Do you need an App? With audiobook and ebook BCorp xigxag’s Kelli Fairbrother (episode 417)

Kelli Fairbrother is a co-founder at xigxag one of the most innovative tech start-ups in the UK in 2022 (according to Tech Nation’s Rising Stars competition). xigxag is a bookseller, and the app offers the first ever listen and read experience without a subscription. Founded in 2019 they’ve already got 50,000 app downloads and are fast approaching £100k in annual revenue.

Kelli Fairbrother xigxag on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Kelli’s eCommerce Journey

When Kelli was working for a startup business in Norway, their founder would challenge everyone on the team to read business books on a regular basis.

This made Kelli go back to audiobooks, and she realized that there had been very little improvement to the product.

She called on her co-founder and pitched the idea of making audiobooks better, and that’s how xigxag was born.

Going App First

Kelli says the decision to go app first was primarily because of the stringent standards set for Digital Rights Management, or DRM, which covers protecting content from being shared illegally. Putting their content in an app was the easiest way for them to comply with the standards because you cannot export what’s contained in the app.

Aside from this, Kelli also notes that everyone is already used to app-based entertainment, so going app first was the natural direction for them.

Growing the xigxag Community

Since xigxag was launched, the sharing aspect has always been there, such as taking a quote from a book and sharing it on social media.

In its latest version, the xigxag app also enables more social engagement and interaction around books. Reviews on the quality of narration and production are also available on the app, allowing for community-centered engagement.

Further down the line, Kelli mentions that social recommendations are the future of audiobooks.

The Sustainable Option

Based on an analysis they’ve done, Kelli says their books are the more sustainable solution compared to paperbacks, especially since the physical option requires more resources to be produced and distributed.

Kelli believes that if you’re able to provide a rich, digital experience that caters to the needs of and delights your audience, you’ll be able to challenge the dominance of physical formats.

As a B Corp-certified business, xigxag aims to make its mark as the sustainable choice in the industry and to pave the way for digital books to be supported more in the publishing world.

Getting More People to Download xigxag

When xigxag started out, they didn’t have a website and relied on Facebook to let people know about their product.

However, they noticed that while people showed interest, they weren’t converting. So they eventually built their website, which opened up the opportunity for organic and paid search. This has greatly improved their conversion rate, and Kelli says their focus for the near future is making their search strategy work even better for them.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Automated content generation to drive SEO results, such as blog posts on new releases that’s automatically done by a system

Tool Top Tip

  • xigxag for your audiobooks
  • Slack for remote team communication

Growth Top Tip

  • Kelli’s tip that’s a takeaway from the book Traction is to find several ways of growing your audience, place a budget behind those strategies and test them. Once you have the data, focus more on the one that’s working best for your brand.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • Customer Clarity and Growth Focus with Buderflys’ brilliant Shea Gerhardt (episode 412)
  • 390: Discover the perfect DTC Playbook with DTC veteran Mike Stevens
  • 385: Building a sustainable loungewear brand with PR and Community – it’s Krisha Kotak from Tula+Tye

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