Startup: Inveterate reinvents loyalty programs for retail customers
software company Selling power reports that half of repeat shoppers make their second purchase within 16 days of their initial purchase, illustrating the importance of repeat customer engagement. Dylan Whitman recognized his importance when he ran BVA, his co-founded commerce agency that incubated and grew leading direct-to-consumer brands such as Kylie Cosmetics and Ipsy.
But getting customers to come back was tricky. On the one hand, while loyalty programs used to be common, the most common type – points-based programs – are ineffective at driving engagement and long-term sales; and while Amazon Prime-like loyalty programs were effective, they were expensive for retailers to create individually.
In addition, It has become more difficult for online retailers to target customers in part because of Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework, which allows users to opt out of being tracked for ad targeting or ad measurement purposes.
Walk in Inveterate, software that overlays Shopify to allow retailers to launch their own Prime-like program. The program allows customers to pay a monthly fee that gives them access to discounts on every order, free shipping, or access to exclusive drops. He had created a similar program for a BVA client and last summer he had the idea to create software that any Shopify retailer could use.
Two point eight million in funding and 11 employees later, Whitman launched Investerate on May 16, its 41st birthday. The reception has been “really, really great”, so far, he said. “Phenomenal.”
Some retailers have already signed up as customers, lured by LinkedIn – he reaches 19,000 followers on the site, largely people who have known him from his BVA days (which he sold to private equity in 2018 after having grows the company to more than 125 employees and eight annual sales). Inveterate also co-markets and hosts retailer events with adjacent Shopify software platforms such as Gorgias and Grin, in which Whitman was an early investor.
After moving to the area with his wife last year, Whitman said Greenville is a great place to do business because of the large educated workforce; in his world, there isn’t a ton of competition for talent. What surprised him, he said, was the thriving startup scene. “I think it’s a good opportunity” to do business here, he says. “A rising tide.”