Technology start-up Citrus promises to boost online sales for brewers by getting their beers into prime position on e-commerce websites.
Citrus is an online auction system that has digitised the concept of point-of-sale shelf space, according to founder and CEO, Brad Moran.
“Point of sale shelf space is the most valuable advertising that you can do,” he told Radio Brews News.
“And what we do is we enable that to happen in the digital world.”
Citrus says its online auction system is designed to give every brewer the chance to achieve the coveted number one search spot.
The technology integrates with online sales platforms for retailers including Dan Murphy’s Online, enabling them to maximise the money-making potential of their digital assets like they do with in-store displays.
Brewers can then bid for certain keywords, with the Citrus proprietary algorithm ensuring consumers get served the most relevant product first.
Moran said Citrus is the online equivalent of the bricks and mortar middle shelf, but it is available to even the smallest brewers.
“We knew how much money brands were paying to be on the shelves in the stores,” he said.
“We knew how lucrative it was, how ruthless brands had to be to be on the middle shelf – at eyeline because it drove more sales.”
He said Citrus is giving smaller brewers a better chance to compete with their larger counterparts online.
“What we’re doing is what Google did for search,” he said.
“We brought in the ability for a small brand to compete alongside a bigger brand.”
He said the average liquor store stocks thousands of products, but only a handful of suppliers get a seat at the table to negotiate where they sit in the store.
“So you walk into a bottleshop and you might look at two to three hundred products without even noticing.”
“You scan around, you see branding, you see signage, whereas in the online world the minute you hit the Shiraz page, you’re seeing three, four or maybe five products.
“Statistically 67 per cent of clicks come from the first three products on the page and nine tenths of products that are clicked come from the first page results.
“So if you take a category like wine, Shiraz for instance, it’s got 900 to 1000 products in it. You know if you’re not on the first page of results you’ve got a one in ten chance of being bought. So they’re pretty slim odds.”
Moran said Citrus gives all suppliers the opportunity to get to the top of the page for their particular category or search term. Importantly, their bids in the online auction are balanced with an algorithm that measures relevancy to the customer to democratise the process and let smaller brewers compete against the larger ones.
And, Moran says, the results have been impressive.
“We’ve seen brands get astronomical returns from being in a higher position,” he says.
“We know that position one from a sponsored product gets twice as many clicks as position two and nine times as many clicks as position five.
“Over Christmas when we launched with Dan Murphy’s we saw brands take five and six per cent market share in that category because they were sponsored, with a direct correlation between brands that were sponsored going up versus brands who weren’t sponsored going down,” he said.
Like Adwords, there is no cost to being part of the platform, with business only spending what they set as their budget, while retaining complete control over their spend and with comprehensive reporting on how their campaigns are going.
Citrus expects their platform will be incorporated into all major online liquor markets by the end of this year. It is already powering Dan Murphy’s Online with mybottleshop.com.au very shortly.