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Simon Bird: How Data-Driven Technologies Are Changing The Face Of eCommerce

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​​First off, let’s start by going through where the RevLifter journey started. What was the inspiration behind it?

I’ve worked in the affiliate marketing space for over 15 years and much of that time was spent as the MD of global coupon publisher Savoo. It was here that I gained an in-depth understanding of coupon strategies and their strengths, as well as some of their blatant flaws, which were becoming all the more evident as the years passed.

Many eCommerce retailers were using coupon publishers to acquire sales. However, these partners had no choice but to give every customer the same deal. Retailers were wasting so much spend by advertising ‘20% off’ to customers that were checking out with small orders. Some retailers only wanted new customers, but they’d give the same deal to their existing ones. Furthermore, they were directing hoards of traffic to coupon publishers. Some of these sites were full of non-personalized, fake, or invalid discount codes, and deals from their competitors. 

After much discussion with my co-founder, Ryan Kliszat, we planned the idea for RevLifter on a napkin while sitting in a London pub. Our vision was to help retailers swap one-size-fits-all promotions for personalized deals. These would use data gleaned from the user journey to identify the customer’s unique value in the context of the retailer’s goals. Let’s say a brand wants more new customers. RevLifter would enable them to identify someone’s purchase history the moment they land on their site and offer a deal that wouldn’t be shown to their existing shoppers.

It turned out to be a smart move. In September 2021 – some four years after RevLifter was founded – Boston Consulting Group released a report detailing ‘The $70 Billion Prize in Personalized Offers’. It determined that by moving 20% of retail marketing spend over to personalized offers, retailers stood to earn an extra $70 billion per year. With very few companies even serving personalized offers, never mind specializing in their deployment, RevLifter is now uniquely positioned to unlock this growth. 

What are the goals and mission of RevLifter?

RevLifter’s mission is to make every eCommerce deal intelligent, which generally centers around three priorities.

The first – and most obvious – is the adoption of our award-winning solutions. We’re currently live with 100+ retailers globally, including New Balance, EE, Harvey Nichols, The Hut Group, and HP. Every client represents an opportunity to create a better experience for potentially thousands of online customers.

To fully cater for retailers around the world, we have to be available within their markets. Thus, international expansion is another key point of focus. We’re currently live in several countries, including the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, and Australia, but we aim to bring RevLifter out to even more in the near future. To assist that journey, we’ve made the necessary tweaks to ensure our tech can be deployed remotely within days. 

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We’re also looking to cover more areas of the customer journey to truly satisfy retailers and their customers. Our current solutions include RevPage (a personalized, fully-branded coupon page) and RevConvert (for serving on-site deals and offers) but we’ve got so much planned for 2022. Follow our Linkedin page and subscribe to our newsletter for the latest announcements. 

What do you think is the main difference between yourselves, and your competitors?

RevLifter has no like-for-like competitors, which is fairly unique given the explosion of eCommerce technologies and the ever-increasing demand for them. 

In essence, many tech providers offer some form of eCommerce personalization or conversion rate optimization. However, no other tech partner specializes in personalized deals and offers.

On a strategic level, we do find that retailers tend to migrate spend from traditional coupon partners when they go live with RevLifter. The difference between RevLifter and these publishers is that we enable the brand to serve a personalized offer that drives an incremental outcome. For years, retailers have debated the merits of using coupon partners to convert customers that may have bought without a discount. Tactics like stretch-and-save help us to increase the customer’s cart value and ensure that we’re always delivering a positive ROI.

What are some of the biggest changes RevLifter has noticed in the world of eCommerce over the past two years?

You can’t look past COVID as one of the biggest factors to impact our industry for a very long time. It continues to change how retailers operate – from what they can sell to how they sell it. Currently, it’s wreaking havoc on stock levels, which are at their lowest since 1983. Nevertheless, eCommerce has definitely benefited from the periods where customers had no choice but to do their shopping online. 

We’ve also seen a gradual decline in the importance of core events like Black Friday as retailers look to create a more sustainable approach to customer incentivization. I think we’d reached a point where brands couldn’t afford to increase their discounts in order to outdo their competitors. It’s much more sensible to think about ways of driving sales throughout the year rather than putting all your faith in a single week.

Above all, it’s hard to argue that personalization isn’t currently the biggest movement in our space, simply because of the range of goals and priorities it can assist. UX, customer experience, promotions, customer loyalty, customer lifetime value, acquisition – you name it, personalization is there.

Run us through one of your biggest success stories over the past year

I’ve seen Revlifter scale from 17 employees in November 2020 to over 50 at present. Growing at such a pace is an achievement in and of itself. Yet, I’ve been especially impressed by the caliber of talent we’ve managed to attract to the business. 

What we’ve achieved in 2021 shows that you can have the best tech on the market, but everything starts with the team. I’m so impressed with how everyone has helped to drive RevLifter forward given the challenges currently impacting the retail market. 

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We saw your Best Performance Marketing Campaign awards in Western Europe and the US! Give us a bit of an insight into what went into winning those?

That was a great week, for sure. For Western Europe, we worked with Mobiles.co.uk, part of the Carphone Warehouse group, to recommend tariffs that gave its customers more value while increasing their spend – a win-win. That required a real-time ID of the customer and their cart contents to highlight a smartphone plan with more data. The campaign went on to claim several awards, including Best eCommerce Campaign at the Global Marketing Awards. 

In the US, we collaborated with another telecom giant, AT&T, to create a personalized deal page that provided information on broadband speeds and service updates in the customer’s location. The page was created at the height of the pandemic, where you couldn’t go into a store and gain advice on such matters. It became a crucial tool for reassuring customers about AT&T’s service in their area, and we ended up smashing our daily sales targets by triple digits. 

Anyone looking for more case studies should head over to RevLifter.com.

What do you think has been the biggest lesson you have learned working in this space?

How big the US market really is. I think everyone recognizes the opportunity for eCommerce retailers, but we continue to see new trends and stats that reaffirm how its scale dwarfs everything outside of China, especially when it comes to deals and couponing.  

That aside, I’m always reminded of the importance of basing decisions on data. The divide between what we think might happen versus what the empirical data suggests can be vast. Time and time again, the latter proves correct, and I’m so enthused to see the next generation of retail/digital/eCommerce managers concentrating almost solely on their figures rather than intuition.

Your portfolio of clients looks pretty varied. Was this a conscious decision you took when setting up RevLifter?

Certainly. Every single brand that sells online has a goal, whether that’s gaining new customers, preventing cart abandonment, increasing customer lifetime value, or improving their conversion rate. When they have a goal, they have a use for our technology.

There are some cases, like fashion and apparel, that are perfect for personalized deals. We’ve also seen high uptake for RevLifter in verticals like telecom, beauty, and even luxury, thanks to discount-free campaigns that use product recommendations to create bigger carts. We’re now at the point of bringing RevLifter into even more spaces, like grocery, insurance, and travel, which all have incredibly unique ways of acquiring customers. 

Provided the brand has a goal in mind, we can build a strategy to resonate with the very people that drive it. 

Tell us a bit more about what an average day looks like at RevLifter?

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Firstly, there’s no such thing as an average day – at least not here. A typical 24 hours might include meetings with direct reports, investor relations, helping the sales team with their business development, strategic planning, and reacting and being proactive with HR matters. 

The weighting of these responsibilities will change on a daily basis and you always have to make time for special tasks, like this article. It makes it hard to establish a routine, but I know exactly what to prioritize, which is the main thing. 

Have you got any unique tricks or habits you do to help you stay productive during the day?

Snoozing emails! I use Gmelius, a collaboration platform for Gmail, to keep my inbox light and tidy. I also keep all my meetings to under 45 minutes, which means I always have time to plan and respond to the latest urgent matter. I actually have a tool in G Suite that restricts anything above that time frame.

In terms of equipment, I have an electric desk that I swear by. There are all kinds of physical and mental benefits to spending at least some of your day standing up. I’ve found that I now stand for over half an average day, which is a good target to aim for.

How much do you look at what your competitors are doing?

Without any like-for-like competitors, we tend to focus more on anything that’s likely to impact the way retailers sell online. If someone brings out a solution that alters the customer journey in any way, it can sometimes create a challenge or an opportunity for RevLifter. Our corner of the retail space – deals and promotions – has seen very little innovation in recent years. It means that you have to take cues from a much broader scope (i.e. the customer experience) rather than any list of competitors.

There’s also something to be said about concentrating on the unique value you bring to a client – whether a retailer or otherwise – and the challenges they face. We created RevLifter to fix the broken digital deal process. It required a totally different approach to customer incentivization and we were at the vanguard of it, hence why we tend to look forward, rather than across or back!

And finally, what do you want the future to hold for RevLifter? 

I want us to make every eCommerce deal intelligent for as many retailers as possible. Our technology is designed to be scalable and accessible to any brand selling online. We’re on course to cement our place in the eCommerce industry, but I want us to be a major consideration for any retailer in any market. When they need to drive a specific goal, they should think of RevLifter.

Obviously, we as a company have specific goals and milestones to aim for, but I truly believe we’re onto an idea that’s incredibly versatile in the way that it responds to a range of challenges.

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