BRIGHT-EYED AND BUSHY-TAILED — YOUNG ENTERPRISE
Today’s guest is ALEX SAVIC
Alex graduated from King’s College as fast as he could in order to follow his passion of creating a web startup. The unbelievable growth of Facebook led Alex to spend all his waking hours thinking about how e-commerce could be brought to Facebook in a cool way that would make users happy. Alex’s motto is: “Let’s make magic happen!”
His company, ALENSA, recently launched a new application on Facebook called Share and Earn.
I just couldn’t resist. I simply had to poke my big nose into it and ask him a few questions.
Q: In what way is your service different from retailers’ own?
A: Our service is actually a tool that helps online retailers promote their products to their fans and allows fans to recommend those products to their friends under an incentive model. The idea is that if you think one of your friends will really enjoy a particular product, you can recommend it to them using our Share and Earn system, and if they make a purchase, you will receive a reward. The reward could be a discount code for your own future purchases or it could even be a sales commission.
We try to avoid the spam issue by not giving any rewards for the mere act of sharing, but instead only for confirmed purchases that result out of the share. This means that a potential spammer will not have any benefit in sharing things randomly. Our goal is to let people capture some of the value they create for brands and online retailers when they make very specific targeted product recommendations to friends about the products they love.
Q: How do you select the goods that you recommend? Why are some worthier of attention than others?
A: It is our clients, the online retailers, that actually choose which products they would like to promote to their fans. Our service lies solely in providing the Share and Earn software to them which makes it really easy for them to have a complete overview of their product portfolio and to put together a group of products that they would like to promote through their Facebook Timeline. Our software lets them post these promotions in the form of dynamic, expandable widgets that live completely inside the Timeline/News Feed.
Q: Can we have a little peek into the future, please? After the success of the Valentine’s Day, where will you take us next?
A: The future for our software is fairly clear – we would like to become the largest affiliate network in the world. Our calculation here is that the largest traditional affiliate networks today, the ones that rely solely on websites and blogs as affiliates have at maximum hundreds of thousands of affiliates. We believe that with our focus on Facebook, which has around a billion users, our number of registered affiliates can be in the millions. What’s more, we believe that our approach to affiliate recommendations is even more powerful than the traditional model because it a) let’s online retailers and brands identify which of their fans are the most engaged with the brand and which have the highest influencer score on their circle of friends and b) create a lifetime relationship with these fans where they can constantly stay in communication with them and offer them special deals to share with their friends that others would not have access to – kind of like creating exclusive clubs around the most engaged users.
Q: What is your message to your audience?
A: Our audience is mainly the marketing managers and social media managers that work at online retailers and brands. My hope is that they will embrace this new approach to social recommendations in order to be able to better target their messaging to their fans. Not every fan on Facebook is the same and we believe that we have started a new approach to how different messaging can be given to different fans based on their engagement level and influencer score. Overall this should lead to a much better user experience for the fans while providing a value add to the brands and online retailers that use the system.