One of the best aspects of transitioning to a new calendar is the year-in-review pieces written by popular technology blogs and publications. This morning I discovered a post written by Ana Păstrăvanu of thepaypers.com.
Here are just a few of the key take-always. Check out the post for full details.
In Pakistan ecommerce was expected to surpass USD 1 billion in 2018, propelled by the increase in broadband penetration and the rise in the number of online payment merchants.
In India, ecommerce sales reached USD 32.70 billion (an increase of 31% compared to 2017), with growth being driven by Amazon, Flipkart, and Paytm Mall.
In January, Amazon opened Amazon Go, an automated and checkout-free grocery store in Seattle.
Walmart’s take on cashier-less checkout, Scan&Go, started being tested in stores in the US.
A study released by Juniper Research found that global retailers’ spending on AI would reach USD 7.3 billion per annum by 2022.
Flipkart acquired Liv.ai, an India-based AI-led speech recognition software startup, while Walmart partnered with Microsoft for a wider use of cloud and AI technology.
In August, Visa has created a new category of payment aggregator, the marketplace, and updated the requirements that have to be met in order to qualify as a marketplace under Visa’s rules.
2018 marked the world’s biggest purchase of an ecommerce company, the acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart, in May, for USD 16 billion.
Another important announcement regarded Adobe’s intention of acquiring Magento Commerce from private equity company Permira for USD 1.68 billion.
Another important investment in 2018 is marked by Alibaba, which increased its control of Lazada, investing USD 2 billion into the business.
“Reportedly, the move will help Flipkart to deliver real-time pricing and product analytics to its seller partners. According to an ET report, industry insiders have hinted that Flipkart bought the retail intelligence startup for around $30-40 million.
Upstream Commerce offers a suite of products related to predictive price optimization, pricing intelligence, lifecycle intelligence among others. In December 2016, Israeli startup which registered a 385 percent growth rate over the last three years, was also named Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA list, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The startup was backed by YL Ventures.”
“In fact, Flipkart’s AI for India initiative was run by Sachin, who moved out of Flipkart right after the acquisition by Walmart. Flipkart already has more than 50 data scientists and is training another 100 of them. Hiring, too, is on. It is expected to have more than 250 data scientists and AI experts in the next couple of years.”
“And going beyond keywords to search for products, eBay launched eBay ShopBot for its users. The app runs on Facebook Messenger and lets shoppers interact with a chatbot using text message, speech or image. According to eBay, the goal of the app is to provide the services of a personal shopper by giving tailored search results.
Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India, explains in an interview with Factor Daily that they use the same technology for different applications. Additionally, he said, “Out of over 70 services we have, almost 30 services will be enabled with AI chatbots by the end of . The objectives are to improve customer satisfaction significantly and also sales productivity. We’re partnering with IBM Watson to enable those AI chatbot engines.”
Working on artificial intelligence has brought improvements in customer service, according to the company (Flipkart). A report in the Hindu Business Line on the company’s net promoter score (a measurement of a customer’s likelihood of recommending a company’s services or products) claims an increase of 14 percent in the middle of 2017, growth of 14 percent in customer resolution and a drop of 25 percent in customer pain. The company attributes these improvements to chatbots that were launched in April 2017.”