The last year has undoubtedly been challenging, writes Artem Sydorenko, Marketing Manager at exactly, but amid the uncertainty came creative payment features, new regional partners, ‘must-have’ FCA certification and a complete website redesign.

As we bring this year to a close, it seems like a great time to talk about the 2020’s results. There’s no escaping that overall, the year was tough for all humanity. It wasn’t easy for the enormous number of families all over the world who have lost their relatives or friends due to the new disease – we would like to express our deepest condolences to those affected.

The year has been one full of fear, uncertainty, confusion and in some cases, even dread. Companies have had to balance saving money, time and other resources along with reacting to the rapid changes in restrictions across the world. Yet, the hard times gave rise to creative, and even genius, novelties. Dare I say it, 2020 has not been wholly negative.

We won’t hide that our company has experienced some uncertainties. We operate internationally, and had to react to changing situations quickly – always keeping our employees’ safety at the forefront of our decisions. It wasn’t that easy. We want to take a look back at 2020, shining a light on how we have spent it and where we are now.

Speedy transfer to home office and back

During the second quarter of the year, we received the news that everyone wanted to resist yet simply had to adjust to. After some urgent meetings, we developed a system of no loss work environment transfer from our offices to working from home.

We came up against some challenges when doing this. High demand for courier services meant that for a number of our offices across the world, it was left to representatives from our team to deliver the necessary equipment and furniture to their colleagues. It was a great example of how to organise teamwork in an emergency. 

On top of this, we managed to successfully arrange new types of secure accesses to our internal systems from the home IPs of our employees, as well as enhancing the protection of our systems – something which we drew significant internal attention towards.

However, the technical transfer was not the only thing that needed to be addressed. Explanation of the situation, motivational meetings, talks with each team member – all of it had been done. The responsibilities of our employees were growing hour by hour and everyone seemed to be making unexpected curves. 

All that we were focusing on during that period was to keep the systems working and secure, as well as to protect our employees. And thanks to the team spirit, we were able to settle down speedily with no service providence interruptions. So, the transfer to working from home, then and several months later back to the office, went rather smoothly. 

Growth of our team

This experience has shown us that we are able not only to react and take actions promptly but also to arrive at comprehensive decisions at a railway speed. The enabling factor for this? Hiring the best coworkers. During 2020, we were not only able to protect our people, but also to increase the number of colleagues. Our team has grown by 30% during the year – a positive for this year which has also allowed us to strengthen our market position.

New countries of operation

Our team is not the only thing that has expanded in 2020. This year, we have also expanded our geographical reach, having concluded new contracts in countries such as Denmark, England, Finland, Norway, Sweden and more. 

We have not necessarily specialised in providing a service in a particular region – exactly is a global company – but we have found that some countries are more popular than others amongst our client database.

FCA authorised from April 2020

The growing popularity of our payment system among British clients motivated us to apply for the Financial Conduct Authority(FCA) certification. This authorisation is a must for providing any type of financial services in the UK and is a ‘nice-to-have option’ for the rest of Europe. 

Having passed all verifications, tests, check-ups and received a “yes” from the FCA institution, from April 2020 we were able to launch in the UK, making ourselves open to cooperation with any size or type of online business not only from all over the world but also from the UK – which, for us, is an honour. 

Appreciation of loyalty and new features

Acquisition of new clients is a great thing to do, and it is one of the main ways to grow your business. Although, another key strategy is to not forget about your existing partners. 

In 2020, we have paid much attention to loyal clients. We have developed various custom features on-demand, provided seamless support all day (and sometimes even all night long!) and developed effective new sales strategies together with long-term clients. 

As our customer database continues to grow day by day, we find it necessary to widen the list of our features as well. Expanding means not only stashing clients; it also means enlarging the number of provided services or products to correspond with expectations. This is why we never get tired of developing and implementing new features for the convenience of our loyal clients and for the attraction of the new ones. 

Therefore, we decided to implement some really innovative functions in 2020 – one such example is the option of sending the payment links. This feature offers a possibility of issuing payable custom invoices in the fastest way – a couple of modifications in your business account, and the payment link is ready to be sent to the client. 

After sending, it can be conveniently paid in just a couple of clicks. It has become a very usable function for small enterprises and companies with a wide number of offers with flexible prices. 

New regional partners

Among the great things that we have done for the new and existing clients of ours is that we have integrated with some valuable regional partners. One of them is Multibanco, which means that there is a plus one payment method for clients in Portugal and that the payment acceptance in the region has become even more flexible. 

The second significant new partner worth talking about would be – a marketplace from the Czech Republic which made local businesses closer to us. This platform is the largest and most popular in their region. 

Small, middle and even large local companies can build their online stores by using this marketplace – and starting from August 2020, they can integrate us as their payment system in just a couple of clicks. You should believe us now – the integration of the payment system exactly was never so easy as if you are a client of Shoptet! 

In case you are interested in the Czech market or come from there, you are welcome to partner with us through this platform on special conditions and budget-friendly rates. 

Online events

Exactly’s sales, operations and business relations departments became extremely trendy people during the year 2020. They have visited more than 30 online conferences and networking events. 

Why are they trendy? Because such online events and summits have demonstrated the absolute importance of business communications, and the innovative approaches taken to make these conversations happen. Our team of experts were always there to talk to interested businesses and to answer any questions.

On the one hand, such events are very time and money-saving, which cannot be ignored for sure. But on the other hand, there are many nuances as to why it is good to mix online events with physical conferences. In short, our representatives have mastered the online networkings and are ready to participate in such events to meet you there anytime. 

Website redesign

And last but not the least, our achievement of the year for 2020: We have made a full redesign of our website for the convenience of our potential and loyal customers. Now our homepage is much more interactive and contains a full description of our service, has the online application form and is tailored according to the latest web design trends. Clients can now apply for the payment processing provided by exactly via their computer. 

Aside from redesigning our website, we also worked hard on a new design of banners for social media. Our Instagram account now looks so much finer and trendier! In addition to the new design, we started to create more personalised, more consumer-oriented content because we know that behind every business are people who are our readers.

To conclude

The past year 2020 wasn’t easy. Thankfully, it passed by relatively fast for us. We hope that this year did have some positive takeaways for people.We hope that after we all survived lockdown number one, we will successfully complete the current lockdown and continue living further with wiser and more deliberated life and business goals. 

In conclusion to everything we have obtained during this challenging year, we decided to run a promo to cheer our potential clients up. We decided to give presents to each of our new customers who signed an agreement with us between 1 December 2020 and 31 January 2021. Every new client will receive a discount of up to €2021 for the first month of the partnership. The discount itself is provided after three months of our three months of our partnership. 

By partnering with exactly, clients can enable online payment processing as well as the integration of many valuable features like accepting and sending payments in all major currencies, free fund storing, creating payment links, sending bulk or so-called mass payments, arranging recurring payments for your offered subscription products, providing prompt refunds if required, accessing in-depth analytics to optimise your business processes and many more. 

So to round off the year, we want to say thank you to our clients and we look forward to seeing what 2021 will bring.