New Product Experience Platform is a game changing martech stack for startups: Kedar Parikh of Netcore Cloud
In an exclusive interview with YourStory, Kedar Parikh, Chief Product Officer, Netcore Cloud interacts with early-stage startup founders about how Netcore Cloud’s one-of-a-kind fully-integrated martech stack can enable startups to plan and execute their campaigns effectively for accelerating growth.
YourStory (YS): As a startup founder, one of my core needs is to talk and engage with my customers. How can Netcore Cloud help me achieve this?
Kedar Parikh (KP): At , we have two broad platforms. One is Netcore CPaaS, which is a Communication-Platform-as-a-Service. Essentially, this is nothing but a simple way to send out your notifications. And these notifications could be triggered from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or transactional systems. For example, if you took an Ola ride the backend system will swiftly send you an email invoice on completion of the trip. Netcore Cloud offers the CPaaS platform by which you can simply trigger these emails, SMS or voice calls. There is no analytics, no segmentation applied to it. You have either completed a transaction or communication needs to be sent to you.
The other platform we offer is far more sophisticated and evolved. This is Netcore Cloud’s customer engagement and experience platform where the product principle is to listen, analyse and converse, which means we help you understand the user behaviour on your website. For example, what are their interests or their demographics? Accordingly, you then use this data to segment and personalise your engagement at an individual user level. This is where your campaign management, segmentation, analytics and personalisation comes in. This platform is more suitable for customer lifecycle journeys, onboarding journeys, activation, renewal, and more. So, these are two broad ways in which Netcore Cloud helps any brand, engage or communicate with its customers.
YS: I have access to many such martech products. Please help me understand what value addition the Netcore Cloud product will bring to my customer communication, engagement and conversion?
KP: So the short answer here is the martech landscape or the martech ecosystem today has over 10,000 products. And that's a staggering number, right? However, not all 10,000 of them do the same thing. Most are often purpose-built for a particular objective. For instance, you will have hundreds of solutions solely responsible for handling email marketing, or you would have a solution that just focuses on personalisation. Now, the problem for a marketer is to get 10 or 15 such diverse martech solutions to work seamlessly with each other. That's how you build a martech stack. And that's far more easier said than done, right?
Often, these products end up working in silos and result in wasted martech budgets and poor Return on Interest (ROI). And even worse, a very fragmented user experience. So, that's the problem we are solving. And that's exactly what sets Netcore Cloud apart. Netcore Cloud offers a full stack martech platform featuring a suite of solutions as a pre-integrated set of capabilities. This takes away the hassles of integrating multiple platforms and results in a much better customer experience.
YS: As martech experts, what are some key pain points that you have noticed startups facing across industry verticals? How is your product helping to solve these blanket challenges?
KP: Often startups in the growth phase focus a lot on acquisition. It's all about acquiring users, which simply means burning Venture Capital money on Google and Facebook and trying to outbid everyone else in the industry. However, 80 percent of users uninstall apps in the first week, so a chunk of your acquisition spend goes down the drain, and that's a big problem. Simply outbidding your competition to acquire users is like a race to the bottom.
The real struggle starts after a user lands on your website. How do you ensure that the user sees value from your product? How do you help them complete their transaction? And finally, how do you retain their interest so that they come back for more?
This is the biggest problem today in the industry. Retention is the new acquisition. Focusing on customer engagement, activation, conversion, and retention is what startups today struggle with.
And the way Netcore Cloud helps you solve this is with the customer engagement and experience platform. The Netcore suite of products helps you in every aspect, including improving your activation rates, conversion rates and retention rates by using analytics, Machine Learning and other solutions.
YS: In the early stages startups are low on resources. How easy is your integration? Does it involve coding? Do I need tech experts?
KP: We at Netcore Cloud are very strong advocates of the no-code or low-code philosophy – a philosophy that is gaining traction these days in the martech industry. A lot of the best tools and SaaS products that are being launched, closely follow this philosophy of no-code or low-code. This means you can use them without having to write a single line of code, or in some cases, very limited lines of code.
The products we offer, such as the product experience, platform, or even our email marketing solution will not require the expertise of a dedicated IT team. This saves you time, money, and resources. For instance, a typical onboarding, walkthrough journey of your app typically takes around 45 days. It involves somebody designing the walkthrough, then going to the Android or iOS developer and ensuring that the app is developed and released. Finally, companies have to wait for users to update their app. With Netcore Cloud’s no-code platform, all of this is just shortened to 15 minutes.
YS: What can you tell us about A/B testing and how this contributes to crafting a great customer experience?
KP: Experimentation is at the heart of improving conversion, retention, and overall customer experience. It is an iterative process, which means you move on from one experiment to another and you measure the impact.
For instance, say you identify one of the metrics that will result in maximum impact at any point in time. It could be activation, conversion, or referrals. And then you build a data-driven hypothesis, saying, if I make a particular change in my signup process, it will impact my activation rate by 15 percent. So, to build this hypothesis, you use Netcore’s low-code/no-code platforms to then conduct A/B testing or feature releases on a very small segment. Following this, you gauge the overall impact of the feature, and if it turns out that it has indeed moved the metric positively, you then scale it to 100 percent of the population. Then you move onto the next experiment. That's how it works.
In fact, one of Netcore Cloud’s clients - Mobile Premier League - ran about 800 experiments in a year; a feat that would be impossible without the agility and speed of a no-code platform.
YS: Can you help us with some industry use cases that can explain effectively how you helped clients achieve increase in user activation?
KP: Khatabook’s app allows small business owners (for instance, chaiwallas) to digitally record the credit they extend to customers. Customers can then clear their dues every week or every 10 days. However, a lack of guidance during the user onboarding state meant that most businessmen weren’t using the app to make their entries. Khatabook ran rapid multivariate testing across the onboarding journey. Testing was carried out in two variants and involved 15 percent of the app users.
By utilising no-code tooltip nudges in variant one, Khatabook saw a 3.3x uplift in the number of users, while contextual user flows and spotlight nudges to guide users in variant 2 saw a 3.5x rise in the number of users. Essentially, this case study was built on the understanding that small business owners like chaiwallas and panwallas may not be digitally-savvy enough to use the app. Making the process simple and guiding them through the app helped in retaining customers.
YS: Can you explain the spotlight nudge feature that can amplify user engagement for startups?
KP: Let me give you an example from the edtech sector. Many startups face a problem of lack of discovery for their features like Q&A, leading to low feature adoption rates and a dampened learning experience for their users. The need is to optimise user experiences by allowing them to seamlessly submit their questions and having their doubts clarified by the Q&A feature.
For a well-known edtech unicorn, Netcore Cloud’s Product Experience Program helped create an A/B testing to segment user journeys. The unicorn then deployed a no-code spotlight nudge highlighting the actions users needed to take in order to have their questions answered. Testing resulted in more than 33 percent of students using this feature to amplify their learning experience.