Conversations have been an integral part of traditional shopping. However, with more and more people embracing online shopping, there is a growing expectation of contextual and proactive communication while transacting. Whether it is buying movie tickets or paying monthly bills, Millennials and Generation X consumers prefer the convenience of online shopping. In a bid to meet consumer expectations, an increasing number of businesses are switching to AI-based conversational UI from the conventional UI platform.
Essentially, conversational UI allows users to interact and carry out transactions with voice and chat-based bots on human terms, while providing ease of exploration. Besides, conversational UI also enables brands to engage their consumers on a platform where they are already present – messaging apps. According to Business Insider, the top four messaging apps have a combined user base of over three billion. Therefore, conversational commerce has become a key differentiator for businesses in enhancing their customer experience.
Niki.ai, India’s leading AI startup and a pioneer of conversational commerce in the country, is helping businesses provide seamless shopping experience to customers. The startup has witnessed an exponential overall growth over the last financial year. While the user base reportedly grew to over 2 Million, the company has seen a 800 per cent year-on-year growth in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV), and 56 per cent m-o-m growth in transactions resulting in a revenue growth of 430 per cent. This, according to the organisation, is a clear indicator of the larger impact Artificial Intelligence based products can have on millions of lives, and consumers finding great convenience and value in the product.
According to Niki.ai, credits for the overwhelming traction go significantly to successful distribution partnerships with leading brands like HDFC Bank, HDFC Securities, ICICI Bank, Federal Bank, Karbonn Mobiles, Intex Smartphones, among others, which integrated Niki’s Software Developments Kit (<1MB in size, half an hour implementation time), to offer a closet of services like Bus, Hotel, Cab, Movie Booking, Bill Payments, Recharges and much more on chat, with Niki being present on their own platforms.
Contributing further to the numbers is Niki’s conversational interface which remembers customer context, and thereby offers an immersive, natural, personalized and unique experience to every customer. Owing to this, and a study’s findings that conversational UIs are habit-forming, Niki has been able to achieve high retention and repeat customer rates. The company has witnessed a 1.7x boost in the average order size, even as the average number of orders placed by users shot up to seven per month during FY 2017-18.
The journey ahead
Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Jaiswal, CEO at Niki.ai, said, “For us, it has always been about enabling everyone to go digital and take advantage of the convenience of buying products and services online, over other traditional mediums. For this dream to come to life, we knew we would have to give control to the user rather than dictating HOWs and WHATs of the entire product experience. Therefore, with Niki, it all happens on conversations. The traction has been great so far and with millions of interactions, we’ve been able to strengthen our NLP (Natural Language Processing) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, making the text recognition accuracy reach above 92 per cent. What’s up next is huge! Voice recognition and multilingual support are in the making and will be out soon. One will soon be able to simply talk to Niki in one’s own regional language to get tasks done. No learning curve, no fields, no buttons and no endless navigation, it’s as simple as talking to a friend.”
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