Before we get into the world of coupons and real-time personalisation, we’d love to hear a bit about your path to co-founding RevLifter. Can you give us a quick overview of your journey to your current role as CEO?
Simon Bird: Firstly, thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed. As some of you may know, I’m originally from Australia and moved to the UK around 16 years ago. That’s essentially when I started my long and fruitful journey in affiliate marketing.
During that time, I’ve worked network-side at AWIN, publisher-side at Savoo – which I built and led across 13 international markets – while being heavily involved in a number of IAB initiatives.
I’ve always held a keen interest in entrepreneurship – something that inspired me to become an angel investor and advise a number of high-profile UK start-ups, including WeGift, Tailify and MoveBubble.
I started RevLifter three years ago after meeting my new co-founder Ryan Kliszat in a pub. We sketched out the initial idea on the back of a napkin, and the rest – as they say – is history!
What is the history of RevLifter, and how did the company transform to where it is today?
SB: The napkin idea was to revitalise the discount space – an area generating plenty of volume but severely lacking in innovation. We soon realised the demand for an AI deals personalisation platform, now used by some of the world’s biggest retailers to assist, control and convert customers on the lookout for discounts and offers.
Our biggest influence has always been the very people that use our solution. In our early conversations with retailers, we started by asking, “what is the main problem and how can we help?” Most of the answers touched on the familiar story of a customer going in search of a deal after adding something to their cart.
RevLifter helps brands to control that traffic before upselling and cross-selling to maximise the potential of each sale. We can also base offers around who the customer is and what’s in their basket, because everyone needs different things to convert.
How does RevLifter leverage one-to-one customer personalisation to give retailers a competitive advantage?
SB: Our very first product, RevPage, squarely addresses this problem. It targets users that are searching for deals on Google and other search engines, using PPC and SEO to draw people onto a native landing page that acts almost like a ‘deal hub’, filled with personalised offers and featuring the merchant’s own unique branding. From here, we can offer an incentive while keeping the conversation on the brand’s own property.
Our second product, RevConvert, tackles cart abandonment by issuing personalised, relevant offers through on-site messaging. We also use real-time behavioural data and tactics like exit-intent messages, overlays and social proofing to respond to micro-moments throughout the user journey, and prevent lost revenue.
Our third product, RevRewards, leverages e-gift cards to raise average order values and cross-sell products among other goals. These solutions are helping us realise our vision of becoming the best AI-powered deals personalisation platform that is completely omni-channel.
What’s unique about RevLifter’s model compared to competitors?
SB: RevLifter is unique in the sense of being able to use offers in a way that creates incremental value. We still see retailers failing to extract the maximum potential from their deals and data, which affects their ability to capture sales and new customers.
Of course, each brand has a set of goals and an order of importance for them. RevLifter can be adapted to any objective, whether that’s increasing the margin on a phone contract or advertising jackets when it starts to rain. We are building the most accurate offer system in the world, based on our retailers’ unique challenges and goals.
I’ll add that RevLifter requires little-to-no integration and, unlike some e-commerce platforms, you can see results in weeks or even days. Our tag-based method of personalisation leans on a goldmine of customer data to ensure retailers can grow in an increasingly competitive e-commerce landscape. That’s what makes us different.
Does RevLifter operate worldwide?
SB: We have our client services team in the UK as well as an office in the US. The ease of launching RevLifter on a new website means that we can work with clients all over the world. Our solutions are active in more than 10 countries and that list is growing all the time.
In terms of differences between the UK and some of our other markets, I’d say the main considerations are around goals and customer behaviour. We’ve always positioned ourselves as an international platform, driven by a global team which understands each market and can optimise accordingly.
How has access to richer campaign and user data helped you prove the value of the business you are driving. What benefit do retailers see in using RevLifter’s personalised incentive approach?
SB: Data quality is fundamental to achieving good results. The RevLifter tag is configured via an easy to use UI and allows for the dynamic capturing of insights around products, user interactions and basket additions. This is fed into our engine and forms the basis of our machine-learning models and reporting.
With regards to the benefits, you only have to look at some of our approaches to see how wide-ranging these can be. One of our more popular offerings is a ‘stretch and save’ promotion, where a ‘boost’ bar encourages consumers to add extra items and unlock an award. There are also margin-based offers for personalising the offer amount based on the real-time margin of the shopping cart. In short, if we have a goal or a challenge, we can find something that feeds directly into achieving or addressing it.
How do you measure uplift?
SB: We test the effectiveness of RevLifter by running experiments. Users are put into weighted groups, the simplest being a percentage split to show what happens when RevLifter is active, and when it is not.
Tests on hierarchical groups are also possible. For example, 50% see RevLifter, and of those users, 10% get variation A, whereas 90% get variation B. Group membership is logged against all user interactions, so we can make direct comparisons on metrics like conversions and average order values. All of the results are run through a purpose-built tool and the outcomes are presented to the site owner with suitable confidence intervals around the performance of each experiment.
Even when a campaign goes live, we are constantly testing and optimising based on what we find. It’s all part of the journey and an effective way of maximising our influence on revenue.
Do you have any parting advice for brands and/or partners looking to expand their operations to the UK?
SB: The UK is an incredibly vibrant and developed e-commerce landscape. That said, it’s very competitive and requires a lot of consideration into how you can break through.
I would always start by developing your network and learning about some of the nuances of trading. Because the market is very mature, it’s easy to find resources and communities where some of this information resides.
My tip would be to head for the Affiliate Cockpit Facebook group and start networking, but don’t forget about all the contacts and insight you can get from similar groups on Twitter, Linkedin and other platforms. PerformanceIN is another great source of information, particularly if you want an overview of where the channel is heading.
What are RevLifter’s plans for focus and strategy for the second half of 2020?
SB: As I mentioned above, our vision is to become the best AI-powered deals personalisation platform. We’ve already made great strides towards this goal by launching in new markets, onboarding some of the world’s biggest retailers, and – of course – generating powerful uplifts in performance. During the second half of 2020, we will continue to expand while introducing RevLifter to a stack of new marketing channels – so stay tuned!