Owned it is a suite of marketing apps that helps online retailers create, deploy and test various social, referral and marketing campaigns. The platform has social shopping boosting modules that retailers can use to offer their customers social referral opportunities on most of their e-commerce pages. The app was developed by Manoj Krishnapillai, Sonu Bubna and Ram Kumar. Krishnapillai, an entrepreneur at heart, was instrumental in founding MobME, one of the most recognised young telecom startups in India, as a student. Bubna, a UK MBA graduate and qualified accountant, brings her financial advisory experience with one of the Big 4 accounting firms to the table while Kumar, an Illinois Institute of Technology alumnus, has several years of experience in managing key projects with online giant Yahoo.
Krishnapillai, Bubna and Kumar noticed that the creation of marketing and customer engagement campaigns required retailers to coordinate efforts in various divisions, such as the marketing, creative and technical divisions. Moreover, retailers had no way of knowing if their campaign would fetch them the results they wanted. As a result, it is difficult for SME retailers to undertake campaigns of that kind. Owned it addresses this problem and makes it simpler for retailers to effectively engage with their customers. Once integrated, all customer engagement campaigns can be created from Owned it’s backend without making any changes to the code.
Owned it helps retailers in several ways, by allowing them to create a variety of marketing, referral, social and customer engagement campaigns on the go on different channels such as webpages, landing pages, emails and newsletters. The campaigns can be configured for a variety of purposes including revenue generation, customer engagement/acquisition, brand awareness, automating social conversations, building fan and follower bases on social networks, assessing the social influence of customers and listening to brand conversations in real time. For example, Owned it helps retailers convert the much ignored order acknowledgement/confirmation page to a place where product conversations can be created on social networks.
Buying a product online produces positive feelings in the customer, and Owned it taps into this by making it possible for the customer to share their purchase on different social networks. The customer’s friends and followers are more likely to trust their word on the product, and the retailer can incentivise the social action of sharing. These incentives in turn encourage customers and their friends/followers to shop that particular brand. Owned it also has modules that help retailers create communities based on product conversations. This can involve customers sharing photos from or creating a community around a particular retailer/brand on social networks or brands acquiring genuine and dedicated fans on the very same networks.
Owned it works on the idea that people want to be at the forefront of trends, know what’s new and keep an eye on what their friends are buying. The platform encourages customers to share their purchases right after the checkout process and then logs and displays all the purchases that have been shared on social networks. Krishnapillai, Bubna and Kumar pitched this idea to Oxygen and were accepted for their Accelerator program. Seed funding from Oxygen enabled them to build the platform and the team started approaching online stores to integrate their system. Many of these stores suggested building a dashboard after using the platform for a few days so they could gain a better overview of product sharing trends.
Owned it’s team used the feedback to build a system to encourage product referrals which could provide retailers with detailed analytics. As the number of stores using their system grew they added more apps and scrapped their initial idea of creating a platform for customers in favour of creating a platform for stores. With Oxygen’s help, a private beta was launched for a select few retailers and Owned it started looking for more investment; funds were raised from Finance Birmingham and private angels. The public version was launched in autumn 2012, and is currently being used by more than 600 retailers from 30 countries. Most of them operate in the consumer electronics, gadgets, gifts and fashion sectors, but Owned it is looking to engage more with the wider e-commerce community in the near future.
Owned it can easily be installed as a plugin for major e-commerce platforms such as Magento, Opencart, Zencart, Ubercart, osCommerce and Shopify; for custom platforms they provide an integration guide. Currently, its competitors are Extole and Referral Candy, both of which are customer referral platforms. However, unlike them, Owned it is positioning itself as a springboard for stores to try out different marketing campaigns, such as social offers, or generic campaigns without a social aspect, such as with their feedback app. You can see Owned it in action below.