StoreConnect, a Trailblazing Force in E-commerce, Raises $9 Million
E-commerce has come into focus as a critical solution — sometimes the only solution — for small and mid-size businesses that want to sell outside their physical stores and collect insights into consumer behavior. Given the important role that online sales now play in local commerce, it’s no surprise that firms focused on the e-commerce space are getting some extra attention from investors.
StoreConnect, an e-commerce AppExchange package for Salesforce, has secured $9 million in funding in a seed round led by Bellini Capital. With the funding in place, StoreConnect plans to address the challenges faced by SMBs in the e-commerce space, due to slow website speeds, unoptimized site content, and excessive plugins, through a solution it calls Customer Commerce.
The company — founded by Mikel Lindsaar — has been around since 2018 and caught the eye of Bellini Capital’s Arnie Bellini earlier this year. Lindsaar says Bellini saw the potential in StoreConnect and the role it could fill for SMBs looking to expand their online sales presence.
“Before [launching StoreConnect] I was running a web software development company and we kept receiving request after request to build highly customized e-commerce websites. I’m not talking just reskinning an existing SaaS solution or extending a customisable e-commerce product a bit, but full, ground up builds of e-commerce sites costing hundreds of thousands,” Lindsaar says. “We were building these for our clients, but I kept wondering, why? I thought e-commerce as a problem had been solved, after all, there were — and still are — several behemoths in the market touting how simple to set up their services are. So I was curious and I asked my clients.”
The answers Lindsaar got back were surprising. Business owners said it wasn’t the e-commerce bit they were having trouble with, but the customer interactions and back office reporting. That led Lindsaar to develop a solution that would integrate with existing websites via direct-to-cart links and allow SMBs to sell online without relying on multiple SaaS systems connected by plugins.
StoreConnect signed up more than 60 partners in the first two years of its partner program, owing largely to the pent up demand among SMBs for a product focused on establishing personalized relationships with customers online.
“At the time we were building a lot of software on top of Salesforce, and I saw an opportunity,” Lindsaar says. “What if we built an SMB friendly, cost effective, e-commerce platform on top of Salesforce for SMBs to use?”
StoreConnect’s Customer Commerce solution is a user-driven approach that empowers SMBs to forge connections with customers who were previously out of reach. It includes a content management system, point of sale, rewards, and stock management system that’s combined with Salesforce.
Slow websites ultimately translate to poor customer experiences and lead to damaged reputations for SMBs. Slow-loading websites cost e-commerce retailers $2.6 billion in revenue annually. Meanwhile, the average cart abandonment rate in e-commerce in 2023 is almost 70%.
Lindsaar sees StoreConnect as having developed an entirely new business vertical — customer commerce — and as such, he says his company is the only solution operating in that distinct space. As a self-contained e-commerce solution, it removes unrequired plug-ins and maintains optimum website speeds, so businesses can provide better customer experience.
“Fundamentally, Customer Commerce is the way of really enabling your customers to buy things from you, quickly and easily. I know that sounds simple, and it is. You might think ‘well, e-commerce does that already’ and you would be right to a degree. Traditional e-commerce systems are part of Customer Commerce. But they are just that, a part of it,” Lindsaar says. “To really be a Customer Commerce company, you need to really know your customer, know what they are buying, and be available when they want to buy it. Having one system of record is critical to this, and that is where a solution like Salesforce comes in.”
With this new round of funding from Bellini Capital in place, Lindsaar anticipates expanding StoreConnect, and the company’s Customer Commerce solution, to a broader market and expanding into different verticals, including nonprofits and education.
“We’ve already established our USA sales team and over the next year will further expand into Europe and beyond,” Lindsaar says. “With 62 partners now on board selling and recommending StoreConnect, we are primed to really grow our offering, moving into more time saving tools by enabling AI and more. I’m really looking forward to it.”