Written by Deena Douara Karim

Russell Silver of Fetch

Alas, the Shopify app is not currently set up for blogs, but rather commerce — e-commerce in particular.

Serial entrepreneur — at just 23 years old — Russell Silver was in Chicago for an entrepreneurial bootcamp when he received the oft-ignored hotel survey that would spark the idea for Fetch. This one, like most online surveys, was “too long, too complicated, and people have no incentive to do it,” he says.

“There’s a problem there.”

The solution was simple: one tap feedback, embedded right into the email.

Once a customer completes a checkout, they receive an email asking for feedback that can be recorded with one tap. Clients, most often web-based businesses, can determine when the question is sent and can ask a number of questions, though each customer sees just one.

“Would you rather have a lot of information from no one, or a little information from many?” Silver explains. After responding, Fetch directs customers to a customized landing page where brands can offer messages and incentives.

Silver sites reports showing that up to 98 per cent of recipients ignore typical customer surveys. Fetch, he says, is far more appealing because it’s simple and fast. It’s appealing for retailers too because they get more feedback and can follow up with disgruntled customers.

Silver gives the example of a jewelry retailer who was having a 20 per cent “detractor rate.” He says once they reached out to the customers who gave low ratings, the business realized there was a problem with misleading headers and navigation on the website and were able to take detractors down to just eight per cent the following month.

“It’s one of the first times ever,” says Silver, “that retail, whether brick and mortar or online, has been able to know exactly what their customer thinks of them, with as little friction as possible and be able to respond to them in whatever way they want.”

He says typical open rates for email marketing are in the low 20 per cent range, compared to 50 per cent with Fetch; and click-throughs are typically about 2.5 per cent, compared to Fetch’s mid-to-high 20s.

Silver gives more examples of how his clients from across four continents have benefitted. He says one online retailer changed the products they carried and how they shipped based on feedback suggesting international shipping rates were too high. Another beach apparel store posed the question: Would you buy flip-flops from us? “No,” was the resounding response — saving the business a lot of time, money and energy.

“Our product is 10 times better than anything else out there. We feel we’ve absolutely surpassed every other piece of technology on the market. We genuinely created the simplest way for brands to measure and improve their customer experience.”

For his own business, Silver sought out more comprehensive feedback from the City of Toronto and Province of Ontario's Starter Company Program. Despite having studied business at the Ivey Business School, he says Starter Company was “absolutely fantastic.”

“You expect these things to be like ‘open to page six,’ but actually it was incredibly actionable stuff.”

He says program lead Andrew Patricio draws on a wealth of “real stories and examples to exemplify lessons.” One message that stuck with Silver was the idea that “all you need is one good year in business, and your entire life could change from there.” He says Patricio gave the example of James Dyson (billionaire vacuum cleaner inventor), who went through thousands of prototypes before having a good year.

“(Patricio) told me a lot of good tips, good avenues, great companies, and amazing industries that I could work with.”

Silver has connected with more of those industries, including large retailers, telecomm and hotels, showing the tech has potential beyond e-commerce, and has even started to receive some Fetch surveys following personal purchases.

“You couldn’t trade that for anything in the world; it’s an absolute rush,” he says.

“There’s no better feeling than getting up and being able to work on something that you know at the end of the day is your vision coming into the world.”

Fetch is available for purchase through the Shopify store.