For those of you who know a bit about Bold Commerce, you might know that we bootstrapped our way from four founders building apps and providing support on their lunch breaks at their day jobs, to becoming an ecommerce powerhouse.
We’re a team of more than 350 with a complex suite of ecommerce software products, 90,000 merchants, and 2,000 Partners.
It’s that last number that I see as the most impactful, because it really shows that we haven’t done this alone. Our network of Partners who build with Bold, who refer our apps, and who trust our company to provide world-class ecommerce tools for their clients have been massive contributors to our growth.
We’ve always done our best to support you and provide value back to you. Now we’re making that our priority and taking important steps to show it. This is our pronouncement of our full commitment and dedication to you. Our Partners.
About 5 years ago, we developed the first version of our Partners portal. It was an automated affiliate marketing tool that simply allowed bloggers and influencers in the ecommerce space to refer our apps and earn a modest revenue kickback from any Bold products that were installed.
But it was always on the back-burner. And to be honest, we didn’t even calculate the revenue generated from it. We dedicated some resources to provide support for the growing influx of emails coming from devs, designers, and agencies who had signed up, but we hadn’t yet brought to light how we could actually be adding value to our partners.
At the same time we kept hearing about agencies who actually avoided using Bold products because we had an in-house agency doing custom development and providing managed services, which was seen as competition.
And even recently, as I’ve been visiting with our Partners, I’m finding out that many of you think of us as an agency first, who also has some apps on Shopify. This is astonishing to me, because within the walls of Bold we are a product company through and through. And we always have been. This is a perception that we’re working to change, and it starts with our Partners.
We recently announced that we’re no longer promoting or taking on new custom development and design work, or managed services contracts. You won’t find it on our website; it’s not part of our company offering.
Adding value > providing value
Our focus with our Partners has also taken a new shape. It's no longer our goal to simply support our Partners and provide value back with shared revenue. Our focus instead is on actually adding value to our Partners.
The difference might seem subtle, but it’s not. We're adding value through our products. We are enabling Partners to do more for their merchants by using Bold products. Your focus is on solving complex business cases for your clients. We want to be at the heart of that solution by providing feature rich, secure, and trustworthy ecommerce tools that you can build on, so that your clients will continue coming to you. We want to add value to your business by providing you more opportunity to solve your clients’ needs.
And just to clarify what that means: Feature rich = 13.67 product releases per day in 2019; secure = Level 1 PCI compliant; and trustworthy = 99.98% uptime, 90.5% support satisfaction, and more than 9,000 5-star reviews.
Our products are in a different place now, and many of you who have worked with us over the years know this. We’ve taken our technology to a place where we don’t have to do all the customizations to our own apps. We want you to do it.
We believe this is the biggest win for all of us. Enabling our Partners to do this means faster turn-around time for your merchants. It means fewer points of contact for them. It means more work for Agencies. It means more specialized expertise from Agencies. And, it frees up our own team to concentrate on continuing to deliver great ecommerce products based on feedback from you and your merchants.
These days, this means making improvements to our APIs, making improvements to the process of building with Bold APIs, and dedicating more resources to this effort. This is what we’ve done to become leaders in checkout and subscriptions, and this is our plan for the full suite of Bold products.
We’ve also turned a corner on our technology Partnerships. As I write this, we have more than 30 live tech integrations with Bold products. The key to a great integration is making both products better by working together to allow them each to do more than they could on their own. That is how we can add value to every tech company we have the privilege to work with.
We see this coming to life in our integrations with shipping providers, marketing solutions, tax services and a variety of ecommerce tools. Each of these impact just one piece of the store, but when they cohesively come together, they can create the best possible shopping, checkout, and post-checkout experience for the end users who are the ultimate consumers of our products.
Since making this commitment, you may have noticed some key changes at Bold. For the first time, we’ve added Partner Account Managers to provide dedicated resources to our Partners who require a connection to Bold when building out customizations to our apps.
Possibly the biggest difference you’ll notice is a change in the function of our sales team. We’re building a team of highly experienced enterprise sales professionals, business developers, and account executives at both our Winnipeg and Austin offices who are working exclusively with our Partners. We’re here to help you close deals. Instead of selling and taking on custom projects ourselves, we’re looking at our entire network of Partners as a team we can sell to, with a far broader set of skills and expertise that we can pair with merchants who come to us to create innovative solutions for their shops.
This is being led by our latest C-Level acquisition, Mike Sanchez, Chief Revenue Officer at Bold Commerce. Check him out on LinkedIn, his experience is impressive, especially in his work developing impactful Partnership programs. Having Mike come on board to an established network of thousands of partners allows us to accelerate the value we can add back to the ecommerce community.
We’re not there yet. And there is no finish line. But progress that we’ve made in the evolution of our Partnerships program is clear. We’ve gone from ‘Providing support for our Partners’ to ‘providing value for our Partners’ to now intentionally ‘adding value to our Partners’
So, what does it mean to add value to Partners?
Partner product enablement: Every day we think about how we can give Partners the same level of access to our products as our own internal teams. What are we missing in our APIs, in our documentation, in our feature sets that will allow our Partners to do more for their merchants? This is what consumes us. Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged.
Really, tell us what you need from us.
Lead sharing: As I’ve mentioned, our sales team is working entirely to provide the technical solutions that our Partners need for their merchants. Merchants often come directly to us. We don’t do this work anymore. We bring it to you.
As Bold has grown, the technical requirements of our merchants have become more complex. They have more complex business strategies and need more sophisticated commerce solutions. We want to lean on the expertise of our Partners to implement these solutions, using the core of Bold products and manipulating them to suit the specific needs of these high-level merchants.
Support: Much like our commitment from day one to support our merchants, we’re here to support our Partners. In addition to dedicated Account Managers who provide a direct link to our product, support, and marketing teams, Partners and their merchants automatically receive the highest SLA when contacting Bold through our merchant success channels. In short, Partners get priority support.
Revenue sharing: This one is simple, but important to note. We give back and always will. In fact, we recently significantly increased the amount that we give back. To some Partners it’s not a big concern, but to many others it provides a significant revenue stream.
Bold provides 20% of all app fees back to the Partner for apps they install on their merchants stores, as well as 10% on transaction fees, and 10% of term contracts signed with Bold.
Marketing: This is a big space with a lot of activity. We coordinate and participate in webinars, partner meetups, podcasts, blog swaps, press releases, social sharing, promoting, and general patting each others backs.
We’ve got a Bold Facebook community, a Bold Partners Slack workspace, and are always available by phone, video, text or any channel you prefer. We also now have a Partners directory for merchants to find partners with specific expertise in Bold products and other areas of ecommerce services.
The purpose behind all of this is to align with Partners who have a similar mindset. We want to see that as our brand grows, so do our Partners. Here, we win together.
Beyond that there’s a whole bunch of stuff we do with our Partners. Getting together for drinks, lunch, coffee, mini-golf or whatever, is always on our mind. Of course, we’re based in Winnipeg so we don’t get to do this as often as we like, but we’ve been making more of an effort to get out of the house lately. I think I mentioned that we’ve expanded to Austin.
All this is to say that we know the success of the merchants is achieved through a combined effort made up of several innovative teams: by the platform which provides the core ecommerce infrastructure; the technology companies that must come together to provide seamless, elegant solutions to unique business problems that have not yet been dreamt up; and the designers, developers, solutions engineers, and implementation teams responsible for guiding us all through this process.
Our commitment is to each of these groups of Partners; to continue to support you, to provide you with the best technology products, and to learn from your input on ways we can do better for you and your merchants. “Partner-First” is the new mantra at Bold. We’ll talk more soon.
Head of Tech Partnerships