Does the World Really Need Another E-Commerce Platform? Why We’re Building Engine…

Posted on March 15, 2017

Recent research from Internet Retailer shows that nearly half of all e-retailers want a new e-commerce platform.

This statistic is staggering — literally half of all e-commerce stores are frustrated with their current platform.  Sadly, store owners looking to make a change will struggle to find a more compelling option, as all the existing solutions are far from ideal.

Enter Engine. We are building a reimagined cloud-based e-commerce platform to address these frustrations.

For the past two years, our team has consulted with a couple hundred e-commerce entrepreneurs and performed a deep dive into every e-commerce platform.  We were shocked at the glaring weakness we found in each of them.

Our team is uniquely qualified to fix the issues.  We’ve already solved the majority of these problems in the past through the custom software built for our own high volume stores.  Over two decades, our stores processed nearly half a billion dollars of transactions through our custom platforms, enabling our team to raise over $100 million of venture capital.

For the first time we’ll make our learnings available to the general public through Engine.

Engine will cater to successful stores, giving them the tools they need to take their revenue to the next level.  While platforms like Shopify and Bigcommerce make it easier than ever to start a new store, as successful stores scale towards 7-figures of annual revenue, they invariably hit a ceiling and quickly outgrow dumbed-down, over simplified solutions.

In twenty years, we’ve used almost every e-commerce platform known to man — from Yahoo Store and X-Cart in the early days to Shopify, Magento, and Demandware in recent times.  Invariably, we’ve found every off-the-shelf platform frustratingly limited, especially when it comes to customer acquisition and revenue optimization.  These limitations forced us to build custom software to run our own stores.

We grew our previous e-commerce business from $1 million annual revenue to a $100 million run rate in under a year.  In the process we acquired 8 million Facebook fans, 11 million email subscribers, 56 fulfilment robots, and raised over $100 million in venture capital.

Engine is built on the best practices that helped our team generate the revenue growth depicted in this chart:

As many high volume stores like ours have found, you simply can’t scale revenue as effectively with existing off the shelf platforms.  The methods we used to scale our revenue required custom-built marketing automation tools baked directly into our platform.  Likewise, Engine will give store owners all the tools they need to grow their business in one place, eliminating the tangled web of costly third-party plugins of variable qualify currently needed to run a decent sized store on existing platforms.

We’re working on a tool we’re calling the “Automated Chief Revenue Officer.” Through this built-in assistant, Engine will bring world-class account based marketing tactics to consumer e-commerce.  Engine will automatically set up thousands of event-driven marketing cascades designed to optimize revenue.  Each of these marketing flows will generate personalized customer messages based on best practices discovered by years of experimentation.  Your assistant will get more intelligent — flows will improve over time through data-driven optimization and machine learning.

In addition to marketing automation, this assistant will automate the optimization of the store itself.  Engine will recommend hundreds of A/B tests, run them automatically with your permission, and allow you to implement the suggested changes with a simple click.

Here’s a teaser video showing some of the functionality:

Engine will also help you acquire customer through a built in “Automated Growth Hacker.”  This second virtual assistant will alert you to customer acquisition tactics that can implemented with a series of simple clicks. As an example, your virtual Growth Hacker may direct you to create product-themed, keyword-optimized content to drive organic search traffic.  The assistant will suggest titles for videos, articles, and infographics — in many cases, the assistant can even create this content instantly with a single click.

Over the next six months, our team will work to make this vision a reality.  In the meantime, we’re working with a small handful of pilot customers.

If you’d like to follow our progress and receive occasional best practices, sign up for our email newsletter.  If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a pilot customer, email me – john at engineinsights dot com.