With online traffic increasing in cost each year, retailers need to work on optimizing the conversion rates of the visitors that reach their site. There’s many ways to do this, and one of the most effective is implementing new site search technology to help consumers find the right product faster.
EasyAsk is a company that does just that. Their CEO Craig Bassin was nice enough to answer a few questions about the product for our audience.
Define EasyAsk in 140 characters or less:
EasyAsk, a Gartner Cool Vendor for 2012, is the leading provider of natural language semantic technology and solutions.
EasyAsk eCommerce provides intelligent search, navigation and merchandising tools to all sizes of eRetailers. Our customers enjoy industry-leading conversion rates because EasyAsk’s Natural Language search helps their customers more easily find what they are looking for on your site and merchandisers are empowered to drive sales with the right changes and promotions.
What is your target market? Please be as specific as possible.
Over 350 e-commerce sites already rely on EasyAsk’s natural language solutions. EasyAsk delivers its solutions as on-premise software and SaaS to all types and sizes of B2B and B2C e-commerce companies.
EasyAsk eCommerce manages sites with as few at 500 SKU’s to as many as 10 million+, so we can grow with our clients as their business grows. Most merchants quickly realize that keyword search functionality embedded in e-commerce platforms provide less-than-stellar shopping experiences.
We get a large number of calls from small to mid-sized e-commerce companies looking to fix poor search box results due to limited platform search capabilities – like SOLR, or other keyword based technologies.
Merchandisers may often lead the selection process too, demanding intuitive tools to better control their business, aiming to rely less on technical teams to translate their merchandising and promotional strategies.
What’s your pricing structure look like? Do merchants have to make long-term commitments to use your products / services?
We find that in most cases, EasyAsk deployments pay for themselves in the first 6 to 12 months, so the pricing structure is always positive, and we created a very flexible pricing structure to support a wide rage of budgets. EasyAsk customers should expect revenues to increase, due to improved customer conversion. Many have seen revenues grow from 20% to, in once case, 100% in the first year.
EasyAsk eCommerce SaaS starts at $999 a month and on-premise deployments start at $35,000. Subscription licenses (SaaS) have commitments of as little as one year, and on-premise licenses are perpetual, requiring only industry-standard annual maintenance.
What differentiates you from other companies that provide similar products / services?
EasyAsk is the leading natural language search engine in the marketplace.
The evolution in search is to extend beyond the limitations of keyword search. Keyword search only matches words – there is no understanding of the intent or context of the search.
The industry is acknowledging keyword search deficiencies, and in fact even Google is now implementing a new semantic model that provides some understanding of what the searcher is looking for.
EasyAsk leads the industry in providing an even stronger model that not only understands the intent of the search, but also the content of the site. This provides a perfect combination resulting in the right products displayed on the first page every time and also eliminates the dreaded ‘no results’ page.
Traditionally we compete with keyword search providers, which don’t measure up when it comes to understanding shopper intent. We also compete a bit with in-house development – some e-commerce sites are built with a patchwork of open source code.
It takes a lot of technical savvy to keep these sites together and functioning. In all cases, once we plug in EasyAsk, we dramatically improve search, navigation and merchandising control, resulting in increased conversion and higher revenues.
For your shoppers who continue to search with keywords, EasyAsk’s natural language solution even improves keyword search. For example, a search for “dresses” or a search for a “shirt” will be different than a search for a “dress shirt”.
EasyAsk’s advanced linguistics automatically recognizes that a dress shirt is a different product concept and not the intersection of “dress” and “shirt” as would happen with the keyword search technologies in the market today.
What’s next for Easy Ask?
Everyone’s talking about mobile. But very few companies are really thinking about how the mobile shopping experience differs from one designed for the desktop, laptop and tablet.
The fact is that it needs to be VERY different, and designed for a 3”x2” screen. The user interface needs to be optimized for the smartphone. If your shoppers could speak to their smartphone, as they would a sales person in a store, and get accurate results, then you’ll convert that shopper into a buyer.
We’ve developed some really cool, cutting-edge mobile solutions, both for e-commerce and inside the enterprise. It’s similar to the Apple Siri model, blending voice recognition with natural language.
This gives you the ability to touch your microphone button and ask for exactly what you want. EasyAsk takes it from there and delivers the right result to your smartphone. Shoppers have little patience when it comes to navigating lists on a 3-inch screen.
Voice-enabled natural language search is an ideal way to get the right products in front of shoppers with minimal end-user effort. We already provide this capability to most of our e-commerce customers today. Nearly all Androids and all iPhone 4s are voice-enabled, and our natural language engine on the backend understands shopper intent – providing the best shopping experience for mobile shoppers today, period.
We also just launched a Siri-like solution for the enterprise called Quiri. It gives workers easy access to the information they need to perform their jobs. You can watch a quick video demo here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLhQn-Zx7D8 ).
Research we commissioned suggests US organizations could save more than $800 million a day by deploying this type of voice-enabled natural language technology. For more on the benefits and how people are accessing information today, take a look at some of our research highlights here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZkS7JK-mtE )
Where can merchants learn more?
We provide a lot of product and topical information on our Website. The best source is probably other merchants – we have a variety of case studies and articles on our Website and we host a series of Webinars where our customers tell their stories in their own words. Readers can check on our Website for upcoming events and can also go directly to our e-commerce solutions center at http://www.easyask.com/solutions/e-commerce/.
For those merchants that want a quick look at our e-commerce solutions, they can go to http://www.easyask.com/products/ or give us a call at 1-800-452-8200.