Robin Martin, CEO at Intelligent Reach
“We help retailers, brands and their digital agencies dramatically enhance their digital revenue through product data.”
Founder: Steve Rivers
Co-Founder: Andrew Thomas, Matt Sullivan
Founding Date: 2009
HQ Location: London (UK)
Other offices: Melbourne (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Tokyo (Japan)
No. Employees: 65
Customers include: PrettyLittleThing, Boohoo, HP, JD Sport, Public Desire, Nike, Marks&Spencer, Halfords, Clarins, Pets-at-Home, EE
What does your company do?
Intelligent Reach provides a Software as a Service, Product Marketing Platform for retailers, brands and their digital agencies, to improve their products’ visibility across digital channels, such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon and Ebay, to name a few.
Working with ecommerce and digital teams & agencies, we help retailers and brands optimise, test and syndicate their product data feeds – the all-important source of product information that power the digital promotion of products on key sales channels.
Our platform ensures that product data is optimised and relevant for each sales channel, to build higher impressions and clicks, and ultimately increasing online sales conversion and revenue.
How would you describe your vision?
Intelligent Reach was founded with the core belief that getting products in front of online buyers across key digital sales channels and marketplaces should just be easy.
Digital teams working in the ecommerce space face multiple operational and tactical challenges, and we have designed our platform from the ground-up to help them streamline their work and dramatically improve ecommerce digital revenue through product data.
As the platform is built for digital professionals by digital professionals, it’s extremely powerful and it feels intuitive and easy-to-use, unlocking growth opportunities that they couldn’t achieve before. We want to make marketers, super-marketers!
What challenges do retailers and brands have?
Internet retail sales in the UK grew by a staggering £1.86 billion in 2020, giving the industry a current valuation of £3.25 billion. To cut through the noise of an increasingly busy online eco-system, brands and retailers must sell their products on multiple channels – shopping engines, paid social, display, retargeting and affiliate networks, comparison shopping, marketplaces, and so on – each with its own constantly evolving data feed requirement.
While this is exciting, it comes with challenges. To make their promotion successful merchants have to ensure that the underlying product data is accurate and up-to-date, inventory levels are consistent, and the consumer journey streamlined. This produces enormous amounts of data, putting a considerable strain on digital teams, marketing resources and human resource spend.
In the current climate, failure to optimise data feeds correctly can seriously affect the profitability of online retailers. Limited product visibility and poor control over data feeds leads to low engagement levels, diminished revenues and reduced overall customer satisfaction. Further challenges are not being able to optimise performance at product level, limited capability for tracking performance across advertising platforms and match ads performance metrics with product data, and limited analysis.
This sounds like a lot…
And there is more. Not only their feeds need to be optimised, but they need to be relevant to their target audience.
Let me give you an example. If I were a retailer selling shoes, and if I were to advertise a specific product – Wellington Boots – on Google, how should I optimise my shopping feed to appear in front of people looking to buy this product? I would probably use “Wellington Boots” as a Product Title. Would this be the best choice to drive impressions and clicks? Looking up the search term on Google Trend, I could easily find out that I would be missing out on visibility opportunities. As a matter of fact, the search term “Wellies” has much higher volumes. In simple words, buyers use the term “Wellies” when they want to buy Wellington Boots.
In other words, “Wellies” is more relevant to buyers.
This idea of relevance can be stretched to a much wider dilemma – what product attributes should I include in the title? Brand? Size? Colour? In what order? Do buyers use different search terms in different seasons/shopping occasions? Should I change my product titles based on peak retail period? And what about product images, and product types?
There is not an easy answer. It ties back to building feeds which are relevant to buyers. Relevance is hard to build, but it a crucial lever of success.
How are you prepared to meet those challenges?
We invest a lot in our platform, to constantly innovate and provide our clients with what they need to conquer their digital challenges.
Our clients can import, optimise and syndicate their feeds easily, and we have built powerful features to simplify optimisation at scale.
When they import their feeds, customers can easily spot errors and fix them in a few clicks. Channels are constantly refreshed to assure data consistency and accuracy.
And we help by automating as much as we can.
As an example, our recommendations are powered by AI. Our Machine Learning model is trained on millions of data points to analyse a single product’s attributes and make relevant and accurate category recommendations to improve visibility. When they plug into our platform, our clients can benefit from these suggestions and automate these parts of the optimisation process.
Once onboard, they can list their products on thousands of channels, leaving the technical complexity to us, and focusing just on their selling journey.
It seems like relevance is a deal-breaker. How do you help with that?
Relevance is built by clearly understanding buyer’s intent and search terms, capitalising on what works, and ditching what doesn’t. To do that, digital marketers need to run tests – we suggest having a quarterly test plan in place.
In feed-powered advertising, running tests can be quite cumbersome. This is why we’ve created a powerful tool to streamline the process, and enhance the way marketers run tests.
Our Content Experimentation module helps running A/B and MVT tests with extreme ease.
An A/B test is when a control group is identified and a variant group is created by changing one – and only one – variable (such as adding size to the title), and tested against the control group, in the same timeframe. Not to be confused with before/after test, which compares two products group in two different timeframes. The latter is highly impacted by the time factor, and we highly advise against it.
An Multivariant test (MVT) uses the same core mechanism as A/B testing, but compares a higher number of variables.
With our platform, a test can be set-up in 60 seconds. When the test is completed and a winner is identified, feed variation can be rolled out with a click.
This powerful module enables digital marketers to quickly test variations of their feeds and take the guesswork out of their product data optimisation strategy, in turn building relevance. It unlocks new opportunities to drive incremental revenue.
Our Content Experimentation Module is changing the way our clients run A/B and Multivariant tests on their product feeds. It allows them to set up new tests in a few clicks, and it illustrates its impact on performance – all from one dashboard.
To give you context on the impact of testing, in the last 12 months, by optimising and testing their feeds, our clients generated +79% impressions, +109% clicks, +16.7% conversion rate – It means their products are found more, viewed more and sold more.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
If you think about the magnitude of feed-powered digital promotion for ecommerce selling 10,000s if not 100,000s of products, in multiple countries on multiple channels, you realise that the number of feeds and amount of data to manage can be quite overwhelming.
There is a clear risk from not having full control over this data, or not being able to build analysis with a required level of granularity, leading to weak understanding what works and what doesn’t, and suboptimal performance.
Unfortunately, the lack of control on a granular level can lead to money wasted and revenues lost.
Working in collaboration with our clients to deeply understand their obstacles and needs, we have developed a set of features to give them the control they need and embark in a virtuous cycle of data optimisation.
We call it the “Product Data Cycle” and it’s a way of working that we believe every successful player in the ecommerce industry will adopt.
In a nutshell, it’s about importing product data and enriching it for every product with performance metrics such as impressions, clicks, CTR, ROAS, pulled from main ad platform, such as Google Ads, via our Data Connector. Once data is enriched, low performing products can be easily identified, and they can be added to a test plan, via our Content Experimentation module. This allows them to transform low performing product into high sellers and monitor performance at product level, with our Performance Viewer. And the process is automatic. As a low performer starts generating results, it will be dynamically added back to business-as-usual campaigns.
Import-Enrich-Test-Monitor-Optimise is the frontier of data optimisation.
What retailers do you work with?
We work predominantly with medium to enterprise-level businesses, with significant investments in digital ads, or selling on third-party marketplaces. Within bid-powered advertising platforms, increased competition is leading to bigger investment in the market, driving a higher cost-per-click, increased cost of sales, and reduced ROAS and ROI. This is especially true for big companies, with large digital investments. Small inefficiencies add up to a depleted ROAS and a significant issue. Our clients choose us because we are a great solution to eliminate inefficiencies and improve product visibility and marketing performance.
How would you describe your growth, what have been the main points in your expansion and what has been key to your success?
Our revenues have been growing strongly over the last 5 years, including last year, through the pandemic that challenged many businesses. We expect to grow at the same pace over the next years, focusing on a mid-tier to enterprise level market, in Europe. and Australia. We attribute our growth to a good product which is easy to use and a clear understanding of what brands and retailers need to drive value. We have always tried to work closely with our customers and this has helped us develop features such as our Data Connector, our Content Experimentation module and our Performance Viewer to help our clients unlock impressive growth through their product data. To put this into prospective, our Content Experimentation module has been chosen by more than 80% of our new clients – as they are genuinely impressed by the opportunities it unlocks.
To find out how we helped Clarins cleanse their feed and boost impressions by 185% click here!