What Retail Apocalypse? Q&A with Real-time Personalization Wunderkind RevLifter

RevLifter employs AI to offer personalized real-time deals, enhancing engagement and conversions for retailers. Their solutions like RevPage and RevConvert provide tailored experiences, resulting in increased revenue and engagement. The company’s success lies in their customized approach, utilizing AI-driven deal triggers to suit each retailer’s goals.

What Retail Apocalypse
Richa Dani
Richa Dani
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Read time: 8 mins

What’s in your customer’s cart—and how can you make sure they continue on their purchase journey? RevLifter can help you with that. They provide retailers with an AI-driven platform that delivers personalized deals in real time to customers. How do they do it? 

impact.com’s Richa Dani, Director of Strategic Partnerships, asked Revlifter’s GM of North America Jim Harriman to shed some light on how RevLifter gets the remarkable results they do.

Richa: RevLifter saw a need for affiliates to offer personalization to help drive more engagement from consumers. Can you tell us about some examples of how that works?

Jim: Most of our campaigns will demonstrate some form of improvement to UX or customer engagement. With HP, for example, we were able to serve personalized experiences to business users and gamers in order to raise their AOV and keep them on-site for longer periods. 

Our strategy was to promote high-value products and launch “takeovers” based on weekly, daily, and hourly sales targets. This required the use of our RevPage solution to issue deals according to customer behavior and live cart data. In one scenario, if a shopper was about to make a low-value purchase, we’d deploy a “stretch and save” deal to encourage the addition of more items for a bigger discount.

RevPage used SEO and PPC to target customers looking for coupons on Google. After landing back onto the site, they were treated to pages that reflected their interests. 

The conversion rate for RevPage was 141% above a well-known electronics retailer’s affiliate program average, while the personalized journeys kept customers on-site for 41% longer than their nonpersonalized counterparts.

Richa: According to recent press, RevLifter “influences 10 million online baskets every day, powering incremental revenue through personalized deals for 90 global brands across five markets”—and yet you as a company are only two years old. How did you grow so quickly?

Jim: When we first started RevLifter in 2017, we wanted to design something that was easy to implement. Our technology gleans signals from shopping carts, customer behavior, AI, and external data points (e.g., weather forecasts, UV levels) to achieve one-to-one personalization. 

We use a bespoke algorithm to ensure that every deal suits both the customer and the retailer. And if a situation changes —  for instance, when someone removes an item from their cart — our solutions can dynamically alter their design, messaging, and deals to stay relevant and opportunistic.

Despite our level of advancement, RevLifter is available through the inputting of just a few lines of code. This is how we collect the data needed to personalize the end user’s experience. In some cases, we can be implemented through a network’s master tag, which makes it even easier to get started.

That aside, I don’t think we’d have grown quite so quickly without our amazing results. We’re increasing revenue, AOV, new customer levels, profit and margin for some of the world’s biggest brands, including HP, ao.com, EE, Puma, and Europcar. By outperforming regular coupon affiliates by a significant margin, the technology is almost speaking for itself. 

Richa: RevLifter recently raised nearly $2.8 million dollars in investment. How do you plan to use that influx—will you focus on marketing, developing technology, something else? 

Jim: The immediate plan is to bolster our presence in high-growth markets. This will see an increased focus on the United States, which already accounts for 30% of RevLifter’s customer base. We are on course to raise this to 70% by 2022. 

In the meantime, we’ll be investing heavily in our product lineup, which is currently being led by RevPage, a dynamic deal page, and RevConvert, a powerful on-site messaging tool. Without giving too much away we’re working on an omnichannel solution that will use display and email to bridge the gap between on-site and in-store. Our goal is to provide more insight into the type of customers that shop with a retailer, and more opportunities for targeting them.

Richa: RevLifter adds personalization across the entire consumer journey. At which stage have you found the personalization to have the most effect, and why do you think that is?

Jim: We’ve definitely seen the impact on deal-searching customers. When someone heads to Google in search of a discount, they invariably land on coupon sites that have no idea who they are and the value they represent. They’re left to browse a series of irrelevant offers (potentially from competitors of the brand they’ve just been exploring), many of which are invalid or expired. 

Our pages are designed to fit natively with the retailer’s own website and branding, which enables us to offer a consistent UX. Each shopper is targeted with deals that mirror their value, preferences, and interests, giving them more reason to convert.

Our analysis also reveals a huge drop-off in customers that already have items in their cart. We’ve addressed the onset of cart abandonment by predicting when a customer is likely to exit a website, based on their opening of separate tabs and other signals. We can then use RevConvert to improve conversion rates at this stage of the journey. 

Richa: In recent years, we have heard about the resistance that consumers have to having companies know too much about them. How do you know when it is enough or too much personalization? How does RevLifter calibrate its AI to account for this?

Jim: I think it’s mainly about the value you bring and what the customer gets in return for their information. As RevLifter uses data to serve personalized deals, our clients are assured that we are always giving something back to the shopper at the other end.

Admittedly, it’s hard to gauge when you’re actually being useful. You can discover a bit more about RevLifter’s stance on “the tipping point between useful and creepy” here.

Richa: How do you work with retailers to determine the rules for their goals? How do the rules vary from retailer to retailer—is it different for a home goods store versus a beauty brand, for example?

Jim: All retailer goals are completely different and RevLifter is definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every relationship starts with a kick-off call to discuss challenges and opportunities. Our initial motive is to understand what the retailer needs and how our solution can adapt to their unique requirements.

Our work alongside a well-known eyewear brand saw us promoting lenses according to the hourly tracking of UV levels is a prime example of RevLifter’s tailor-made approach. On other occasions, we’ve been able to serve deals according to the customer’s gender, the weather, and stock keeping units. In any case, our inspiration comes from the retailers, their shoppers, and goals for incentivization.

Richa: According to MarTech Series, “Revlifter’s AI-powered Deal Intelligence Engine’s . . . rules can incorporate any desired deal trigger that relates to individual users such as geo-location, weather, customer lifetime value, or knowledge of whether the user is a new or existing customer.” What advice can you give to retailers on what deal trigger is best for them? 

Jim: Don’t just personalize for the sake of it. Spend time looking at the customer journey and see where people are abandoning their purchase. 

Retailers can fall into the trap of assuming that big challenges require large-scale improvement. But you’d be surprised what can be done with minor tweaks to your website and incentivization process. We advise starting small and building on that foundation.

Richa: Increasingly, there is some fear of AI in mainstream media. Have you run up against any fear of AI in your careers, before or during RevLifter’s rise?

Jim: Not at all. Our research shows that customers are demanding more personalized shopping experiences from brands that know who they are, and what they need to convert. AI — and technology in general — is accepted as a means of enhancing their journey. 

By comparing RevLifter’s performance with that of a traditional coupon affiliate, we see a huge divide in terms of both revenue and the rate of conversion. That comes from being able to generate a better experience, which is powered by AI.

Performance marketing and e-commerce are both driven by technology and innovation. AI is just the latest concept to push them forward.

Richa: How do you typically work with brands on the impact.com platform? Can you outline the process for brands that are keen to work with RevLifter?

Jim: It’s a simple process and one that relies on the addition of our script onto the brand’s container tag. The rest of the work comes from our designers and campaign managers, who operate diligently to create pages, build algorithms, and get everything ready for launching.   

We oversee the entire process, where we shift virtually all of the technical strain away from our clients, and onto our team and platform. 

Richa: According to some, we are in a retail apocalypse. What do you see for the future of retail?

Jim: We can safely say that retail is not dead. Some of the more traditional practices are becoming stale or even obsolete. When you consider that physical store openings grew by 50% last year, and that 91% of all sales came from brick-and-mortar locations, The forward-thinking, innovative brands with a customer-focused mindset would be surprised to hear that we’re in the middle of an “apocalypse.”

When considering the continued explosion of online (up 18% globally in 2018), I think we’re entering a very exciting, albeit very different period. Retailers are having to adapt in order to survive. They need to listen to their customers and give them a reason not to jump over to Amazon, or any one of their competitors. 

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