Companies looking to monitor their web presence interactions have no shortage of analytics service providers to turn to. But in most cases, what they’ll get when they do set up an analytics solution is a database of numbers, which still have to be crunched by data scientists before they can be turned over to frontline staff and used to drive customer interaction policy and action. Custora, a startup looking to provide online retailers with insight about their customers, wants to shorten the loop on data gathered by organizing its analytics around questions rather than spreadsheets in its new 2.0 release.
Instead of being greeted with dashboards and numbers out of context, Custora users will now see pointed questions related to their field and goals, which the startup generated by surveying its customers to find out which questions get asked about their analytics most frequently. That way, things like “How much should we spend to acquire a new customer?” are answered right away with a figure, and backed up by more granular data should clients want to drill down. The fact that they now have the option not to, however, opens up the platform for more informed use by frontline staff, who aren’t as concerned with crunching the numbers but do want to act based on the output of that process.
“We had a bunch of dashboards calling things out in our last release, and customers would look at it and be confused, and it would require a lot of training,” Custora co-founder Jon Pospischil said in an interview. “Really they would have to dig through the app and find all the answers to whatever questions they had. We talked to them and found out what questions they were asking, and refocused the app on delivering those answers instead of having a bunch of dashboards to wade through.”
That’s a shift in paradigm from when data sets used to be all about portability, where priority was on making it exportable to other software to handle heavy-lifting and number crunching. But Pospischil says that the change is good for everyone; data scientists get to focus on more interesting and long-term value questions instead of interpreting relatively simple data for frontline use, and sales, support and management get at-a-glance actionable suggestions with one or two clicks.
Custora also allows people to now contend with major ecommerce players like Amazon, without requiring them to invest heavily in software, engineering and analyst resources, according to Pospischil. And the platform now has integration with email service providers to help stats flow directly into and out of Custora without requiring arduous export/import processes. In short the company is refocusing on providing a place where data is not only gathered, but also where it lives in a usable, portable form.
Since just the beginning of this year, Custora has analyzed over $10 billion in revenue through its system from its retailer partners. Customers include Etsy, Birchbox, and others, and tend to cluster around flash sales sites at the moment, according to Pospischil, which he ascribes to that model’s popularity recently among ecommerce initiatives. The power it provides online shops is significant, and the opportunity for the startup will likely only grow as it becomes easier for merchants to open online storefronts thanks to new payment initiatives like WePay.