As part of my Expert Interview Series at Sideqik, I sat down with Brooks Robinson of Springbot about tackling the e-commerce challenge with better data, smarter actions and more revenue. We all want to win against large enterprises and he knows e-commerce and marketing space in-and-out.
Brooks Robinson is the CEO and co-founder of Springbot, which provides an e-commerce marketing platform to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) looking to tackle the “e-commerce challenge.” A Gold Industry Partner of Magento, we’ve known their team for years and hear about their e-commerce expertise from some of Sideqik’s customers. We have been fortunate enough to benefit from Brooks’ expertise and thought it would be helpful to share this knowledge with others.
Kurt: Springbot has had some great growth over the past year and much of that can be attributable to the non-conventional approach your team took to get started. Can you tell everyone a little about how Springbot started?
Brooks: In early 2012, while serving as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgia Tech, I met the partners and other two co-founders, Joe Reger and Allen Nance, for our newest venture, Springbot. Our passion is helping e-commerce merchants grow their business by leveraging marketing analytics and automation that SMBs need to grow their revenue by taking smarter, data-driven marketing actions.
Through our partnership with Magento, an eBay company, we’ve been able to help e-commerce stores, all looking to compete (and win) against giants like Amazon.
Kurt: What one thing stood out the most from working with so many online merchants?
Brooks: I am passionate about helping the SMB community grow, and this is Springbot’s mission. Our goal is to help e-commerce SMBs grow their revenue by using the consumer data (demographic, social, purchase) that drives more shoppers to their online store, converting them to customers, and personalizing marketing campaigns to keep them coming back.
As the e-commerce world evolves, so must the stores that want to stay ahead of the competition. Don’t get stuck in a rut, just because something has worked well before. Listen to your customers, keep up with the latest industry trends, and analyze your customer data. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new marketing techniques and tools as this could lead to improvements in your user experience and ultimately the bottom line for your store.
Kurt: Given your experience with e-commerce sites, tell me about the importance of data and analytics to an e-commerce web site?
Brooks: Many e-commerce stores know very little about their customers, despite the explosion of valuable consumer data that is now available.
Having a good understanding of the data helps you generate more traffic, conversions, and overall revenue. In addition, the feedback we have gotten from merchants is that being able to personalize marketing content is a huge benefit to them -ultimately leading to more revenue and a better return on investment (ROI).
It is easy to make assumptions about what is working on an e-commerce site, but once you have data that is available and easy to understand, you can KNOW where people are going on your page, what social media and paid ads are bringing people to your site and what the audience that buys actually connects with. It takes assumption out. It’s a huge value to not waste $ on areas or audiences that are not bringing in revenue.
Kurt: You help companies of all different sizes. What would you say are the kind of issues small and medium businesses have with e-commerce?
Brooks: SMB’s struggle to compete against large enterprises like Walmart and Amazon who have been perfecting big data, predictive analytics and marketing mix optimization for years. Many marketers are not even sure what the best next step is to grow their business. That’s actually something Springbot helps with. We coined the term Marketing Robotics™, which is a technology solution that lets e-commerce merchants leverage these same
Kurt: What are the easiest actions that e-commerce sites can take that would help them make some major gains in the next 6 months?
Brooks: There are many factors that should be considered when trying to accelerate growth -great customer service, innovative products, the ability to market smarter, and a great team that is passionate about your business.
Focus on creating systems that make you more effective and efficient. Start with the areas of greatest importance, with a focus on making any needed improvements to your customer service or product offering and let your passionate team members help create systems for improvement. After that it’s really simple – market smarter, not harder. We often see marketers at e-commerce sites getting burned out trying lots of things and not knowing what’s working. With the right tools, you can simplify your data and content to integrate with your multi-channel marketing tools (social, online, email, retargeting, etc) in order to drive more traffic. That’s part of what Springbot helps with – thus marketing smarter.
Kurt: What has changed in online retail in the last year, from your vantage point in the industry?
Brooks: The constant connectivity of shoppers in a multi-screen world with the line between brick and mortar and online blurring by the second. Online browsing is the new form of window shopping.
Kurt: We all know that people are talking about brands on social media but so many small and medium sized brands are still hesitant to start actively engaging in social for a variety of reasons. What would you say to a marketer that is questioning how much, if any, of their efforts should they spend on social this next year?
Brooks: Social media gives you an opportunity to hear important information from your customers. They are online talking about you either way. Not being involved in social media prevents you from having a voice in the conversation. Your marketing team knows the value of listening, trust your team to leverage social media to your benefit.
You don’t know until you try. Getting started is the biggest step. Looking at the data, something Springbot’s predictive analytics helps with, lets you know what to do next.
One of our customers, Country Club Prep, said it best. “Working with Springbot has allowed us to analyze the people we are reaching which enables us to better prioritize our messages for various marketing channels,” said Matt Watson, cofounder of Country Club Prep. “For example, we now know that we typically have a higher conversion rate on Facebook than other social sites. Springbot has even given us insight into what the product price threshold for Facebook is – allowing us to post products that will interest our Facebook audience and allow us a higher conversion rate.” The path to success is in the data.
Kurt: Is there anything else you would like to add on the topic?
Brooks: Marketing an e-commerce site can be challenging. When your customers can’t physically see and touch the products you’re offering online, convincing them to break out their credit cards can be a harder sell. My advice is try to work with a network of trusted industry experts and partners that know the space and can guide you in the right direction. Find good partners, like web design firms, hosting providers and marketing partnerships, which can do the heavy lifting for you. Work with the right partners and you’re a lot more likely to hit your numbers this year. Tweet this Tip!
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If you haven’t checked out Springbot yet, I’m a big fan.
Note: This article was originally published by Sideqik on Sideqik.com after I wrote it. Need a real influencer marketing program, check out their data-driven platform.