Startup BrandShop Packages Agency Services Alongside Commerce Tech

BrandShopBrandShop is betting that ecommerce and agency services will continue to bleed together.

Publicis Groupe’s $3.7 billion SapientNitro buy is the most recent example, but earlier deals such as Accenture Interactive’s acquisition of ecommerce advisory shop Acquity Group also underscore the shift.

BrandShop, a hybrid of marketing services, ecommerce technology and orders and fulfillment, draws on CEO Reuben Hendell’s most recent post as chief strategy officer for eBay Enterprise and six-year stint as CEO of digital agency MRM Worldwide.

BrandShop is a spinoff of SureSource, a company that builds direct-to-consumer marketplaces for brands, and is backed by private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson. The company recently named two senior eBay execs, Aaron Turner and Josh Kaplan, to C-suite posts.

“When you look at the marketplace, there are a whole bunch of digital agencies and systems integrators like IBM and others, but there tends to be a real separation in the business of ecommerce services,” Hendell said. “SapientNitro is a billion-dollar business, but they don’t have a fulfillment center. And then there are a lot of world-class logistics companies who don’t have customer experience or marketing services layered in.”

BrandShop unifies some of these disparate rungs on the ladder, he said.

In terms of its operating model, BrandShop prices on a transactional basis for services like credit card processing and delivery and shipping fees. BrandShop’s creative design and marketing services are priced on more of a professional services basis and function more “as an agency relationship,” although Hendell was quick to add it will not bypass clients’ agencies directly.

“We don’t aspire to be brand strategists, but we absolutely collaborate with agencies around brand strategy, understanding their merchandise and creating new content to support brand marketplaces,” he said.

In addition to BrandShop’s technology, which spans content management, web commerce and order management, it offers a number of demand marketing solutions, such as paid search and product-listing ads, affiliate and search engine marketing and display and retargeting services.

BrandShop primarily serves midmarket brands – those in the $1 million to $50 million range, according to Hendell – although it does service some enterprise clients. Its customers include Clif Bar, Conair, 5-hour Energy, Coca-Cola and Cuisinart.

“We’re trying to help brands figure out their digital commerce experiences, which go well beyond operating a brand marketplace,” Hendell said. “We got a robust strategic capability from eBay [with the new hires] and we’re in a rapid growth clip.”

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