We caught up with Alex Weston, Channel Manager at Oracle Bronto to pick his brains. Read on for the insider scoop on partnerships, Shopify Plus and the benefits of Bronto to eCommerce retailers…
Sum up what Bronto does in one sentence.
Bronto helps organisations of all sizes grow revenue, save time and optimize marketing resources, by delivering powerful and flexible email marketing solutions.
In a nutshell, what are the benefits of Bronto to eCommerce retailers?
First and foremost, Bronto is designed and architected with retailers in mind. We do a great job of gathering feedback from our eCommerce customers on the types of functionality that they’d like to see in a marketing platform.
We then make it super easy for retailers to pull data out of their eCommerce platform, segment customers based on their data, whether that be buying data, browsing data or any other individual identifiers. You can then set up sophisticated campaigns to target those customers across channels to have relevant, personalised and targeted conversations.
What are the benefits to their customers?
At a high level, the benefit to the customer of a retailer using Bronto is that they participate in a buying journey or customer experience that meets their expectations. Increasingly we’re seeing that customers have high expectations of how they should be communicated with.
More often than not, retailers struggle to really achieve this. Of course, the idea is that in making things easy for our clients, we, in turn, make it simpler and more comfortable for the consumer to purchase from the retailer.
Where can people find out more?
Bronto.com has a bunch of resources about our platform, as well as an industry leading blog and success stories of our clients. And, of course, our partners such as Strawberry are also a great source of information and guidance when it comes to the Bronto platform.
So, what’s involved in being the ‘Channel Manager EMEA’?
Good question! My job is varied, but at its core are Bronto’s business partners. My aim is to identify, recruit and nurture Bronto’s relationships with these partners so that we can help each other drive successful clients. Part of that is educating partners on who we are, as well as educating our own team internally about who our partners are.
Overall, it encompasses a lot of exposure to the different agencies that make up the eCommerce ecosystem, understanding them, and finding ways that we can help each other in the market.
What do you like most about your job role?
I love getting out to meet partners and speak to people. Finding out what makes them tick, how they ended up in the wonderful world of eCommerce, and what the latest innovative projects they’ve been working on are. Generally, everyone in the eCommerce space is friendly, approachable and open to a chat.
What are your biggest upcoming challenges and opportunities?
Wow, tough question! The biggest challenge and opportunity are almost the same thing. The marketplace is becoming increasingly crowded in terms of the amount of businesses turning to online, particularly in retail. We’ve all seen how the high street has struggled to keep sales up in recent times. The increasing number of retailers initiating and perfecting their online strategies clearly represents a huge opportunity for companies like Bronto and Strawberry.
The challenge comes in the form of the eCommerce software industry. Its fast-paced nature makes it an exciting industry to work in, but technology moves quickly. For me, staying on pace with the latest trends, working with partners who are doing well and understanding the changes as they happen can make for some quite challenging pivots at times!
How many ‘strategic partnerships’ does Bronto have?
Bronto has a variety of strategic partners across the globe, from different eCommerce platforms, to system integrators, agencies and technology relationships.
Why did you partner with Strawberry?
Like a lot of relationships, Bronto’s with Strawberry was instigated by a mutual prospect, who’s now a mutual client! But throughout the process, it quickly became clear that Strawberry are more than a great Shopify Plus partner. Having met many members of the team as well, I can attest that they are a pleasure to work with. Ultimately it felt like we had a lot to offer each other, and that we could have some fun along the way.
How has the partnerships programme changed Bronto?
The partnerships programme has enabled Bronto to become more visible in the market; to learn about, integrate and partner with other software companies; and to get access to opportunities that would not otherwise have come about (like this interview!).
Have you ever received feedback from partners which has caused you to make changes to Bronto?
Our partners are part of a constant feedback loop we get from our community of customers and stakeholders. Partners are regularly the source of great feedback on how we can improve Bronto from a product perspective, but also from the view of a partnership and as a vendor. The reason partner feedback is so valuable to us is because they are so honest! Honest feedback is, without doubt, the most useful. They also tend to be experts in the field, which gives us access to priceless ideas.
We build most of our websites using Shopify Plus. How does Bronto complement Shopify Plus?
Shopify Plus has been one of our longest standing partners, and we’re constantly looking to improve our relationship and integration. Our integration with Shopify Plus means that you can very easily map data fields - customer data, product data, and order data. This allows retailers to use this data to send highly targeted messages to their customer base. As well as getting data out of Shopify Plus, it’s possible to trigger email messages from activity on the website.
One of the latest developments with Shopify Plus and Bronto is our new connector with Shopify Flow. As a Shopify Flow endpoint, Bronto messages can be triggered within a workflow, which gives the capability of making use of the functionality of multiple different software companies within one workflow on the website. Sounds complicated, but here’s an example: if you have a loyalty software, Bronto can be triggered to send an email once somebody reaches a certain amount of loyalty points.
Bronto have recently written a white paper which shows that in-store shopping is still very much an important aspect of the retail experience. How can Bronto automations extend the in-store experience?
We’re all aware of how important it is to create a ‘seamless’ customer experience across different channels. I talked before about how we’ve seen the high street struggle, and this can lead to a turbulent time online too. If you can marry these channels together, you’re likely to see great success.
Bronto can support this through a variety of tactics. As the white paper describes, the majority of customers in this day and age would prefer an e-receipt to an old-school physical receipt in store. Making the most of this opportunity to drive more traffic to the website is important; it can be a valuable chance to encourage someone to sign up to the mailing list and make another purchase on your website. This is just one of the ways that you can tie the experience together.
If someone wanted to pick your brains further, where could they find you?
LinkedIn, or they could drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org