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Owned it is a new social commerce platform that aims to help online retailers increase conversions through social referrals.

We've been asking the team behind Owned it about the platform, its business model, and their plans for world domination...

In one sentence, what is Owned it?

Owned it is a social referral platform that helps retailers to increase referrals, revenue and conversions by turning the retailer’s order confirmation page into a springboard for social sharing of tailored offers and incentives.

What problem/s does Owned it solve?

While most retailers focus on converting customers up to the point of purchase, they often fail to make effective use of the order confirmation page to increase sales further.

Owned it’s platform turns shoppers into brand advocates by providing them with tailored incentives to share information on recently purchased items with their friends and family.

The retailer gains exposure to new visitors from the customer’s social circle, leading to more sales while the customer, friends and family gain an incentive, such as discount codes, free delivery or cash back.

When and why did you launch it?

We launched our private beta in March 2012 for a few selected retailers. We have recently launched the public version of the platform.

Affiliate marketing has been the dominant marketing strategy in ecommerce space for the last two decades where retailers promote their products through webmasters/ bloggers. Unfortunately, retailers lacked the prospect of promoting products via their customers.

However, with the increasing adoption of social media channels, each individual is now empowered with a follower/friends base that listens and participates in any product conversations with their opinions and experiences.

We identified this as an opportunity and developed a platform that allows online retailers to create various engagement campaigns encouraging their customers to promote the products and the brands they believe in.

Who is your target audience?

Online retailers and ecommerce web/marketing agencies that are looking to increase conversions and loyalty.

What are your immediate goals?

There are hundreds of ecommerce platform providers and we are receiving lot of requests for plug-ins from retailers who use these different platforms. One of our immediate goals is to create one click install plug-ins for as many platforms we can.

Also, we are currently working with retailers from consumer electronics, gadgets, gifts and fashion sectors etc, and would like to engage more with the wider eCommerce community in the coming months.  

On the platform front we’ve a number of new and exciting Apps in pipeline that can further improve the returns. Further, we’re working on APIs that would display Owned it analytics on third party dashboards.

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Owned it?

Before developing Owned it we spoke to around 400 online retailers to get a better understanding of the market needs. As we started talking more about the platform, retailers started suggesting various features and additions.

We initially thought of building a platform with basic features, however based on the feedback, we created a flexible architecture that can support a range of future additions that retailers may propose. It was one of the biggest design challenges we faced during the initial period.

Another challenge was system integration. To simplify and speed up the integration  process, we developed one click install plug-ins.

We’ve invested lot of time and resources in building a system that is intuitive and simple to use, yet can run numerous sophisticated campaigns.

How will the company make money?

Owned it is delivered as a software as a service and is suitable for both large and small retailers. There are four different price levels starting from $49 a month. The pricing is based on number of transactions per month. We’re offering this platform completely free for smaller retailers with up to 500 transactions a month.

We believe that there is a market need for our platform and retailers are already using it across multiple sectors. Our platform helps the retailers to create various marketing and referral campaigns.

Lots of opportunities exist for online retailers to generate additional sales by engaging more with their customers and one such place is the order confirmation page. This is a great place to engage with customers as they’re usually excited about their purchases and they want to share it to their friends.

Retailers are not fully utilising the opportunities on this page apart from displaying a ‘Thank you’ message and the order details.

For example, by running a product share campaign on this page, the retailer can encourage customers to share products to their friends on various channels such as social networks and emails. As a result, the retailer gains exposure to new visitors from the customer’s social circle, leading to more sales.

Using our system retailers can create and run a wide range of campaigns including special offer campaigns, feedback campaigns etc. The built-in campaign optimisation module helps retailers to identify the offer that delivers the best results. This way retailers can optimise their web pages, gain additional revenue without changing any code on their pages and create viral offers with ease.

Who is in your team?

We are Manoj Krishnapillai, Sonu Bubna and Ram Kumar.

Manoj is an entrepreneur at heart and as a student, he was instrumental in founding MobME, one of the most recognised young telecom start-ups in India and was recognised as India's top ten start-ups to watch by The Wall Street Journal.

Sonu has financial advisory experience with one of the Big 4 accounting firms. A qualified accountant by profession, she did her MBA from UK. 

Ram has several years of experience in managing key projects with online giant Yahoo. Ram completed his Masters in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?

In the first year we would like to establish ourselves as a reliable platform for social and referral campaigns for web based stores.

In the coming years we would like to extend the platform capabilities to the mobile. Further into the future, we see ourselves as a global leader in customer centric marketing platforms.

Other than Owned it, what are your favourite websites / apps / tools?

One of our favourite tools that all sizes and kinds of ecommerce retailers can use is QuBit’s Open Tag Library. It’s a free tag management system that allows stores to manage all the scripts in an easy way.

And we love to use whole lot of free tools available online, particularly the Google tools available for webmasters.

Graham Charlton

Published 21 December, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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