LTP recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rahul Mewawalla, CEO and President of Everfave. Rahul is the former head of US’ first technology program in SF with the White House, and previously ran one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing mobile commerce and payments services. He also held global leadership roles with companies such as Nokia, NBC Universal, Yahoo and GE. He was named of the ‘Top 40 under 40’ and awarded the ‘Future Global Mobile Gold Award’ for business and technology innovation. Rahul is a speaker at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Wharton, Yale, the University of California and also serves on a number of corporate and philanthropic boards.
LTP: In addition to being supported by investors behind PayPal, Facebook, YouTube and other notable companies, Everfave was also named among the most viewed and most innovative companies in the US. Congratulations on such achievements! Can you provide us a brief introduction to Everfave and the solution that you bring to market?
Rahul Mewawalla: Everfave is an award-winning mobile and social-based customer acquisition and engagement platform for businesses that drives customer growth and sales uplift with full attribution and 10x ROI across offline and online. Everfave also provides real-time analytics and insights by product, brand, geography, SKU and customer demographics, behavior and journey.
Everfave’s customer growth and engagement platform spans apps, SDKs, cloud, and data analytics and enables businesses to easily convert their customers into evangelists and refer their products to their friends, and for businesses to offer referral rewards in an omnichannel approach. Our mobile and social-based referrals platform works across in-store, mobile devices, PCs, 25+ social networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, digital wallets, payment apps, messaging apps, email and SMS/text.
In addition, Everfave’s rich analytics and insights platform enables businesses to understand their customers’ preferences, product and category trends, and the purchase journey in real-time.
LTP: Everfave utilizes the value of social networks and referrals for business expansion. What are the main benefits of using Everfave solution for businesses? Could you please tell us about the value that you provide to your clients?
RM: According to Nielsen and the consumer study they conducted across 58 countries, 84% of all customers find referrals and word-of-mouth from friends and people they know to be more compelling than any other approach. Harvard Business Review and the American Marketing Association’s Journal of Marketing have also shown that referrals exponentially increase business expansion and significantly increase customer lifetime value, customer quality, and customer retention over time. In addition, the positive effects are even more profound in fast-growing markets like China.
Everfave’s platform analytics have also seen a similarly powerful impact – customers that come in through Everfave’s platform tend to spend 30–40% more, and have 2x engagement and purchase rates, and in turn, when businesses offer their customers the opportunity to become referrers, that results in higher retention, loyalty 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 10x ROI through the Everfave platform.
LTP: What is your view on the role of social media channels for businesses/commerce? Is social media being smartly leveraged by businesses? What are the advantages of word-of-mouth/referral approach for business expansion?
RM: Social and mobile channels have been tremendously successful – companies like Uber, Airbnb and Dropbox have grown tremulously in recent years using mobile and social referrals. If you are an online or offline commerce company or business, having a referral program today is a no-brainer. However, this represents just the start of the huge market opportunity – $300 billion is spent annually on shopper activation, trade funds and transactions incentives just in the US alone. Everfave’s platform is targeted bringing social and mobile referrals to the larger market such as (1) enabling omnichannel commerce businesses that operate across both online and offline 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 businesses such as their customers’ preferences, product and category trends and the purchase journey in real-time.
LTP: Could you tell us please about the competitive landscape? What companies do you consider your main rivals and what advantages does Everfave have over the competition?
RM: Driving customers towards purchase transactions across online and offline is a strategic priority for a number of companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. While these companies have made great strides in online commerce, Everfave’s differentiation is twofold – firstly, our platform works across online, offline, PCs, mobile phones, messaging apps, digital wallets, etc., enabling businesses to seemingly engage and activate customers across all channels, devices and stores. Secondly, Everfave’s platform and technology have been developed to be easy and effortless for businesses 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 – no hardware needed, no software needed, no complex integration. Everfave runs the entire system and provides the business with a dashboard, APIs and analytics feeds so they can simply track their results without any effort on their part. Large global businesses can also easily configure the platform and capabilities in line with their priorities given its modular nature. Small and mid-size 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.
LTP: What are the latest trends in commerce and customer engagement? Could you please share your insights on the new ways companies are looking to engage with their target audience? What are the challenges they face?
RM: We’re seeing some interesting trends – rich content that drives toward commerce and purchases such as tips, moments, photos, short form video, and sharing each other’s experiences related to the business or brand 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, we’re seeing certain social channels and messaging apps are growing more than their peers as we measure them on our platform. We are also seeing that offline and in-store referrals continue to be a huge untapped opportunity. About 90% of retail sales in the US 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.
LTP: In your opinion, what is the role of mobile technology and chatbots for commerce and brand engagement?
RM: Mobile commerce will soon be 50% of all digital commerce. We expect products such as Apple Pay, Walmart Pay and Starbuck’s mobile payments to continue to make great strides and make it easier for consumers to transact and use mobile capabilities like geolocation, messaging, social integration to enhance the commerce experience. Chatbots are also strategic since it now enables conversational commerce and provide an automated and scalable experience. Facebook, for e.g., has a new API for its messenger service, which enables businesses to interact with customers using bots. As you think about all of the emerging technologies and trends in commerce like mobile, real-time analytics, bots, enhanced offline and online integration, AR/VR, digital identity verification, etc., the next several years should be very exciting for consumers and businesses.
LTP: What plans do you have for Everfave and the development of the solutions you provide? What are some of the milestones you have set for yourself for future growth?
RM: Everfave’s customers are consumer-facing businesses, brands and retailers, especially those that have an omnichannel approach to how they engage with their customers and shoppers. We are working with some of the largest global businesses, brands and retailers across food & beverage, CPG, apparel and clothing, grocery, consumer electronics, financial services and e-commerce. Although North America represents our largest base of customers today, we are now expanding to Europe and Latin America since 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 international businesses who have seen our success with their North American counterparts and have asked us to expand into their markets.
We’re also seeing an increased usage of Everfave’s platform in conjunction with loyalty. For e.g., 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 referral programs. Typically, 55%–75% of loyalty program customers convert to also being evangelists. From a retailer or brand perspective, this 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.
We’re also driving next-generation advancements in mobile commerce and behavioral analytics and we’re also bringing new features to market like cross-business and commerce ecosystem benefits. For e.g., if there are complementary businesses located near each other or complementary products available online, we’re offering businesses enhanced capabilities using Everfave to drive an increase in commerce and sales uplift across the entire ecosystem.