Curebit Helps Online Stores Increase Profit Through Social Media [Interview]

Everyone knows that a happy customer is a returning customer, but how do you get your customers not only to return, but also to bring all their friends with them? Curebit is a cool new service that is empowering online companies to increase their profits through social media by asking customers to share deals with their friends online. I had the opportunity to ask one of Curebit’s founders, Nori Yoshida, a few questions about the service. Read on to find out what he had to say.

Before we get into my interview with Nori, lets take a brief look at what Curebit is and how it works. Basically, Curebit is a referral platform for ecommerce stores that gives existing customers the opportunity to refer their friends. When a customer checks out they will receive an offer to share with their friends (for example, both you and your friend receive $5 rebates if your friend makes a purchase). The video below does a great job of illustrating how Curebit works.

Curebit launched only a few weeks ago and is already seeing great results. Their customers, which include a gourmet cheese company, an online toy retailer and a well-known international electronics accessories brand, are already seeing an increase in sales thanks to referrals from Curebit.

Now that you know a little bit about Curebit, check out my interview below with Nori Yoshida. Nori founded Curebit along with Jeff Yee and Allan Grant.

Megan at Social Times: How did the idea for Curebit come about?

Nori Yoshida: Once we agreed we wanted to start a business together, we rented a house in Berkeley, away from our wives and fiancées to buckle down and concentrate on getting the business off the ground. We spent the first few months on a rapid trial-and-error approach where we would come up with an idea, quickly put together a prototype and then show it to customers. Based on our customers’ reactions we would then continue or shelve it and move on to another idea. Curebit was our third idea we tried and the reaction from potential customers was very positive and so we’ve decided to focus in on this idea. The idea itself came when we were at TechCrunch Disrupt. We noticed a lot of companies presented apps to give discounts to customers that are already buying some product when really, new customers are the ones who should be getting a discount.

Megan: Remember awhile back when Facebook Beacon would publish people’s purchases to their walls? A lot of people thought it was an invasion of privacy, not to mention a bit of a spam tactic. How are you avoiding this type of response?

Nori: The fundamental difference with our solution is that users aren’t simply sharing purchases – they are sharing a deal that only they can offer; their friends can’t get it any other way. They are never forced to share deals or share deals unknowingly. We make it easy to share, but it’s their choice (unlike Facebook Beacon which posted things to people’s walls without their knowledge). When a customer shares a deal from our system, they do it because they think its something their friends would actually be interested in (since they get no benefit unless some friend actually buys).

Additionally, when we present the original offer, we also send them an email with the details of the rebate. So far, we have not been “marked as spam” by a single customer, which we think is a good indicator that consumers are happy with our system so far.

Megan: Can you provide any statistics about Curebit’s user base and growth?

Nori: Certainly. We’re currently in private beta and have had a lot of requests to get into the program. We are being selective to make sure we let in the right stores (those aligned with our vision of “being good to the customer”) and continuing to improve the product before opening it up to a wider audience.

Since last week we’ve DOUBLED the percentage lift in sales. We are now providing a 2.7% increase in sales for our beta customers. We believe we can still get this much higher.

I think Curebit sounds like a fantastic way for ecommerce stores to increase their revenue via the oh-so-popular social web. If I found a great deal online I would be more than happy to share it with my friends (especially if I got a great deal out of it too!). So what’s your take on Curebit? Would you share deals with your friends online?

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