Solving eCommerce’s Fifth Funnel Friction: Identifying Unknown Shoppers – Part 4
Written by
Rajesh Jain
Rajesh Jain

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Solving eCommerce’s Fifth Funnel Friction: Identifying Unknown Shoppers – Part 4

Published : November 10, 2023

In the third part of this series, I explored Identity Gap solutions and their effectiveness in identifying various shopper types. This concluding part will cover the Anon-to-Known solution and how we can achieve a frictionless future.


Leveraging Email 2.0 as a means of establishing an interactive hotline with customers is critical to a brand’s Identity Gap solution. The initial step mirrors conventional tactics such as rewards and incentives to coax anonymous shoppers into opting in through a pop-up on a website or app or a QR code.

However, this is not easy, as shoppers know that share personal information means being inundated with brand emails. This is why brands must recalibrate their approach.

Three strategies are beneficial in this regard as part of the Anon-to-Known solution.

Atomic Rewards

The first is the introduction of ‘Atomic Rewards’ as a universal brand currency to power gamification. Rather than offering a discount tied to a specific brand, these rewards can be accumulated as points and be used for different purposes.

For example, Mu (currency for Atomic Rewards) can be used to subscribe to quizzes, access personalized content, and participate in sweepstakes. Mu’s key selling point is that it can be used for several non-monetary activities in the customer-brand relationship.


The second strategy involves distributing Microns (micro-newsletters called Ems), serving as a powerful avenue for delivering valuable content. These information-rich emails differ from promotional emails typically received by customers. Microns can transform fleeting moments of interest into sustained relationships.

“We all go through moments where we find something interesting – an article we read, a product we searched for, a podcast, or a movie. Such moments come and go. What if some of these moments can lead to (with our permission) a series of microns that serve as reminders over the next few hours or days.”

AMP emails

Third, these emails are built on AMP, making them interactive and bringing an app-like interface directly into the customer’s inbox. This removes the need to click through to a landing page as customers can perform actions directly within the email. As a result, the inbox becomes the destination for everything, such as progressive profiling, NPS ratings, search, chat, carts, checkout, ratings, and referrals.

These transformative strategies create the groundwork for Email 2.0, enticing anonymous shoppers to identify themselves. By combining high-value content and micro-incentives with email shops and engaging footers, Email 2.0 has emerged as a new super app for brands dealing with the ‘Identity Gap’ friction.

Email 2.0 can facilitate a seamless transition from anonymity to recognition. Mu-incentivized and AMP-powered microns can draw the interest of unknown shoppers, encouraging them to share personal details and engage with brands.

A Frictionless Future

The profitability and growth of eCommerce brands depend on their ability to optimize customer journeys and reduce acquisition costs. According to Nate Checketts: “Wholesale is profitable from day one, but eCommerce takes longer. Some digital brands are never profitable because they spend so much money on customer acquisition.”

At the heart of this is the concept of friction. It has created several inefficiencies and roadblocks in online and offline businesses, hindering customer engagement and diluting brand value. Often referred to as the silent assassins of profits, Funnel Frictions actively undermine revenue potential. From unidentified customers slipping through the cracks to inefficient ad spending, these frictions create hurdles in establishing customer relationships.

It’s more than just improving customer experience

Funnel friction leads to disjointed customer experiences, increased costs, lower conversion rates, and eroded profits. Identifying and addressing these frictions is not just about improving customer experiences but also securing a brand’s bottom line.

The solutions to the five funnel frictions – Attention Recession, Red Journeys, Dormancy and Churn, Adtech AdWaste, and Identity Gap – are anchored in a deep understanding of the digital consumer journey. They leverage the power of data and emerging technologies, forming an integrated approach to tackle the root cause of these frictions. This leads to structural shifts in the customer acquisition and retention process.

Brands must also rethink traditional practices and adopt Martech 2.0 strategies. Implementing Inbox Commerce, Green Journeys, Reactivation Progency, Near-Zero Acquisition Cost, and Anon-to-Known can change the game.

However, to make this a reality, collaboration with Martech 2.0 vendors is crucial. The right partners can provide the necessary technological and strategic expertise to bring these solutions to life and ensure they are seamlessly embedded within existing workflows and processes.

Good Fraction
Attention Recession
Low opens and CTRs thanks to information overload and non-personalized messages. 
Inbox Commerce 
Email 2.0; Email Shops (AMP); Engaging Footers (Atomic Rewards); Hotlines; WhatsApp Shops 
All (Best, Rest, Test) Special Focus on Best 
Red Journeys 
Poor customer experience leading to drop-offs and disengagements from brand properties 
Green Journeys for Next Best Action 
Digital Twins powered by iDarpan, Large Customer model, and Generative AI SHUVAM; VRM; Best Customer Genome; CLV; Unistack, Unichannel; Search, Browse, Recs; Omnichannel Personalization; Earned Growth 
All Special focus on Rest and Test Customers 
Dormancy and Churn 
Existing customers become inactive or switch to other brands. Brands then target them for expensive reacquisition
Reactivation Progency 
Email (AMP); Data Enrichment; Microns with targeted content; Atomic Rewards Partner, which combines product and agency Adtech-style Performance Pricing
Left and Test
Adtech AdWaste 
Inefficient marketing spends on customer acquisition 
Near-Zero Acquisition Cost 
Reactivation instead of reacquisition Referrals from Best Customers BCG-influenced acquisition 
Identity Gap 
Unknown/Anonymous shoppers
Email 2.0; AMP; Atomic Rewards; Gamification; Micro-Newsletters
All, including Next

Parting Thoughts

Brands that recognize this opportunity can reap significant benefits and cut through the noise of their respective verticals. They can also create ‘Profipolies’ – a state where competitive leadership and deep moats deliver high profitability. Brands can turn anonymity into familiarity, inaction into engagement, and costs into investments, unlocking exponential, forever profitable growth.

However, the journey to this frictionless future requires a paradigm shift in thought and action. Brands must embrace the transformative potential of data and technology while keeping customer value at the core of their decisions. Brands must also commit to removing friction and creating a seamless customer journey, making every interaction count.

The frictionless future is not a goal but a strategic imperative for eCommerce brands. Using the solutions proposed in this series, brands can turn friction into function and usher in an era where every customer interaction is purposeful, every investment is fruitful, and every step leads to a profitable future.

This is the promise of a frictionless future where eCommerce brands don’t just survive but thrive. The question is, are eCommerce CEOs and CMOs ready to seize it?

If you haven’t read the previous parts of this series, here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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