Large retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, spend millions of dollars each year on the marketing automation and data analytics that drive their success as eCommerce giants. But small and medium eCommerce businesses often struggle to mount even a modest email marketing effort. With 500,000 such online companies in the U.S. today – a number that is growing by some 20 percent each year – the problem is enormous. Springbot, an Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) company at Georgia Tech, offers a simple to use, comprehensive, and affordable solution through its eCommerce marketing platform designed for small and medium businesses (SMBs).
Brooks Robinson, Springbot co-founder and CEO, has long had a passion for helping SMBs succeed.
“Growing up, my family had a small business and I see the impact that small businesses have on the economy,” Robinson said “Some 70 percent of new jobs in the U.S. are generated by small and medium businesses, and I’ve had a life goal of helping these businesses become bigger and bigger.”
His first startup – Atlanta-based Cbeyond – was a pioneer in providing high-level IT management services to SMBs. By 2011, it had become a publicly-traded company with 2,000 employees, one-half billion dollars in revenue, and branches nationwide. And Robinson was ready to start a new venture.
He joined forces with two other entrepreneurs he met as an entrepreneur-in-residence with ATDC and launched Springbot in 2012. “We knew that eCommerce SMBs want the same data-driven marketing solutions used by large online retailers, but they need it to be a simple, fully-integrated solution that makes the most of their limited time and budget while increasing their revenue and marketing ROI,” Robinson said.
Springbot’s goal is to help eCommerce SMBs grow their revenue by using the consumer data (demographic, social, purchase, and the like) to drive more shoppers to their online store, convert them to customers, and personalize marketing campaigns to keep them coming back.
“Small eCommerce retailers often know very little about their customers,” Robinson says. “Yet there is a lot of valuable data being captured in their online store.” Springbot syncs that data with extensive, publicly-available demographic data to analyze customers, customer segments and their purchasing patterns.
With this analysis, Springbot can recommend and prioritize which market actions—for example, emails, social networks, online ads, and retargeting customers who shop but don’t buy–are most likely to pay off. The Springbot platform also tracks each marketing action to determine its effectiveness.
“We look at all the tools a SMB needs to succeed in eCommerce and partner with companies that provide them – companies like Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp and Adroll,” Robinson said. Currently, Springbot is a Gold Industry partner of Magento, an eBay company that is the predominant online shopping cart provider. “Once the business sets up its store in Magento, it can install Springbot and access all of our services and apps.”
Springbot also provides its customers with a dashboard that shows the results of marketing actions –for example, an email to a customer segment introducing a new product—including the amount of revenue generated.
Springbot has caught the eye of investors and is poised for rapid growth.
- In 2013, the company raised $3 million in venture capital investment.
- In just the last six months, Springbot has doubled its staff and engaged additional partners.
- The company is working to greatly scale up the number of stores using its products and provide them with more and more tools to improve their ROI.
ATDC has helped Springbot in many ways from networking opportunities to opening up doors of venture capitalists to installing a high-speed fiber internet connection provided by Georgia Tech.
“As part of the ATDC community, you know people are thinking about you and your success,” Robinson said. “If we were on our own in an office park, I don’t think we would have all of these folks around us who have our back.”