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Referboard curates the best retail products on the internet

Melbourne start-up Referboard wants to make online shopping a more social experience, with the launch of its digital shopping platform. The platform allows anyone to create a Referboard and add their favourite products, a la Pinterest, from a range of 400 retailers in the US, UK and Australia.

When a user’s Referboard leads to a purchase, they get a commission from the sale. This capability has been widely available to bloggers and social media influencers through affiliate marketing agreements, but Referboard makes it possible for anyone to earn money by recommending products.

“It can be an influencer, a blogger, a peer, your mum, your colleague, your employee,” Referboard founder Aaron Woolf told Internet Retailing. “The idea is that you’re buying based on recommendations from people whose opinions you trust and like,” he said.

Woolf sees Referboard as a way for retail brands to extend their reach. “We allow retailers to leverage their audiences to become an extension of their sales team by giving loyal customers an incentive to share the brand,” Woolf said.

Australian brands including Decjuba, Tony Bianco, Seafolly, The Iconic and Showpo have signed up to the platform, as well as global retailers like ASOS, Nike, Ted Baker and Mr Porter.

Although margins are notoriously thin in the retail industry, Woolf believes his platform will benefit retailers in the long run by delivering customers they wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise.

“We know from a lot of research that we’ve done that referred and recommended customers are four times more likely to buy, and they’re worth 13 per cent more over their lifetime. Referred customers are ‘better’ in a sense,” Woolf said.

Deloitte’s recent survey of Australian consumers’ media and digital preferences backs this up. According to the survey, 58 per cent of respondents said that reviews and recommendations from someone within their social circle had a high or medium impact on their buying decisions, compared to 55 per cent who said the same for TV ads.

At a time when every retailer is looking for ways to improve the online shopping experience, Referboard is betting on its ability to highlight the “best” products on the internet to set it apart.

“When you’ve got a Referboard that has the 10 best t-shirts from ASOS, and the best loafers from Gucci, and the best handbag from David Jones, you’ve effectively curated the internet and made it a better shopping experience for everyone,” Woolf said.

While Referboard currently features products from retailers in the US, UK and Australia, anyone in the world can use the platform. Woolf said he has had interest from people in Germany and across Europe, as well as Singapore. The platform’s next release, coming in a few weeks’ time, will feature updates to improve functionality for global users.

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