Welcome to this e-commerce business success story! In this profile, we interviewed Andrew Forman, the owner of Givz. Our hope is that you find this interview to be enlightening and inspiring as you seek to start and grow your very own online brand!
Our Interview with Andrew
Thank you for joining us for this e-commerce business success story! We’d like to start by getting an understanding of your backstory. How did you come to own your business?
My background is in investment banking (M&A and capital raising) and I also have experience as a treasurer of a nonprofit. When I went to business school I thought I’d join an early stage startup, I guess I had a hunch about my future! And, sure enough, as time went on the idea for Givz came up and I decided to fully chase my dream of running a business that did well and good at the same time. By definition, when Givz becomes a billion dollar business we will have sent tens (if not hundreds) of billions of dollars to people’s favorite charities and that’s what keeps me motivated to work so hard everyday.
Terrific! Now, this article is about profiling successful e-commerce businesses. So – can you share your top 3 keys to running a successful online brand?
Personalization & Connection – each of your customers is unique, so the closer you can get to giving them a personalized experience the more they will come back and encourage their friends to start with you.
Don’t over-discount – discounting trains your customers to think that your goods don’t cost market price – something that will drive sales in the short run but degrade your brand value in the long-term.
Measure everything – data is a buzzword for a reason, there’s so much of it out there! And, if it’s overwhelming, at least make sure you at least have a general handle on what you are spending and the ROI attached to it. (There’s my financial background showing!)
Excellent. Now, I’m sure it hasn’t always been that easy. Can you tell a story about one challenge, setback, or mistake that you’ve had to overcome on the road to success? How can others learn from your mistakes?
The biggest roadblock for me was the decision to fully pivot the company. We had built a base of 3,000 power users as a direct to consumer donation app, but ultimately the unit economics of this didn’t add up. We had two extremely successful pilots with brands giving their customers credit on our platform as an incentive for shopping (the very first donation incentives!). We pivoted immediately upon seeing 20% better conversion from donation incentives than discounts in both pilots. The only thing I wish I had done was run a pilot like that sooner. I wish we pivoted sooner. This is what we were meant to do and I’m happy to be where we are today fulfilling this new vision.
Thanks for that. Now – we want to know what’s next! What new initiatives are you rolling out at your business and what results are you hoping to see?
We have just rolled out the ability for brands to run multiple incentives at once and even schedule their whole year out ahead of them if they’d like, which is amazing. We have also implemented sharing functionality which encourages user generated content and expect to see a lot of social media activity so even more donations can get to amazing charities.
Sounds exciting! Any final words of advice for our readers?
Trust your gut. If you are starting a business you are confident deep down. Let that confidence come to the top and exude out of you. You are the expert in your domain, that’s why you started this business. Do everything you can to make data-informed decisions, but in lieu of data – trust your gut.
Brilliant! We want to thank you for participating in today’s interview. Hopefully our readers agree that there is a lot to be learned from your brand’s story. What links can our readers use to follow along with your journey?
Join me on LinkedIn! I’m sharing my thoughts nearly everyday and sharing recent articles here too. https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrew-givz/