Conversion Engines & Donation-Driven Growth with Givz's Andrew Forman

Givz’s commerce platform helps brands convert discounts into donations, so customers can support causes close to their heart while shopping at their favorite brands. Givz Founder Andrew Forman gave the Tydo team a behind-the-scenes look into his company’s founding story, the broken ecommerce discount system, and the tangible value of social causes. 

December 1, 2021
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Yellow background with the Tydo and Givz logos with blue text that says "Donation-based commerce"

Conversion Engines & Donation-Driven Growth with Givz’s Andrew Forman

Givz’s commerce platform helps brands convert discounts into donations, so customers can support causes close to their heart while shopping at their favorite brands. The platform’s core donation-driven model directly increases AOV and conversion while also driving real impact.

Givz Founder Andrew Forman gave the Tydo team a behind-the-scenes look into his company’s founding story, the broken ecommerce discount system, and the tangible value of social causes. 

Designing Fluid Incentive Structures 

At its core, Givz converts discounts into donations by incentivizing consumers to give back to the charity of their choice. What does that look like in practice? Instead of spending $100 and getting $20 off a purchase, consumers can spend $100 and get $20 to give to a charity. 

The incentive is given pre-purchase, which is where Givz sees an increase in conversion and AOV. Their donation-driven offers perform just as well, if not better than, regular discounts, and they also drive full-price purchasing. About 25% of consumers actually allocate the capital and remain loyal to the brand, while the brand doesn’t need to incur any cost for the remaining 75%. 

Andrew designed Givz around choice and agency. Consumers want to say that they sent $20 to a charity, and they want a receipt or email that confirms it. Givz creates that closed loop.

Ultimately, the platform’s special sauce boils down to social impact. There are tons of solutions that claim to increase AOV, LTV, and conversion, but there aren’t many solutions that give back while doing that. It’s a win win. Since its launch, Givz has sent over $1M USD to charity, and they’re working towards becoming the largest charitable giving engine in the world, full stop.

“Our vision is twofold: send more money to charities while also helping brands make money. If we can nail both, we’re onto something huge.”

The Pivot: Doubling Down on Conversion

Givz initially started as a DTC app. Andrew notes that they initially wanted to be the Venmo for charitable giving until, one day, two brands opened a conversation with Andrew. 

One brand asked, “Hey, can I give customers credit on your platform as a reward for signing up for our subscription?” The other asked, “If customers use a specific code, can I send them $40 of credit on your platform, so they can donate to any cause they want?” So, Andrew tried both.

The first brand, a subscription business, ran an A/B test on Facebook. One Facebook ad asked users to sign up for a subscription and get $50 off, while the other ad pushed folks to sign up for a subscription and get $30 to give to the charity of their choice. The creative was identical. 

After shipping the A/B test, Andrew’s team found a 20% boost in conversion for the give $30 the charity of their choice ad. In tandem, their analytics yielded the same results for the second brand, a luxury handbag company. Right then, Andrew pivoted the entire business model.

After running these tests, Andrew first thought that Givz would be perfect for luxury brands and price-insensitive customers, but their partnership with H&M showed him that Givz can work with practically any type of customer. Now, the platform partners with basically any brand as long as they have a dedicated marketing function. Over the past year, they’ve worked with H&M, Tervis, and Smile Direct Club, as well as zero revenue brands just getting off the ground.

“After we pivoted, we haven’t spent a dime on marketing. Everything has been through word of mouth. It’s an insanely powerful growth tool when your customers are your biggest champions and public evangelists.”

Broken Discounts & Brand Dilution

Andrew broke down the range of issues that stem from ecommerce discounting. The first and most obvious drawback is the immediate impact of taking money off the top of the business. Over time, running discounts for an extended period can really cut into margins and unit economics.

Second, discounting attracts the wrong type of consumer, namely price-sensitive shoppers who jump from discount to discount and from brand to brand. This cohort doesn’t drive loyalty.

Finally, discounts degrade the value of brand equity that teams work so hard to build. They train people to think that an item isn’t worth its actual price, giving customers a reason to pause.

“Every time we lean into cohort analysis and dive into who was brought in via discounts, it’s clear that those customers have the lowest LTV metrics.” 

The Path Forward: Data-Driven Results

Givz is empowering brands and consumers to do good while making it profitable to give back, and with anything, there’s work that goes into making that happen. Put simply, brands still need to promote Givz just like they do with discounts, but without the negative externalities.

Andrew drives home the point that Givz is a platform designed specifically around data. For example, a spend threshold promotion (spend $100+ and get $20 to give to the charity of your choice) typically results in an increased AOV. When brands give 10% of every sale back to the charity of the customer’s choice, AOV goes up a bit less and conversion rates go up even more. 

While Givz sees the biggest increases in conversion and AOV, Andrew adds that there are a range of additional improvements across open and click rates for emails, social engagement, and repurchase rates across six-month cohorts. As the platform continues to grow, so will its ability to directly quantify each of its value drivers for brands that it partners with.

“Thus far, Givz has outperformed our expectations across the board. The early indicators of success are there, but we still need to keep improving.”

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This project illustrates exactly that. Whether it's how a founder supports their team or how they talk about mental health in the workplace, every founder has a different approach. How do they discover these different approaches? One way: reading. Discover the greatest books that have changed the way 15+ founders think about or operate their business.

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