The company does it with a combination of AI and analytics. “When visitors chat with our chatbot, we take their utterances and train our systems. Our systems today are capable of creating their own utterances which then are carefully identified by our data scientists to train the system in turn,” says Sanjoy Roy, co-founder, AskSid AI. This further translates to contextually understanding what the user is asking for that may not be present on a product page of the shopping site and providing necessary information from the knowledge base in the backend, ensuring the customer checks out with the product.
“We create a knowledge base by working with the brand, getting their product catalogs, databases and so on. Then we update it with data from the chat sessions with users coming to the brand’s site,” says Roy. AskSid promises a seven-day conversion window and has closed deals with big retail names in India and Europe.
While the brand does not co-develop products via any partnership, its proprietary technology is integrated with the client’s systems after necessary customisations and workarounds. “This helps us give them specific analytical capabilities that they ask for. It could be related to the products, customer purchases or any other metric,” says Roy, adding, “We are also able to add value to the brands by giving them insights directly from the chats their customers have with our chatbots. A lot of things which we would assume that users may or may not want to know, come to light with their queries.”
AskSid’s annual revenue last year was in the sub-Rs 5 crore range and by next 12-18 months the company aimss to grow by 2-3 times, given the increased demand from retail brands for solutions that can provide expertise-led guided shopping experience to their online consumers 24/7 and across channels. It also plans to conclude its funding round in the next 6-8 months for an undisclosed amount. “We are getting angel funding from four angel investors—Rajan Anandan, Krishnakumar Natarajan, Parthasarathy NS and Radha R,” he says. With a short-term aim of expanding the business, it wants to create a complete digital retail assistant like chatbot experience in the long term.
“With time, we will have enough data to improve accuracy in responses and deeper integration with our clients’ systems which can unlock more use cases,” says Roy. At the moment, the format of input is not a matter of serious concern, however, Roy believes that with more and more voice assistants in the rise, it will create new opportunities. “Today we deal with text primarily. With Amazon, Alexa is gaining momentum. Clients may adopt several other assistants and we will be able to interface with them,” he adds.