The very premise of growth hacking your eCommerce business to success lies in unraveling the heaps of unstructured data that is floating in and around it, and then doing something about it. AI or artificial intelligence is more than capable of sorting out this cluttered data and deriving meaningful information from it. We speak with Praful Krishna, CEO at Coseer, and a cognitive computing and AI automation expert, to give us a detailed insight into how AI is here to stay and make life better for eCommerce businesses. Read on!
What inspired you to start Coseer? Tell us the story.
Coseer is the result of years of my frustration dealing with information. I used to work for a hedge fund where my job was to make buy, hold or sell decisions based on information of the day. There was so much irrelevant and redundant information floating around that I was spending way too much time finding something useful.
I told myself that in this day and age, a computer should be able to do that, and Coseer was the result. In fact, the first use case we started with was just that – stock research for hedge funds.
Could you give us an overview of Coseer’s products and core competency?
Coseer’s software has dozens of different modules and capabilities. All of them come together to do one thing – understand texts in natural language and make decisions based on that. Use cases vary – from assembling the right reports from scores of disparate sources to finding the one nugget of relevant information from millions of documents. From virtual assistants to solutions that can identify security risks and proactively block them – it’s all one code which can configure and train for specific workflows.
I will give you a specific use case in eCommerce. Let’s say you are trying to decide whether or not to place a particular product on your platform. Ideally, this decision should be based on a few indicators
– What is the competitive positioning of the offer?
– What are people saying about this product and vendor – not just on Amazon, but also on Twitter and Facebook
– How do the products related to a million things already on the platform?
Today, the process of data gathering and analysis is performed with executives who hypothesize based on their experience and who check the top 3-4 websites for data. Coseer can give a comprehensive report with just one click.
AI is slated to be a massive business driver for eCommerce. Can you share your thoughts on how AI will transform the eCommerce space and make for a better online shopping experience?
Let’s start from the customer end. Currently, a sale is thought to be a zero-sum game, either the buyer or the seller wins. With AI, we can think of more customized deals, dynamic pricing, and better detection of willingness to pay – the hard economics of a transaction become much more lucrative for both. At the same time, the transaction experience goes up several notches with better product selection, timely placement, and chatbot assistants.
When it comes to operations, eCommerce is a special sector. There is just too much of unstructured data, too many customer reviews, too many competing websites, too many products, and too much information about each of the products. AI technologies that deal with all this data, especially unstructured, can benefit almost every aspect of eCommerce.
Decisions can be made in real time, based on the unprecedented depth of insights gleaned from an unprecedented number of sources. In fact, going forward, adoption of AI can significantly change the cost profiles of operators, which is a key success factor.
Then on the backend, most aspects of the supply chain can also benefit. Vendor diligence, trust, and safety, inventory management, procurement negotiations – there are AI solutions for almost everything.
Data security is a major concern for many online shoppers. How can online stores use Artificial Intelligence to eliminate data leaks and cybersecurity breaches?
Cybersecurity is, in essence, an arms race between software architects and hackers worldwide. AI is helping analyze traffic patterns real time to detect anomalies. However, in all this talk of spies, gadgets and cool hackers, let’s not forget that a lot of breaches happen due to internal actors. The big breach by Target is just one such example.
AI can help there as well. What if there is something that checked every communication out of a firewall for sensitive data, and proactively stopped such breaches – inadvertent or malicious. Well, you don’t have to imagine. We are doing this for governments, why not eCommerce firms. Especially in Europe where GDPR is making things more serious.
Can early-stage eCommerce businesses and startups benefit from implementing AI solutions? Your thoughts?
If you’d asked me this question even a year ago, I would have said it is difficult for startups to use AI. The thing is that AI is not a product. It has to be configured and trained for each and every situation specifically. Till now, we have been using technologies like Deep Learning, which needs a lot of data to train, and a lot of resources to properly label and tag this data so that a machine can train. When you talk about unstructured data, the problem is even more complicated.
However, recent advances in algorithms like Calibrated Quantum Mesh, have changed all this. It is still true that AI needs to configure and train for every situation specifically, but with recent advances, there is no need to label data, and the need for data is also reduced. So, now you don’t have to hire armies of data scientists or subject matter experts.
Today, I would say, absolutely! Startups and small businesses have the same opportunities to leverage AI that the big boys do. In fact, I would say that this is an opportunity for small players to leapfrog the big guys using AI technology.