Summary:

The Berlin startup is trying to offer small businesses low-cost analytics for keeping their online customers coming back.

RetentionGrid

Analytics and marketing go together hand-in-hand, but larger e-commerce operations are generally able to devote more resources to their big data efforts. Small businesses may sell over the web, but they’re up against the data-wrangling prowess of Amazon and other big retailers, who have gotten pretty good at figuring out how to keep customers coming back, in an automated sort of way.

This is the problem that RetentionGrid is trying to solve – to help smaller players get in on the data-driven marketing game. The analytics service, which is also available standalone and on the Shopify and Tictail e-commerce platforms, added BigCommerce to that roster on Monday.

This follows a busy week, in which Berlin-based RetentionGrid revealed $710,000 in seed funding from investors including SoundCloud founders Eric Wahlforss and Alex Ljung, and in which the firm also released version 2.0 of its product. (RetentionGrid runs on SAP’s HANA platform and SAP was showcasing the outfit as it launched an innovation center in Potsdam, just outside Berlin.)

According to RetentionGrid CEO Kevin Dykes, the company is trying to tell its small business customers when to get hold of previous customers with fresh recommendations, “but just as strongly telling them the time not to sell – we don’t want to spam the audience.”

RetentionGrid takes data from the shopping platforms on which it operates and does not, Dykes stressed, supplement that with data from third-party brokers. “We’re trying to not encourage creepy,” he said, adding that being based in Germany means the firm has to be about as data-protection-compliant as anyone out there.

It then uses that data to model things like responsiveness to discounts, whether the customer appears to be on a buying cycle, and so on, then it sends the retailer weekly opportunity alerts, suggesting that certain customers are likely to want to buy in the coming week. Here’s an example of the titular grid, representing who’s in the worth-targeting zone:

RetentionGrid grid

Customer details are anonymized as far as RetentionGrid is concerned, though obviously not for the retailer using its services.

The service runs on a freemium basis, with its customers only paying when they want to take action based on the data they see. So, based on the sort of graphical representation you see above, the retailer could then press one button to create a sales campaign, either one-off or repeated on an automated basis when the customer meets the same conditions again.

Although it’s still working out its precise model, Dykes suggested that RetentionGrid was priced low enough to offer services rivalling the more expensive likes of Optimove, for example, at around the same price charged for more basic rules-based services that don’t use predictive modelling. According to Dykes, RetentionGrid – which launched last year — is growing at between 25-30 percent a month and works with around 2,700 shops.

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