Empyr Partners with Vendasta to Expand Its SMB Reach

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Online-to-offline marketing platform Empyr today announced a partnership with Vendasta that has the potential to rapidly scale up and deepen its customer base.

The deal makes Empyr’s CPR (cost-per-revenue), performance marketing platform available on Vendasta’s marketplace, which sells digital solutions through more than 2,000 local marketing agencies.

This partnership is a play that might get big blocks of customers on board right when Empyr wants them. Just last month, Empyr publicly introduced CPR — a platform designed to verify when consumers respond to campaigns by visiting and making purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. The intent of CPR is to help brands target their efforts on ads that produce real world results.

Jon Carder, Empyr’s CEO, says Vendasta is coming on as a channel partner with the sole objective of getting more local merchants, restaurants, and salons onto the platform, which can be distributed through publishers such as Yelp and Coupons.com. Rather than pay blanket fees for ad campaigns, the CPR platform ensures that customers pay for results: “The local business owner only pays when someone links up a card, walks in and buys from them,” Carder says.

Through this new relationship, he says, Vendasta will record and report online impressions that local businesses make via publishers’ sites. That will show how many of those customers then visited their stores, and how much money they spent. This service will be branded under Vendasta with Empyr providing the software behind it all.

Carder says his company works with partners such as Vendasta, who already have relationships with SMBs, to pursue this market. Each time Empyr adds a new publisher means more potential revenue for Vendasta, he says, because the company earns money when transactions take place at the businesses they sign up with the platform. “The more publishers I bring on, the more money Vendasta makes,” Carder says.

Currently Empyr’s platform can potentially reach, through its publishers, more than 100 million consumers. “Right now,” he says, “the average amount of revenue we drive into an SMB in a given month is about $2,500.” Typical fees that Empyr’s channel partners charge are about ten percent, Carder says, which is shared with marketplaces such as Vendasta.

Empyr has about a dozen of these partnerships, he says, with large companies along the lines of Vendasta. More than 10,000 local businesses are currently on the Empyr platform, Carder says, and the new partnership opens the door to ramp up that clientele. “Vendasta touches tens of thousands of local businesses — it’s a massive number,” he says. “There’s a lot of scale they can bring.”

That could potentially double or even triple Empyr’s base of merchants, Carder says. With customer growth possibly ready to explode, discussions with publishers may take a new turn. “The core product is all about how many advertisers we have on it,” he says. The publishers make a few percentage points off of every transaction, Carder says. If Empyr does see its customer base double, the revenue opportunity for publishers could double as well, he says. “The more local advertisers our platform has, the more valuable it becomes to publishers,” Carder says.

Of course that can also mean signing on more publishers, he says, which hopefully would draw in even more local merchants. Carder sees an opportunity to attract the attention of the likes of Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, who want more advertisers. He believes that reaching 20,000 SMB users on the platform will provide Empyr the bedrock it needs to scale up to new levels. “Vendasta is crucial for us to get to that network effect and critical mass where almost every publisher you can think of is on the platform,” he says.

Joao-Pierre Ruth is a Street Fight contributor.