Two Sydney-based entrepreneurs have created a “time machine” that allows marketers to track retrospectively or in real-time what their competitors are doing and how their own changes impact on customer decision-making.
CompeteShark, co-founded by Kiran Kumar and Shaun Thambyah, is a SaaS startup that analyses specified competitor websites and instantly notifies the user when a change is made.
The changes are on a micro-level, and can be anything from A/B tests to updated copy.
These small changes can be crucial for marketers, Thambyah says.
Customers are generally price-conscious or offer-conscious, they go wherever the best deal is,” he says.
“In highly commodified markets like insurance or retail the competitive landscape has the biggest impact over what’s going on.
“We offer a time machine feature that can show why your conversions were down on Thursday night. You can have a look and pick a time before and it’ll show you what your customers would’ve experienced across your website and your competitors’ websites.”
CompeteShark has just become the Sydney Seed Fund’s seventh investment, with the group contributing a $150,000 cash injection to get the startup off the ground.
This was as much about bringing a knowledge partner on board as the seed money, Thambyah says.
“We look to them to bring a bit of experience to the table,” he says. “We were looking for someone that aligned with what our vision for the product and market was.”
The money will be used on marketing and advertising, as well as being put towards the technology and data science side of things.
“The big part isn’t just content, it’s the data side of what we capture,” Thambyah says. “When we start capturing huge volumes of websites we’ll start to see some really interesting information.
“We need to have the right team available to help unearth that content and analyse it to get valuable insights.”
While there are many other services out there allowing people to access older, cached versions of websites, CompeteShark is unique in its automation and time, Thambyah says.
“There are lots that do very generic stuff across social networks, and some across websites,” he says.
“But our core focus is purely content. As companies are moving towards more automated experiences, the customer experience is becoming very dynamic. For any marketer to track that stuff manually is now impossible.”
Lessons in feedback
The pair originally came up with the idea for the service while working together on digital projects at Suncorp.
We were working with a lot of marketers and we kept getting asked the same questions on a regular basis: ‘something’s happened to our conversions and we can’t explain why, so can you guys work it out?’” Thambyah says.
“We spent a lot of time looking at the system and other aspects of our own data to work out why the sales were down for a particular period of time. What we realised very quickly was it may not actually be something you have control over, it might be what’s going on in the competitive landscape.”
In terms of major lessons gained from the development process, Thambyah says it’s important to seek out early feedback and advice.
“Get as much feedback as possible, even if it’s early stage,” he says. “Get it out as early as you can and be in a position where you can roll that feedback back into the platform. Get it validated from a few people and keep iterating on that development journey.”
It’s all about the customers
CompeteShark is now open in a public beta now, and users can sign up for a free two-week trial.
For the moment the key focus is on servicing all of the needs of the customers, Thambyah says, while another investment round will be opening in the near future.
“We love a customer, that’s the primary objective,” he says. “We want to acquire customers and make sure we’re providing a service that our customers love. There are quite a lot of them but we still converse with them one-on-one to see what’s working.
“It’s about creating the best product out there and giving that to the customer.”
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