For the past few weeks, we’ve looked at different aspects of commerce and consumer journeys that will be deeply impacted by Product Intelligence. Last week, we laid out a scenario of how by 2020, intuitive and personalized services will become the norm, and there will be Ambient Shopping Assistants who know a lot about you and make your daily lives easier. So, let’s get to the meat of the matter today. What is Product Intelligence and how is it going to work its magic in this new era of shopping and commerce?
At a high level, it puts product information into two categories—offers and catalog. Offers Intelligence includes dynamic information related to the sale of a product—the stores at which it is sold, price history, promotions, channels, availability, and shipping. Catalog Intelligence comprises relatively unchanging product information, such as brand, images, descriptions, specifications, attributes, tags, and facets.
At Indix, we are envisioning a product intelligence system as robust and powerful as GPS coordinates for a physical location – a technology that has changed our lives in myriad ways. The power of Product Data Science will enable us to generate a unique identifier for each and every product in the world. One day, like a fingerprint, each product in the world will have a unique identifier that surpasses the limitations of today’s UPC. All of the product information mentioned above would be accessible through this one, unique ID—think of it as a Product GPS.
When every product in the world is assigned a unique ID, all of the rich information associated with it will sit in one database, and every service offering product information will access it from this one place, ensuring a consistent view to the end user, every time. So whether you are reading a blog at home or walking by a store and get a notification from your store app, you can rest assured that you are getting a consistent and accurate view of product information.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? For businesses, this means the end of showrooming, webrooming and all other issues that hinder a sale and cause loss of customer confidence. For consumers, it means increased delight, satisfaction, and a seamless shopping process. The range of capabilities that it can enable are truly only limited by the imagination.
What It All Means
Product intelligence will empower services like ASHA (Ambient Shopping Assistant) to become a reality and serve context-relevant and personalized product information. Let’s see how this happens.
Say you’re a runner and you have a marathon coming up in a few weeks. Customer Intelligence enables ASHA to know and analyze your browsing and shopping history. Depending on how much you choose to share with the application, it will have access to your calendar and know when the marathon is coming up. Synthesizing all those factors, ASHA will prompt you with the option to buy at the right time.
Now, Catalog Intelligence ensures that products are tagged with hundreds of relevant attributes and facets. For our running shirt example, attributes and facets would include brand, size, color, sleeve length, features (moisture-wicking, quick drying, thumbholes, hood, sun-protective fabric), shirt style (button-front, scoop neck, polo, henley, v-neck, zip-front, tank top, crew), use case (casual, cross-country, mountain, triathlon, multisport), etc. Offers intelligence ensures that you get the best deal for the product based on different parameters – the price of the product at different stores, promotions, availability, shipping information etc. And remember, all this data will be sitting in one place under one unique identifier for the product.
By matching your preferences and interests with rich product data, ASHA (or any similar service) will generate the most relevant and customized product offering. What we see above is exhaustive information about one product. But over time, machine learning will enable your Ambient Shopping Assistant to generate increasingly relevant and customized product offers tailored just for you.
In the big picture, this implies that never again will you see a Web ad that doesn’t meet your interests. Whether you are seeking a product or being presented with ads for one, Product Intelligence, Product Data Science, and machine learning services are ushering in a seamless, delightful new era of shopping.