Carlsbad Design Collective | Commerce Sciences lands $4M to become the ‘Robin Hood’ of website personalization
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Commerce Sciences lands $4M to become the ‘Robin Hood’ of website personalization


For larger websites, the days of one-experience-fits-all-visitors are long gone.

Today, Palo Alto-based Commerce Sciences announced it has scored a $4 million investment — including backing from Google executive Eric Schmidt’s fund — to make site personalization more available to small- to mid-sized businesses.

“We’re the Robin Hood of website personalization,” CEO and cofounder Aviv Revach told me, describing his company’s goal of making website personalization — and A/B testing to judge what works — easier and cheaper to do for smaller guys.

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Along with the new investment funding, the company is announcing the launch of a new self-service version of its personalization platform, with dozens of behavioral attributes for defining visitors.

In the previous version, Commerce Sciences managed several more limited personalization tools for clients.

If Commerce Sciences is Robin Hood, it’s operating in an increasingly fruitful Sherwood Forest. A recent VB Insight report, “Marketing Personalization: maximizing relevance and revenue,” found that between 70 and 94 percent of marketers have seen increases in key site performance indicators like sales by employing personalization.

In particular, 40 percent saw an increase of 10 percent or more in converting visitors into customers because of site personalization techniques, with 13 percent of those reporting a 50 percent increase.

Commerce Sciences offers a one-click ability to set up marketing efforts for segments of visitor types, by just adding a small JavaScript tag to each page in a site. The page then becomes editable for adding or changing components, according to automated campaigns for specific groups of visitors.

Pre-templated campaigns include collecting email addresses, offering upsell coupons, and rescues of abandoned shopping carts. They can be automatically set up for specific groups of users, such as first-timers or repeat visitors who are defined by up to 40 different behaviors.

A new visitor who has just put $50 of products into a shopping cart, for instance, could then immediately be enticed with a 10 percent coupon to buy more. A/B testing can show if it makes a difference, compared to a visitor who doesn’t get a coupon at that point.

Revach points to Adobe Target, Maxymiser (recently bought by Oracle),SiteSpect, and Monetate as competitors in personalization, but he noted they are designed for enterprises and are more complex.

With rates beginning at $300 a month and increasing based on traffic volume, Commerce Sciences is shooting for the lower end of the market.

Its self-service model is complemented by personal consulting from Commerce Sciences experts at no additional charge, including a “success plan” at kickoff for each new client company, assistance in setup, and monthly half-hour calls for the length of the contract.

Revach noted that Optimizely “democratized A/B testing, back in 2010,” and that a similar democratization is now occurring for site personalization.

In fact, Commerce Sciences’ key competitor may turn out to be Optimizely, which recently announced a beta personalization service to accompany its popular A/B testing service.

Andrew Jones, the VB Insight analyst who authored the personalization report, pointed out to me that the tagline on Commerce Sciences’ website is: “Single platform for A/B Testing & Personalization.”

That “might be as well be Optimizely’s [tagline] now,” he said.

The new funding, following an initial $1.8 million in seed funding, will support a new office in Chicago in addition to the current ones in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv. Besides Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors fund, participants in this round included Genesis Partners, KGC Capital, and LiveRamp founder Auren Hoffman.