More than a decade ago, Paul Matker, a self-described career sales professional, decided that e-commerce sales held the key to future success. Working for search-engine pioneer Endeca, he grew accustomed to the industry’s practices and determined there was a market for taking enterprise-grade software and developing it for smaller companies. When an opportunity arose for Matker to form his own company, he seized it, taking fellow Endeca colleague Marcel Munoz with him.
While Matker’s Thanx Media was still getting established, he and Munoz found themselves in an interesting predicament when Endeca asked them to return to its fold. When the pair declined, they received a back-up offer to sell Endeca software independently. “The funny thing is that the amount of effort it took to close a software deal, and the amount of revenue we got for it, easily trumped the eighteen months of hard work building Thanx,” Munoz recalls. “So immediately we knew we had to pivot.”
Taking enterprise-grade software “to the masses” continued to be Matker’s goal. Meanwhile, the duo rented out an Endeca application branded as Endeca On-Demand. As they grew more familiar with it, Matker and Munoz expanded their customer base and their knowledge of what online retailers need. They also made sure to develop strong chains of communication within Thanx to share what they were learning. “Instead of just having all this knowledge trapped up among senior-level people, we’ve made it a point to really distribute the wisdom,” Munoz says. “Now, when we bring someone on board, it’s so much easier for them to grasp the technology that we have rather than throwing them into the fire. It keeps people a lot closer, even if it’s in the cloud.”
Project Spotlight: Real Omni Channel Commerce
Thanx Media needed to develop its own thoroughly modernized CMS that is user and implementer friendly, serves multiple channels and multiple devices, and is easily adaptable to technical improvement.
Capitalizing on an existing e-commerce platform and the vast experience of its R&D team, Thanx created Real Omni Channel Commerce (ROC). The future-proof platform’s capabilities include product content management, web content management, marketing tools, search-engine optimization, site search and navigation, order management and checkout, reporting and analytics, and a digital assets manager. “E-commerce can do a lot, but the great thing about it is knowing we’ve done it multiple times—that’s what we’re building into ROC,” says Marcel Munoz. “We have the foundation where we’re not treating this thing like a huge custom task.”
In 2010, the site-search and e-commerce product Hawk Search emerged as a direct result of listening to customer desires. The product continues to grow seven-times faster than Thanx’s other search offerings. Matker points to innovations such as geo-relevancy—adjusting relevancy based on where a customer is located—and modern, user-friendly tools in crediting its success. “Intuitiveness is key for our clients and their customers,” he says. “Hawk Search has to be super easy to use for our clients, but even easier to find products to buy as a shopper.”
Matker quickly realized that an on-site search engine is most powerful when paired with rich content. Borne out of this need was a desire to offer big data solutions that help businesses fill in data gaps on their programs at a fraction of the traditional manual cost. The offering went beyond product content by delivering product intelligence to businesses that needed an edge with elements such as pricing and product assortment strategies. “Data is that secret sauce that drives businesses past their competition,” Matker says.
“The biggest roadblock is that businesses are dedicating too much manual effort to the gathering and processing of data. We understand that this can’t scale, and that effort needs to shift to taking action on the rich information that we can bring back.”
For all of this success with these products, Thanx didn’t have an enterprise-grade e-commerce platform to call its own until recently. “We were getting asked about that a lot, so we took that as a challenge,” says Matker. The result was Real Omni Channel Commerce (ROC), a highly functional platform that drives the marketing and customer-experience strategies through its built-in CMS, PIM, and e-commerce systems. Omni-channel and omni-device support were built with performance and integration into virtually any ERP system in mind.
ROC is the latest product in the Thanx portfolio to earn the company a place on the competitive playing field. A commitment to updating such tools helps Thanx win deals and stay relevant. But much of the company’s success comes from simply knowing what does and doesn’t work—particularly with a business of its size. “Our advantage is if customers want more, or something completely different, a lot of our competitors can’t accommodate,” Munoz says. “The fact is we have complementary products that companies will eventually need. So we can easily bundle products together today.”
Time, perseverance, and great R&D teams have brought the small-medium-large concept to fruition for Thanx, allowing businesses of all sizes to access the same enterprise-grade technology as the big box stores. Looking forward, Matker and Munoz anticipate trying new programs to increase Thanx’s efficiency and offerings. “Salesforce, StrikeBase, Slack, and Zendesk—to keep progressing, we need to always strive to do better,” Munoz says. “To help scale, our team is excited to take chances on what works and what fails.”