ADOTAS – Curebit specializes in “post-acquisition coupon offering.” It’s OK if your initial reaction to that statement is, “Huh?”
Perhaps “post-purchase referral system” sounds better, but it doesn’t quite capture the scope of Curebit’s service — in particular what it offers back to costumers and the anayltics gained. Maybe “incentivizing social referrals with a post-purchase discount” is a better description, but it still feels cluttered with jargon.
Looks like an example is the best way. It goes like this: After making a purchase, you’re asked to share a vendor’s coupon with your social circle via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. Of course there’s an incentive — if your friends snatch it up, you get a rebate on your recently finished buy. Then your friends share and their friends share…
And eventually merchants like Diamond Candles — a candle seller that puts diamond rings of varying values (from $10 to $5,000) in its soy candles — see a 15% lift in new online store sales. According to a just-released case study, 57% of buyers shared a coupon between $3 and $5 with their friends in order to get the same discount themselves. The majority of referrers used multiple channels, and Facebook accounted for 75% of the referred sales.
The average share rate for most is between 35% and 60%, with some deals receiving as high as a 93% share rate. Why is it so effective?
“We capture buyers in the right emotional state, so the vendor’s deal feels authentic for you to share it with your friends,” says cofounder and CEO Allan Grant. “You’re not making money off your friends — you guys are mutually benefitting. Helping them save happens to be a good thing for you too.”
Seeking a new way to “engineer virality,” Curebit’s three cofounders built the first version of the post-purchase referral platform last October — a huge influence was the DropBox referral system, which offers users an extra 250 megabytes of online storage space for every referral. The company gets 1 million referrals a month.
The initial platform gained traction fast, with an offer being shipped out every minute. In November, Curebit became part of the too-hip Y-Combinator startup club, and then left beta in March with 100 merchants on board. With some help from angel investors, Curebit now boasts 700 merchants using its product, with an average 15% incremental lift in new sales. The platform can be easily integrated into numerous e-commerce and shopping cart solutions, including Magento, Opencart and Shopify.
“There are numerous copycats out there, but no comparable service,” Grant says.
That’s due to Curebit’s analytics and ongoing experimentation. The company is usually doling out 10 different offers for a merchant at a time to decipher the strongest combination of messaging and discount. Interestingly enough, Curebit found that the size of the discount matters a lot less than what’s in the headline, giving ammunition to the old adage that it’s not what you’re selling, but how it’s sold.
In addition, the company notes that many times user-generated taglines are catchier. “Your buyers may write better than you can,” he comments.
Curebit now has a whole year’s worth of research into effective referral methods. Referral sources can come in quite handy, as Curebit assists merchants in identifying their most influential users by associating Twitter accounts with top sharers. And data gleaned from the sharing and sales can be tracked by advertising channel and transfered cross-channel — e.g., for optimizing display targeting.
“Our system is learning, getting smarter over time, with more detailed profiles and a more complex social graph,” Grant says. “We’re optimizing the viral loop.”