RECOMMENDATION – Marketing The online recommendation platform sobu, founded by Swiss Post, has been continued by its inventor Roberto D’Elia since 2016. In an interview with MK he reveals his expansion plans, the advantages of recommendation marketing and the planned innovations in “sobu 3.0”..
The online recommendation platform sobu was founded by Swiss Post in 2011. What is the balance sheet after five years? Roberto D’elia With sobu, Swiss Post could open up a new form of use of social networks for both customers and shop operators. More than 220 online shops and over 62,000 users are currently using this opportunity. The conversion rate is over 20 percent – a proud value and hardly achievable with a classic marketing campaign. This reinforces our belief and vision that the future of marketing is digital word of mouth. MK What advantages does the “Recommendation” advertising form offer? D’elia Numerous studies have shown that consumers pay less attention to traditional forms of advertising. For example, click rates for online advertising have fallen dramatically. Various affiliate networks have also withdrawn from business in Switzerland. This reinforces our theory that the consumer is being overly and too often covered with unnecessary and ineffective advertising. this leads to consumers relying more and more on honest recommendations from their friends. With our business model, we do exactly that – we focus on the most credible of all sellers, the consumers.
Why is it worthwhile for an online shop to be part of sobu? With sobu, every online shop can increase the traffic on its website in a natural way: through recommendations from convinced customers. In this way he can win new customers and thus increase sales without generating fixed costs – because sobu works purely performance-oriented. Due to the high visibility in the social media, the level of awareness is automatically increased, and that completely in vain. The emerging issues such as cookies and ad blocking are not a problem with sobu as the whole process is session based. MK The company plans to launch in Germany in 2017. What are the reasons for that? D’elia sobu was never developed for just one market. It was clear to us from the start that real sobus success is only possible with international scaling, because the Swiss online market is very limited and is governed by the two powers Coop and Migros. At the same time, it makes us proud that one of these two powers has informed us of their intention to develop something similar to Sobu. For us, this is further proof that sobu is a marketing tool for the future and at the same time it is also a driver for driving innovation at sobu.
Parallel to this expansion, the internet platform “sobu 3.0” was launched, which is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2017. What are the most important innovations? D’ELIA The major innovations can be found above all in the areas of usability and availability. We asked our users about various topics over the course of the year. This feedback flowed directly into the development and with the new platform. In addition, we are also realizing sobu in the physical channel under the project name “ubiquitous”. What does that mean specifically? D’elia This means that you are new to sobu and can also advertise and recommend in a restaurant or in a retail store as well as in the online business. Opening up the e-commerce market is just the beginning. The goal is the integration of the entire trade (online & offline). I cannot and do not want to reveal more about this. But you can be curious about what’s to come. In the end, we have our pioneering spirit in this area to thank for. What other innovations and extensions are planned for the future? D’elia The social media market is changing very quickly. Waiting is not an option for sobu. With the new Platform 3.0, we as sobu Group AG will primarily gain a foothold in German-speaking countries. With over 18 million potential sobu users in Germany (according to the GfK study 2015), a very attractive market is opening up for sobu. The e-commerce volume of over 80 billion in Germany also speaks for rapid expansion. In the USA, we are planning to open what is probably the most important e-commerce market in 2017 with a license partner. We are also convinced that the Asian market is at the beginning of a very strong digitization and an e-commerce boom Here. With the Mark market entry in Germany, we have presence and intention to take a leading role in social commerce.