No matter how good your digital marketing strategy is, word of mouth still trumps everything. In a Nielsen consumer trust study, 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
RASER lets you thank those loyal customers spreading good words with a small tip for referring new business. Upon downloading the app, you can refer your friends to your favorite businesses. When a referral becomes a new customer of the business, the user gets a tip. From the business side, they are only billed after the new customer scans the QR code at the register or on their receipt. Easy!
“A large part of the foundation of RASER is gratitude,” says Kim Ribbans, COO and co-founder. “RASER offers a close and personal way for a business to tangibly say ‘thanks’ to the customers that support them.” The team got the idea from their previous gigs as Lyft drivers, where tips are encouraged after a good interaction.
Here, Ribbans and the RASER team share more about the mission behind their referral startup, how they are competing against other discount sites, and how your business can benefit from its marketing strategy.
What’s your current funding status?
We are currently bootstrapped, looking to pursue funding when we have completed our current phase of refining the platform and collecting sufficient data to prove the business model. Investment will be pegged to providing scaling opportunities for the platform.
What’s your pitch?
RASER lets businesses show gratitude to their customers by offering them a small tip every time they refer their friends and building a customer base using the oldest marketing tool in the world: word of mouth referrals!
What problem are you solving?
We offer a guaranteed return on marketing spend. Traditional marketing channels require investing up front – whether for advertising, PR, etc. RASER only charges the business a fee when they acquire a new customer.
How’d you get the idea for it?
We both worked for Lyft in Atlanta pre-launch, and saw the growth that Lyft and other companies such as Uber and Square achieved through referrals. RASER was created to bring the power of referrals to all businesses.
How does RASER provide referrals for businesses?
A business will decide what they would like to offer as an incentive to their existing customers (a tip) in return for referring their friends. They can require the new customer to purchase a certain product or service, or just become a paying customer of the business. They extend the offer to their customers via regular communications channels, email, text, social etc.
RASER provides the business with a unique QR code. This can be printed on a receipt or kept at the point of sale.
When a new, referred customer completes their first transaction, they use the RASER app to scan the business’ QR code and RASER recognizes the new customer and the person that referred them. We deposit the agreed tip in the referring customer’s and the new customer’s RASER account, and bill the business. The customers can then cash out their tips to Paypal.
Please describe the market/industry impact.
RASER will disrupt traditional marketing and advertising models and present a new opportunity for businesses to tap into established social behavior (e.g. Shares and Likes) and use their own customers and a sales force. Users will be able to monetize their social behavior by being rewarded for their referrals and recommendations.
You have 900+ customers and 10 businesses so far. How’s the feedback so far from small business owners and customers?
We have made small adjustments and enhancements based on feedback from both groups. This has included providing the ability to share links to the offers outside of the app – text and email links. We have also honed in on our primary market, solo-preneurs, and growing specialized retail outlets.
RASER takes a small percentage of the tips that flow through the platform ($1 plus 10 percent).
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
In the area of local, community marketing we follow trends around companies such as Groupon and Scoutmob. RASER stands out from these models in providing only cash rewards (no discounts, BOGOs, or coupons).
We do not require the business to discount their products or services, but ask them to rely on the quality of their offering and the satisfaction of their existing customers, to provide a pool of qualified, new customer prospects.
We felt, as founders, a strong commitment to being part of a new gig economy that embraced thanks and gratitude. We want RASER to be an engine of that growth. One of the reasons that our model does not require membership, subscriptions or upfront costs is that we want to demonstrate that we believe in the platform and want our success to be tied to the success of the people who use it.
How does Atlanta weave into your startup story?
Atlanta’s growth in the last 20 years, and particularly the resurgence of the community of “villages” that have marked the last 10 years of downtown and in-town growth, has fostered a healthy spirit of small and growing businesses. We are both Atlantans by choice and feel that Atlanta is a perfect, social and economic cauldron for RASER. Our key business customers are those that want to grow, Atlanta is a growing city.