by Natalie Coupland
On 5th July 2021, we celebrate our 21st birthday as a business! So much has changed since we were first established in 2000, and we've come so far since starting up. We've grown our team, expanded our customer base and developed exceptional eCommerce software to help businesses across the globe.
So, let's have a look back over the last 21 years of iocea!
Iocea was founded back in 2000 with two members. A salesperson and a developer. Their vision was to create bespoke software and web developments for local companies. Coming from a background in software, the founding members saw an opportunity to develop bespoke software.
Working closely with organisations such as Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership and Anglian Water enabled iocea to build the foundations of the business.
In 2001, hungry for expansion, iocea acquired Intology, a hosting company. This allowed us to expand services for our clients and provided us with a platform for our website and software hosting.
In 2004, we began our working partnerships with both WCF Ltd and Patra. Both are still customers we work closely with to this day. Alongside growing their online presence, our partnerships have grown stronger and stronger, working together on a range of services.
In 2006, iocea moved into our Saxilby office, the office we are still located in today. With team expansion, the office has expanded too to accommodate our growing team and additional services we have developed over the past 21 years.
In 2007, iocea became Microsoft Partners to help drive the growth of our development and our customers. After the building of solid development foundations, becoming Microsoft partners in 2007 enabled iocea to drive our growth in software and development creating bespoke software at the forefront of technology.
Becoming PCI Compliant in 2009 gave us the security standards we require to protect our customers online. PCI compliance was a great achievement for iocea with a vast amount of hard work. Becoming compliant allows us to set standards internally of our security and development processes, which we continue to comply with to this day.
2011 brought us the Cshop Admin V2 launch, providing our customers with improved functionality for order, product and stock management for their online store.
As technology progressed, we identified the need for growth for our customers. Developing our products further enabled our customers greater control, reporting and management of their product data.
Identifying a demand for Digital Marketing services, iocea launched services to current and new clients. With technical expertise we had a greater insight into the requirements of our customers as well as understanding the importance of software to drive marketing. We understand technical seo at a high level and have software expertise in house to develop marketing solutions. Our technical knowledge, expertise in software and passion for achieving goals allows our customers to drive their business forward.
Gaining Google Partnership status allows us to stay ahead of the competition with access to new features, insights, and enhanced Google training, all our Digital Marketing team are Google Certified to ensure we deliver effective solutions to help customers grow. The partnership allows us the see new products and updates from Google and be ahead of our competitors. This works together to build strong products and marketing with our customers, working alongside to be an extension of their web and marketing teams.
Our QA Department was launched in 2013 to drive forward the quality of our software and solutions. Writing test cases, automated test scripts and Unit tests improve the efficiency of our developments and reduce issues when launched to customers. The QA team also plays a vital role in the planning of work as they understand eCommerce, our software, and our customers at a high level.
Moving to a cloud hosting environment in 2014 provided us with the ability to offer fully scalable, load balanced and optimised solutions that can adapt to suit traffic requirements. We can adapt to the needs and requirements of our Cloud hosting by providing versatility for our customers.
Olive is our very own order management system. The product launched in 2015 offering full stock, customer, product, and order management to cover any warehouse requirements. Providing any ecommerce business with the ability to capture and manage all orders in one solution. The functionality and capabilities of Olive provides our customers with the ability to run their business completely through our product.
2016 was an exciting year of product development for iocea with the launch of both ioceamailer and Konvert.
With our in-house mailing platform ioceamailer, sending out emails that actually convert, has never been easier. Our easy-to-use email platform gives you full access to create your own eye-catching designs and send out emails to a huge mailing list. With links to your website, we can set up automations to convert abandon baskets, send reminders and much more.
Konvert allows you to create fully bespoke, unique, and personalised pop ups that are engaging powerful tools to help increase your company’s revenue. Using exit intent technology, Konvert allows you to capture customer data, promote offers, re-engage shoppers and much more.
In 2017, iocea developed our integration to both Amazon and eBay providing customers with full capabilities to sell through multiple platforms. Customers can now sell in multiple locations through Cshop and bring all orders from the multiple channels to one location for improved business efficiency.
In December 2018 we acquired Hat Trick Media, a web and graphic design agency to allow for expansion of the team and business further. The acquisition not only allowed us to grow internally but provided our clients with a greater number of services we can now offer.
Being among the top 5% of Microsoft Partners Worldwide, gaining silver partnership status was a great achievement for iocea. This emphasises our passion to drive our software forward whilst using the support and products from one of the industry leading technology companies.
We understand that businesses need effective digital marketing as part of their growth plan so in 2019 we expanded our Digital Marketing team and hope to grow iocea digital marketing in the coming years.
The Country and World were placed in lockdown but for iocea this meant growth and opportunities. We grew our team and our customers and adapted to support our clients’ changing requirements as consumer behaviour changed. Online became a greater focus and turning around projects quickly and offering new developments meant that some of our clients saw their biggest months of sales during this period.
The iocea CMS was launched to give our customers greater ability to control their sites. Not only does the CMS provide web update facilities, but we offer a blogging module, full asset manager, booking systems and much more. Being developed in-house allows us to add features to benefit all our customers.
In 2020, we were announced as finalists for Digital Agency Of The Year Finalists at the Lincolnshire Technology and Innovation Awards! This was a real honour for us, especially as it fell on our 20th birthday anniversary and despite a global pandemic.
More and more, we hear about how convenience is leading innovation. For the same reason that business to consumer organisations are offering increasingly convenient services (for example, Amazon offering next day delivery prime), we are making the eCommerce process more convenient for our customers too. Customers come to iocea and receive all the services they need to make their eCommerce business successful. This not only saves time going from agency to agency, but it also minimizes risk as our team work closely together to collaborate across client projects, meaning that there is less room for miscommunication. As very few businesses offer the same extensive range of services under one roof, this gives us a great USP.
Who knows what we could be up for next? Keep your eyes peeled!
Iocea are continually looking to grow our team. Adding further experts to the business allows us to drive our developments to be at the forefront of the latest technology. We continue to support our clients, work with them on developing their products so they are continually supporting their customers. Through our decades of experience and knowledge we drive business growth and put our clients' businesses ahead of competitors and in front of customers.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us! The most exciting thing of all is that there is so much more to come, and we can't wait to see where we will be in another 21 year's time. Click here to follow our LinkedIn and stay up to date with all of our latest ventures!