"Distribution, Conversion, and Knowledge Building: Strategies for Consumer Startups"



Aug 09, 2023 β€’ 4 min read


"Distribution, Conversion, and Knowledge Building: Strategies for Consumer Startups"


In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer startups, the key to success lies in understanding the dynamics of distribution and conversion. These two metrics determine the ability of businesses to acquire new customers and optimize user experiences. While distribution channels constantly change, it is crucial for startups to adapt and exploit emerging opportunities. Additionally, conversion, rather than monetization, should be the primary focus for founders. In this article, we will explore various strategies and tactics that can drive distribution, enhance conversion rates, and facilitate knowledge building for startups.

Distribution Strategies:

1. Virality via Social Proof:

Consumer behavior often revolves around social proof, where individuals imitate the actions of others to emulate validated behavior. By harnessing social proof, startups can create a viral effect that drives user engagement and acquisition. Trusting in groups and friends, people tend to gravitate towards behavior that is validated by others. Leveraging social proof through user testimonials, reviews, and endorsements can significantly impact distribution and conversion rates.

2. The Etsy Effect:

Driving discovery is a challenge for startups, as consumers are often inclined to engage with the original seller that referred them. To overcome this obstacle, startups can create platforms that enable users to be discovered. By fostering loyalty to the platform and building brand equity, startups can increase engagement and conversions. The "Etsy Effect" highlights the importance of creating opportunities for users to be discovered within the platform.

3. Influencers as Distribution Channels:

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for startups to leverage highly fragmented distribution channels. By tapping into the audiences of influencers, startups can benefit from low-cost customer acquisition. While scaling influencer marketing is not without challenges, the potential for exponential growth justifies the effort. Gymshark, for example, successfully utilized celebrity influence and social proof to become one of the fastest-growing fitness brands in history.

4. Exploiting New Platforms:

New platforms present unique opportunities for startups to access untapped distribution channels. Mega platform shifts, such as IoT or voice devices, autonomous vehicles, and blockchain technology, can open up new avenues for growth. Startups that proactively exploit emerging platform features for distribution can gain a competitive edge. Just as Zynga piggybacked on Facebook's popularity, startups should be vigilant in identifying and leveraging new platforms.

Conversion Strategies:

1. A/B Testing:

A/B testing is a valuable tactic for optimizing conversion rates. By comparing two versions of a webpage or user interface, startups can identify the most effective design, content, or call-to-action elements. This data-driven approach enables continuous refinement and improvement of the user experience to achieve desired conversion goals.

2. Gamification and Entertainment:

Integrating gamification elements into non-game settings can drive engagement and conversion. Components like points, badges, leaderboards, narratives, avatars, and teammates create a sense of fun and achievement. Successful livestream experiences often include gamified elements that surprise and captivate users, increasing their likelihood of conversion.

3. Scarcity and FOMO:

Scarcity, a subset of the fear of missing out (FOMO), is a powerful conversion strategy. By creating a sense of urgency or limited availability, startups can tap into consumers' desire to be part of exclusive experiences. The use of invite systems, for example, leverages FOMO and social proof to motivate users to engage with a product or service.


Distribution and conversion are critical factors that determine the success or failure of consumer startups. By understanding the importance of both metrics, startups can develop effective strategies to acquire and retain customers. Additionally, the use of innovative tactics, such as leveraging social proof, exploiting new platforms, and implementing gamification strategies, can enhance distribution and conversion efforts. To drive knowledge building, platforms like Glasp offer unique opportunities for inspiration and breaking out of algorithmic bubbles. By combining these strategies and tactics, startups can navigate the competitive landscape, optimize user experiences, and achieve sustainable growth.

Actionable Advice:

1. Constantly experiment with newer, less crowded distribution platforms to find low-cost acquisition opportunities.

2. Focus on conversion rather than monetization, as optimizing user experiences is key to long-term success.

3. Embrace knowledge sharing platforms like Glasp to break out of algorithmic bubbles, discover new content, and foster collaboration.

By implementing these strategies and taking advantage of emerging trends, consumer startups can position themselves for success in a dynamic and competitive market.


  1. "Investor field notes: distribution and conversion models for consumer startups", https://www.bvp.com/atlas/investor-field-notes-distribution-and-conversion-models-for-consumer-startups (Glasp)
  2. "How I Use Glasp To Highlight & Take Notes On The Internet", https://evchapman.medium.com/how-i-use-glasp-to-highlight-take-notes-on-the-internet-542c6afc2095 (Glasp)

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