As most seasoned e‑commerce analysts can testify, retailers often struggle to marry their offline and online operations; if some marriages are made in heaven, this one often looks more like a war zone. But San Francisco e‑commerce startup Curebit is taking steps to bring peace and harmony between the two channels.
Founded in 2009, Curebit drives sales for its retail clients by optimizing word-of-mouth referrals from their customers. From its origins as a technology outfit, it’s morphed rapidly into more of an agency, advising clients on what promotions will work best for their business and why, providing copywriting, and designing promotions. It offers customers personalized deals they can send to friends as gifts simply by forwarding a link or posting on Facebook. The deals reward both the shopper and the friend by giving a discount on a purchase at the client’s store.
Curebit’s clients include Jawbone, Bonobos, Restaurant.com, and True & Co. E‑commerce analysts who want some hard data about effectiveness might try this for size: the referral campaign it ran for Bonobos in 2012, which involved switching its referral strategy from Facebook to e‑mail, drove 25 per cent more new customers to the site. Curebit’s analysis had suggested e‑mail would convert better for Bonobos; they were right.
Harmonizing offline and online commerce
Now it’s stepping bravely into the fraught relations between retailers’ offline and online operations with its new “Retail Referrals” program. The startup’s co-founder and CEO, Allan Grant, explains:
“This is very applicable to major, classic ‘old-school’ retailers right now, which are very concerned with the transition [from offline to online]. A lot their sales are still happening offline right now — 90 to 95 percent. And in a lot of ways, they’re basically fighting between their offline and online channels.”
Retail Referrals is being trialed in each of Bonobos’ six Guideshop locations (these are stores where customers try on clothing first, then make purchases via an in-store iPad or at home on the Bonobos website). Once customers make a purchase, a store clerk will ask whether they’d like to share an offer via e‑mail with friends. If they do, they can share it there and then using the in-store iPad.
E‑commerce analysts will no doubt be keen to hear how the program fairs during its trial. Watch this space.