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Romney Campaign Benefits Canton Tech Firm

Mitt Romney lost the presidential election but the Canton company that created the Romney shop on the Republican Party candidate’s website says it emerged a winner.

Digital agency Groove Commerce implemented and ran Romney’s e-commerce site, which they say attracted thousands of orders per day and is still operational.The campaign job has given the company a boost in the e-commerce world. "It's helped our visibility and reputation," says Groove Commerce CEO Ethan Giffin.

The company has 22 employees and is currently hiring four to six additional staffers, in particular skilled PHP developers, front-end developers, online marketers and an executive assistant.

Giffin emphasizes that Groove Commerce is not a politically focused organization. Rather, the company saw the offer to build a scalable website for a presidential candidate, a first for them, as a challenge.The Romney campaign set the prices for items in the store, from T-shirts for $30 to bumper stickers for $5. Also for sale are hats, posters, lawn signs, iPhone cases, water bottles and lapel pins.
 
Giffin does not know when the campaign website will be shut down. He can’t disclose sales information, which were donations to the campaign. He can say that at certain points in the campaign – such as when Congressman Paul Ryan was announced as the vice presidential candidate and during the Republican National Convention – the shop got thousands of orders per day.

The Romney campaign approached the Emerging Technology Center company because of its partnership with Magento, an e-commerce software firm headquartered in California. The campaign was interested in using Magento, an open source platform that has lots of services and add-ons that can be integrated and is highly scalable.

"It's very popular in e-commerce circles," he says of Magento. "It was a perfect fit in scale"  for the campaign shop. “It was a very cool project,” he says.
 
Groove Commerce began working on the website shop last spring. It officially launched a few days before July 4th weekend with an offer on Facebook for a discounted Romney T-shirt. More than 20,000 T-shirts were sold.
 
Giffin says the company brought a new approach to the campaign online store. “Most political online stores are very basic and bland. Their focus is the political space but they don’t know the tactics the average retailer uses to sell more products,” he says. “We wanted it to be more of a retailer-shopping experience.”
 
The privately funded Groove Commerce was founded in 2007. It moved to a 2,000-square foot space in the Emerging Technology Center in 2010; it now occupies 4,500 square feet.
 
The company focuses on web design and development and on inbound marketing. Giffin describes the latter as using aspects of search engine optimization, content creation and blogging, email marketing and paperclick advertising – “getting people to take action once they come to the website,” he says.
 
Groove Commerce has 50 clients, ranging from Lax World, lacrosse retailers, to Corsair Memory, a builder of computer memory, and the state’s Habitat for Humanity chapter.
 
 
Source: Ethan Giffin, Groove Commerce
Writer: Barbara Pash
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