Rocketspark 2020 Wrap-Up

As a business we’ve been fortunate this year to be in a position to pack-up our desks and all work from home as we went into lockdown. Like everyone else in a similar situation, we had to very quickly adapt and figure out how to work remotely—well, and together.
Many of our customers operate relying on delivering face to face service such as retail, hospitality, tourism and trades and it’s been encouraging to see how resilient and innovative these businesses have been in the face of extreme business disruption. 

As much as things have changed, we’re glad that some things have remained the same here at Rocketspark.

We hit the ground running with a set of popular new features

Providing resources to help our customers through COVID-19

At Rocketspark, we saw first hand the need for business owners to adapt very quickly this year, being mostly unprepared for having to do so. However, with guidance (online classes, live Q & A, a support team at the ready), this process was made possible. We knew we were in a unique position/industry to be able to help.

At the start of lockdown our entire team jumped into action immediately, pumping out industry-specific information in the form of blog articles with solutions for every business eventuality we could think of—we wanted to help our customers to sustain their businesses online or at the very least, prepare themselves for this new fast-moving digital reality.

One of the things we did to connect in a more personable way was to run online classes with Q&A sessions that were free and easily accessible. The resources we put together covered everything from where to get government help and information, to things to put into motion to sustain business during and beyond the different stages of the pandemic—inline with what government regulations allowed.

Hearing from our customers in the food and essential services industry that they urgently needed a scheduled ordering solution for their websites with bookable pick-up and delivery slots, our development team began to work rapidly on a new feature that would enable this—launching Scheduled Ordering to all Rocketspark ecommerce customers within just a few days.

Some customers got so swamped with orders for takeaways that they urged us to create a feature to limit the number of orders that can be allocated to a time slot—so we did. One of our friends had missed turning this feature on and was driving around town picking up burger buns to fill the flurry of orders!

Rebranding Rocketspark

Although we finalised the new branding just before Covid took hold, we were naturally delayed in launching it until July. The new icon symbolises movement upwards, growth, working together for a greater good. The three different abstract rockets represent the relationship between Rocketspark, our clients and our design partners. Read about the rebranding here.

Demand & feedback drove our development roadmap in 2020

We had a plan for 2020, and like many other businesses the Rocketspark team had to quickly adjust that plan to help facilitate the urgent needs of our customers to be able to do business well, through and beyond 2020.

Feedback from our customers and Design Partners continued to have a big impact on what we developed in 2020. So please be sure to tell us what you’d like to see next and we take this on board as we continue our efforts to create a life-changing website platform for you.

Connecting with our customers through in-person events

With many of our customers being able to adapt or pivot their businesses successfully by acting fast and with our help, we knew we had the toolbox to be able to make a difference. This is largely how The Digital Pop-up Shop came to fruition. 

Along with a group of likeminded local business partners, we wanted to inspire and ‘coach’ a wider audience in person to upskill, to think differently and to explore simple digital tools that could positively impact their businesses. The Digital Pop-up Shop was created to provide short and sharp digital enablement seminars and workshops, with free drop-in sessions in a central convenient location, we could provide small-medium business owners and their teams with the latest information to sustain or grow their businesses. 

The Digital Pop-up Shop was a raging success, where business owners adopted new tools and could be seen putting into practice their new learnings. Keep an eye out as we're hoping to take this show on the road in 2021!

Sponsorship and support of not-for-profits and organisations

We pride ourselves in being able to use the tools we’ve created for good and we continue to help hundreds of not for profit organisations to improve their online presence, from humanitarian relief organisations such as Water Unite and Kibebe to art preservationists like The Goldsmith's Craft and Design Council and professional athletes. 

As part of High Performance Sport New Zealand’s athlete-friendly network, Rocketspark provides website sponsorship with free training sessions to HPSNZ athletes as they hone in on their Tokyo 2021 Olympic aspirations and grow their personal brand online

This year we sponsored Sam Dakin and Callum Saunders (National High Performance Track Program (Cycling), New Zealand Olympic team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games) to come along to The Digital Pop-up Shop. Just starting on their business journey (Athlete Community Link), after one week of workshops and seminars, Sam and Callum walked away having completed their website, and had a clearer understanding of the digital essentials for setting up a successful business.

Watch the TVNZ interview.

Building a community of professional designers

We’re grateful to work alongside a network of hundreds of knowledgeable web and graphic designers who use Rocketspark’s website builder and ecommerce tools to design websites for their clients. We’ve loved seeing this community of Rocketspark Design Partners really grow this year as they’ve supported and encouraged each other with their learnings, showcasing what’s possible with Rocketspark.

We had an idea that could extend this sharing to in-person and so we piloted our first design meetup in Hamilton, being the city closest to Rocketspark HQ. 

“It's a freaky thing stepping out to put on events and wondering if people will turn up and if they'll like it.” Grant Johnson, CEO Rocketspark.

Attendees flooded into Panama Square in Hamiltons’s CBD on the night to hear from Alexander Wastney (Designwell), Bron Alexander and Jeremy Johnson (Rocketspark) about their creativity, inspiration and of course, their process. All this while enjoying a night out with drinks, canapés and new friends. We’d like to take Process further afield so if you’re a designer, and would like us to hold a meetup in your town or city, let us know!

Providing opportunities for students is important to us

Over the past 3 years Rocketspark’s development team have run an internship program. With support from Callaghan Innovation's R&D Experience Grant, Nicole and Lewis from Waikato University have joined us for 3 months over the festive season as part of their work placement papers requiring them to intern for 400 hours. Both heading towards their 3rd year of study, Lewis is currently studying for a Bachelor of Software Engineering, and Nicole towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science.

Celebrating the team

Fast forward a few months and Grant Johnson and directors Jeremy, Lee and Richard wanted to do something for the team to say thank you for their efforts and high-spirits during that time. From a mindfulness hike to a wild food foraging session, the Rocketspark team set off in November to spend an afternoon/evening together in one of New Zealand's most ancient ecosystems to unwind after a busy few months and to connect in each other's company. Read about their experience here.

🎄 Working on your website over December/Jan?

For those of you who are working during the festive season, or simply wanting to get a headstart on 2021, we’ll be here to help you do just that. 

Our Customer Success team will be available* as normal up until 5 pm (NZDT) Thursday 24 December and we’ll have a small crew around for urgent customer enquiries on 29 to 31 December (non public holidays).

Please note that our email response times may be slower than usual during the festive season.

*We’re closed on the following public holidays:
Christmas Day (25 December)
Boxing Day observed (28 December)
New Year's Day (1 January)
Day after NYD observed (4 January).

As always, we have up-time monitoring in place and team members on call if any untimely outages occur. Please check our Network Status page for updates as the first port of call.

We wish you a very merry Christmas and safe holiday season.