The year is 2021 and following a gloomy period of business stagnation, Malta’s tech industry is back on its feet and is as active as ever thanks to the innovative minds in the country’s tech industry. Born smack bang in the middle of the global pandemic, Maltese e-Commerce platform Lifeboat is celebrating its 1-year anniversary and its founder, Dylan Grech, shared a few words on the past year’s experience and what the future holds for Lifeboat.
On November 1st Lifeboat turns 1! What a rollercoaster of a year has it been. But bigger challenges are sure to come in 2022.
In April of 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on the world, most businesses had to rush online. This exposed all sorts of issues with the existing services. The high-end options were too expensive for small businesses, whilst the entry-level ones felt sluggish and incomplete. Coupled with misinformation and a steep rise in advertising costs, merchants found themselves in the middle of the perfect storm.
We decided that we had to help. We had to create something complete, affordable, and we had to do it fast. The clock was ticking. It wasn’t the flashy scene you typically see in movies. It was 16-18 hour days locked up in a room endlessly coding away but in November of 2020, we did it. We had the first version of Lifeboat online.
From day one it was clear, we were shaking up the e-commerce industry. We didn’t have a flashy dashboard or any special feature, but merchants were going live in days. Most merchants were getting their first sales during their trial period. We had succeeded in our initial goals.
Fast forward one year. Lifeboat has successfully helped merchants get back and sometimes even beat pre-Covid numbers.
Merchants have seen an increase in sales of 25% – 35% on average after launching their Lifeboat site.
This didn’t come easy, in 2021 we invested heavily to make sure each merchant gets the best possible service, including;
- Deploy a global serverless infrastructure, serving web pages in under half a second.
- Introduction of a fully-fledged stock control solution.
- Provide 15+ professional templates for free.
- Introduction of review and loyalty programs, that are tightly coupled with customer relationship software.
- Integration with 4 payment gateways, providing support for 135 currencies, in over 100 payment methods.
- and much much more
As 2022 quickly approaches, our goals are simple, yet ambitious;
- Be the most affordable e-commerce option.
- Offer merchants better options to scale their business.
- Automate. Automate. Automate.
2022 will be characterised by features that truly empower the small business to compete with its larger counterparts.
We are committed to being a partner to the merchants, not just a service provider. As of 1st November 2021, we are lifting all fixed fees for a sales-based approach. Merchants will be charged only 1% + €0.25 for every sale they make online.
Digital marketers, content creators, and other service providers will be able to enrol in the “Verified Partner” program. Through this program, service providers will prove that they are well versed in using the Lifeboat platform.
The true potential of an online shop is that it can take a business beyond its geographical borders. In 2022 there will be a lot of importance in this regard with integrations to Google marketplace, Amazon, E-bay, Etsy, and more. However, that’s not all. In 2022 we’ll integrate with various ancillary software services such as bookkeeping, logistics, and warehousing. Providing merchants with a real-time picture of their stock, sales, ROI, and more.
2021 has been about laying foundations. We’ve worked with merchants of all sizes, and we’ve learnt a lot. Now we look forward to 2022, with more ambitious goals, and determined more than ever before, to help merchants succeed online.
We thank all of those that trusted us in a time when we were still learning to walk, and that will be joining us in this marathon to be better.