TextRetailer, an Iowa City based technology firm that created a conversational commerce platform to sell products through text messages recently announced that it has raised $150,000 from the Minneapolis based TinySeed accelerator program.
The funding and TinySeed’s collaborative mentor network will aid TextRetailer in its mission to provide a unique and simplified shopping experience for consumers.
“Shopping behaviors are changing and the pandemic has accelerated that change,” said Sam Schrup, founder of TextRetailer & University of Iowa alumn. “Consumers are seeking convenience. Shopping by text is the ultimate convenience. A curated product offer is sent to your phone from a brand you love. If you like what you see, simply reply “yes” and a few days later it’s on your doorstep. TinySeed will help us provide our text to order technology to more merchants and their customers.”
TextRetailer’s platform securely captures credit card & shipping information before the customer’s first purchase. Merchants send product offers in a text message to their opted-in subscriber list. Recipients can buy the product by replying “yes” or with a quantity. The transaction is processed and the merchant receives the order information so it can be fulfilled. If the customer is not interested in the offer, they simply ignore the text until the next offer is sent.
In addition to being used for sales, TextRetailer can be used as a communication tool between customers & merchants.
“The TextRetailer team has combined two growing trends — online shopping and text messaging,” said Rob Walling, General Partner at TinySeed. “They provide merchants with the tools to create a magical shopping experience and by doing so, increase revenue.”
“I’ve seen a single text message generate over $40,000 in sales within a couple of hours”, said Schrup. “Our top merchants have sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products. It’s clear that consumers are drawn to the convenience of shopping by text.”
TextRetailer is the third business that Schrup has founded. In 2005, he co-founded an optical boutique located in downtown Iowa City called Discerning Eye with his mother Joni Schrup. He founded Textiful, another text message software company, in 2019.