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ZineOne helps e-commerce companies predict customer behavior

In-session marketing, a form of inbound marketing that attempts to analyze and influence the purchasing decisions of web and app users, is often challenging to execute. With so much competing for consumers’ attention these days, a brand that can make a lasting first impression is rare. According to Microsoft Research, people spend only 10 seconds on a company’s homepage if the page doesn’t immediately connect with a marketing message.

Debjani Deb, Manish Malhotra and Arnab Mukherjee, co-founders of in-session marketing platform ZineOne, tackled obstacles around customer tracking firsthand in their previous jobs. Deb previously founded Empower, a firm that provided tools for social media research and media monitoring, while Malhotra started his own company, Social Lair, to build social media capabilities for large organizations. As for Mukherjee, he left Oracle to start Udichi, a compute platform for “big data” analysis.

In the early days of ZineOne, Deb, Malhotra and Mukherjee met at the Milpitas library in Santa Clara and at local coffee shops to envision where online marketing technology was headed. To springboard ZineOne’s first series of products, they concluded that recording real-time customer decisions was key to increasing conversions.

After attracting customers such as Men’s Warehouse, Wine Resorts, Advance Auto Parts and Kohl’s, the company announced today that ZineOne has raised $28 million in Series C funding. Signalfire led the round with participation from Norwest and others, bringing ZineOne’s total to $42 million.

“We believe session marketing is critical and perhaps the most important part of modern marketing for brands in a privacy-first world,” Deb told Technology Flow in an email interview. “What in-session marketing achieves is, ultimately, enabling brands to capture the right conversions on their website, resulting in more efficient pre-purchase dollars and less reliance on re-marketing strategies.”


Image Credits: ZineOne

At a high level, ZineOne – which exclusively serves e-commerce brands – uses AI to score behavior and personalize the individual experiences of website and app users. By observing a visitor’s first few clicks or taps, the platform can directly customize the messaging, discount offers and product recommendations they see in real time.

What’s worth noting is that, at least according to some surveys, a large number of consumers disagree anything A form of behavior tracking for marketing. Part of the rejection stems from concerns over bias in AI systems, which have the potential to affect the experiences of certain customer segments. But Deb argues that ZineOne has safeguards in place to allay these fears.

For example, ZineOne uses anonymized session data to perform its analytics, Deb said — primarily a “granular set of behavioral events” for each visitor, including product detail views, cart updates and checkouts. Since the platform’s targeting is derived from short-term behaviors, it doesn’t need to store any longitudinal identification or profile data, she noted.

“ZineOne’s in-session marketing platform focuses on these three key pillars: understanding session behaviors for anonymous visitors (not just known customers), predicting outcomes and taking the right set of in-session actions,” says Deb. “ZineOne’s pre-purchase prediction model says [brands] In 5 clicks anonymous visitors are likely to buy, who is on the fence and who is unable to buy in that session. They are able to trigger experiences according to the consumer’s buying propensity today, right now, in the present moment.

ZineOne isn’t the only platform applying data analytics to drive e-commerce personalization. DynamicYield, which was acquired by McDonald’s in 2019 before being sold to Mastercard, uses AI to customize content on websites, insert product recommendations and even dynamically change the layout of web flows. There’s also a metric that learns about site visitors who bounce or abandon their cart and “hyper-targets” these prospects to convince them to continue shopping.

But Deb argues that ZineOne is differentiated by the breadth of its AI system, which can predict friction levels throughout the shopping process and price sensitivity at specific points in the session. She said the current product roadmap is focused on generating new predictive models and creating new data visualizations, as well as launching a self-service dashboard.

ZineOne also plans to expand its headcount, increasing by 70% by the end of the year.

“ZineOne offers end users a better personalized browsing and shopping experience without violating their privacy through cookie-tracking and shadow profiles … Now is an ideal time for in-session marketing for several reasons: consumer data privacy regulations are increasing and customer acquisition costs are increasing for retailers,” said Deb. . “The retail sector experienced tremendous e-commerce growth during the peak of the pandemic and is now facing different challenges with the economy slowing and inflation rising. ZineOne addresses a blind spot for these major brands, serving the needs of the anonymous consumer and what happens immediately when a consumer actively engages with a brand. informs.

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