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September 20, 2022

Why QED invested in FERMÀT

The past five years of commerce trends were about optimizing conversion through the purchase funnel and retargeting. The next five years will be about removing purchase funnel steps and shortening purchase loops.

eCommerce is often split into search-driven and discovery-driven purchasing. While big platforms and marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and Google dominate search traffic, the world of discovery-based shopping has never seen a clear winner. Ad dollars are constantly being spent via display ads and social media paid ads, often with diminishing ROI. Frequently, the hard-earned “impression” does not lead to bottom-of-the-funnel revenue. 

There are many steps through the purchasing funnel (Impression → Engagement → Click-through → Consideration → Add-to-cart → Payment → Returns & Exchange → Repurchase and Loyalty).

Each step in the funnel creates leakage and drop-off. For the past 5-10 years, marketers have been focusing on optimizing conversion in each step. Trying to figure out attribution is another headache in the process of optimally allocating marketing dollars. 

With Apple’s Application Tracking Transparency changes, retargeting via third-party cookie tracking will become increasingly challenging as well - and these purchasing steps may become even more segregated and create further difficulty in moving intent and purchasing dollars through the funnel.

On the bright side, increased access to platform data flows and the openness of commerce software vendors have created an opportunity to build integrated solutions that compress, and even eliminate, some of the above steps. The “magical solution” could very well be an integrated solution that directly takes consumers from content to purchase, and wraps a seamless experience. 

Having spoken with a number of merchants facing the question of how to effectively engage and convert consumers, it is clear that we need a more integrated solution that seamlessly connects and compresses different points in the funnel. There are too many drop-off points in commerce, and the problem will become more severe as application tracking and privacy changes become more restrictive on ads retargeting. Therefore, we need an infrastructure layer to support at-the-point-of-impression commerce.

As a solution, most marketers have found that a highly effective but difficult-to-scale strategy is influencer marketing. One of the critical pain points that has surfaced is data ownership - when merchants run engagement-based ads on Facebook, they are not receiving any data feedback from Facebook (like emails or user demographics) and are forced into paying exorbitant amounts in ad spend in order to retarget the audience. Some additional key pain points span across lack of accurate attribution data and conversion leakage throughout the acquisition funnel, as well as challenges in managing content collaboration. 

When we first met Rishabh and Shreyas at FERMÀT, we were quickly convinced that they had built the right team to solve this large, yet messy problem. Coming from LiveRamp, Rishabh and Shreyas deeply felt the importance of enabling brands to effectively scale first-party interactions and owning first-party data. We have long been convinced that magic that can be created when a team marries industry-specific expertise in commerce with an acute capability to ship high-quality products. 

The FERMÀT product is deeply integrated with brands’ underlying commerce platforms and powers consumer direct-buying at the point of content (social media posts, lifestyle blogs and online magazines) in order to remove drop-off points that traditionally exist with affiliate links. On top of the purchasing infrastructure, FERMÀT also provides the data and automation tooling that makes brand/influencer relationships more targeted and seamless. 

We are incredibly excited to support the FERMÀT team in powering a large and growing brand and creator network and to create the most creative and engaging shopping experience everywhere.