SalesTechStar Interview with Allon Caidar, CEO & Co-Founder at TVPage
Allon Caidar, CEO & Co-Founder at TVPage joins us in this chat to talk about the changing trends in digital influencer strategies that are redefining the marketplace for B2Bs and B2Cs; catch the complete QnA.
Hi Allon, welcome to SalesTechStar! We’d love to hear about the story and journey behind TVPage.
At the very beginning, my co-founder Matt and I had this idea to convert ecommerce sites to shoppable video-centric destinations for all salespeople that would power the future of retail. With that vision came TVPage, a platform that enables salespeople beyond the limitations of physical stores by activating video-centric storefronts for sales associates on e-commerce sites, where they can post shoppable content while earning commission. Online salespeople can be in-store associates or social influencers driving traffic to retailers’ websites from their preexisting social audiences, generating engagement and increasing sales. TVPage serves the entire experience and directly reports on all views, sales and conversion rates, and facilitates direct payments to ambassadors on their platform.
How has the platform evolved over the years, what are some upcoming additions and enhancements to watch out for?
Recently, TVPage enabled a live shopping feature for the retail e-commerce and gaming industries. Seeing a clear industry need for retailers to go touchless in a post-COVID world, coupled with increasing numbers of online shopping, the live shopping feature offers an additional engagement medium for online salespeople, enabling them to seamlessly recreate in store experiences. We’re now adding appointment scheduling capabilities and additional messaging and email integrations. This past month, we launched key integrations with SAP and Shopify to help expand our reach to target retailers of all sizes. We are also going live on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud and other ecommerce platforms soon. Our vision is to enable all retailers, big and small, to empower salespeople with storefronts in their online stores.
What are some of the changing trends that you’re observing in digital influencer strategies today (in B2C) that help drive sales and revenue from this model?
In today’s day and age, it’s not surprising that people want products and experiences that are easy and efficient, but they also hold high standards for personalization. Consumers want to know brands are listening, and this has drastically impacted influencer marketing strategies. Influencers today project real, authentic accounts of products, sharing personal stories and experiences that consumers can relate to. Consumers want a guided experience when purchasing products and hold the brands they trust to an extremely high standard. It’s not just about what the latest and greatest product is, but how it fits into your life. Brands who want to be successful today will invest in authentic, relatable salespeople to make human connections that last.
How are you seeing brands use more creative online methods like influencers to gain more traction in the ecommerce buying journey? Can you share a few thoughts on some of the most innovative applications you’ve come across?
Social selling has become an absolute necessity for stores. Enabling brands to turn on their sales team and amplify brand awareness through personalized, meaningful channels is critical in today’s online shopping environment. Social selling provides a level of accessibility that was never available before, keeping consumers engaged at home, especially during a global pandemic that has substantially decreased traffic in all physical stores. Some innovative applications include the scheduling of virtual appointments, live shopping sessions, 3D visualization of products, and other tools that give the salesperson the ability to deliver a journey that replaces the physical in-store experience.
In what ways are you seeing the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic drive a change in online selling models in B2C, how are influencer strategies changing to adapt to today’s business needs and challenges?
It’s simple: consumers want content they can directly engage with. With the impact of COVID-19 on brick and mortar stores, people lack human guidance and interaction. While retailers were already growing their online presence before COVID-19, the pandemic has accelerated the need to truly reinvent and prepare online stores for a new retail reality that is dominated by ecommerce. We’ve learned that safety and transparency are key values that consumers hold close when engaging with brands. If these two values aren’t present throughout all facets of the funnel, you risk losing loyal customers. Offering one-on-one support, live chats, and a truly guided experience led by experts ensures that these values are in place.
What are some of the biggest takeaways sales, marketing teams and business leaders should grab from this experience of working and living through a global pandemic?
Listen closely to your customers, and make sure that you are present for them. If we’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye, and it is most important to stay close to your customer and preserve that real authentic engagement.
Five best practices you’d share with every tech business leader / founder?
- Baby steps. The largest of goals require the biggest of visions. The hardest challenge for any visionary is to accept that you just can’t do everything overnight, and when you try, you are not only less productive, but you get frustrated and so does your team, which can lead to burn-out.
2. Agility. Adjust and respond rapidly, as needed.
3. Boldness. Don’t find yourself being too cautious. Make bold decisions.
4. Plan well. Make sure that you can actually achieve your goals with meticulous planning.
5. Listen and Learn. Seek feedback constantly so that you have the information you need to make the right decisions.
A parting thought on your biggest marketing, sales or leadership goof-up and the learning that came from it!
Most of us on the management side at TVPage are in our 40s, or at least it started that way. I guess one of the funniest mistakes I made is that I really thought I knew how to work with millennials. I just didn’t. I learned that the evolution of our world over the last 10–20 years has created a very different generation and I realized that I had to learn how this new generation thinks if I was to ever be successful today.
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I therefore made it a point to bridge this gap at our company and I must say that today we have found a nice balance, capturing the best from all generations. While there is a lot that the younger generation brings to the older generation, we all at TVPage agree that it definitely goes both ways. As kind of an internal joke, we name our tech after 80s movies and say that anyone who works at TVP at a minimum must be able to get to know these movies… I guess it’s both a joke about how old and nostalgic some of us are, yet at the same time helps bridge that gap in a humorous way.
Allon Caidar is a serial entrepreneur in the content distribution and media sectors. Allon is currently Co-founder & CEO of TVPage, a platform which enables sellers for ecommerce (sales associates and influencers), and activates seller storefronts on brand sites for shoppable content. Prior to TVPage, Allon was Co-founder & CEO of Opticomm, a Broadcast Video Systems Company (sold to Emcore). Customers at Opticomm included NBC, Sony, Viacom and ESPN. Prior to Opticomm, Allon was VP at Hotbar, an Internet Media Start-up that reached over 20M users and was successfully sold thereafter.
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