Custora Updates Ecommerce Analytics Tool to Drill Down on Customer Retention

Today Custora debuted the latest version of its platform, which aims to help online retailers “move beyond batch-and-blast marketing” and both acquire and retain customers, according to founder Jon Pospischil. Launched in early 2011, the Y Combinator company originally targeted SaaS web apps and ecommerce companies, but now focuses exclusively on helping online retailers acquire and engage with existing customers.

The company debuted updates in June 2012 to help retailers make sense of their data, showing customers questions related to their industry and goals rather than dashboards and numbers. Those questions could include anything from the lifetime value of a customer to the cost of acquiring a new customer. That last update was focused on making it easier for companies to understand how to act on their data, and it also introduced integration with email providers.

Today’s update expands on that email integration, adding integration with email marketing providers including ExactTarget and VerticalResponse, and giving retailers the ability to provide more targeted messaging. Once a company is set up, Custora can identify “clusters” of customers based on their purchases, so messages can be targeted to different types of customers. Prior to today’s update it could identify who was an active or inactive customer, but now it can identify customers based on what they buy, for example shirts and skirts as opposed to jeans.

“The new clusters are all about what people buy,” Pospischil said in an interview. “We find five of those different kinds of groups, all about what they’re buying, and then you can tailor and combine the two.” For example companies could send one email to weekly buyers who buy skirts and shirts, while sending a different one to monthly buyers who only purchase pants.

Similar to platforms like Retention Science, the new update allows customers to work on retention, identifying how engaged their customers are, and setting up automated welcome messages, rewards, and other marketing targeted to engaging existing customers. But unlike Retention Science, the platform is also focused on helping companies get new customers, focusing on both sides of the equation. Of course there are existing analytics solutions, everything from Mixpanel to Google Analytics, trying to help companies understand their customers, so the company has no shortage of competition.

In order to appeal to companies with varying degrees of technical knowledge, the company has also updated their signup and onboarding process to be more self-serve, which will help Custora’s base of customers, from small Shopify merchants to larger customers like Etsy and, get on board. Pospischil said they’re trying to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up, but also for the average business employee or marketer to understand the insights. “What we’re doing is taking that advanced science and making it accessible to everyone,” he said.

Custora added $650,000 in seed funding added in January 2012 from heavyweight angel investors including SV Angel and Founder Collective, and so far this year has analyzed over $16 billion in revenue across its base of customers. It has also powered 25 million emails, and analyzed data for over 90 million end customers. Next up Pospischil said they’ll be focusing on marketing, as well as on building out their products for user acquisition. With pricing starting at $199 per month for up to 100,000 customers and scaling to fit enterprise needs, the company should be able to continue to win over ecommerce companies looking to cash in on customer insights.

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a Co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform. Also a former Managing Director at Eighty-Eight, a creative communications agency based in Toronto. She was formerly the Managing Editor at BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter at @erinbury.

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