Amazon is big and mighty, but its tech lead might not be so insurmountable for fashion e-tailers.
A growing number of third-party specialists drilling down on every aspect of the e-commerce process are helping brands compete — from cloud-based e-commerce platforms to last-mile delivery experts.
But the rest of it doesn’t matter if shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for as they click.
Enter Klevu, which specializes in artificial intelligence-powered search and today is launching its Discovery Suite, which seeks to capture shoppers’ intent to drive sales and loyalty. Founded in Finland in 2013, the company works with more than 3,000 brands, including Puma and Callaway. It raised $12 million in December to expand operations, particularly in visual and voice technology.
Nilay Oza, chief executive officer and cofounder of Klevu, said discovery goes well beyond the search bar on e-commerce sites.
“As soon as you land on a store [page], search is everything and everything is search,” Oza said. That includes filters, navigation tools, product recommendations and chat.”
Klevu uses AI to parse a brand’s inventory as a starting point.
“The next step is learning from you as a consumer,” Oza said. “What do you do when you search for something? Where do you click? Do you actually buy the product? The keyword that you search, what actual product you click on?”
Matching up inventory with consumer behavior can make for a much efficient experience for both buyer and seller. Puma said the service helped it boost search-led conversion by 52 percent on average, a result that Klevu said is on par with other fashion brands.
The key is to understand intent and respond accordingly.
So when shoppers type “gloves” into a search bar, Oza said Klevu helps sites understand more of what shoppers are looking for, showing winter gloves or garden gloves or perhaps other gardening gear with the magic of AI.
The CEO said he is seeking to “democratize” discovery so brands can compete against e-commerce’s 800-pound gorilla.
But the point is not to try to out-Amazon Amazon.
“Amazon is the leader in terms of discovery experience. [But] what Amazon has in terms of machine learning, in my opinion is not the right thing to copy,” Oza said. “Amazon has over 3 billion products in its global catalogues. It has millions of data points. It has an army of data scientists working on that. As a retailer, you have to find a different way to build your customer affinity. Now we’re coming up with user-based personalization, visit-based personalization.
“As a visitor you have your own journey and our job is to get you the most-relevant products. Amazon has a different intent, Amazon wants to show you the sponsored products first,” Oza said. “Many companies nowadays, they are showing you things that they want you to buy instead of what you probably intended to buy. We want to keep it relevant.
“Looking at the statistics, over 90 visitors out of 100 are leaving stores in just a few seconds,” Oza said. “If you bring people more relevant experiences, people would do more transactions. Relevant discovery…will increase the conversion.”
More from WWD: