Shopatron raises $5 million

Hdr ShoplogoShopatron, a company that connects manufacturers, retailers and consumers through its e-commerce platform, announced today that they have raised $6 million in a series B round. The round was led by Kern Whelan Capital and Rivenrock Capital.

Shopatron, based out of San Luis Obispo, Calif., provides manufacturers with a way to sell their products “directly” online while utilizing retail distributors at the same time. Here’s how it works: Shopatron hosts a branded e-commerce store for a manufacturer, such as popular sunglass maker Spy Optic. When a visitor to the online shop places an order, it is immediately placed in a waiting-to-fill database that is viewed by all participating retailers Spy has chosen to allow in the system. Every day, retailers log in and view a breakdown of every order along with the price the consumer has agreed to pay. If the retailer has the item in stock and is willing to sell at that price, they click yes to “bid” on the item. Shopatron’s system then assigns every order to the closest retailer that bid on it, relative to the consumer’s location. From there, the retail outlet will box and ship the item, or the consumer can opt for in-store pickup. All customer service questions and returns are then fielded by the retailer. If an order receives zero bids, it is then filled directly by the manufacturer for a higher margin.

The platform provides value for all parties involved. It gives consumers the convenience of shopping online along with the personal customer service attention provided by a local retailer. Retailers are able to view a daily list of what customers are looking for, giving them a much clearer idea of sales trends and what items to keep in stock, in addition to the increased business sent to their store from web shoppers. Finally, manufacturers are alleviated of many customer service responsibilities while providing consumers more convenient access to their products.

Shopatron, which manages over 400 manufacturers and 6,000 retailers, plans to use the $5 million to further expand into more markets and perform hirings to flesh out their team.

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