A trip to the hospital from a misfortunate occurrence with bootleg whisky inspired former consultants Alexander Busarov and Yaz Belinsky to build an online marketplace of certified imported goods; while simultaneously building an open consumer platform, capturing data and advocating trade through its own blockchain-based loyalty system.
Unlike Kantar Worldpanel and other consumer insights companies, Taeltech enriched marketing efforts with hypothesis testing to experiment on new ideas and campaigns. As opposed to archaic receipt scanners for data collection, the start-up engages with the Chinese consumer through its own WeChat mini program and incentivizes users per scan with its Wabi loyalty points – which also doubles as a cryptocurrency.
Instead of solely holding post-purchase data, Taeltech can capture insights across the consumer’s whole shopping journey – from decision making to purchase. Fronting as an ordinary e-commerce platform, users display behavior as usual thus allowing Taeltech to run various tests without creating a bias or compromising results under a tested environment.
“With us, it’s slightly different because what we have is a real sandbox ecosystem of users doing what they do on any other platform,” explains Belinsky. Putting into context, Busarov explains Alibaba may have a full overview of consumer’s purchasing journey but solely within its platform, losing visibility when offline at a corner shop. “There’s a saying, one plus one equals three – because when you connect the sets of data, you can learn a lot more.” enlightened Busarov. With Taeltech, each scan of a product’s barcode paints the story of what has been picked up, purchased or complemented with other products or channels which becomes valuable insights for manufacturers.
In addition to a rich database of consumer data, Taeltech excels in deep social listening. Taking out a corpus of text, they can define consumer tribes and trends to target based on specific needs to improve product communication effectiveness, furthered by mapping out relationships with competing brands based on comparative mentions – and a ranking system, inspired by Busarov’s chess hobby.
“It’s a probabilistic model of how often do we expect particular bits of text to appear in user commentary…for example, if your campaign is well structured, then it is very likely that users will be talking pretty much in a similar way about your product you want them to but sometimes interesting things start to emerge.” indicates Belinsky. In a case, a Japanese manufacturer was marketing its shampoo highlighting its organic and natural ingredients but through Taeltech’s AI toolkit, user’s commentary on social media flagged a low importance and recognition based on these elements, but rather was focused solely based on its Japanese origin and itchiness remedy thus prompting the brand to shift its marketing focus to the latter.
Test and Learn
Hypothesis generation is also another key product of Taeltech, by measuring product feedback and understanding consumer engagement with the product e.g. conversion rates, time on page etc. and further segmenting consumer by tribes with a current overview of the market structure. In another case, Taeltech was able to help a dashi sauce manufacturer penetrate the China market, which is largely dominated by local players with legacy reputations. Using NLP built on millions of data points to scrape recipe websites and social media platforms on how and why consumers were choosing a brand over the other, its solution discovered high sodium content was a huge talking point, thus prompting the manufacturer to market as a safe and healthier option, also designing kid-friendly packaging to target a new segment of consumers.
Taeltech is currently actively working with the Japanese government in prompting cross-border trade, with its most recent Rakuten and Odakyu Department Store partnership, as a means to extend the shopping journey for tourists back home in China. Now working with Japans Ministry of Agriculture, together they are tapping into the sake market where China has been leading with rapid demand, an export value of 5.8 billion yen (US$53.7 million) in 2020. With free-trade pacts such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, tariffs on sake imports may be eased or lifted to further encourage the export of sakes. Taeltech here uses a combination of temperature detecting chips and QR code for feedback generation. Targeting sophisticated drinkers and to premiumize the sake market, this activity enables consumers to have supply chain visibility from the manufacturer whilst ensuring temperature remained controlled and consistent throughout its journey to hand.
Stimulating Scans with Crypto
Despite the current China Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) regulations, Taeltech in a way fosters the solution of illicit excessive data collection by rewarding consumers in return of their data given under voluntary means. “Consumers actually get rewarded for showing the kind of things they like, which helps companies create ways to market the product.” shares Busarov. With every scan of a product, not only do consumers learn about the product but also gain reward points to shop – a growth engine process for the platform. While companies usually keep CRM data close to chest, it becomes a siloed approach where no data is shared, though in fact many from the industry can benefit from. Taeltech has since developed an open consumer platform making data widely available for industry players to view channel comparisons and brand popularity in real-time based on their own data aggregated from its platform.
Much inspired by the founder’s fondness of Brave Browser and its Brave Rewards – which are built on Basic Attention Tokens (BAT) – Taeltech created its own Ethereum-based token, Wabi, with a total supply of 100 million. For every Wabi loyalty point that’s been awarded to consumers, an equivalent amount in tokens are locked and taken out of circulation and can be redeemed for over 2000 products available on their marketplace. It also fluctuates in value prompting an active consumer engagement. As Wabi adoption and user activity continue to grow, an increasing number of tokens are locked across user wallets, diminishing the circulating token supply.
A large part of Taeltech solutions are powered by consumers, with a user base of over 100,000 users across 500 cities in China. While stereotypically the crypto market is traded by men, 80% of its users are women who unknowingly or have little knowledge on cryptocurrencies but have become traders simply through transacting and interacting on Taeltech’s e-commerce platform. Belinsky also explains the benefits of having blockchain-based loyalty points also creates an ease of bookkeeping as often loyalty points become a liability on the balance sheet owing to the difficulty of tracking. Whereas with crypto-based loyalty points, there is an external value that is set by the market instead of minting from thin air.
Creating A Decentralized Data Future
With already over $10 million in funding, Taeltech looks to expand beyond China, though already operating in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Where regulatory boards view consumer data as sacred information, there is shared value that can be created from consumers willing to engage in return for rewards. Having an open network and collaborative partnerships will only enable effective product marketing to deliver consumer demands while improving transparency in the industry. In a time where travel is limited, Taeltech’s marketplace strengthens the legitimation of cross-border goods and securing consumer’s trust whilst manufacturers and brands gain insights into building the next competing product in the market.