By Michael Patrick McSweeney (@mpmcsweeney)
Big Data holds the promise of limitless consumer information, data businesses can extract to fine-tune their products and incentives and outperform the competition. Now, a new product intelligence software provider, Indix, could take the online, real-time pricing war to new heights.
Indix’s business intelligence service offers clients the chance to see how consumers are behaving in relation to product trends and buying patterns, selling itself ambitiously as an index of “everything sold on the Internet.”
So far, investors see the potential: The company recently raised $6 million as part of its Series A round. Indix turns the business intelligence paradigm on its head by making this information easily accessible. Retailers, who before had more privileged access to such data, are now facing a much more competitive landscape.
“[Online businesses spend] an endless amount of time searching and synthesizing product information from the Internet while leaving little time to actually analyze and act upon that information,” director of marketing Shalendra Chhabra said in an interview with PYMNTS.com
How does Indix work and how does it address the competition concerns suggested by its business model? To learn more PYMNTS.com spoke with Chhabra in an exclusive Q&A.
PYMNTS.com: This is the first time we’ve had Indix on the platform. Can you speak a bit about how the idea for Indix was generated and what the obstacles have been to its creation?
Shalendra Chhabra: Indix was founded by former Microsoft VP, Sanjay Parthasarathy who previously led billion dollar divisions at Microsoft.
We discovered that while salespeople leverage CRM tools, marketers have marketing automation, and financial analysts leverage financial modeling applications, product managers, pricing analysts, category/merchandising managers at brands and retailers didn’t have a comprehensive tool at their disposal to research product landscapes in an efficient and meaningful way. Instead, they spent an endless amount of time searching and synthesizing product information from the Internet while leaving little time to actually analyze and act upon that information. This problem inspired the birth of Indix.
Indix is a modern product intelligence platform that allows businesses to organize, analyze, visualize and act on the world’s product information in real-time. Our initial market focus is on brands and retailers, or anyone in a business concerned with products.
How was Indix tested, and were you able to achieve all that you wanted to in terms of making this big data user-friendly?
There are more than 1 billion products and services on the Internet. Today, the Indix platform has between 100-150 million products and more than 4 billion price points. Our biggest challenge - and our ultimate goal – is making sure this information is accessible and actionable in real-time.
We find, understand, categorize, normalize, match and structure the vast amount of product-related information on the Internet using big data operations, analytics and visualization. Through this, we are able to provide a unique view of the Internet through the product lens in a highly visual fashion, making it easier and faster for product managers to make data-driven decisions.
We tested Indix with pilot customers prior to the public launch to ensure the platform is as user-friendly and accurate as possible.
One of Indix’s main selling points appears to be offering retailers actionable insights. What insights do you deliver and what value do they have to the end user that they can’t obtain elsewhere on the market?
Indix provides insights on pricing, assortment, markdown, availability, categories, competition in real-time. Today, gathering this sort of collective data is very manual and laborious. People spend countless hours harvesting this information from the Internet and compiling it into excel sheets, but by the time they are ready to act, the information is already outdated. Indix provides a comprehensive set of real-time information and insight in a highly visual manner, allowing retailers the freedom to act on the product and insights.
Can you speak whether they’ve addressed competition concerns that could arise? While Indix is aiming to be used by companies to better price their products, what safeguards are there to prevent abuses like collusion?
Indix uses publicly available data on the Internet as its primary data source. Indix allows its customers to gather actionable data and insights, and then it’s up to these companies to maintain fairness and credibility. Product and pricing information is already publicly available on the Internet today. It is unlikely that there will be any sort of collusion to hurt end users because credibility and trust is more important in business.
Over the next six to 12 months, how is Indix hoping to move its product and platform forward?
Our business momentum is strong, we’re signing customers and most importantly, the story is resonating at all levels with brands and retailers, large and small. Over the next 6-12 months, our priority is to sign additional customers, incorporate their feedback and achieve even a bigger scale for product data in our platform. In addition, we also plan to refine and improve our current set of APIs based on feedback from third party developers interested in building product rich applications.
Our mission is to organize, analyze and visualize the world’s product information. The next 6 to 12 months are going to be crucial towards realizing this vision.