Fanplayr Allows Advertisers to Do More with First-Party Data

Even as states begin to reopen and stores welcome more shoppers back inside, e-commerce spending continues to surge. New projections have Amazon’s global e-commerce sales growing by nearly 12% in 2021 to $532.2 billion. Retailers with strong investments in first-party data are particularly well positioned to succeed as privacy standards increase and third-party tracking slows down.

At the same time, it’s clear that smaller retailers are struggling. Independent stores and mid-size retail chains aren’t making the leap from offline to online commerce as seamlessly as their larger-scale counterparts, and many are having trouble translating the value they provide offline to their online customers. These challenges have been exacerbated by the recent increase in privacy legislation and the decline of third-party cookies, which many marketers had been relying on to track customer identities and create more cohesive online experiences.

With 88% of marketers citing the collection and storage of first-party data as a “high priority” in 2021, a startup called Fanplayr is stepping in with a potential solution.

Fanplayr has been quietly building a patented solution titled Segmentation as a Service. The solution leverages first-party observed data to offer personalized customer experiences. Fanplayr’s technology observes a consumer’s session on an e-commerce website in real-time, similar to how a sales associate would observe a consumer shopping in-store, and then generates personalized product recommendations and shopping experiences based on those observed actions.

Fanplayr CEO and Co-Founder Simon Yencken says the idea behind Segmentation as a Service was to create a way for retailers to provide real-time segmentation services to third-party applications. His company’s solution enables externally developed applications that are accessible through browser-based APIs to access disclosed segmentation capabilities. In a real-world setting, that means retailers can actually time the delivery of unsolicited but relevant content so that online shoppers don’t leave their websites empty-handed. The solution could also be used to invoke a chatbot in certain scenarios, even if the chatbot is a third-party application.

“Timing of content delivery to retain the website visitor should be just right: not too soon and not too late,” Yencken says. 

Post-Covid Opportunities

Yencken sees the Covid-19 pandemic as having created both an opportunity and a challenge for online retailers. The restrictions and uncertainties that sprang up during the height of the pandemic have tilted the scales toward digital commerce, but doing business online still requires a greater level of sophistication than many retailers are accustomed to.

One of the many trends Yencken is seeing in the retail industry right now is e-commerce businesses looking to reduce the number of their vendors, in part because of the tightening in privacy restrictions that website operators are facing.

As retailers plan for how they’ll operate in a “post-Covid” world, Yencken says there’s anticipation that e-commerce websites will see material declines in traffic. The challenge then will be how best to retain and grow loyalty from existing e-commerce customer bases without running afoul of privacy regulations or limitations. There’s also a continued misconception that the starting point in leveraging first-party observed data for personalized customer experiences is demographic-based stratification. 

In reality, Yencken says segmentation based solely on demographics can be “expensive and slow to implement” and “relatively ineffective.” Segmentation based exclusively on demographics relies on placing individuals into ‘buckets’ and assuming that all individuals within each bucket will act in a similar and in a homogenous way. In his research, Yencken has found that assumption to very often be incorrect.

“Fanplayr aspires to be a global leader in enabling e-commerce by providing behavioral based personalization,” Yencken says. “We see enterprises becoming more sophisticated in their demands of e-commerce solutions … International commerce will continue to grow, and vendors who provide a truly international and responsive service will see increasing demands.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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