The Silicon Review
The emergence of a new digital infrastructure has shifted our contemporary generation towards wireless networks, handheld notebooks, tablets, and smart mobile devices. Understanding digital technology and adoption of ubiquitous computing will enhance the way people work, travel, learn, get entertainment, etc. In such a fast-evolving world, sticking to old technologies and methods of coping with business life might soon leave a major part of small-sized businesses with only the option to discontinue their operations or sell their organization to larger companies. Despite the general trend toward digitalization, there are still some industries that are not yet acquainted with the right kind of digital solutions, and therefore have not been able to benefit from these to improve their results.
In response to this, Shore was established in 2012 by the German entrepreneurs Alexander Henn and Philip Magoulas – the former one being a full-blooded entrepreneur who founded his first business as an adolescent, and the latter an e-commerce pro responsible for one of Germany’s highest-grossing online stores. “We kept asking ourselves: If I can book a flight or a hotel online, then why aren’t these technologies accessible to other industries?” explains Philip Magoulas, co-founder and Managing Director of Shore, when looking back at the inception of the company.
This question led them to combine their efforts and map out the possibilities of building a digital SMB customer relationship platform for people who didn’t have any or only very limited access to digital tools. In other words, it was established with a vision to “see small business owners thrive” and to be an “entry point for small businesses into the digital world”.
A wide range of digital tools
Shore was first intended as an online booking solution with the option to store and use customer data. The product was quite successful in a market in which digitalization was not very widespread, but it cannot compare to the range of services and efficiency it offers today.
Generally, Shore can be described as a comprehensive software platform with a broad range of solutions for small-business owners: from booking appointments to managing customers, messaging and marketing.
With its online booking feature, merchants can give their customers the option to book appointments whenever they want via a button on their website, allowing them to select the desired service, staff member and time slot. This way, merchants improve their customer service and gain time to fully focus on their customers on-site. At the same time, automatic text and e-mail reminders ensure that customers do not forget their appointments, which translates into fewer no-shows and increased revenue for the merchant.
At the same time, the integrated customer database helps merchants to stay on top of their customer base and to address the individual needs of each customer better. On top of that, they gain valuable insights into the most influential business figures, which they can use as a basis to make better business decisions and increase their revenue.
The marketing functionalities most prominently include a newsletter feature which makes it possible to send out professional newsletters with targeted offers, voucher deals and updates regarding new services to selected customers. Apart from increasing customer visits, this also helps to boost customer loyalty, for example by sending out birthday greetings.
Apart from these core features, there are several other functionalities, including a practical online calendar, a shift planner, and access to Google AdWords.
A reliable solution
Shore offers small-business owners a simple, easy-to-understand and cost-effective digital solution which is entirely cloud-based, without any need to worry about installing software or updates.
Shore tools give merchants complete control over their business. They speed up and simplify administrative processes, including appointment, customer and staff management. This way, merchants gain time to focus on their core services. On top of that, Shore helps increase customer retention and facilitates the acquisition of new customers.
Another benefit: Once a contract is signed, Shore assists merchants with using the software and supports them with growing their business.
Pillars of Shore
Shore’s biggest assets are its employees, products, brand, loyal customers and infrastructure. Today, Shore has 150 employees based in Germany, the U.S. and Spain. In Germany, many employees form part of agile project teams made up of experts in different fields from product development to customer service.
On the other hand, Shore owes its strong foundation to its loyal customers who have helped the company gain more insight into the market, improve its services and product offerings, and scale the heights that it achieved in the recent years.
Vision of the future
Despite the impressive growth and successes the company has experienced in recent years, CEO Philip Magoulas has even more ambitious plans for the future: “We will not only be present in our core markets. Our product and sales processes will be sufficiently open to enable us to act more globally than we do right now. We will make an increasing number of basic tools available in different markets. Our goal is that Shore will be useable as a stand-alone tool or as an overall operating system, meaning that it will be much more flexible than it is today.”
Meet the master duo
Co-founder Alexander Henn already entered the digital business at the age of 12 with the stock exchange platform Börseninvestor.de. When he was 15, he established the first retail shop for vitamin products in Germany. He went on to found several other companies including Haircenter24, an online shop for exclusive hair products, which he sold for a 7-digit amount.
Philip Magoulas is the other co-founder of Shore, serves as CEO and leads the operational business.
Philip studied finance at the California State Polytechnic University and economics at the University of Hanover. His first professional job was at the Boston Consulting Group. Before founding Shore, he was involved in establishing the German e-commerce company Zalando and among their first employees.