Seguno Guides Online Retailers in Discounting for Higher Profit

When Amazon took over Whole Foods last month–and dropped prices in the process–NY Times readers had an interesting take on the news. In the comments for Amazon’s Play to Rattle Whole Foods: Cheaper Kale and Avocado, one person wrote, “I want to pay more for food if it can mean better working and living conditions for the people, animals, and plants behind it. We don’t need another entrant in the race to the bottom.” Retailers everywhere cheered.

Retailers offer discounts for a variety of reasons, including to reduce inventory, increase revenue, and draw in new customers. And, as shoppers have access to a greater range of retailers through ecommerce, merchants feel more pressure than ever to discount. Yet no retailer wants to run the race to the bottom.

Chris Geiss and Marc Baumbach founded Seguno Software, a platform designed to assure stores that they don’t have to gun it to the lowest price. Now in its first year of business, Seguno creates software for retailers to execute smarter discounting strategies. Discounting has long been a cornerstone of retail, but Chris has an updated approach to it. We were eager to find out more.

So we inquired with Chris about implementing Seguno to boost profits for online retailers. Here’s what he had to say.

Related: Tracking Online Shopper Behavior

Q: What is Seguno?

A: Seguno is the hub where retail marketers manage their discounts. They can track campaign performance across programs and channels, and gain the insight needed to improve their discounting habits.

Q: Why did you start Seguno? What problem were you looking to solve?

A: Having spent 5 years at Bronto Software, a leading commerce marketing automation platform, I fell in love with the commerce space. Marc and I built an app to distribute unique coupon codes. Because of this project, I was fortunate to speak with customers about discounting strategies and hear their pain points.

Between that and numerous conversations I had after leaving Bronto, I noticed a trend where marketers feel stuck between competitors and consumer expectations. In turn, they needlessly discounted their products and undermined their ability to maximize customer lifetime value. Being strategic takes time, and many retailers simply do not have it. This is the problem Seguno looks to solve.

Seguno works with retailers to cut the path forward in their ecommerce discounting strategy. We help brands optimize conversions for profit instead of revenue, to provide a better experience for their customers, and to do so without making retail marketers’ lives more complex. It is a tall order, but we have big plans and are just getting started.

Q: Who is a target merchant for your business?

A: Well, we just released an app, called Coupon Banner. It’s for any Shopify merchant. It provides a great on-site experience by reminding shoppers of the last discount they interacted with across any marketing channel and which products or collections are eligible. It also automatically applies the code at checkout.

After someone clicks through an email or social ad, for example, the storefront can now continue promoting that same discount for a consistent experience. This tactic has typically been used by more advanced marketers. We’re happy to enable all merchants to use it now with this tool.

The Seguno platform, on the other hand, targets medium to large-sized merchants. These stores are ready to dig into analytics and coordinate cross-channel campaigns. The marketers know they could discount smarter and want to do something about it. You cannot improve what you do not measure.

Q: From the viewpoint of a retailer, what’s it like to work with the Seguno platform?

A: It starts with a seamless commerce platform integration. After installing the connector app, the relevant data flows into Seguno and our system starts crunching the numbers. The dashboard presents detailed revenue metrics and discounting insights.

To help ensure success, we will schedule a welcome call to walk through the Seguno platform, discuss what the data may say about past discounting habits, and brainstorm strategies to implement.

Going forward, when retailers need a discount to promote, they simply setup a campaign in Seguno. The platform will automatically handle the creation and expiration of merchant discount code(s). As the orders come in, Seguno will track performance across campaigns, high-level marketing programs, and channels to provide a complete picture of the discount’s impact.

Q: We know you’re focused on Shopify as of now, are you looking to grow into Magento too?

A: Absolutely. Magento and I go way back…Magento was a big growth engine for Bronto and my own career. I managed all 4 of Bronto’s strategic, in-house integrations with commerce platforms, but it all started with Magento.

For Seguno, however, we decided to start with Shopify. They are going through a big growth phase right now and doing a stellar job targeting large retailers with Shopify Plus. Also, being in a slightly more controlled environment makes it easier to ensure the seamless experience we want for every one of our customers. In fact, Shopify recently revamped their APIs around discounts to further enable our ambitions, so we are excited to be starting there.

When the time comes, though, do not worry. We will absolutely be ready to tackle Magento next and very much look forward to it.

Q: What makes Seguno different?

A: The lens through which we make product decisions is different than other companies out there. Seguno is not just about driving conversions, like most marketing software, it is about maximizing profit. At the end of the day, a healthy bottom line is what keeps merchants in business. Only focusing on top line revenue is not the best long-term strategy.

Q: Can you share an example of how a merchant can discount for profit vs. revenue?

Let’s say you want to run a Fall promotion. Discounting for profit over revenue means not giving everyone the typical 20% off site-wide discount. Instead, one person may get 15% off corduroys. A different person may get $10 off a specific jacket, and another may get free shipping if they spend $100 on items within the Fall collection. Additionally, a customer that recently used a discount may not be given one as part of this campaign. Clearly, at scale, this level of personalization cannot be achieved manually.

Q: What are your plans for the future of Seguno?

A: We started by building a strong, scalable foundation focused on discount code management, analytics, and on-site experiences. Seguno is on a mission to help marketers execute segment-of-one discounting strategies. That means a personalized experience for every customer, like in the example above, to help promotions stand out, drive conversions, and boost the bottom line.

Seguno will do this by listening to each customer’s buying signals and trends to determine the best coupon to offer, narrowing what the discount applies to, and varying the type and value accordingly. Each person will get the discount most likely to convert while maintaining the highest possible profit margin. The best part is it will take the marketer nearly no extra effort to coordinate. We cannot wait to introduce this piece of our roadmap and look forward to rolling it out. Stay tuned.

On behalf of Command C, we love being a part of the entrepreneurial community working to strengthen online retail. Seguno is one of several companies we look to for partner services for our clients. If you have questions about how to best position your ecommerce company for the future, let’s talk.