Minnesota Ecommerce Captains: Abram Isola, Inkit

by Melissa Buening

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Thanks you Irish Titan for underwriting our Minnesota Ecommerce Captains series focused on local leadership in the ecommerce industry.

 
Minnesota tech entrepreneur Abram Isola is the cofounder & CTO of Inkit, and guest speaker at the Twin Cities Ecommerce Meetup next Wednesday.

What exactly does Inkit do and how does it directly benefit ecommerce companies & online retailers?

Inkit is a direct mail automation platform. We put power into our customers’ hands by applying digital marketing strategies. Ecommerce marketers who rely on digital channels are boosting their sales by utilizing the strength of direct mail campaigns. This allows marketers who are very much used to marketing through digital channels to utilize direct mail to increase their sales.

When, why, and how did Inkit start?

Inkit was born two years ago. Michael and I were frustrated with the time-consuming and laborious process of printing and sending direct mail campaigns to consumers. Despite the inefficiencies involved, we noticed that direct mail campaigns were performing extremely well as a marketing strategy. It used to take weeks to get a single campaign to consumers – despite going to a small, targeted quantity of people. We realized that we could automate the process and started building the foundation of the software that Inkit operates on today.

Is it best for B2B, B2C, or both types of ecommerce audiences?

We feel that B2C and D2C (direct to consumer) companies are able to capture the most value. Our B2B clients, however, have also found success in achieving their marketing goals with Inkit.

How do you measure customer success and how much value would you say the product has created for customers?

We measure customer success by customers’ positive feedback, purchase velocity, and loyalty towards our product. Since we’re a small company, we interact with our customers on a daily basis. Our company’s “customer intimate” component of our business model enables us to work closely with our users and collect their live feedback to continually improve Inkit.

We measure value creation by looking at the lift from initial trial to full-time customer (i.e. delta between mail order sizes at the initial trial and full purchase order). The trial stage typically requires more assistance from our support staff to help our customers prepare flawless direct mail sends. What we’re finding is that companies are increasing their direct mail sends (2-5X their first order) on a full-time basis after a successful trial.

What do you attribute your own business success to so far?

A large component of our company’s early success is our team’s enthusiasm towards working with customers on an individual level. For a small company, we like to make sure that our customers get the attention they need to get their mail exactly the way that they want it.

What’s the biggest challenge you see for ecommerce retailers today? And tech/software products like yours?

The biggest challenge facing ecommerce retailers today is retaining their existing customers, as well as growing visits to their site and cart sizes. Ecommerce providers focus exclusively on winning new customers, unintentionally neglecting the other three I mentioned.

We frequently hear our ecommerce customers complain that their consumers only purchased once or twice, went dormant, and/or don’t visit the website enough to influence their purchasing decisions. We’re lucky that our product is the only true direct mail automation provider on the market. Our customers have found that direct mail works extraordinarily well for retaining and winning back customers. They’ve experienced increased site visits, increases in average order sizes, and lifts in LTV by using direct mail.

Our biggest challenge is working to integrate our product with other marketing automation tools to make direct mail automation easier than ever. We currently support HubSpot, Drip, Sailthru, Iterable and other integrations to our platform.

Where do you see Inkit as a company in one year from now?

Inkit’s automation will improve ten-fold in a year. We’re soon adding custom data to our systems, allowing our customers to get even closer to their customers. Our team is incredibly excited for Inkit’s upcoming improvements and the growth of the company as a whole.

How do you see ecommerce different in a year from now?

From a sales perspective, ecommerce will become more efficient with larger online retailers taking hold of the market, ecommerce companies are almost forced to niche down and become really good at selling very specific products that cannot be found elsewhere. Online retailers are garnering ever more market share – forcing ecommerce companies to find their niche and become experts at selling specific products that are hard to find elsewhere.

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