Automattic Goes Deeper On CRM

This is the latest in Localogy’s Website Windup series. It examines the ongoing evolution and advancement of SMB-focused website builders, including acquisitions and feature expansion to enhance product bundles.

Expansion activity in the website world continues to pick up. We’ve seen website builders from GoDaddy to Wix expand functionality to create more attractive bundles. That includes things that stem naturally from websites — everything from eCommerce and CRM to social and marketing suites.

For similar reasons, we’ve seen expansion in the opposite direction, such as Constant Contact’s move into websites. The driver in all of the above is to grow average revenue per user and work towards all-important recurring revenue by embedding a service deeper into SMBs’ daily operations.

One of the exemplars on this list is Automattic. As the largest domain host and software provider in the WordPress universe, it continues to expand its offerings. In recent history, that’s included its launch of subscription monetization tools; and acquisitions such as Tumblr (social media) and ZBS (CRM).

Automattic Enters the CRM Game

Modular Suite

Automattic’s latest move is Jetpack CRM. This means that the Jetpack social marketing and performance plugin has added customer relationship management to its mix. It now gives website owners tools to organize their customers and sales leads, and integrate them into various website functions.

As is industry-standard for CRM software, this includes the ability to track and append meeting notes, phone calls, and emails to a given customer record. Users can also search and view customer history, as well as sort data in ways that help inform sales or customer relationship strategies.

Jetpack CRM will exist as a modular suite of extensions that enable customer databases to be integrated into various functions. Those include WooCommerce (also owned by Automattic), Stripe, PayPal, and other extensions that range from eCommerce to e-mail marketing and sales automation.

The plugin costs an SMB-friendly $199 for the full bundle, while individual extensions can be bought and added for a customized suite of CRM functionality. Lastly, it’s worth noting that Jetpack CRM flows from the aforementioned ZBS acquisition, as its people and IP form the foundation for this newest offer.

WordPress Beefs Up SMB Monetization Options

Lifetime Value

One of the drivers here, as noted, is that expanded features can boost revenue per user and lifetime value. It’s all about having more tentacles that reach into business operations, thus anchoring a given vendor in SMB marketing support. That can engender a lock-in effect, pursuant to recurring revenue.

Jetpack CRM aligns with this concept in some ways, including deeper customer relationships that a vertically-integrated approach can create. That depth of relationship results from the fact that a CRM system can be a mission-critical tool that’s deeply woven into a given business’s operations.

This deal also fits our prediction that we’ll continue to see lots of M&A activity in the SMB website sector, including CRM. As we wrote in December:

Website Builders Continue to Broaden Functionality: As the website sector in general matures, there’s less growth so competition intensifies for market share. The result is a spate of moves in the past six months to beef up their bundle of services with more functionality to attract customers and reduce churn. This has ratcheted up as website builders like GoDaddy, Automattic and others are rapidly expanding (though building and buying) to offer marketing and promotion, in addition to the core “presence” functionality of websites. That will continue into 2020, with feature expansion that most prominently includes email marketing, SEO and CRM

We expect more feature expansion in the website builder space and will report back as we hear more about this deal. Meanwhile, see more about the integration here, and check out our recent expert roundtable in which we unpacked some of the strategic dynamics of the website-builder sector.

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