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Product Review Post: Do these four creator strorefront tools have potential to sit at the heart of the marketing stack?

Mar 23, 2024 by Mike Mallazzo, Contributing Editor, Martech Record

As I’ve shared before, my primary meta theory on commerce is that the era of simple arbitrage is over and the future of profitable growth will be multiplayer and built primarily on partnerships, where brands come together to split the cost of new customer acquisition. When this comes to pass, affiliate and partnerships professionals will become the stars of their respective organizations.

One area where this is happening gradually, then suddenly is in the field of creator partnerships. The era of influencer deals that can’t be tied to ROAS or profitable CAC goals is long gone and the software ecosystem is scrambling to adjust. This week, we’re highlighting four newer companies built in the “creator storefront” space and tracking how they’ve expanded their worldviews or will need to innovate to sit at the heart of the marketing stack.

  

Superfiliate: Perhaps no company better highlights the convergence of the formerly disparate worlds of influencer marketing, affiliate partnerships, loyalty and co-branded collaborations as well as Superfiliate. Superfiliate bills itself as a platform to run “all word of mouth programs in one place” but is built around the “hero offering” of co-branded landing pages. Most fascinating to me is how many point solutions Superfiliate can conceivably replace– done right, Superfiliate can serve as a landing page builder, longtail creator management tool, superfan management and onsite loyalty program. And given the company’s positioning in the market…all of this can be owned by the affiliate/partnerships lead. 

Fermat: Initially launched as a creator storefront, Fermat has embarked on a couple of pivots on the path to finding sustainable product-market fit. The company broke out of the creator storefront mold with the tagline of “making a personalized storefront for every ad”, a smart shift that puts them in competition with landing page builders, UGC shops and really anything that companies use to try and boost their Meta conversion rates. Fermat’s product works well for reasonably low consideration, impulse purchases, a unique value proposition given how hard it often is for low AOV items to be first order profitable. To move upmarket, the company is experimenting with white labeled shoppable content, largely sourced via generative AI. Much like Superfiliate, I view Fermat’s development as exciting scope creep in the sense that strategies once limited to affiliate marketing/commerce media are starting to touch the biggest money coffers in the performance marketing stack. Follow this trend closely 

Flagship: launched with Sequoia and Index leading their seed, Flagship certainly has the most VC pomp and circumstance of any creator SaaS platform in a long, long time. Flagship’s core product is essentially a beautifully manicured storefront where creators can highlight products from brands they love, offer exclusive discounts and build custom collections. On the brand side, this works off a simple marketplace take rate/affiliate model, with most brands paying ~20%, a sort of guaranteed 5X ROAS influencer play.  The aesthetics of the platform and the technical chops of the founders are legit but like any other creator storefront company, there’s one existential question— where does the traffic come from? As long as the platform own all the customers, Flagship is relegated to a post click destination for link in bio or other pathways that don’t really scale. Ultimately, they’ll have to become more of a destination “landing page”  for paid search & social traffic from brands to actually find meaningful scale– keep an eye for them entering this space. 

Wayward
A more under the radar player in the creator storefront game, Wayward is a fascinating company nested in an even more interesting holding company. Wayard is one of three SaaS startups incubated within a holding company of CPG brands called Artica, the next act of Michael Rowell who sold insurance affiliate AssurnaceIQ to Prudential for $2.35 BILLION clams.  Pretty much all of my analysis above for Flagship holds true for Wayward as well– it’s a slick  product with clear product-market fit on the creator side and solid unit economics for brands but feels destined to be subscale unless a paid traffic flywheel can be built into it. That said, Artica has a lot of hyper talented machine learning PhDs and engineers on its payroll so they are a very intriguing dark horse in this game. 

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