This month, David Vince, Senior Partner Development Manager EMEA, at Acceleration Partners, caught up with Axel Wolrath, Co-Founder at Tipser.
Welcome Axel, to our partner spotlight! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how Tipser works?
I was involved in founding Tipser in 2011. Having spent the previous 10 years in the FMCG industry, myself, and the brands I worked with saw a strong need for better routes to the market. Meeting up with my two co-founders, we also concluded that ad-tech and the dominating schemes for online advertising had a serious flaw. They were all about moving consumers from the platforms where they browsed organically to a store somewhere else, to make a purchase. So, to put it very simply, we decided to build a technology and an ecosystem that takes stores to where the consumers are.
What are the top benefits for advertisers and publishers working with Tipser?
Advertisers have access to a wider audience, are associated with the best publishing platforms, and are endorsed by credible editors and influencers. Publishers can expect to gain better margins on products sold, whilst keeping the audience on the platform throughout the experience. Both can expect to have full customer data acquisition with every purchase.
As a technology company, you work closely with both advertisers and publishers. Have you had a similar experience working with both, or do you have to take a very different approach depending on who you're speaking to?
Tipser works most effectively when the right products are presented to the right audience. When content can be published with highly relevant and actionable shopping opportunities. When consumers are experiencing the offers that are presented to them, not as pushy and deceiving, but as consultative, valuable, and exclusive.
Much of our success is based on whether we can facilitate "brokering" of products to certain content or if content suits certain products. On the technical side of things, Tipser's publishing technology is more complex and strategically demanding than our merchant interface, which is relatively lightweight and fast to implement.
You've partnered with Shopstyle in the UK and the US. Can you tell us how that came about and the thinking behind it?
Shopstyle is a product discovery platform in its finest form. What Shopstyle is doing so well is indexing and curating all those products and making them findable based on millions of data points. Until recently, the business model for a platform like Shopstyle has been affiliate marketing. This makes sense since Shopstyle is part of Rakuten Rewards. However, as with any platform wishing to stay top of mind, the offering and customer service must continuously evolve. A natural next step in this evolution is of course to raise the bar for the service that Shopstyle can deliver to its consumers by introducing an on-site, 100% native checkout.
Buying products straight from publisher sites lends itself very well to fashion brands. Are there any other industries you feel this could work particularly well in?
Fashion and beauty are very interesting and relevant due to the great amount of content being produced. To us and the publishers, we work with, the product category is only as important as the relevance to the consumer. For example, if the consumer is part of an audience of gamers, musicians, or homeowners, we have a clear idea of what products they might be interested in. Books are one of those things. Many online publishers run a book review section and a few of them have equipped their reviews with a "buy the book right here and now" button. In fact, quite a few of our publishers, use Tipser to run their subscriber benefits shops. This could offer pretty much anything the said subscriber base might be interested in if it is of good quality and a good offering.
The US is the latest market you're looking to crack. How are things going over there and what's the next country you're targeting?
The US, UK, and Germany are our top priorities right now. Due to the size of the market, the US is getting the most of our resources. We are live with several publishing platforms already, including Bustle, W magazine, The Zoe Report to name a few, and are scaling our local presence under the management of Lauren Buerger (US Managing Director). Our plan for the moment is to invest our efforts into scaling the US market, both in terms of publishers that use Tipser to build up their new e-commerce initiatives, but also with brands who want to grow their presence and conversions with digital consumers. As we are in an early growth phase right now, there are fantastic opportunities for both large and medium brands that want to go for the opportunity to be the first in servicing this brand-new consumer experience.
You work in a fast-paced industry and things are changing all the time – what upcoming plans do you have for Tipser over the next couple of years?
The industry has only just started picking up on embedded commerce, but already we can conclude that almost all the large social networks, big publishers, and platforms have started designing their strategies, and many have launched trials and P.O.Cs. Some are even running native checkouts already, like Instagram in the US. We will continue to be grateful we had this idea so early on so that we can call ourselves both thought and market leaders in this niche. As for the Tipser product, our ambition is for internet users to have the ability to buy anything, anywhere and from anyone. We are only at the beginning of that journey.
Lastly, if you could work remotely from any location in the world, where would it be and why?
I would pick a small cottage on a small island in Stockholm's vast archipelago. Why? Being in touch with the elements, with a fast 5G internet connection, only an hour by boat from Stockholm city is perfect in every aspect!