The Digital Last Mile: How Behavior Personalization And Globalization Are Key To Survival In The Post-COVID Era Of E-commerce

  • September 4, 2020 at 11:09 AM EDT
  • By Simon Yencken and Rajiv Sunkara, Fanplayr
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Behavioral Personalization:

In the post-COVID era the closure or inaccessibility of physical stores has led to an acceleration in the movement of sales towards e-Commerce. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, e-Commerce retail sales grew by 25% during the quarter ending June 2020, while grocery stores and building and garden suppliers each saw a 13% growth over this period. However, sales across all other verticals analyzed in the report, including fashion, food services and electronics stores, were severely negatively affected.

Many e-Commerce sites have experienced increases in traffic and sales volumes equivalent to the holiday period in a normal year. In April, Shopify CTO Jean-Michel Lemieux said the e-Commerce company had U.S. Black Friday-type of traffic as it adds “thousands” of businesses to its platform amid the coronavirus outbreak. Fanplayr clients, all e-Commerce and globally based, have had significant increases in all three key indicators since the pandemic began — visitor traffic, conversation rates, and average order value — allowing retailers to recapture lost revenue, namely 30-40%.

According to McKinsey “What consumers value is truly shifting, and so is their channel choice. Consumer spending is ‘overpronating’ massively toward value, and there’s a material flight to online. The shifts to digital will be permanent. [I do think that] mall traffic and department-store visits will be challenged going forward.”

The universal way to increase sales is to ensure the satisfaction of your customer and, most importantly, provide what your customers are looking for. Simply understanding your customers’ behavior is the best indication of their intentions and what they are looking for, and will ultimately change the way business is transacted online.

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Behavior is the combination of real-time data capture and real-time actions. The key advantage to behavior is that it enables analysis and targeting at the same time.

Behavior is important because it reveals hidden shoppers’ motivations, interests, concerns and hesitations — and much more.

While some shopper behaviors are visible in a real store, the transition to e-Commerce has led to the misconception that since visitor behavior is no longer visible, it is no longer accessible to the merchant. In reality, the opposite is true. There is far more behavior accessible from the online shopper than was ever visible in-store. (See “Trends in Digital Marketing: The Digital Last Mile” by Professor Nirvikar Singh & Simon Yencken, January 2020.)

Behavior is far more important than profiling. Understanding hidden visitor behaviors allows for more relevant interaction with each shopper, enabling an improved, more personal experience for the shopper that increases the likelihood of the desired outcome.

Globalization

According to McKinsey (Globalization in transition: The future of trade and value chains, January 2019), global value chains are being reshaped by cross-border data flows and new technologies, including digital platforms, the Internet of Things, and automation and AI. As a result, the global pipeline in e Commerce continues to evolve and develop as brands expand to find consumers on multiple continents.

Servicing global clients is a fundamental step in growing your business as a technology company, as it necessarily involves an understanding of the similarities and differences, such as:

  • The importance of having multi-currency/multi-language capabilities;
  • Adaptations in cultural behavioral differences in different countries; and
  • The impact of reaching a large audience and what that means for customers.

As brands become increasingly globalized, the need for global-enabled support becomes more critical than ever. Technology companies must expand to encompass global capabilities financially, culturally and in communications. 


Simon Yencken is CEO and co-founder of Fanplayr. He was formerly a Board Member and investor in Aconex, a provider of a cloud collaboration platform for the construction industry. Yencken joined the Board of Directors in 2008 and served as Chairman for from 2011 to 2014. . He is also Chairman of Matrak. Rajiv Sunkara has served in many technology leadership roles over the last 28 years, with the latest being the CTO/Co-Founder at Fanplayr Inc. Prior to Fanplayr, Sunkara was the VP of Engineering at Serus Corporation. Sunkara also actively advices and engages with startups at various stages, helping the with their vision, technology, hiring and scaling.

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