They say “seek and you shall find,” but sometimes, a search doesn’t always come up as fruitful as all parties had hoped. This can especially be the case in eCommerce.
“Site search has been an unsolved problem in eCommerce, with online retailers losing significant revenue every day because they are not able to connect shoppers to the products they are most likely to buy,” said Pavan Vilas Sondur, CEO and cofounder of Unbxd, a cloud-based eCommerce product discovery solution that helps marketers deliver a personalized and tailored shopping experience to their customers. “Unbxd uses advanced artificial intelligence, Big Data and predictive analytics to help eCommerce companies improve their site search.”
The mission of the business is to help empower retailers to build engagement with their customers through a search that understands natural language, is personalized for each shopper and is continually learning and adapting to the latest consumer trends. Sondur said it’s important that Unbxd is not seen as a “machine” but rather a platform.
“Our intuitive workbench interface enables merchandisers and category managers to make critical business decisions, which get reflected in real time,” said Sondur. “And our integration timelines are unmatched, due to the high degree of verticalization that our products offer. This allows us to go live within four weeks, compared to six to eight months for most players in the space.”
The Unbxd intelligent data layer is the core of the platform, where it is constantly evolving to offer shoppers a more present and relevant shopping experience, including personalized recommendations. The data gleaned helps tell retailers about their consumer, their intent to purchase, purchasing power, affinities and style preferences. Unbxd merchandising control helps merchants highlight specific products and run targeted campaigns by segmenting visitors.
The Mountain View-based company was founded by entrepreneurs Sondur and Prashant Kumar in 2011. They found that no one was addressing what happens when users are on a merchant’s site.
“We came to the realization that it was actually easier to find products on Google than on the websites offering them,” said Sondur. “Which is why we developed a product that makes the experience of finding products on eCommerce websites a pleasant and simple one.”
They spent the next year and a half developing the platform, as well as the merchandising and reporting dashboard. But, five years later, they’ve worked with more than 1,200 companies in 40 countries and manage more than 1.5 billion shopper interactions each month.
“We see a staggering 86 percent increase in the proportion of our shoppers using Site Search after integrating Unbxd,” said Jeff Melton, eCommerce director at Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. “We are also seeing a 35 percent increase in the number of orders that come via Site Search.”
Besides Ashely Furniture, Unbxed has clients that include, but are not limited to, Express and ibSupply.
“When we set out to create Unbxd, our objective was to improve the user experience on eCommerce websites,” said Sondur. “When we started implementing our solution, we realized that not only did it improve customer engagement on the sites due to improved user experience, but it also helped our clients see up to 20–30 percent increase in their top-line growth.”
However, in the beginning, Sondur said one of the first challenges the company faced was helping companies understand the importance of having an enhanced search and navigation experience. But over time, he said that the typical client sees a 25–30 percent increase in conversions after implementing Unbxd, and so, the clients are won over in the end.
But the technology required to understand “customer speak” can be complex. As a result, it requires extensive tuning and optimization for it to work and to understand the nuances of natural language. Sondur said Unbxd has taken on that challenge and has created a product that is verticalized and is constantly evolving to ensure that retailers are always up to speed with industry trends and remain relevant.
Looking ahead, Unbxed has plans for a navigation product, scheduled to launch in the second quarter of next year. It is slated to improve shopper engagement and further increase conversion rates, higher order values and click-through rates.
“Mobile is another channel where we see a lot of potential and will continue to be a focus area for us,” said Sondur. “We continuously strive to build capabilities that meet the growing needs of mobile shoppers — through cutting-edge technology that is built on artificial intelligence and machine learning.”