We’re proud to announce that as of today, Swell has officially joined the Yotpo team. Together, we’ll move more quickly towards our shared goal of solving meaningful marketing challenges for e-commerce and omnichannel brands.
This announcement by no means marks the end of the line for Swell, but rather the beginning of a new, incredibly exciting chapter. When Yotpo approached us to discuss an acquisition, one of the reasons they did so was for our lean, fast-paced team, all of whom are eager to remain with us as we enter our next stage of growth. Now, however, we’re excited to bring a host of new resources to bear for the benefit of our current and future clients.
Starting a startup is the hardest thing either of us has ever done. Over the past three and a half years, we’ve endured an emotional rollercoaster of successes and failures; we’ve finished some days certain that Swell was set to take over the world, and others equally certain that our fledgling business was doomed to fail.
Somehow, in spite of it all, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to look back and discover that we built a quickly-growing company that became of interest to a much larger organization. For that, we’re incredibly grateful to our fantastic team, advisors, family, friends, significant others, and the long list of additional supporters who offered their advice and encouragement along the way.
The earliest days of Swell (when we were called ChainPerks!)
The Swell Team on our 2018 retreat
We’re Excited to Solve Big Marketing Challenges for Brands.
Along the way, we’ve also had the good fortune to serve a number of incredibly talented and passionate brands. When we reflect on the conversations we’ve had with individuals from those companies – we would conservatively estimate that the two of us alone have had over 1,000 discussions with merchants – we conclude that while e-commerce is in an incredible growth phase, there are a number of real challenges facing retailers as well. We’ve highlighted just a few below.
Challenge #1: Brands Need a Way to Stand Out from the Crowd
Getting new customers to visit and purchase isn’t getting any easier. While traditional acquisition channels such as Facebook have fueled massive growth for plenty of brands, competition for ad space is not only driving CPMs up, but simultaneously driving ad fatigue amongst consumers and declining clickthrough rates in turn.
To combat this effect, brands are seeking a multitude of solutions, including new ways to acquire traffic (e.g. influencers), optimizing conversion rates for increasingly-expensive traffic, and of course maximizing LTV for those hard-earned first-time customers.
Challenge #2: Balance is Required Between Direct-to-Consumer Sites and Other Channels
The majority of our merchants sell not only on their own store, but via at least one other channel as well (be it Amazon or a third-party retailer such as Sephora). While margins are significantly improved when they’re not shared with other channels, many brands are reluctant to sacrifice the volume and brand exposure offered by retailers with larger reach.
Many of our brands choose to confront this problem by trying to recapture as many purchases as possible, such that second and third purchases are made on the D2C site rather than the original channel. Loyalty points are a great start, but we also know that there’s more we can do to help merchants tackle this challenge.
Challenge #3: Our Merchants Have a Lot on Their Plates, Too
There are easily 10 categories of marketing software available to merchants today, especially for brands at scale. Multiply that by the number of providers that a merchant needs to evaluate, and it’s easy to imagine a marketer spending the majority of her time listening to demos. Moreover, once a marketing team has selected a partner, she has an incredible number of contacts to manage when it comes to receiving support and advice. As we spoke to clients, we learned that many of them see an incredible amount of value in using multiple products from the same provider – even if those products aren’t even connected to each other!
The Answer Lies Not in Point Solutions, But an Interconnected Suite.
Swell’s plan was always to add new products to our incentive marketing suite, as evidenced by the release of our Influencer Management tool earlier this year.
Not only does a single suite solve the tactical “multiple technology partner” conundrum faced by many of our mutual clients, but we believe it’s the foundation of a significantly more robust marketing platform. As additional services are consolidated under one roof, our understanding as to how a customer engages with a brand becomes deeper, which allows us to deliver more personalized experiences on behalf of the brand.
In other words, we don’t believe that there’s one “silver bullet” to solve all of the challenges e-commerce marketers face today. Instead, a suite of tools to help marketers with acquisition, conversion, and retention has the opportunity to facilitate meaningful continued growth for our merchants.
Historically, we’ve been able to do this with our combined rewards and referral experiences, but have always had our sights set on obtaining a more wholistic understanding as to how a given customer is engaging with a store.
When we first met Yotpo’s leadership team, we were struck by how similarly they viewed the world; Yotpo’s Commerce Marketing Cloud is a perfect reflection of our belief that marketing tools perform best when they don’t stand on their own. Yotpo has made strides down the suite path on their own as well, and our mutual merchants will begin to see meaningful product synergies rolled out in the years to come – we’ll soon be offering much more than points for product reviews!
Tactically speaking, Yotpo is going to help Swell add significant value overnight. Near-term items on our roadmap are going to get shipped faster, our customer service capabilities will be multiplied significantly, and our larger merchants will benefit from an ever closer relationship with their Client Success Manager.
Just as important, the Swell team is joining a larger organization that shares a number of our most important values. We’ve always been obsessively customer-centric, scrappy, and motivated, and it’s incredibly exciting that our new colleagues are exactly the same way.
We’re Excited for the Future.
Both ourselves and our team are eager to continue executing on our vision for Swell, and are immensely confident that the Yotpo team is going to help us achieve milestones which would have been years away in a matter of months instead. We continue to have big dreams for Swell, and are looking forward to what the future holds for our shared merchants.
-Josh + Jim