Conquering the Next Ecommerce Frontier: The ‘Almost’ Customer

Waynette Tubbs, Senior Manager of Marketing Communications

CEO Joe Colopy encouraged this year’s Bronto Summit attendees to reach for the stars – even providing a little fuel (astronaut ice cream) to help the group get powered up. There was a lot of exciting information to consume as Colopy rolled out Bronto’s newest apps for recommendations and browse recovery.

Bronto Summit 2016But before Colopy talked about the future, he traveled back in time. Most of you have heard the Bronto story: In 2002, he and his business partner Chaz Felix wanted to create a technology company that focused on the values of approachability, transparency, passion and great customer service. Those values have truly become part of Bronto’s DNA. “We really believe in our people, and we believe that when we invest in our people, good things happen,” said Colopy.

But believing in Brontos is only part of their winning philosophy. While they believe it’s important to focus on building the best possible product to meet today’s needs, they also believe it’s imperative to think toward the future. What’s the next best product, and what do we have to do now to be prepared for it?

For several years, the Bronto platform has been engineered to not just help companies deliver email, but to help companies engage their customers. At the time we introduced the idea of engaged commerce (2011), marketers relied heavily on paid search. They measured themselves by the percentage of conversion they got per dollar of investment in search. “But engaged commerce takes things a step further,” says Colopy. “Engaged commerce focuses on the shopper who almost buys. They browse your site, maybe even cart an item, and then leave without purchasing.”

In the last few years, Bronto has focused on improvements to the platform (scalability, ease of use, speed and reporting), but we’ve also been building apps that layer on top of the Bronto Marketing Platform to engage and capture that “almost” purchaser. We introduced Pop-Up Manager (November 2013), Coupon Manager (January 2014) and Cart Recovery (September 2014)  – all three are hugely successful for marketers. But we’re not done yet.

Under the Covers

To build for the future, we’ve been working behind the scenes to allow marketers to pull more and more data into the Bronto Marketing Platform. At Bronto Summit 2015, we announced our new Products feature, which we launched in the summer of 2015. Marketers can now pull all of their catalog data into the platform and automatically access product data when building email and SMS messages. That capability was really the foundation of the two apps we announced yesterday – Recommendations Standard and Browse Recovery.

Browse_RecoveryChris Geiss, Bronto’s Director of Commerce Apps, walked us through Browse Recovery, an app that allows you to capture your shoppers’ browse behavior and ties it to a known contact or saves it so it can later be matched to a known contact. “It’s all about moving up the funnel. We wanted to broaden your ability to capture customer behavior that can inform your marketing campaigns,” he said.

Browse Recovery then automatically delivers messages based on pre-defined rules, including recently viewed products, frequently viewed categories or frequently viewed products. “And we give you control over the products you want to highlight in your messages,” said Geiss. “You can also define exclusions for your messages.”

Derrick Riley, Digital Marketing Manager for Fox Racing, was building an in-house browse recovery solution, but decided to go with Bronto instead. Riley said, “Understanding what our customers are browsing on is really the next frontier. While we can analyze browsing results separately, being able to leverage the data within our marketing platform really makes it useful.”

Next up was Mike Gottlieb, Senior Product Manager at Bronto, to introduce Recommendations Standard (formerly known as Predictor). “Our customers want to automate the placement of product recommendations into their marketing messages, and that path was cleared for us with the addition of product catalog data in the Bronto Marketing Platform,” said Gottlieb.

The app gives marketers the flexibility to build very sophisticated messages. Just insert placeholders in your messages for the products you want to display, and the app automatically inserts your tagged products into the placeholders.  No more copying and pasting products with each delivery. You define rules on a combination of product fields and set priorities to determine which products to display to a segmented list of subscribers.

It’s fast, simple and easy. In Gottlieb’s demo, it took only 38 seconds to set up a message with recommendations. And the app includes a preview feature so you can be sure the message you created is exactly as you intended before sending.

Matt Rigglemann, Advertising & Marketing Director for That Fish Place – That Pet Place, testified to Recommendations Standard’s ease of use. “Because it’s so simple to reference recommendations in our messages, we now have plans to use multiple recommendations, such as this month’s new products and rock-bottom clearance items. We expect great results,” Rigglemann says.

Learn more at the Bronto AppCenter, and contact your Account Manager or a Bronto Sales Representative for more information.