April 30, 2013, 12:36 PM

Ex-Facebook staffers launch Freshplum for online promotions

Freshplum’s technology helps retailers target tough customers.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Freshplum Inc., which sells online personalization and pricing optimization technology, came out of a beta test period last week with technology designed to show promotions intended to sway a retailer’s toughest customers.

The technology uses a range of analytics tools that predict consumer shopping behavior.  It can identify site visitors who are least likely to make a purchase without seeing a promotion on a retailer’s e-commerce site but might convert with a promotion, says Jonathan Chen, director of product. “Online retailers can create promotions that are only shown on-site in real time to visitors who are unlikely to otherwise buy,” he says.

Freshplum, founded in 2011, launched pilot projects in October 2011 with five client retailers that ranged in annual sales from $3 million to more than $1 billion, Chen says. Freshplum declines to name the clients, but says they’re all within the Internet Retailer Top 1000 and include specialty and cosmetics merchants.

Deploying Freshplum’s technology requires adding “a few lines of JavaScript to a retailer’s source code,” Chen says.

Freshplum incorporates several analytics techniques that consider a large number of data variables to predict the odds of a site visitor taking an action. Such data can include the marketing channel a visitor used to arrive at a client’s retail web site, the average income level of the geographic area associated with a visitor’s IP address, and the recent weather in the visitor’s geographic area.

The company charges  fees, based on a client’s sales performance, starting at $4,166 per month, Chen says.

Freshplum was co-founded by CEO Sam Odio, design director Michael Yuan and Nick Alexander. The three ran the former online photo-sharing business Divvyshot Inc., which debuted in 2009 and then was bought by Facebook Inc. in 2010. Odio was CEO of Divvyshot and then became photo products manager at Facebook before founding Freshplum.

Freshplum has won $1.4 million in venture capital from investors including Google Ventures, Greylock Partners, New Enterprise Associates and YCombinator.

Industry analysts contacted by Internet Retailer were unfamiliar with Freshplum. Sucharita Mulpuru, vice president and e-business analyst at Forrester Research Inc., says its technology appears to be similar to that of Intent Media, a company founded in 2009 by CEO Richard Harris, chief product officer Josh Feuerstein, and chief revenue officer Damon Tassone, all of whom are former executives of the online travel services company Travelocity.

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