Sailthru Acquires Seamless Receipts, Fortifies Ecommerce Offerings

New York’s Sailthru, a company focused on providing email and content recommendations (often via on-site tools and widgets) to publishers and other businesses with an online presence, today announced the acquisition of  Seamless Receipts, an e-receipt startup also based in New York. The acquisition provides Sailthru with talent in the form of the younger startup’s five-person team, connections to its existing clientele (which includes Oakley and Burton), and another piece in the pie toward offering ecommerce businesses a comprehensive solution for their customer-facing mailings.

Seamless Receipts specializes in providing customized email receipts for its customers, enabling them to try yet another route to get customers to come back and spend more via their online store. The startup advertisers e-receipts as a way for brick-and-mortar stores to drive online business, by providing unique offers or calls-to-action to customers integrated into their email receipts. For Sailthru, it was a natural fit, according to Sailthru VP of Strategic Partnerships & Legal Michael Hershfield.

“We’re going to integrate Seamless Receipts and the technology into the company,” he said. “It just sort of extends the idea that every user is going to engage on all different channels. Users don’t discriminate, so technology shouldn’t discriminate either.” For Seamless Receipt’s existing customers, things will remain business as usual, with no interruption in their existing product delivery.

For Sailthru, however, this is a change that reflects a growing interest in the ecommerce aspects of its business. The company now sees over 35 percent of its business coming from that space, and interest from that category of customer is growing; ultimately, Sailthru wants to be able to provide ecommerce businesses with one-stop shopping for its customer-facing communications, with messaging, email and receipts all rolled together. That makes it easier for businesses, since they’re only working with one vendor, and less confusing for their customers, since you’re more likely to see a level of consistency across all pieces of the ecommerce purchase process.

Earlier this year, Sailthru acquired TechStars alum Frame, a company designed to provide one-click publishing for ecommerce sites looking to provide shoppers with a shopping experience tailored to the iPad. That purchase, when viewed in light of this one, makes it apparent that the New York company is looking to go well beyond its initial intent of delivering tailored email marketing campaigns.

Another sign that Sailthru is shifting how it thinks about its business is that it is changing its pricing model, another move it announced today. Rather than stick with the traditional pricing model of charging by volume in terms of emails sent, Sailthru is now moving to a fee structure based on the number of users an organization will be working with through the platform. The change helps Sailthru put its money where its mouth is, so to speak, according to Hershfield.

“[Volume] never made sense to us, especially as we see our solution as a user-based solution,” he said. “It really becomes a misalignment of interest, between the client and the vendor. If you make money the more emails you send, how can you provide proper technologies and advice that are truly aligned to the client?” Since some customers might be better served via less frequent email, it doesn’t make sense to incentive higher email volumes by making that the basis of pricing, so Sailthru is altering its policy accordingly. Of course, that also helps it offer increasingly varied services under a single pricing structure, without having to continually come up with new metrics around each new offering.

Sailthru has been celebrated by some as an example of how email marketing is still relevant, and that’s true, but it’s also moving into a new space, where the core tenet is actually about cross-platform content and product recommendations, regardless of delivery vehicle. Email may be a key ingredient in the overall picture, but it’s no longer the whole picture, and Sailthru’s strategic acquisitions are a great indicator that its roadmap is far more ambitious than just reaching your inbox.

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