Interview Series: Q&A with Rahul Mewawalla, CEO of Everfave
Euromonitor International is pleased to present an interview with Rahul Mewawalla, CEO of Everfave.
Everfave is a Silicon Valley based company with an award-winning mobile and social based customer acquisition and analytics platform for businesses, brands, and retailers that drives growth and uplift with full attribution across online and offline. Everfave is backed by investors and institutions that supported Facebook, YouTube, Square, Dropbox and PayPal. Everfave was recently named one of the “Top Most Innovative” companies by Shoptalk, and won the “Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs” Innovation Award. Everfave‘s team comes from Google, Facebook,Yahoo, Nokia,Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Yelp, Oracle, GE, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstorm, Gap and other technology leaders.
Please explain what Everfave does.
Everfave is a mobile and social based customer acquisition and engagement platform for businesses, brands, and retailers that drives customer growth and sales uplift with full attribution and ROI measurement across offline and online. Everfave also provides analytics and insights by brand, product, geography, stocking keeping units (SKU) and customer demographics, behavior and journey.
Everfave’s customer growth and engagement platform which spans apps, software development kits (SDKs), cloud, and data analytics enables businesses and brands to easily convert their customers into evangelists and refer their products to their friends. It enables businesses to offer referral rewards in an omni-channel approach. Our mobile and social based referrals platform works across in-store, mobile devices, personal computers, 25+ social networks (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat), messaging apps, email and SMS/text.
In addition, Everfave’s analytics and insights platform helps businesses, brands and retailers to understand their customers’ preferences, product and category trends, and the shopper journey in real-time.
Who are your customers?
Everfave’s customers are consumer facing businesses, brands and retailers, especially those that have an omni-channel approach to how they engage with their customers and shoppers. We are working with some of the largest global brands and retailers across food & beverage, consumer packaged goods (CPG), apparel and clothing, grocery, consumer electronics, and financial services. Although North America represents our largest base of customers today, we are now expanding to Europe and Latin America. A number of our customers are global and have asked us to support their growth priorities in international markets. We also have a number of large European and Latin American businesses who have seen our success with their North American counterparts and have asked us to expand into their markets.
How do customers integrate your platform into their existing technology?
Everfave’s platform and technology has been developed to be easy and effortless for retailers and brands regardless of their size. Both Fortune 500 and small businesses are typically constrained on resource bandwidth and time, and recognizing that, we provide Everfave as a turnkey solution. It’s easy for businesses, brands and retailers – no hardware needed, no software needed, no complex integration. Everfave runs the entire system, and provides the business with a dashboard, application programming interfaces (APIs) and analytics feeds so they can simply track their results without any effort on their part. Large businesses can also easily configure the platform and capabilities in line with their priorities given its modular nature. Small businesses can easily join the platform using our self-serve platform just like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads and get up and running immediately at everfave.com/join.
How should retailers think about what types of rewards offered in the referral program?
Retailers and brands can customize rewards and offers using Everfave’s platform based on what works best with their customer and shopper base – it can be a flat savings amount, a percentage off of the price, free items, points, sweepstakes, special rewards and offers, and even a contribution to their customer’s favorite charity. Our analytics show that double-sided rewards are especially effective and engaging –e.g. share your favorite brands products with your friends, give them 10% off and you get 10% off for every friend that shops.
The best type of reward also depends on category – for categories like CPG, food and beverage, etc., we’ve seen rewards that are flat money off based, points or sweepstakes work really well e.g. share your favorite brands and products, give your friend $2 off, and you get a chance to meet Taylor Swift for every friend that shops. In categories like apparel, consumer electronics and hardlines, a percentage off works well and also results in bundling and drives increases in basket size. Based on data analytics, Everfave’s platform will suggest best practices based on geographic and behavioral differences for e.g. San Francisco vs. Miami vs. Salt Lake City and especially in international markets like Brazil and Germany for how to best engage with consumer based on their tailored preferences and behaviors.
What has been the most successful type of reward?
We’ve seen that clear and simple value propositions work best: refer your favorite product and /or brand to your friends, give them X and you get X for every friend that shops. A couple of key aspects to note – one, the reward being similar for the friend and the referrer works really well and typically over-indexes on performance and secondly, correlating the rewards to purchase/transaction (i.e. get a reward when your friend shops) works especially well for the retailer and brand since the return on investment (ROI) on those programs is extremely high and drives measurable customer and sales uplift.
How do shoppers generally share these rewards (such as through social media, texting, etc)?
Social media is about 2/3rd of how customers share their favorite brands and products (to which the referral rewards are automatically attached by Everfave’s platform). Facebook is the largest percentage of that segment with social networks like SnapChat and Instagram being the fastest growing. Among certain segments, Twitter is also popular. The remaining share is composed of other channels like messaging apps (which is growing rapidly), email, text, etc. Using the Everfave platform, customers and shoppers can also include photos and short videos related to their favorite brands and products such as tips, how-tos, etc – and we see short videos also growing exponentially on the platform.
What percentage of customers share referrals?
Across the Everfave platform, we see that 6%-11% of the business’ total customers will convert to becoming evangelists of the business, brand or retailer. For those businesses that have a loyalty program, typically between 55%-75% of the loyalty program members will join the referral program. In terms of demographics, we see certain segments such as social media users, heavy mobile phone users, influencers, millennials, moms with children, gadget lovers, and trend setters over-index on both referring their favorite brands and retailers to their friends, and also heavily weighing their friends’ referrals during their purchase decisions.
How do referrals impact customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value?
According to Euromonitor’s Global Consumer Trends Survey, 59% of consumers globally said that family and friend recommendations were extremely influential.
Everfave’s platform analytics have also seen a similar level of impact – customers that come in through referrals tend to spend 30-%-40% more, and tend to have twice the engagement rates with brands and retailers, and in turn when brands and retailers offer their customers the opportunity to become referrers that results in higher retention and frequency rates for those customers. In terms of ROI, given the virtuous cycle (your customer refers a friend, that friend becomes a customer, and in turn refers their friends, and so on), businesses are experiencing a 10 times the ROI through the Everfave platform.
Can you please explain what companies can do after the referral occurs?
Everfave’s platform enables brands and retailers to develop a deeper and tailored engagement with their current and new customers both online and offline. Post-recommendation actions can include informing customers what adjacent products and brands are trending amongst their friends or in their communities, where to purchase their favorite brands and products and the easiest way to get there or have it delivered, being amongst the first to receive special offers and exclusives, inviting them to join their loyalty programs, and enabling customers to ask their friends for their product and brand recommendations.
What do you think the future of referrals is?
Referrals have been tremendously successful – unicorns like Uber, AirBnB and Dropbox have grown 10 times in recent years using referrals. If you are a digital brand or product, having a referral program today is a no-brainer. However, this represents the start of the market opportunity – $300 billion is spent annually on shopper activation, trade marketing and promotions just in the U.S. alone. Everfave’s platform is targeted, bringing social and mobile referrals to the larger market such as (1) enabling omni-channel businesses, brands and retailers to have a referral program that works across all channels easily and effortlessly (2) enabling customers and businesses to easily offer rich content around referrals (tips, how-tos, experiences, moments, etc) (3) providing rich insights and analytics to brands and retailers such as their customers’ preferences, product and category trends, and the shopper journey in real-time.
Do you foresee any channel shifts for the referrals, such as to messaging apps?
We’re seeing some interesting trends – rich content associated with referrals such as tips, photos and short form video is growing tremendously. Customers want to share why they love a product or brand and how they use it, wear it, consume it, eat it, engage with it, etc in addition to just referring it to their friends.
Secondly, as we talked about earlier, certain social channels and messaging apps are growing more than their peers. We are also seeing that offline and in-store referrals continue to be a huge untapped opportunity. 90% of retail sales in the U.S. are still in brick-and-mortar stores and offering the customer the ability to easily pull out their mobile phone while they are in-store and refer their favorite products and brands to their friends and automatically get rewarded when their friend comes in and shops is a compelling value proposition for customers and businesses. In addition, we see significant bundle and basket size increases in brick-and-mortar environments since most customers will pick up a couple of other products when they come into the store.
Will there be any further integration with in-store functionality or loyalty programs?
Everfave already works with businesses, brands and retailers to build upon their existing customers assets and functionality. Several retailers and brands will use their loyalty program and use a message like “Thank you for being a loyalist, we’d now love for you to be an evangelist” to turbocharge their referrals program. Typically, 55%-75% of loyalty program customers will convert to also being evangelists. From a retailer or brand perspective, it works great since a mobile and social referral program combined with a loyalty program enables them to drive exponential impact with viral growth compared to having just a standalone loyalty program.
On in-store functionality, in addition to our driving next-generation advancements in retail mobile geolocation and behavioral analytics, we’re also bringing new features to market like cross-retailer and brand ecosystem benefits. For e.g., if there are complimentary retailers located near each other or complimentary brands and products in nearby aisles at a store, we’re offering brands and retailers capabilities using Everfave to cross-leverage each other’s referrals and customer insights to drive uplift across the ecosystem.