Wowcher, the performance marketing platform, connects business with over 20 million people across the UK and Ireland. Website, app and emailed offers are tailored to subscribers across 52 cities, offering up to 80% off deals in their local area, as well as money off vouchers for big national brands.
The company has audacious plans for growth – including recruiting new merchants, opening offices in more cities, and bolstering customer reach and interaction through affiliate marketing and a fast-growing social media presence. It’s investment in technology – with a 35-strong tech team – is at the heart of strategy, allowing Wowcher to constantly build new products and improve services for both merchants and subscribers.
Travel companies, health and beauty salons, spas, restaurants and retailers use the platform to promote their brands, grow revenues and boost new customer acquisition. Wowcher says that its service provides a great way of driving repeat purchase from new customers, stating “where in many cases as many as 90% of customers are new to brand, around 90% of these customers say they will purchase from this customer again.”
Retail Connections spoke to Dan Martin, Wowcher’s Managing Director for Local Services and Travel (pictured below), to explore the company’s proposition and find out what’s planned for 2019 and beyond. Here’s what we discovered:
It’s an entirely success-based medium
For retailers, spas and restaurants signing up to Wowcher as a marketing platform, there’s no upfront fee, so there’s no cash risk for businesses participating. If someone purchases a voucher, then a fee kicks in. “For this reason, Wowcher is a useful choice for smaller, local businesses that want to build their customer base, raise brand awareness or try out some seasonal marketing without risking a big financial outlay,” says Dan. If sufficient numbers sign up to the deal, merchants get an influx of new customers, many of whom convert into repeat business. They also benefit from a surge in hits to their website, increasing brand awareness.
Packaged deals are tailored for maximum impact
Wowcher sees itself as an ‘inspiration platform’. By putting attractive, relevant offers in front of customers Wowcher aims to inspire purchases that wouldn’t otherwise have happened. “The value add is very much in how we create a schedule of deals of what we want to put in front of the customer,” explains Dan. “It’s different every day and we merchandise our marketing communications – from the personalised web pages to emails to push notifications – with carefully curated content that gets results. The bulk of revenue is led by how we merchandise the site.”
Personalisation engines ensure strength and relevance of content
Wowcher can offer different levels of personalisation, dependent on how well a customer is ‘known’. “We use more than one personalisation engine based on how engaged they are with the site,” says Dan. “If we know a lot about a member, with lots of data on email click-throughs and previous voucher purchases, we can tailor offers and recommendations very tightly. But if a person is a sporadic user a different engine will work out the best offers using some other algorithms. We can look at similar customer types, popular recent views and choices, local services that are popular and so on, to create the ‘best fit’ of curated offers on email, or via push notifications.”
Meeting both local and national needs
A new Bristol office has just opened to ensure the 140k plus subscribers in the Bristol and Bath area, and the local business community, are properly supported and served. “We need to be in the market to get everything right,” explains Dan. “We’re well established in cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow and of course London, because we have offices on the ground, with sales people constantly engaging with local businesses and brands. We’ll do the same in Bristol and a host of other cities where we’re not already represented. To provide a really robust and effective marketing platform we have to talk to the merchants, find out what support they need, and make sure we’re helping them win customers and sales. The local population also deserves the best from us, and that means actually being in the market, not just paying lip service to it.”
Technology and people power the business
Commercial analysts make sure deals will attract interest. “We work hard with merchants to get the structure of the promotion bang on,” says Dan. “We can advise what will work, saying ‘you need to add a glass of bubbly, or an additional spa treatment’. We might suggest a percentage discount that we know will be essential to convert browsers. Our commercial analysts are very good at understanding where customers see value, so in this sense we are quite strict about what we will run. We don’t want merchants to have a bad experience and a lack of results, so we advise directly on the deal structure.” He says the real sweet spot – to generate new customers and retain profit margin – is to offer discounts of around 40% to 50%.
Growth through social channels, luxury and travel
As well as organic entry into the site, Wowcher is building its presence on social channels to generate new customers. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter followings are increasingly important, and Dan stresses their potential for push notifications to members “where they are all the time”. New elements of Wowcher have recently been launched to keep the site fresh and relevant. To tap into the high-end market, a VIP channel is now live on the London page offering vouchers for exclusive spa experiences, and cream teas at five star venues, for example. “We’re seeing a great deal of interest in offing something a bit special and upmarket,” says Dan. “We have also developed our travel section and can now offer dynamically packaged holidays. We’ve created a tool that can build the whole holiday including booking flights at the times people want to go, and we see a great deal of growth coming from this fuller service in the future.”