BRISBANE-BASED technology company Citrus is winning both global and tier one Australian retailers such as Dan Murphy’s to its innovative online advertising platform – both boosting web sales and keeping revenues in the local economy.
Citrus CEO Brad Moran seems to be winning in his quest to provide online retailers and their suppliers with a digital advertising tool similar in nature to Amazon’s advertising network. Citrus has a reputation for increasing product sales from websites while retaining advertising revenues within the Australian retail ecosystem – rather than losing it offshore.
Mr Moran said Citrus had created a world-leading e-commerce advertising platform from paper to product in just eight months.
“This year we’ve launched with some of the world’s leading retailers in Australia and overseas,” he said.
“Citrus provides retailers with the technology to bring into their business a share of the huge digital advertising and global search dollars largely monopolised by the likes of Amazon’s Ad Network, Google and Facebook.
“The platform is delivering well above digital advertising industry return-on-ad-spend averages. One brand generated more than $1 million in retail sales in six weeks after a $30,000 investment in Citrus.
“We deliver these results by placing the ads at the point of purchase after running products through our real-time relevancy engine, a unique algorithm that uses individual relevancy factors to score them against customer preferences.
“It shortlists products based on customer relevance before they reach the bidding engine, a process that uses machine learning to refine its accuracy,” Mr Moran said.
“Citrus has created a micro-advertising opportunity for online retailers, similar to what Google and Facebook have done by giving small brands the ability to target customers in real-time at the point of purchase with affordable click prices and small daily budgets, all without a huge up-front cost and risk.
“Using Citrus, suppliers can bid for digital shelf space, deliver a better customer experience and make their advertising dollars work harder. We also stand out because Citrus brings a share of those advertising revenues back into the local retailing ecosystem rather than losing them to multinationals offshore.”
Mr Moran said Citrus equips retailers to create a new revenue stream and monetise their digital real estate by allowing suppliers to target customers by bidding in a live auction for prime product positioning and banner advertising on retail websites.
“The innovative Citrus real-time relevancy engine gives consumers a more personalised shopping experience by letting suppliers more accurately predict and satisfy their preferences through prime ad positions and banner placement at the online point of purchase,” Mr Moran said.
Citrus has signed up some of Australia’s largest online retailers in grocery, homewares, electronics and pharmaceuticals, such as Dan Murphy's, since launching its platform last December.
It is also launching with global retailers based in the US, UK, Europe and Latin America through its offices in those regions. Citrus has completed two rounds of financing – most recently in February last year – based on a valuation of $35 million.
“One national retailer has reported that since it started using the Citrus system earlier this year, brands on its website have received an average 1000 percent return on their ad spend and, in some cases, as much as 19,000 percent,” Mr Moran said.
Mr Moran, CMO Nick Paech and CTO Mohammad Alinia founded and set up the Citrus head office in Brisbane because, they said, the city offered “a brilliant environment for technology start-ups and a deep talent pool from which they recruited a team of top software engineers”.
Citrus got off to a running start with its first round of financing in February 2017, the launch of its US and Latin America offices last September, the platform launch in December and a second financing round in February this year – the same month it opened offices in the UK and Europe.
Citrus also secured a Federal Government-supported $850,000 Accelerating Commercialisation Grant in August 2017, based on its ability to assist Australian retailers combat international conglomerates and remain competitive in the market.
The Australian Government’s director of Accelerating Commercialisation, Larry Lopez said, “Citrus brings a clever and effective weapon to Australian retailers in their battle to win and retain market share in the increasingly competitive landscape.”