's going to happen, and I think if you, like any business would face with uncertainty, you construct the things that you do well. There's going to be cost pressures on your supply chain. So it's making sure that you've negotiated good sensible pricing if you can with that. Make sure there's availability of stock. With all the problems that we've had from the pandemic in terms of the supply chain impact. So getting goods in on time, make sure you've got available stock in.
Pricing as well is absolutely key. So promotions, I think, value, people looking for all of that. And I think just if you were doing things right then continue to do that and if you've got anything that you've been kind of leaving, because you've been too busy now might be a good time to look at doing that. So if there's a project outstanding that you think could improve customer service, could improve delivery, could improve reporting or any aspect, then that might be a good time. But I think it's like anybody, we'll be wise after the event as always. But I think from our perspective we'll continue to work with our customers, be sensible about how we price, what we sell and how we work with them and be conscious of that fact. Cause everybody's going to be under pressure so it's a real concern, no doubt.

Richard:
Well thank you. Thank you Ian, it's been an absolute pleasure to have you on. Last couple of questions. So what's next for Excellent Zephyr?

Ian:
Well we are in the throes of growing the team. We've, we've grown to eight people in the last 18 months. We're just about to take on a new developer. So it's just kind of establishing ourselves as a go-to company for retail solutions in the ERP and integration space, and building on the last few years of success, and hopefully making sure that we can continue to grow and deliver really good value to our customers.

Richard:
Yeah, brilliant. So I like to end every episode Ian with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you'd recommend to our listeners?

Ian:
Don't have a specific book. I did get sight of this question in advance from one of our team, but I can recommend an author. And the author's name is a guy called Marko Kloos and he is sci-fi and when I was doing a lot of commuting I would download him them on my Kindle and it is based, well, check it out. It's really good. It's a distraction from the what's going on in the world at the moment. It's bit a light relief.

Richard:
I'm all for that. Yeah.

Ian:
If you're into escapism an alternative place to go, then I'd thoroughly recommend it. So yeah, Marko Kloos would be one. And there's just the trilogy that he's written as well.

Richard:
Oh, I know we have quite a few sci-fi fired listeners. I know quite a few. So yeah, we'll get that linked up, and have a look at that myself. So Ian, I think for those that are with us listening, what's the best place for them to find out more about yourself, more about Excellent Zephyr?

Ian:
Probably the website. So that's www.excellentzephyr.com

Richard:
Brilliant. Well thanks for being a guest on eCom@One and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Ian:
Thank you, Richard. Thanks.

Richard:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One. Today's guest, Ian Moore, head of services at Excellent Zephyr, how are you doing Ian?

Ian:
I'm very well, Richard. How are you?

Richard:
I'm very good. I'm very good. As you can see, I think the sun is shining through the window aside of me today. Beautiful day, which is always a bonus. So great to have you on. Thank you so much for agreeing to come on. Now, Ian's somebody we work with, and our agencies and our businesses work together on a day-to-day basis. So I thought absolutely. Let's get Ian on and talk all things omnichannel and various other things. So I think it'd be good for you to kick off and tell us how you got into e-commerce and your journey into the industry.

Ian:
Thanks, Richard. So all began really with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Our original income stream from just pure consulting had really dried up as a lot of uncertainty came in and we were looking around for, I guess trying to just diversify the business and look for other ways of doing business remotely, because of the mass disruption the pandemic had caused. And a project came up that was actually my wife's business, and she just wanted to get online in some form or another with the eCommerce. So we started to explore what that meant and looked at the solutions that were available, and just through that process began to understand the challenges that a independent retailer would face, and how that was relevant to us and how we could potentially help. So that was kind of the start of it. And then really we built off the back of that since that period.

Richard:
Yeah, yeah. So an interesting, what, it would be a two and a half years sort of thing?

Ian:
Very much so.

Richard:
Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting times, obviously a bit of an understatement, but obviously a lot of, I hate to use the word pivots, but a lot of change. Our business, almost unrecognizable from two and a half years ago in that.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly.

Richard:
Sort of the depths of things that we're doing now. And obviously a lot of people we've had on the podcast that have either launched separate divisions or different things within their business or obviously brand new businesses. A lot of people, we have people on that started during the pandemic and gone to 500 employees in two and a half years or whatever, or two years. It's just some crazy stories. Absolutely, brilliant. Great to obviously recognize that, which is what we talk about a lot, when there's potentially something when... We'll probably get into it as we do the episode, but something that is a very daunting time. There is ultimately opportunity there. Just focusing and getting stuck in and trying different things, looking and exploring things rather than potentially burying your head in the sand-type thing. Yeah, yeah. So I think what will be a good of kickoff will be, I think we talk about omnichannel a lot on the podcast, but from your sort of perspective, how would you describe what is omnichannel and how can retail stores create the best omnichannel experience?

Ian:
I think omnichannel from our experience and when we're talking to customers and what their definition is, is being able for any consumer to order a product, whether it be in store, online, on a mobile device to them at their time, ultimate convenience and then return the item back for convenience. So the point being that there's selection and convenience of that purchase, and that a retailer can fulfill that purchase in the best possible way regardless of how it's ordered. Provide the best customer service. So follow-up as well is something that we'll talk about later on, which we are just really starting to get into, and scratching the surface of the after-purchase experience for customers, and the returns are really, really vital. But prompt availability of stock for omnichannel really is the key. And selection for the customer.

Richard:
There's a lot of things there I'm itching to get stuck in, to be fair. So I think, yeah, it just sort of, that completely connected ecosphere of touchpoints.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly. Yes.

Richard:
Yeah. So what would you say are the most important areas in retail right now?

Ian:
For us as a business and having, talking to our customers, it's dependent on the type of business. So through the pandemic, a lot of people were really focused on the eCom for obvious reasons. Since the pandemic has eased and stores have reopened, a lot of retailers started to focus on their point of sale. So if it's an in-store offering, people are looking for flexibility about using their point of sale and that point of sale, being connected to stock, customer details, being able to put promotions and offerings and detail about the customer when they're making a purchase. So it's about the flexibility at the point of which the customer's making the purchase.
If it's online, for a e-commerce, which although that has dropped off, it's become very much a mainstay and accepted part of the retail industry. For us it's really about managing the whole end-to-end cycle from the order being taken through to fulfillment, and then the coming back piece again, which is the returns. And what used to be an afterthought is now absolutely central to that experience. So I think to answer the question, it depends on where you are and what you're doing.
If it's in store, it's very much the point of sale. And I know that's probably a traditional answer, but very much now they want more from a point of sale. It's being able to perhaps go to the shop floor with a client, be able to spend more time with them, explain the product, what are you actually looking for, maybe an upsell opportunity a cross-sell opportunity. So yes, I mean it just depends on the retailer and their circumstance.

Richard:
Obviously there's a lot of different retailers listening in, but I think returns. I mean, we'll probably touch on that a couple of times, but returns is an absolute key sort of area of any, whether it's an e-commerce, retail, obviously in theory, both that you should be doing. In theory, you're doing that if you're listening to this. Returns, what are some of the challenges or maybe some of the things that you are seeing there that are actually real opportunities for stores to tighten up and improve on with their returns piece?

Ian:
I think returns as an area traditionally was an afterthought and that's only based on what customers are telling us. With the onset of the pandemic, and I keep going on about that, the returns became absolutely critical to the buying actual habit. And it's about confidence, that if you've got a robust returns policy, which offers either an exchange online for available stock... And that's really been a really important option. So if a customer's bought something and wants to see an alternative product. Could be a different size, different color, could be any reason, more often than not, they'll swap that out for an existing product and then obviously return it. But actually that won't discontinue the purchase. They won't ask for full refund, they'll just substitute it. But also I think having the convenience whether to pick that parcel up from home, being able to drop off at a locker, being able to take it back to a branch if it's open. So it's about really convenience again, but having the options.

Richard:
Options, yeah.

Ian:
Yeah. And the flexibility to do that and being able to, instead of having to print something off at home, like a return label, QR code sent to your phone. So slickness of that returns process and also the options to do it and flexibility.

Richard:
I think that must resonate with our listeners and about, I just think about the things I buy, and I'm at home, today I'm at home recording this podcast, but three and a half days a week-ish I'm in my main office with my team. That flexibility of where is it going to get picked up from? When you think about from day-to-day, you might not know exactly where you're going to be to a couple of days before, where's it getting picked up from? That ability to use lockers, which I think you do see more and more obviously vendors and e-commerce stores using, but a still vast, vast majority don't have that option still. And I think just the simple thing, like you say about the QR code, the amount of people that just don't have a printer anymore. They just don't. We have a printer in our house and my son is in and out of my office, which is where I am now cause he sells online as well and he's printing various things.
He really should by himself a printer to be fair. But obviously, QR code, those options, just simplifying it. And I think also just making things very clear on the website in the first place. Cause I think to get that order in the first place, obviously depending on what you're selling. Certain verticals obviously there's a higher returns rate, clothing and things like that. It's making it super clear on the site. Cause I think so many merchants still, it's like returns, that is buried somewhere. Whereas they should be very, very close to the actual product page, buy buttons. There's obviously various options.

Ian:
Absolutely, if you've got the confidences do it and you're doing it well, having that returns there actually becomes almost another selling channel really, because it's opportunity sometimes to at the exchange, and some of the partners we work with and decisions we have. We have a live exchange where it says okay, you've got this product in this shape or color or size. Here are alternative products. And more often not you'll find that actually pick that than the original one, but take that. So the sale actually is completed and you're not missing out and offering a refund at that stage. So again, you're right, it's clarity, ease of use and have the conference to do it properly are huge bonuses for retailers. No doubt about it.

Richard:
Yeah, I do I think we'll see a shift more where there will be more focus on that. There definitely has been, obviously it's about the lifetime value, ultimately. People aren't going to come back, they're not going to start the journey let alone come back. But obviously then they've started the journey, if they had a bad experience, that's it, you're done, sort of thing obviously.

Ian:
Yeah, and you're right actually Richard, it's also segmenting your customers and recognizing those that are like a VIP customer. If they've been made several purchases over a couple of years, give them perhaps an incentive. Maybe give them a gift card whilst they're in exchange or and incentive to stay in exchange, rather than a full refund. So again, it's the information you have and really utilizing that and looking at the value of that customer transaction in the first place. Yeah, no it's a real massive opportunity.

Richard:
So what are some of the other, if we're saying that's a challenge, which it is for many, many retails that maybe aren't doing it right, what are some of the bigger biggest challenges at the moment that e-commerce stores are facing and how can they maybe implement things to overcome those?

Ian:
I think from, if we've been looking in the last two years, growth has been a real challenge. So again, for all of reasons we've been talking about, people went from having virtually no online sales having overwhelming demand, and it's how they set their systems and processes up to actually deal with that. And the scaling aspect of it was a real challenge, and dealing with the growth and the volume of business that was coming through. So integration is an area that has caused massive challenges for business and kind of order management. It's how that information flows through and then the fulfillment of taking that order and passing it either to your in-house warehouse for distribution, or to a third party logistics company like 3PL.
And what we've found is as we've been doing this, a lot of companies either don't appreciate the level of time it takes to get the integration right and support that volume of growth, or they don't do enough testing. So getting it right is absolutely critical because it's the unseen part of the business, it's the part that allows you to put that order online and box will turn up in a timely manner. If that isn't done then it just doesn't work. So I think integration, absolutely from eCom sites into ERPs, and then into third party logistics or your own warehouse has been a massive challenge for businesses. And that's where we spend a lot of time looking at a solution and working out what work works and what doesn't work so well. Yeah, it's not to be underestimated.

Richard:
Yes, I think we'll have a lot of listeners that'll be sort maybe started a few years back not too long ago with that, Oh, if we just sell one of these a day... Fast forward two and a half years later, they're doing a hundred a day, maybe a thousand a day. And they maybe up their warehouse space, and team and some infrastructure technology wise. But then they may still using, to be fair, an outdated tech stack, if people want to call it that.
So those that are listening in that are thinking, right, we want to make that jump from, we want to invest in a more robust ERP system. They're over here at the moment and they're trundling along and doing very, very well, but they're literally breaking at the seams. They need to get more organized, what would be some of the things they need to do as next steps? Obviously they have things like reaching out to companies like yourself. Yeah, I think there'll be a lot of people that have had an exceptional growth. I know we've had an interesting few months where things are slowing down and shifting around, but still there's a lot of businesses doing exceptionally well compared with a couple of years ago, clearly. So those that are looking at that next step, looking at those bigger integrations, cause some of them are quite costly, what would you say to those guys?

Ian:
I would say when you were looking at investing in anything, what are the reasons for it? Because you can look at technology and think it'll be the answer to everything, and it's not really, it's really what is right for you at that right time. So I think if you are looking at investing into an ERP, it's making sure that you are ready internally because an ERP won't give you all the answers. It will certainly help streamline and give you one place to which kind of all the back-end process of the business are done. But businesses have to be ready and committed to do that. So I think having the resource either if you take on somebody to do that, that knows what they're doing, or making yourself available. Thinking that a company like ourselves can work in isolation, we don't do that. We very much, it's an in-partnership process with the company, because we really need to understand what they want. And so be clear about why you're making that change and being ready to do it.
So making sure you've got the right resources in-house, you've got a clear expectation of cost, so budget and a clear expectation of timeline. If all those things are equal, and do a little bit of research, then there are companies out there like ourselves that then can help you to do that. But don't underestimate that transition. But what I would say is if you are going to make that decision to do it, the rewards are huge, it's just being ready to do it. And manual process are okay. Obviously when you get to a certain size you just are... As you say, you've got multiple processes, multiple spreadsheets, it's hard to keep a handle on really what's going right or wrong in a business when things are moving quickly. So I would say kind of key points are, just take your time to assess their options, look at getting help really, or making yourself available to do that and creating yourself time, because it does take time to get it right. But yeah, if you do get it right, the benefits are huge and that gives you a very solid platform to move forward.

Richard:
Yeah, brilliant. Thank you for that Ian. So you must see a lot of reoccurring issues, a lot of reoccurring things that really do affect stores and retailers as well. What are some of the mistakes you see time and time again, that our listeners maybe need to be thinking about that they should be avoiding?

Ian:
I mean an off the look piece and the petition before is integration. So if people got an e-commerce website and let's take an example, Shopify is a very, very popular platform out there, it's then where does that order go? When that order comes in, is it connected to any other systems afterwards? And people then just take the orders that come in, and then will take them and try and process them manually, and that's fine up to a certain level. And then if you're doing 20, 30 orders a day and it's a relatively small operation, that's fine. When people scale and they don't integrate and look to the automation piece, that's when things start to fall over. Because there's an expectation you'll have next-day shipping and that'll be an incentive for somebody to buy it. When the order comes in... Excuse me, we've got a new dog and...

Richard:
No problem.

Ian:
It gets bit excited. If an order comes in, you've got an next day ship, their expectation with customers that it will be fulfilled. And unbeknown to them the order's still sitting there, the customer experiencing that, it up and that might be just one or two people. So I think what I would say is if you are seeing that phenomenal growth, it goes back to the planning piece again. Make sure that you are thinking about this integration. And integration is as complex as you want to make it. And by all by no means is it easy. But again, you can link that up to a system then to check your stock, to automate that order fulfillment, to send it either to your in-house team or to an external courier company. But I just would say if you are seen as really high growth and you're doing very well, just think about that connected piece of your business, to make sure that the journey from the consumer's perspective and communications back to them are met, and that you can deliver that. Excuse me.
Because there's nothing worse when there's this is great product online, the site looks great, the product's good, the pricing's excellent, but then you fail with the fulfillment piece on it. And either it doesn't turn up or it's broken or damaged or it's the wrong one. That piece can really be detrimental to that reputation of that brand and that experience. So I would say for us that is a key piece that we're working on.
Reporting as well. If you have got a business which is doing very, very well, it's trying to bring all that information together and have consistent sets of data to report upon. That could be sales, it could be cash in the bank, it could be money that you owe, it could be outstaying shipments, it could be anything. Anything that you know do on a day to day basis. You can automate that in one place again. That's fantastic. So automation integration reporting I'd say are three absolute key areas. I mean there's lots, Richard, there really are.

Richard:
Yeah.

Ian:
And depending on the customer, it depends on their scale. International selling is a problem, tax is a problem, duty paid is a problem, thanks to it thanks to Brexit and all the obstacles that's created. So there might be well-known ones but it just making sure that you get it right and you plan again. So the planning piece is crucial.

Richard:
Well thanks Ian.

Ian:
There's a lot there.

Richard:
There's a lot, and I think listening in as a listener, there's obviously a lot there. Maybe a little rewind and have a replay at the last two minutes or they'll say, but if I pick one thing there... Like automation, obviously they're all so important, but automation, I think if you are sitting listening to this, and you are doing and your team are doing the same thing day in, day out around a manual process... I mean just an example, this is an example from my business, but we use a lot of different tools and aggregate a lot of data, and then our account managers will go to these tools and check and pull data into different project management software, shall we say. That's a bit of a broad explanation but I don't want to give all the detail. But ultimately there's quite a lot of manual process cause that can go into a certain thing that we do.
So using Zapier, which is a very base tool, but it's incredibly powerful. This is a really sort small example. I spent two days to be honest, over the last couple of months trying to get something to work in Zapier and I couldn't get it to work. And on and off, not two days solid, but two months ago I spent four or five hours on it, I couldn't get it to work but I knew I that these tools would integrate and do this thing. I just couldn't get it to work. And then I tried again about four or five days ago and I couldn't get it to work. I was very... I was like right. So basically I hired somebody that is an expert in this and I jumped on Zoom with him and as an example, it took him 15 minutes to fix.

Ian:
Yeah, exactly.

Richard:
And this is a very, very, very crude simple example but how that relates to all our listeners... Ultimately, working with experts that are absolutely focused on trimming the fat, the wastage around, and using automation as an example. To shift what will be go from a hundred orders to a thousand orders. You can't use the same systems. And it's the same in my business. Our business is growing at a hell of a rate very, very, very well above on track, and we've got to use more automations in our business. Obviously we're not an eCommerce store but we obviously work day in, day out. But using automation in the right place and I think there's so much time wasted in stores where they're just, there's a manual process, manual process, manual process. How much time? Of course those people that are doing those manual processes, they can be trained to do other things and things change, don't they?
It doesn't put people out of work, but it just means we look at things in a different way. So yeah, automation I think is an absolute key one which gets left. But then I think you touched on when somebody's ordered next-day delivery, if that's not identified, it's just getting pushed through... It's just getting pushed through with all the other orders and there's no flag to say, and I assume the majority of orders are probably... So just a simple thing like that but the knock-on effect of that order not getting there, I think that is literally as extreme as your business will fail, eventually. Because it's about that lifetime value of that customer.

Ian:
Absolutely.

Richard:
That customer could order next, the next day, four days, five. If it's a brand that sells baby clothes, that baby is going to have a journey of clothing and things, it's going to come back 10 times. If you're good at you're that, they're going to reckon all their circle, half of them are probably having babies. Oh, I bought that from, it's maybe 50 orders that you are losing because you didn't get that next day delivery to them. It's not just that one, that a five that you might have made on that product, it's that lifetime.

Ian:
You're right, it goes back to understanding your customer and their needs, and the next-day delivery, because their need is there, they can't leave the house not because of pandemic reason, but because of just life, being able to order things the next day. That's why Brands like Amazon do so well. That is absolutely guaranteed. So getting it right, segmenting that data, knowing that that's flagged as next day and then fulfilling it. So things like that, just rooting of the data goes back to the automation piece you just highlighted. That's absolutely key.

Richard:
I think when reporting as well, I spend a lot of time looking at numbers for my business and I think that's a massive downfall of probably 50% of the people that are listening to the... Bit of an extreme statement, but ultimately you got to have your finger on the numbers. And if you can't get to them in the first place, they need to be brought to you. The correct things for the different departments, depending on the size of your business that you listening to. Before we know it, the fourth quarter's over, hang on, we're sitting here in January, Oh, what's happened? We've got no cash left, Well, you know, you sold a lot of stuff, but you didn't make any money. So having that reporting in place just around the bigger picture.

Ian:
Yeah, I agree. And depending again on the size and the scale of the business, understanding that and knowing your numbers, and doing a clean month-end close, and being able to put together a reporting pack with all the key numbers on it, absolutely critical. One of the products we use is a company called NetSuite and it's a system that we know very well. We use a verticalized version of it, and built kind of key information on dashboard. So all you have to do is log onto the system and you see what's relevant to you, where you are in that business. Whether it be a financial controller or you're heading up accounts receivable, accounts payable. Those key numbers will always be there. So it's just really been able to access that key information when you need it. So absolutely dashboards from an ERP system like that are a prime example of it.And going back to your point on automation again. One of the decisions we look at automating is, if you think about stock invoices. And if you've got stock based business, how many invoices you'll get from a supplier, and then trying to match that to a purchase order to get a payment. Some businesses don't use purchase orders, they go on what was on the invoice about what they've received.
So being able to automate picking up an email invoice, to you being able then to create that and route it to the right person for review and approval and then match that to a purchase order, if you do use purchase order, it's hugely time saving. And if you've got hundreds of thousands of those a week or a month, then that is hugely very, very massive productivity gain. And I think to one of the points you're saying about automation, it doesn't necessarily mean that people are losing jobs, it means they're freeing people up to do more value-added tasks. And I know that sounds as clichéd as they come, but it's true. It just means that they can spend more time on the things that matter to them. Whether it be negotiating new suppliers, looking at new products, making sure that things are working as they should, not doing repetitive tasks.

Richard:
In theory they become more valuable to the customer.

Ian:
Absolutely. Yeah, and the way automation tools are developing now is absolutely incredible. You've gone from machine learning to AI, and we work with two or three key partners that provide this. And to see and action and see the product actually learn as it progresses and has more and more data to assimilate. It all sounds very sinister but it actually is, it's really good and very, very impressive how that solution works.
And you can extend that to other parts of the business. Like bank reconciliation, and I know that's a very, very dry subject, but for a finance department it's absolutely critical, knowing what you've spent versus what's come in absolutely critical. So there's a lot there and I think it depends on where you are in your growth, but I think automation is... You can do it very small. As you said, Zapier, that you have, powerful tool but it's all relevant to the size of the business. But again may seem that buying in expertise sometimes is expensive, it is. However, the mistakes that you can make by not doing that and wasted time and effort can be even more costly. I think it's a balance and just knowing when the right time to get somebody in.

Richard:
So obviously you work with a lot of retailers over the last few years, so what would you say, can you give us a client that you've worked with? If you can say their name, great, if not, it's not the end of the world, and what you've done to improve their retail omnichannel solutions.

Ian:
So one of our recent customers is Trinny London. So they're very, very successful eCommerce brand from Trinny Woodall who's been very successful launching our own cosmetics line of solutions. And I think that they've had incredible growth, absolutely incredible growth and we've helped them really implement an ERP solution and take it from where it was, which was taking time. The implementation was stalled for various reasons. And when we joined we were able to get focus back onto the project, and bring in people that knew what they were doing, and really provide clarity and a plan to enable them to go forward, to start to get that implementation. So in the end I think we spent about three months with them, getting them live. And they're now live and we're now working with them. And it's just bringing knowledge to help them and support them and get them confident, and to the adoption of that solution and then this was NetSuite that they're using.
So from that perspective it's really getting that base system standardized processes, going back to that standardized process and looking where possible to tackle blockages that they have in terms of processes. So I think it's all of the above, but it's just that they're a very, very fast moving business. They have a lot of challenge, lot of volume, lot of complexity, international selling and multiple websites, tax calculation. So for them and for us it's been a real experience about managing that growth, and doing the knowledge transfer from our team to them. And then that's just the start. So that stabilization process and then helping them understand the roadmap forward to enable that growth, because what they've done the time they've been doing, it's absolutely phenomenal. So yeah, I'll say pausing for breath there, it's been quite the journey.

Richard:
Sounds it. Yeah brilliant. I'll have to, it's not a brand obviously I'm aware of. But not a brand I've used or been mentioned before, so thank you for that.
So cost of living seems to be... You can't turn on the TV and without hearing about the latest increase in the X, Y, Z and it is, it's a very real thing. So how do you think retail is going to survive, adapt over the coming of months with the cost of living of changes?

Ian:
Yeah, I think it's a really pressing question for a lot of businesses. I mean I think the honest answer is none of us know exactly what's going to happen, and I think if you, like any business would face with uncertainty, you construct the things that you do well. There's going to be cost pressures on your supply chain. So it's making sure that you've negotiated good sensible pricing if you can with that. Make sure there's availability of stock. With all the problems that we've had from the pandemic in terms of the supply chain impact. So getting goods in on time, make sure you've got available stock in.
Pricing as well is absolutely key. So promotions, I think, value, people looking for all of that. And I think just if you were doing things right then continue to do that and if you've got anything that you've been kind of leaving, because you've been too busy now might be a good time to look at doing that. So if there's a project outstanding that you think could improve customer service, could improve delivery, could improve reporting or any aspect, then that might be a good time. But I think it's like anybody, we'll be wise after the event as always. But I think from our perspective we'll continue to work with our customers, be sensible about how we price, what we sell and how we work with them and be conscious of that fact. Cause everybody's going to be under pressure so it's a real concern, no doubt.

Richard:
Well thank you. Thank you Ian, it's been an absolute pleasure to have you on. Last couple of questions. So what's next for Excellent Zephyr?

Ian:
Well we are in the throes of growing the team. We've, we've grown to eight people in the last 18 months. We're just about to take on a new developer. So it's just kind of establishing ourselves as a go-to company for retail solutions in the ERP and integration space, and building on the last few years of success, and hopefully making sure that we can continue to grow and deliver really good value to our customers.

Richard:
Yeah, brilliant. So I like to end every episode Ian with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you'd recommend to our listeners?

Ian:
Don't have a specific book. I did get sight of this question in advance from one of our team, but I can recommend an author. And the author's name is a guy called Marko Kloos and he is sci-fi and when I was doing a lot of commuting I would download him them on my Kindle and it is based, well, check it out. It's really good. It's a distraction from the what's going on in the world at the moment. It's bit a light relief.

Richard:
I'm all for that. Yeah.

Ian:
If you're into escapism an alternative place to go, then I'd thoroughly recommend it. So yeah, Marko Kloos would be one. And there's just the trilogy that he's written as well.

Richard:
Oh, I know we have quite a few sci-fi fired listeners. I know quite a few. So yeah, we'll get that linked up, and have a look at that myself. So Ian, I think for those that are with us listening, what's the best place for them to find out more about yourself, more about Excellent Zephyr?

Ian:
Probably the website. So that's www.excellentzephyr.com

Richard:
Brilliant. Well thanks for being a guest on eCom@One and I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Ian:
Thank you, Richard. Thanks.

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