By: Itai Green
Who among us doesn’t shop on Amazon, EBay or Ali Express? Remember when we still went to actual stores for every single purchase? It wasn’t that long ago. And if you think we’ve reached the end of the process, you’re mistaken – the world is going to keep changing. The direction is clear. We’re in the midst of a tremendous change.
The online shopping world is becoming an increasingly big part of our lives – at the expense of purchases that we used to make in physical stores. As a result the classic retail market is in a tizzy and big retail chains are choosing to close more and more shops since non-online sales are becoming unprofitable and don’t provide what the customer wants. Retail corporations that don’t realize how far-reaching this change is are vanishing and the trend is most likely going to increase in coming years.
The global online sales market is worth about $2.8 trillion as of 2018 and within three years, by 2021, is expected to reach about $4.8 trillion. This is a tremendous growth rate which is expected to occur the world over – including in Israel – a change which will affect consumers and businesses alike.
A concept relevant to this realm is “engagement” – the engagement of these business’s customers. This is an elusive term that doesn’t translate well into Hebrew, but it means, on one hand, the customer’s degree of commitment to a given business, and on the other hand, the online customer’s degree of activity or involvement regarding the services or products the company provides. The company’s goal, in this case, is to enrich the customer’s experience by making it feel as personal as possible, improving communication with him and having him engage with other customers, a brand or a company.
There are several reasons to seek customer engagement – to create dialogue, to expose the customer to information and products, and to induce him to take certain actions such as purchasing or signing up for services or information.
Israel, the startup nation, has many initiatives for developing advanced technologies to boost engagement with websites; technologies that encourage customer engagement in an innovative way with the aim of facilitating market optimization, customer retention, and reaching new customers. Among the interesting B2B startups in this field are:
A solution for facilitating collective online purchasing (of a physical product, a vacation or a service) with our dear ones through online meetings with groups of friends and family on the website. This makes it possible to order a product or service together, conveniently and enjoyably, each from his own device, with a private group chat line which makes it easier to make fast decisions. The relevant technology for all types of commercial and social websites allows for group activity on websites that sell tourism, fashion, products or attractions.
A technology based on artificial intelligence and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) which offers the online customer concise reviews by other customers about the product or service the customer is interested in. The idea is to help buyers find products relevant to them and help them make better, faster decisions.
A unique technology which automatically translates websites into videos through the use of artificial intelligence and video engines. The system offers commercial websites and platforms the automatic translation of their products into videos. The videos can cover a single item or several items at a time. Website owners can add extra layers of information on auxiliary players such as special offers, coupons or discounts, and the videos can function as commercials.
A technology for increasing customer engagement with a website in real time using a smart context-based personalization system. This is done by embedding a simple line of code in a website, and the system enables the company to create personalized online experiences for each customer in real time using self-learning technology.
Most customers prefer to pay for transactions in installments, but as of now we Israelis don’t have that option with many international tourism websites such as Booking, Airbnb, Hilton, Lufthansa and so on. This company offers a solution which lets commercial websites offer payment in installments to anyone with a Visa or Mastercard with no need for registration or granting extra credit, regardless of the location of either the business or the customer.
A technology that helps advertisers create better remarketing campaigns simply. The system ranks the website’s audience completely automatically according to their level of engagement and all the information is automatically transferred to the existing advertising systems. The theory behind this system is that the more the engaged the online customer is, the closer he is to conversion, so it behooves the advertiser to try to convert him. Since most customers won’t perform “hard” actions such as “add to cart,” Fixel can analyze “soft” behaviors and create a smart behavioral profile for any website.
A company that helps remedy a well-known headache regarding products, businesses and services: how to optimize advertising – customer reviews and ratings. The company offers a platform which features information comprised of customer reviews and ratings of the service, product or brand and displays them next to keywords in the text. The result: Promotion relevant to the product, business or brand based on the most reliable and effective source of information – the wisdom of the masses.
Data is like an ocean, and many businesses drown in it. Like it or not, with all the tools that feed every business raw information, graphs and tables, businesses are constantly inundated. This company offers a simple, powerful tool which automatically collects, labels and learns the behavior of visitors to the website and uses artificial intelligence to produce practical insights for making the website more profitable. One example of what it can learn is what leads to an increase in sales of certain products and where the users are coming from. The company also facilitates the creation of interactions with customers based on their activities on the website such as offering the customer a coupon immediately after he clicks on “view item” a second time.
This company is developing a platform for creating automatic content for E-commerce websites in a variety of areas, and is now focusing on fashion and interior design. The system learns the intended audience of its customers’ websites, analyzes trends in the social media and offers suggestions to content teams about which trends they should write about, along with relevant content units (video and images) from social media.
This company has developed a technology which is embedded in E-commerce websites and allows the website owner to contact customers visiting the site in real time (through chat, audio and video). The technology significantly increases customer conversion rates simply by the owner actively contacting the customer and offering help.
This company offers an innovative solution which allows businesses and brands to provide real-time sales service and reach customers who need help at the sales point.
Want to make customers visit you on the digital media? To ask questions, connect with your brand, purchase and tell their friends? It’s not enough to have an ordinary website or application, you need platforms embedded with the most advanced technologies, and those technologies are being developed here in the startup nation – Israel.
About the author
Itai Green is the founder and CEO of Innovate Israel. He is one of the dominant leaders of Israel’s corporate open innovation. Itai is recognised as a leading player in Israel’s startup ecosystem and is at the forefront of launching its growth at a rapid pace. Itai leads innovation processes by connecting global corporations with the Israeli startup community to create advanced technological solutions; focusing on IT, consumer products, pharma, finance, travel, e-commerce, retail, banking, insurance, energy, construction tech and IoT. Itai is a member in several startup advisory boards. In the past, Itai was head of business development and Innovation at Amadeus IT Group in Israel, amongst other prominent positions at Elbit, CEO at Maxtech Technologies, VP Business Development at Techtium and the co-founder of JerusalemOnline. Itai is the founder of the ITTS community (Israel Travel Tech Startups). ITTS houses 350 Israeli traveltech entrepreneurs and strengthens the internal collaboration between startups, as well as increases the level of engagement between startups, multinationals and investors. Itai has also created the IITS community (Israel Insurance Tech Startups) for the Insurance start-up sector.
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