When a team of terrific 4, Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi, began Niki.Ai in April 2015, they were simply interested by constructing an AI platform for customer support or wellknown cause seek or productivity. But inside a span of six months, Niki got converted into an AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered chatbot, prepared to revolutionise conversational commerce for manufacturers.
Since its beta release in June and going live due to the fact October closing 12 months, Niki now has in its kitty 30+ customers such as biggies like Burger King, Uber, Ola, Mobikwik, JustRechargeIt, Timesaverz and greater. Backed through Unilazer Ventures and Ratan Tata, Niki is presently based totally in Bengaluru and has a crew of 20 developers, designers and boom hackers.
“Initially, whilst we released it in June last year, we have been building more of channels for every brand and the idea was to mixture all brands collectively inside one app. Then through the years we concept that if that is the product shape, then as a concept what makes experience is we must make Niki a concierge, powered by means of AI,” says Shishir.
The founders raised their seed spherical of investment in October 2015 from Unilazer Ventures and a observe-up spherical in May 2016 from Ratan Tata and existing traders. They are presently working with groups on a channel partnership version.
The ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Why’ Of Niki
With more than three Mn apps floating round, clients nowadays find themselves wandering in a maze of a couple of apps. This pushes maximum of them to uninstall a majority of the apps and even turn off push notifications. As consistent with comScore’s new mobile app document, eighty% of someone’s mobile time is spent on simply 3 apps. And that space is an increasing number of ruled by means of huge gamers.
According to Nitin, discovering content seamlessly on cellular is still a task. Also, there is no unmarried platform to transact plus discover curated records. Niki targets to simplify this maze and make the order enjoy trouble-loose, operating thru a easy chat interface.
For instance, in case you are planning a getaway this weekend, you may just begin talking to Niki to get all viable alternatives based totally in your desire. Similarly, it could coordinate with partnered providers to e book a room, e book tickets, and so on.
This in a sense restricts customers to the services of simplest the registered brands with Niki. Although Sachin is of the same opinion to this, but he additionally believes that their concept isn't always to assist a unmarried logo. “For instance, we assist both Ola and Uber for cab booking. This is just the preliminary stage and later we can be assisting greater brands at the platform,” he adds.
Also Read:- GST on Medicines and Medical Supplies in India
Niki is currently imparting offerings including invoice payments, cab bookings, food ordering, bus booking, recharge, and domestic services.
With more than 60K registered users and 60K app downloads, Sachin states that Niki is supporting manufacturers in growing their pie of transacting customers. “The major transactions are from Tier 1 cities but the most important aspect is people from tier 2 and tier three are the use of our app. In phrases of percent, what we've got visible for different apps, the proportion of customers of Niki from Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns is considerably higher. The average consumer age is 30+, where a majority of them aren't used to of transacting on other platforms. They come to our platform and are doing transactions,” he adds.
Changing The Way Brands Interact With Consumers
Access to captive users: Generally, for most ecommerce apps, the retention percentage is not extra than 20-30%, with a conversion ratio of mere 1-2%, ensuing in a cat-fight for a small mobile real-property. From a brand’s perspective, maintaining captive users in today’s international is a high-quality undertaking. As Nitin elaborates, Niki customers have get admission to to multiple manufacturers, so even without downloading the unique brand’s app, or travelling their web sites, it's miles giving retention fees 3x instances the enterprise numbers. It also provides product discovery for consumers on a unmarried interface, setting an cease to lengthy call centre queues for putting orders and reducing the fees of deploying manual chat/ name dealers.
Personalised digital assistant: Additionally, Niki additionally knows the customers, thereby making the product and provider tips non-public. Let’s say, in case you are to shop for a t-shirt or denims in a shopping mall, commonly your conversion will boom in case you talk to a income man or woman obtainable. With Niki, you have a bot who is aware of the products which can be available and additionally your private choices. As claimed by using founders, this has enabled the manufacturers the use of Niki to have 20 instances better conversion ratio.
Providing fulfilled orders to brands: Also from a seller’s point of view, they don’t even have to construct a internet site or an app, to get transactions as Niki can enable it for them. “We just don’t skip on the lead to manufacturers however get them fulfilled orders – this is, we do an stop-to-stop integration.For example, if a bus reserving vendor companions with us, a consumer can chat with Niki and e book their seats for the journey via paying right away on the Niki platform. The dealer just wishes to worry approximately the delivery part,” explains Sachin.
Sachin similarly adds that “We focus heavily on building a devoted person base, so users who transact with us usually come lower back, again and again again. Typically, from a brand’s point of view, we've seen that repeat orders have multiplied. Earlier manufacturers were spending so much on discounting however have been unable to hold a loyal user base. However, for brands that partner with us, every person that comes makes repeat orders. We essentially were able to do that, because with the algorithms behind Niki we can recognize what a consumer desires. Once a transaction is done with us, for every consumer, we will do prediction analysis.”
The Bot Brigade Of India
In the past six months, we've visible a prime shift of manufacturers toward AI bots. Google lately announced Allo in its I/O convention. Facebook also has opened up it’s Messenger platform for developer to build bots on. Such is the case with Microsoft, Slack, Kik. Amazon has seen achievement with Echo and Apple too has joined the game now.
Jugoo, NewsByte, MeruCabs, Lybrate, iClinique, PayJo, FitCircl, Acumenist Analytics, are a number of the startups utilizing Facebook messenger to construct their bots. However, there are also a few who are seeking to be platform independent. For instance, Fynd released its conversational commerce bot for fashion discovery and transaction in advance this year. Although it’s in public beta on Facebook Messenger it's going to soon have the presence throughout SMS, Whatsapp and Telegram among different structures.
Major opposition for Niki are startups like Lookup (obtained with the aid of NowFloats), Haptik, MagicX who all have guide chat-based totally ordering systems. However, Keshav claims that Niki is the primary of its type AI – powered bot which gives personalised hints for products and services. “She takes the clients via the ordering method in the most intuitive way. When most apps refuse to paintings or slow down their system on 2G, Niki works seamlessly,” he provides.
Learnings, Challenges And The Road Ahead
As Sachin Says, “One of the learnings has been that for the long run, getting the right suit within the group is actually important. Additionally, you ought to cross that extra mile to retain the ones team individuals who've caught with the commercial enterprise for the duration of tough instances.”
He also believes that building language information, which efficaciously caters to the messaging style of Indian users; and getting the right talent in natural language processing (NLP) and system getting to know have been the two tough responsibilities to get beyond initially.
The founders in addition aim to put Niki as a platform-agnostic organization. Currently, Niki resides in Android as an App. But going ahead, Niki is going to be a platform-impartial, plugged and usable on any interface, whether or not iOS, Messaging, Mobile OS, Wearables or in any other case. Hence, Niki can be available (within the shape of SDK – Software Development Kit) for any emblem to integrate and use.
“For brands, it’s easier when you consider that we can replicate the entire transactional experience and provide them within the shape of an SDK. We have 25+ offerings within the pipeline for the following 3 months which include lodge reserving, groceries, movie ticketing, flight bookings, healthcare and numerous others,’ added Sachin.
He similarly provides that “We at Niki.Ai are focussed on using AI to cater to some thing commerce. Niki becomes your pass-to income assistant who is aware of every logo available, and knows you too on the same time, thereby making your shopping for selection the maximum convenient that it may be.”
In India, there are 950 million cellular customers, of which 250 million+ are on the cellular internet, 20 million+ are transacting on mobile and a hundred and fifty Mn+ are on messaging apps. Globally 3 billion customers are on messaging apps. Thus, AI-based totally trade through messaging opens up a 3 billion international user base and 150 million consumer base in India, that are each developing at a quick rate.
The market possibility is huge, and the packages are enormous. AI is already arising in every industry right from healthcare, trade, space exploration, productivity and so forth. We believe that going forward, AI is going to be omnipresent, right from assisting you out in your home to riding your motors to transact for you. Much work will want to be accomplished in making AI localised, so as to better personalise your lifestyles.