The term ‘technology’ continues to creep up with the likes of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-driven platforms disrupting the digital marketing industry slowly on the rise. US-based partner Honey is just one of several tech platforms breaking through with their innovate product range via joinhoney.com, which utilises AI and machine learning to recommend brands and coupon offers to customers based on their shopping habits at the search and discovery stage of the purchasing journey.
Honey is taking part in PI LIVE this year and ahead of the event, PerformanceIN talks to the company’s UK partnerships manager Daniel Pilkington to discuss their involvement in the event, disrupting the voucher code space and driving the affiliate industry forward with innovation.
Hi Dan, can you briefly tell us about Honey and your background in the affiliate incentive industry?
Daniel Pilkington: Of course. Honey is a data and technology partner with a range of products designed to complement the full customer journey. We have our recommendation platform Joinhoney.com, which intelligently recommends brands and offers to users based on shopping behaviour at the search and discovery stage.. Our browser extension with over 10 million weekly active users automatically tests discount codes and offers loyalty to our users, supporting conversion at the end of the customer journey. As a publisher, we’re focused on ensuring we consistently deliver a seamless experience to our users every time they engage with Honey.
I have been in the affiliate marketing industry for just over three years, with most of my experience working in-house for an advertiser, managing their UK and North America affiliate programs. I joined Honey in May after forming a strong relationship with the team and I’m now responsible for growing Honey’s UK and European offering with a focus on partnerships.
In your opinion, what are your current thoughts around discount codes? What does the voucher code strategy of the future look like?
DP: Discount codes are still a very big part of affiliate and in my opinion, I don’t think that will change as consumers have become conditioned over time to expect discount codes when purchasing from retailers online. The voucher code strategy for the future from a retailers perspective will focus on simplicity and a coherent discount code strategy that is consistent. From a publisher perspective, it will focus on making those discount codes readily available to users however they choose to shop.
Honey has always focused on creating an experience for users that delivers convenience and value. For example, our browser extension automatically tests available discount codes, removing the need for users to search for available codes on site. Offering this level of automation and value to our users has been at the forefront of our success and is the reason our audience continues to grow.
Additionally, with our personalised feed at Joinhoney.com, we’re now able to harness customer shopping insights to recommend brands and offers that our users are likely to engage with based on their shopping behaviour.
There’s been a lot of talk around new technologies (AI, machine learning) disrupting traditional publisher models, including voucher, cashback and loyalty based sites. Do you agree that innovation is needed to drive the industry forward?
DP: Definitely! Consumers are now more than ever looking for relevance at every single touch point when engaging with brands and there’s no reason why this should be limited to the retailer site.
Publishers focusing on technology that delivers convenience and relevance to users will continue to grow as shoppers expectations from retailers become more complex. At Honey, we’re committed to offering our users an unparalleled shopping experience by providing that level of convenience when shopping online.
You’ve recently launched the Honey Gold Rewards Program which is currently live to 95% of your partners. How has this helped Honey in incentivising users purchase and driving conversion rates?
DP: Honey Gold is our loyalty program that has been live in the US for the last three years. We just launched Honey Gold in the UK and it has been a great way to increase engagement with our users and conversions for our partners. As an opt-in service, Honey has developed an extremely loyal user base and it was important to us to ensure we create a program that rewards our users for being loyal to Honey.
The benefit to our partners is Honey Gold gives our users an incentive to complete a purchase with any participating store every single time, which in turn increases conversion and overall sales for those partners participating in the rewards program.
You’ll be taking part in PI LIVE this year. What are you most looking forward to at the event?
DP: We’re really excited to be a part of the show this year. I didn’t get the chance to attend last year but the buzz around it was phenomenal. This will be Honey’s first official UK conference we’re exhibiting at so for us, we’re just excited to be a part of the show and have the opportunity to meet all of our partners.
You’ve got a stand at the event as well – what can attendees expect to find?
DP: We do indeed. Some of the partnerships team from California will also be out for the conference so the Honey team will be out in full force educating our partners and the wider industry about our products. We’ll also have some really cool merchandise available, so definitely swing by the Honey stand!
Lastly, what’s next in the pipeline from Honey for the remainder to 2018?
DP: There are a couple of things we’re working on in the background that I can’t share too much information about at the moment. For us, the focus is on growing our position in the UK market and continuously strengthening our products to ensure they’re always adding value for our users and partners.