Online spices retailer Spiceology invests in technology that allows it to identify customers through browser type. The next step? Retargeting customers to entice them to stay and convert.

“Consumers want to be romanced,” says Spiceology CEO Chip Overstreet.

Home chef customers come to Spiceology.com to order spices and understand the history and background of what they’re purchasing, Overstreet says.

“These customers want user-generated content, customer ratings and reviews, recipes — and then be seduced into buying the products,” he says.

Now that third-party cookies are kaput, Spiceology Inc. needed a new way to track and target customers using first-party data. The answer? Investing in technology that allows online retailers to add a line of JavaScript to their websites that will identify customers by their internet browsers.

Chip Overstreet Spiceology

Chip Overstreet, CEO, Spiceology

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“If I can’t find or identify the customer, how am I going to get in front of them in order to sell to them?” Overstreet says.

Spiceology needed help identifying users through first-party data, Overstreet says.

“There are customers that are invisible when they shop using Safari and Firefox browsers,” he says. “We wanted to be able to see who was shopping on our site.”

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Spiceology turned to MediaMath, a digital advertising software company, and Parrable Anonymous Device ID software for a 60-day pilot period. Parrable uses a first-party cookie that is able to reidentify devices across web browsers, web views and apps. Parrable does not use consumer data like emails or other identifiable details.

While Spiceology declined to share the cost of the service, it noted MediaMath adds a percentage to Spiceology’s ad spend.

More than half of Spiceology’s customers shop using Safari on their Apple devices (55%); 35% use Google Chrome; and 10% use other browsers, including Firefox. About 75% of all sessions are from mobile devices.

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“That 75% mobile traffic continues to increase over time,” Overstreet says, adding that investing in its mobile presence is increasingly important.

Appealing to Gen Z and Millennial consumers

The spice retailer looks to appeal to a younger customer through Instagram, where it has over 270,000 followers. Shows like Top Chef and The American Barbecue Showdown have featured the retailer’s spices. Spiceology recently began working with bourbon manufacturer Maker’s Mark to create a spice-blend collection for recipes.

“Mobile use underscores how deeply our brand is embedded in a Gen Z/Millennial audience that is most likely to encounter us among chefs and influencers on mobile-first social platforms,” Overstreet says.

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Before using Parrable, Spiceology was unable to identify customers, making it difficult to retarget advertising efforts, Overstreet says. After implementing the technology, 60% of customers became identifiable.

“I can now see that a person is on ESPN.com in Safari, and I can identify that person and get that message [ad] in front of them,” Overstreet says.

Spiceology declined to disclose how much the service will cost to implement full-time.

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Find customers online

With the cost of digital advertising on the rise and loss of third-party cookie tracking, Spiceology tested how the Parrable technology would increase web traffic. Within a few days, Overstreet says the retailer noticed an impact on inbound traffic but declined to share by how much.

“We didn’t have to change anything else or our processes,” Overstreet says. “We just continue to do the same thing that we were doing before, but now we have the visibility of a lot more customers and we can get our message out in front of them more.”

While Spiceology’s consumer chefs want to be romanced, the retailer’s professional chef customers want fuss-free, in-and-out shopping experiences, Overstreet says. Home chefs might purchase a couple of glass jars of blended spices and not return for three to six months or longer. But professional chefs purchase more regularly, often monthly, according to Overstreet.

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“And the chef orders are much larger,” he says. Spiceology declined to share its average order value but says its professional chef customers typically order eight to 10 times more per order compared with consumer chefs.

Professional chef customers remain stalwarts to Spiceology. But Overstreet says the retailer is investing in software to boost its understanding of consumer chefs.

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