TDMC (The Digital Media Collective) is one of our preferred suppliers and based in sunny Durbs. They are a digital media agency specialising in eCommerce builds, digital strategy and media buying as well as brand identity and content creation. With such top-notch services on offer, it’s no surprise that they attract clients like Boardriders (Roxy) and Thandana Bags. We decided to showcase their services for this newsletter to help merchants and partners alike, the team has a ton of knowledge which we can all make use of in some way shape and form, so we had a chat with Duncan Coleville, one of the Directors at TDMC to find out more!
JH: Tell us about how TDMC came to be? Where did it all begin?
DC: TDMC was founded by Cheryl Ingram in 2013 after she returned from a 12-year stint in the UK. She held a post as the Commercial Director for Valueclick.com (Now Conversant Media) and prior to that she held a role as Head of Agency Trading for msn.co.uk. I joined TDMC as a business partner in 2015 and then more recently, Nicola Ashe joined as our 3rd business partner. The wider TDMC team is made up of 18 digital marketing specialists concentrating on various elements and helping to make TDMC the formidable team we are.
JH: And formidable you guys certainly seem to be! Have you always offered services for multiple eCommerce platforms or did you begin with a favourite and then add others over time?
DC: Initially we focussed our efforts on Magento and WordPress, but over the last 3 years we have specialised and become accredited Shopify Experts and are one of eight Experts around South Africa.
JH: So given all the platforms you have knowledge about, how do you decide which one will be best for a client?
DC: The majority of our clients are small to medium sized businesses and Shopify ticks almost every box when it comes to designing an online store for them. For anyone else not specifically in online retail, we recommend either a custom build or a WordPress site, but it really all depends on each client’s individual needs.
JH: What would you say are the current pitfalls of starting an online business in South Africa?
DC: Most clients are constrained by their budget as well as a lack of knowledge in the eCommerce space. Typical agency models struggle to accommodate an agile small business solution and this will often result in the small business not ever going online. In this instance, we have found that taking a long-term, strategic partnership approach has benefited not only us, but our clients as well.
JH: What, in your view, is the one thing holding most companies back when trying to make a decision about whether to sell online or to concentrate on a more traditional bricks and mortar retail space?
DC: I think it’s a lack of knowledge coupled with a perceived cost of being in the eCommerce space that has more often than not been the lead concern.
JH: Moving on to uAfrica now. How long have you made use of uAfrica’s services and what for ie shipping and/or multichannel?
DC: We have used Africa for the last 18 months and recommend you guys when setting up clients’ online stores.
JH: And what would you say is your favourite feature on uAfrica at the moment?
DC: The automated tracking is without a doubt the most valuable feature to our merchants.
JH: What would you like to see on uAfrica that isn’t currently available?
DC: International courier solutions as well as a wider selection of local couriers.
JH: Yes, a lot of merchants and partners are asking for international shipping, all I can say is, watch the space!Last question, give us your top 3 tips for someone who is starting an online business from scratch.
DC: Be clear on your product offering and how it benchmarks against others in your category. A website is only the start and there are billions of them out there. In order to be found, understand that you need to budget for marketing services from the get go. Not everyone is your customer so make sure you pick the right marketing partner who understands how to funnel customers in order to drive for conversion.
Very sound advice indeed, thank you Duncan. We wish the team at TDMC the best of luck with their growth going forward, head over to their website for more information or to get in touch with someone on the team to help you grow your brand and business.