Solution Spotlight: Runa Leverages Analytics to Improve Conversion Rates

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In recent years e-tailers have focused on driving traffic to their sites, spending more than $20 billion on SEO/SEM in 2008, according to Runa. Now at a market saturation point, this investment produces an average conversion-to-sales rate of 2-3%, at best. The Runa team is convinced that the next wave in online retailing will increase conversion rates by appealing to shoppers once they’re on a Web site.

The solution is designed to address:


Real-time shopper segmentation

•Understand the context of shopper by using pre-click and post-click information

of purchase intent

•Determination of purchase intent of each shopper for the items the shopper is looking at.

Profit optimized sale pricing

•Use e-tailer’s business rules and analytics to determine the best sale price for each shopper

Real-time delivery of profit optimized sale pricing

•Deliver profit optimized sale pricing to individual shoppers while they are still on an e-tailer’s site

Runa is designed to enable e-tailers to rescue lost sales, optimize their SEO/SEM investments and protect profits through a conversion marketing service. The solution is also designed to help online merchants increase their conversion rates, and more importantly, their profit based on their existing marketing spending.

Team: Based in Mountain View, California, Runa was co-founded in January 2008 by CEO Ashok Narasimhan, an entrepreneur who also co-founded Wipro’s IT business and Prio, which was acquired by InfoSpace, and was a member of Verifone’s core management team through their IPO. Robert J. Berger, who has 15 years experience building internet infrastructure and services, has been involved with many start ups, including  InterNex (where he was CEO until its acquisition by Concentric/XO).

Chief Customer Officer Heather Dawson has 15 years experience in direct and indirect sales for ecommerce and other foundational software technology, including IBM and several start-ups. COO Celeste Cooper has more than 20 years of software experience. Prior to joining Runa, she was Vice President of Engineering at Tropos Networks and has held various technical and executive positions at WMS Gaming, Cambia Networks, Motorola, and Sprint.

Roger W. Applewhite, who handles the analytics front, has spent more than 20 years in financial services, manufacturing and the sciences with clients including Citibank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, US Bank, MasterCard, AMEX, BMW, and Kroger.

Market Relevance: “Conversion marketing” takes over where SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) stops and focuses on “the last inch” of the conversion funnel to convert shoppers into buyers, according to the Runa team. Runa’s service focuses on converting Web traffic into sales in real-time while shoppers are still on the Web site. The Runa service is designed to address a real opportunity for e-businesses to increase sales from their existing traffic and marketing spend by dynamically presenting optimized sale prices and incentives.

Runa is a service that e-tailers can add to their Web sites designed to track pre-click information like referral URL, and keywords as a shopper comes to an e-tailer site and then continues to collect post-click information while the shopper is on the site. Runa uses this information in real-time to determine the shopper’s buy intent. The buy intent along with merchant business rules are used to determine the best price-optimized offer for that shopper in real-time while the shopper is on the e-tailer’s site. Runa’s solution is designed to then present the offer in a seamless way on the site.

Runa utilizes this pricing lever with a solution designed to allow e-businesses to deliver real-time, personalized sale prices, while shoppers are still on their Web sites. E-tailers can sign up with Runa and receive a free module for their platform. With minimal integration, the SaaS solution is a pay-for-performances model.

Proof Points: Runa’s initial markets include e-tailers, as well as online hotel booking sites. This market represents a $90 billion market opportunity. There are currently more than 30 e-tailers using the Runa service. Runa’s client roster includes,, and

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