Ecommerce merchants need several technology tools to put all the pieces of the marketing plan together. As a full-service ecommerce agency, we have formed partnerships with the best technology companies in the industry, and we're sharing the brains behind these businesses in our partner interview series.
One of the most common questions that we hear when working with ecommerce merchants is, "What type of customer loyalty program is right for my business?"
Smile.io has created a tool that not only helps answer that question, but then allows each business to create that unique loyalty program, specific to the idiosyncrasies of their fanbase.
In this video, we introduce Steve Deckert, Co-Founder, and he talks to us about the history of Smile.io.
Alene: As you know, here at Groove, music is a very big part of our culture. So, I wanted to ask you, if you had to pick one song to describe Smile.io, what song would it be?
Steve: So I think if I had to pick one song to describe Smile.io, I would probably say Starman, by David Bowie.
And the reason why I chose that was because I think where we want to go as a company is kind of like going to the moon, right? Like, back when John Kennedy said, we're going to the moon, in five years. We're kind of in that state, right now.
We know where we want to go. We don't necessarily know how we're going to get there, but we know that if we keep moving forward, and if we're innovative and work hard, we're going to get there, and it will be this new, unexplored world, which can be a little bit scary. But also, our curiosity makes us really want to go there, get to this new understanding of the world.
Alene: For those who don't know and maybe are not familiar with you, can you explain, who is Smile.io?
Steve: So Smile.io, we're all about helping our merchants keep their customers coming back to the online stores they shop at, right? So the way we do that is by creating rewards programs. We do loyalty point programs. We do VIP programs. We do referral programs. And any kind of program that can keep a shopper coming back to a store, we want to power that, basically.
Right now, we've got about 15,000 merchants around the world that are using our software to do that. And they use our software to reward their customers for completing any sort of profitable actions. It could be for purchasing or referring a friend, or for sharing a product on social media.
Alene: And you guys have just recently gone through a re-branding. Did you want to speak on that a little bit?
Steve: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So we used to be called Sweet Tooth. And Sweet Tooth was very much just a loyalty points program for our merchants. And so we found that, actually, while we were offering just loyalty programs, the number one sales objection that we had was, "Guys, I love what you do. I love the VIP programs that you guys run, and the referral programs, but a points program isn't necessarily right for us."
And so we ended up allowing a retailer to run the loyalty program, or a referral program, or a VIP program, kind of separate of each other, or completely together into one program, if they wanted.
And in doing that, we kind of expanded what we are as a company. And so we changed our name
from Sweet Tooth to Smile.io. And the thought behind that is, no matter how you want to reward your customers, no matter how you want to make them smile, you should be able to do that with our software.
Alene: Steve, since you are the co-founder of the company, I wanted to ask you, what was the "aha" moment when - I guess it was Sweet Tooth back then - was born?
Steve: Yeah, so we used to be a consulting company,and we would consult a lot of retailers-- online retailers--about customizing their store, and how to improve things. And this is kind of back in the early days of ecommerce, around 2009.
And so, many of those retailers were so focused on customer acquisition. It was always about getting a new visitor, getting a new sale.
And then as soon as we have them signed up, OK, let's get another one. And no one was really focusing
on keeping their customers coming back and engaging with them. We saw that, traditionally, in offline,there were all sorts of rewards programs that existed. So the strategies already existed, but offline. But they didn't really make their way online in 2009.
So the aha moment was when we saw that, this is something that could totally work online. There's no reason why we couldn't do it.
We created Sweet Tooth, which was a loyalty points program, then. And when we launched
it, it just completely took off, with a ton of success, to the point where we shut down the consulting
company, and we just focused on Sweet Tooth, which is, now, Smile.io.
***end of transcript***
If you're interested in hearing more of Steve's interview, view Part 2 here. If you'd like to talk about building a program to make your customers smile or how to add loyalty to your marketing strategy, fill out this form to reach Smile.io and Groove.