Innovation & Regulation: This year’s ICE round-up

Innovation and Regulation

Living up to its international reputation, the hugely global gaming industry was represented by exhibitors from 62 nations and attendees from all over the world, with continental Europe perhaps the largest market in attendance at this year’s ICE.

The tone of innovation was clear throughout the show as well as the increasing role of regulation. There was emphasis on solutions that can effectively adhere to regulations but are advanced enough to keep up with consumer demands for convenience and personalised experiences.

The industry appears to be in transition with technological advancement and regulatory changes forcing business to adapt their offerings. With KYC on the agenda for many attendees, gambling providers were on a quest to find the next innovative yet compliant solution.

Fraud Prevention & Identity Verification

Our Sales & Product Director Ahmed Amin joined an esteemed panel alongside Gon Kemeny, We Ankor, Sky Betting & Gaming, and The Rank Group to discuss how technology can provide effective fraud prevention and robust identity verification without deterring players with added friction in the user experience.

A noticeable theme was gaming companies looking to break into unregulated markets, such as Senegal (which currently rely on traditional verification methods such as manual document scanning), searching for effective digital solutions. With current methods being inefficient and leaving them open to fraud, it was on many business’ agendas to find alternative data sources to improve their verification methods.

As mentioned briefly earlier, another key challenge for attending businesses was finding solutions (predominantly ones that leveraged new and different data sources to their existing solutions) that could help understand player behaviour and nurture them through the customer lifecycle.

Data Science & Personalisation 

Our Gaming Lead Charles Mott delivered a case study to attendees in the Data Science & Personalisation track, taking them through the insights that can be gained through alternative digital data and how to apply these to identify and predict player behaviour. He showed visitors how gaming companies can funnel consumers through specific relevant lifecycles rather that applying the same communication and marketing strategy to all players alike (don’t worry if you missed it, you can book a slot with Charles here) .

As well as improved relationships with customers, these insights facilitate responsible gambling by identifying potential problem players through affordability indicators, PEPs & Sanctions checks, and AML and KYC checks.

What does this mean?

So what does this mean for the gaming industry? Will we see more companies adopting innovative processes and less reliance on traditional verification methods? Will there be any struggle to comply with the ever-changing regulations?

See you next year ICE…


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We are back at SXSW 2018

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at SXSW 2017, and cannot wait for this year’s event. Please feel free to have look at our highlights from last year’s event.

We are excited to announce that we will be back this year, attending the SXSW 2018 at the Austin Convention Centre. Hello Soda will be present throughout the entire event from Sunday the 11th to Wednesday the 14th of March at stand no. 1025. Attending will be our Strategic Partnerships Manager Phil, Head of ID & Fraud Charles, and Head of Data Analytics & Consultancy Leanne. Please get in touch with us to book in a meeting before all of our slots get booked up, or simply come along to the stand for a quick chat.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Hello Soda’s 2017: Wrapped up

2017 has been another incredible year for Hello Soda, let’s review the key successes…

New Products

This year saw the official launch of our Anti-Fraud product Fraud Web, with capabilities including mobile and email validation, PEPs & Sanctions checks, and dark web checks.

New Clients

We’ve broadened our horizons here at Hello Soda and are working with clients in new sectors and new regions, including flower-deliver service Euroflorist, and South African bank, Absa.

Our US Success

While we launched our US HQ in Austin in 2016, 2017 saw us cement our presence, with SXSW and a string of US contracts.

A Promising Future

So we ended the year on a high note after being recognised in Prolific North’s Top 30 Tech Companies to Watch list. This was a true honour for us as a team and only points towards our future success as a disruptive and innovative tech company.

It’s Time to Grow…

Despite the success of 2017, we aren’t the kind of business to settle, and with our recent investment, 2018 promises huge global growth and further product development… watch this space.

Hello Soda joins TruNarrative

Hello Soda’s advanced data analytics platform will now be available through TruNarrative – a financial crime platform and decision engine used by banks, alternative finance, lenders, and gaming companies

The valuable addition of Hello Soda via the TruNarrative App Store will increase the availability of solutions for TruNarrative users all through a single integration.

Using advanced machine learning and natural language processing, Hello Soda provides businesses with real-time additional insights to verify consumers and improve accept rates and fraud detection.

“We are excited to be supporting TruNarrative’s mission to make safe commerce simpler for businesses across various sectors. The amazing thing about TruNarrative is that they enable businesses to access multiple solutions through just a single integration and we truly believe that our platform will complement TruNarrative’s existing services.” – James Blake, CEO Hello Soda

“The inclusion of Hello Soda within our offering really opens up a whole new world of possibilities for our customers. The additional level of insight that Hello Soda provide will be revolutionary in improving verification rates and fraud detection – we are excited to promote it.” – Mark Courtney, TruNarrative

About TruNarrative

TruNarrative was founded in 2016 with a single mission: to make safe commerce simpler. With a head office in Leeds, TruNarrative also has offices in London, New York and Singapore

TruNarrative aims to transform the financial crime process for identity, KYC, fraud detection and AML by continually providing products built on state-of-the-art technology, bringing the best of data science to ambitious companies of all sizes.


Prolific North include Hello Soda in their Top 30 tech companies to watch

November saw Prolific North release their Tech 100, a list compiled in association with Manchester Tech Trust and RSM highlighting some of the biggest tech companies based in the North of England.

In addition to this, they released a further list on December 1st detailing the 30 northern tech companies they deemed worth watching.

The Top 30 to Watch list showcases fast-growing, disruptive tech businesses on the cusp of innovation, all of which have ambitious growth plans for the upcoming year. With some – including Hello Soda – having recently secured private equity investment to fast-track their expansion, this list focuses on the most promising young tech companies in the north.

Take a look at the top 30 here


2 steps to better ad engagement

When it comes to understanding your consumers, there are many factors to consider.

Regardless of demographics, a consumer’s interests and personality type can determine how they are likely to react to certain products, services, and types of messaging, and – most importantly – whether are likely to engage with the content that you are presenting them with.

Every individual is different and blanket messaging results in low engagement and click-through rates. While it may appear cheaper to spend less time on segmenting your audience and developing your content, it actually is counter-productive in getting results due to consumers becoming frustrated when presented with irrelevant marketing – many admit that they are less likely to purchase from a brand that continually market to them in this way. (get stat)

Let’s go through the process of increasing engagement without increasing spend by creating hyper-targeted ads.

Step 1 – Get to know your audience

There’s very little to gain by segmenting audiences demographically anymore. Perhaps you could get away with this minimalist approach a few years ago when personalisation wasn’t so rife but these days, consumers expect more so – to garner their attention – you have to give more.

The factors to consider when segmenting audiences are seemingly limitless, think beyond age, gender and where they live (you can obviously factor these in too) towards interests, hobbies, personality, frequent locations and much more.

When we say ‘interests’, we don’t just mean are they interested in yoga for example, we mean are they fanatical about Bikram yoga, are they a potential customer (frequent class attendee or beginner), or are they an influencer (perhaps a popular yoga teacher with a mass following.)?

Now you have the ‘what’, consider the ‘how’. How would these consumers respond to your messaging and how can you tailor your approach for maximum engagement? Segmenting by personality type can allow you to determine who will respond to messaging emphasising socialising and who would prefer informational ads over aesthetic ones.

There are services out there that do this hard work for you – all you need to say is the kind of audience you want and the type of product or service you are marketing and boom you can get the hyper-targeted audience that will deliver a much higher engagement rate at a lower cost-per-click than our typical campaign based on keywords.

Step 2: Create your content

Now you have your audiences, you need to tailor your content to each persona. Whether you’ve settled on 3 audiences or 10, relevant content for each is crucial to the success of your campaign.

Let’s use the example of a kitchen-wear retailer. You want to know what product to present and how to present it. Consumers living in a city centre flat, interested in artisan coffee and vegan, gluten-free cooking probably won’t respond to an ad in the same way that consumers with large families living in the countryside with more interest in convenience.

With this advanced insight you can market a vegetable spiralizer to the first audience with emphasis on health benefits and playing on the trend and a slow-cooker to the second audience with content highlighting the convenience of cooking multiple portions in one pot and allowing it to cook while you go about your day.

There you go. Make these two steps part of your targeted marketing process and watch your engagement increase…


Striking the balance between security and convenience

In today’s digital world where individuals can get what they want at the single click of a button and where same-day delivery exists, consumers increasingly demand access and convenience. However, the danger is that fraudsters can easily go through card-not-present transactions without detection until after the crime has been committed. The greatest challenge for payment service providers in is striking the balance between the two: security for the merchant and convenience for the consumer. 

Making it easier for customers to buy will certainly improve the user experience – a known factor in determining customer loyalty – however, when it comes to prioritisation security of course comes first.

Consumers hate friction

Cart abandonment rates have been reported to be as high as 77% for some online retailers which equates to a huge amount of missed potential revenue and other sources state that eCommerce merchants might be missing out on up to 42% of sales due to checkout friction. Considering the amount each customer would have spent on average, even small improvements in the user experience could have huge impacts on revenue.

Reducing fraud

Payment providers typically have a suite of fraud tools used at different levels during the transaction process. However, these are often limited to very black and white triggers which either allow or block a transaction.

While these tools can effectively reduce fraud, the haste at which they act to block fraudulent transactions can result in accidentally blocking good ones too. This means that a significant number of ‘good’ customers are being prevented from transacting, carrying with them a huge amount of potential revenue that the merchant misses out on.

Not only are ‘good’ customers being rejected, many are dropping off due during the process. Consumers clearly are keen to avoid risk of fraud, with 56% of consumers saying they are happy to accept whatever measures it takes to eliminate fraud, however this still leaves 44% that are unhappy with the additional friction.

How to strike the right balance

Finding a solution that can address the issue of fraud and minimise friction in the user journey can be a difficult task.

PROFILE works by connecting to the consumers digital footprint during the checkout process and analysing their data in real time to supplement traditional data sources in the identity verification processes. With the added benefit of smoothing out the customer journey with form pre-fill, PROFILE provides a robust and proven solution for verifying identity and reducing fraud, so that you can accept more good transactions while minimising fraud rates.


Personalisation software helps Euroflorist’s customer engagement bloom

Euroflorist is improving its customer experience by embracing multilingual text and big data analytics with Hello Soda’s innovative personalisation software solution, PROFILE 

Using the in-depth tool, the flower delivery expert, which partners with 54,000 flower shops across 10 countries, will gain valuable insights to enable them to providpersonalised and convenient customer journey.

James Blake, CEO at Hello Soda, said: “To remain competitive, businesses need to create a user journey that is as convenient and tailored to the customer as possible. The obvious way to do this in the digital age is to harness the power of data and utilise the digital footprint of customers. 

“We’re proud to be supporting Euroflorist on the next step of its digital journey and have no doubt that our advanced personalisation software PROFILE will help the company to boost its engagement with its current customer base, and expand its reach even further.”

Alex Bloemendal, eCom director at Euroflorist Group, said: “As a global company, ecommerce and digital communications make up the majority of the customer journey. Euroflorist remain dedicated to delivering an up-to-date, personalised customer experience, and are delighted to be partnering with Hello Soda to become vanguards of the digital age.”

Retail Systems


James Blake is shortlisted for two Entrepreneur of the Year Awards!

We’re excited to announce that our CEO, James Blake, has been shortlisted not just for one – but two – Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

James has been nominated for the Great British Entrepreneur of the Year award in the category of Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as the UK Digital Entrepreneur Awards in the Digital Entrepreneur of the Year category.

Following a successful 2016 and an even better 2017, we are excited at this time of growth for the company and what the future holds. What we do at Hello Soda becomes even more relevant the further we delve into the digital age, with more demand for convenience, access, and personalised experiences than ever before.

Both awards ceremonies will be held in Manchester. The Great British Entrepreneur Awards are taking place on 11th October, with the UK Digital Entrepreneur Awards held on 22nd November.

Remember to check back to find out whether James has won.

View the full shortlists here:

UK Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Shortlist

Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Shortlist



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Who won the Hello Soda pool tournament?

We like to keep things exciting in the Hello Soda office, so what better way to bring out everyone’s competitive side than a pool tournament? But who were the winners?

The Hello Soda pool tournament winners are… our Business Development Director, Phil, and our Director of NLP & Data Science, Iustin!

Get in touch with Phil today to congratulate his winning status (or to find out how you could benefit from our solutions).

Keep your eye out next quarter to find out which Hello Soda tournaments are coming up.


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