Following Hawk’s nomination for ‘Best e-Commerce Strategy’ at this year’s Digiday Publishing Awards Europe, Jason Kemp, eCommerce and Trading Director at Future, has done a short Q&A on what Hawk is and what this means for the platform.
What is Hawk?
Hawk is Future’s proprietary price comparison technology, which integrates seamlessly across our various consumer gaming, music, technology news and reviews websites.
Hawk widgets display the latest retail prices based on the product content and dynamically respond to the user’s location with a retailer coverage including US, Canada, Europe, India, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia.
Fully responsive and optimised for desktop, tablet and mobile widths, it is built to detect and adapt to Ad Block. It also incorporates a comprehensive reporting system that uses traffic, click and transactional data to continuously improve the user experience.
Why is it called ‘Hawk’?
Hawk was a project name that just stuck. At a time where Future was undergoing transformational change, it represented a high impact initiative that would revolutionise the user experience and the revenue make up on Future’s sites.
What was the inspiration behind Hawk?
Services like Uswitch (Omio), Price Runner, SkimLinks and WhistleOut were all highly valuable technologies that massively inspired Hawk. However, none of these quite solved the core user need we were experiencing, that despite serving a large, product interested audience our consumers were led only halfway down the purchase funnel before leaving to visit Google or Amazon direct. It was these leaks that Hawk was inspired to facilitate and add value.
How does Hawk generate revenue for Future plc?
Hawk generates revenue via affiliate programmes via all the big affiliate networks such as Commission Junction and Affiliate Window. When a user clicks out via one of our retailer prices, a cookie is dropped onto the user’s browser that reports any consequent transaction on the retailer’s website within a specified time-frame. We then share a commission on this transaction.
What has made Hawk so successful?
Solving user problems, reconciling these solutions with business value and measuring performance to further improve the user experience.
For instance, Hawk was built on solving problems such as “users leaving Review pages to research price and availability from retailers such as Amazon”. By embedding the latest prices from the key retailers against each product we eliminated the research effort for users and obtained a small commission for those who transacted.
The Hawk team is comprised of a talented, cross-functional bunch who abide by the agile development methodology. This means we iterate over the following process:
- learn about our users, their behaviour and problems
- build solutions based on hypotheses
- measure the performance
What is in store for Hawk moving forward?
Continuously improving user experience and greater product coverage building out our homeware, music and lifestyle portfolios. We also plan to improve monitoring of deals, how we determine and highlight value, and increase the relevancy of the deals at a user-level.
What does the Digiday nomination mean for Hawk?
Although it has received recognition internally, with other Publishers, Retailers and Affiliate Networks, Hawk has never officially won an award. Winning an award from Digiday who value honesty, curiosity and quality would be a wonderful endorsement. It would mean a lot to the staff who have worked tirelessly to build a revenue stream that’s disrupting the industry and re-stabilising online publishing, and in a way that shows great respect and appreciation for the user experience.