Sync-Up host Tyler Pyburn asks CEO Craig Bassin about EasyAsk’s products – EasyAsk eCommerce, Business Edition and Quiri.
Sync-Up host Tyler Pyburn asks CEO Craig Bassin about EasyAsk’s products – EasyAsk eCommerce, Business Edition and Quiri.
EasyAsk CEO Craig Bassin talks about the differences between “voice-recognition” and “natural language search” – without understanding intent, you can’t accurately answer questions. Craig also notes that even Google is evolving from traditional keyword search.
(Message from the CEO of EasyAsk, Craig Bassin)
Looks like this is the beginning of the end for keyword search. You’ve probably seen a number of articles discussing Google’s shift to ‘semantic search’. Anyone understand what that REALLY means? First, the definition of ‘semantic search’ is an understanding of the ‘intent’, or meaning, of the search, rather than just matching the keywords.
Now why would the undisputed 800-pound gorilla of keyword search, change course at this late date? Conventional wisdom says they were forced to take a hard look after Apple launched Siri. The timing sure seems to reinforce the fact that they’ve been playing with semantic search for some time, but needed to make a marketing splash now.
So, why change? Well, obviously it’s a BETTER way to search and they had to, or they wouldn’t have! I mean, really, Google acknowledging the limitations of keyword search?
Quoting from Paul Demery’s recent article (to read it, click here) about Google’s adoption of semantic search in Internet Retailer, ‘“Semantic search should allow Google as well as other search engines to better understand the true user intent of a search query,” says Kevin Lee, CEO of search marketing firm Didit.
Also, quoting from the same article: “Every day, we’re improving our ability to give you the best answers to your questions as quickly as possible,” Amit Singhal, Google’s head of search technology, said in a blog post. “In doing so, we convert raw data into knowledge for millions of users around the world. But our ability to deliver this experience is a function of our understanding your question and also truly understanding all the data that’s out there. And right now, our understanding is pretty darn limited. Ask us for ‘the 10 deepest lakes in the U.S,’ and we’ll give you decent results based on those keywords, but not necessarily because we understand what depth is or what a lake is.”
Now, understanding ‘intent’ AND ‘content’ is something that is at the very core of who EasyAsk is and how EasyAsk searches. It’s the idea that, in an e-commerce setting, you can search for ‘men’s dress shirts under $30’ or ‘ladies red pumps size 6’ and get EXACTLY what you’re looking for. Natural language understands the semantics involved in the search. We understand the ‘intent’ of the question, we understand the ‘content’ of the data. In adopting a new ‘semantic’ architecture Google will start to understand the ‘intent’ piece as well.
Now which of these companies can help you improve your e-commerce site?
None of them.
No, no, no and no. Strictly keyword search. Old news. Yesterday’s tech.
So we want to be the first to welcome Google. We like them, use them all the time for internet search, along with Bing. But when it comes to e-commerce search, folks, EasyAsk is leading the way. Let us show you how.
It’s what we do.
EasyAsk customer, Travers Tool Company, has launched a new mobile commerce site. The mobile optimized site presents the search engine, category structure and products in a more friendly way for the smaller screen real estate of mobile devices.
The new mobile platform will be especially convenient for finding product attributes and specifications when a PC is not close by. Also, crews on construction sites, repair teams on the road, and others should find this new format especially convenient.
EasyAsk powers the search, navigation and merchandising for the new mobile site and has been used for years on the main Travers Tool Company e-commerce site, Travers.com. And best of all, the Travers.com mobile site is automatically “Siri-enabled” due to EasyAsk.
Go to the Travers site on your mobile phone (www.travers.com will recognize you are using a mobile browser and re-direct you to the mobile site). On the home page, touch the search box, press the microphone button on your keypad and speak your request. Say, “solid carbide jobbers drill”, hit Go, and you will find the exact drill bits for that search. It works like a charm.
Also note how effectively Travers uses the screen real estate on the mobile site. It is very different from their main site and is optimized for FINDING PRODUCTS. The search box is prominent. Why? Because while search is important on an e-commerce site, search is CRITICAL on a mobile commerce site, as I spoke of in this blog post a few months back.
Travers Tool is an amazing organization. They continue to grow and take market share due to a strong focus on serving their customers, and the delivery of e-commerce services that outclass their competitors, including their new mobile commerce site.
The Travers mobile site it another indication on how simple it is for small and medium businesses to deliver competitive advantages using EasyAsk natural language search, navigation and merchandising.
It is always great to be considered Cool. But that is usually a personal distinction. Now Cool is an attribute given to software vendors such as EasyAsk.
EasyAsk is proud to announce that we have been included in the list of “Cool Vendors” in the ‘Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012’* report by Gartner, Inc. We feel this is an accomplishment due to our products, our team, and most of all our customers.
As we look at our market position today, EasyAsk has dramatically expanded its solution footprint and customer reach in the past 12 months. Direct sales to customers have grown. We’ve forged new solution partnerships with IBM Big Insights and SugarCRM while expanding our partnerships with Infor and NetSuite. We have also more than doubled the number of channel partners we work with, including our distribution partnership with BrainSell in the SugarCRM market.
Our eCommerce edition product continues to be the clear solution leader in e-commerce search, navigation and merchandising. No other vendor can come close to performing the long-tail natural language searches that EasyAsk does, nor can any vendor make merchandising as easy to use as EasyAsk.
And our new Quiri product is revolutionizing the way people use mobile devices and mobile corporate applications. Quiri is the only solution on the market that provides Siri-like voice-enabled natural language tools that work with your corporate data and applications.
Thank you, Gartner. And a special thank you to our customers and partners.
* Gartner “Cool Vendors in Analytics and Business Intelligence, 2012” by Bill Gassman, Douglas Laney, Andreas Bitterer, David Newman, Rita L. Sallam, James Richardson, 27 April 2012
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Lucene/Solr is great for developers that enjoy tinkering with code as if it’s DNA and you’re working on the Captain America Super-Soldier Serum. But what if you don’t have the time or resources? What if you’re a company that cannot afford the manpower or hours needed to work on the open-source, Java-based search library? What if… what you need is a rich, mature product with the most accurate search engine on the planet?
Apache Lucene, for those who are unclear on the difference, is the library and Apache Solr is a layer of code on top of Lucene that turns it into a search platform, adding management and website APIs that are tailored for e-commerce. With Lucene/Solr you get a basic search engine, that requires a large IT staff or an army of consultants. It takes a lot of time, experience and troubleshooting to get the results you’re hoping for.
But let’s say you’ve outgrown the basic search functionality, or get frustrated having to build everything you need. And you’ve noticed how the e-commerce community has shifted to mobile sites with voice-recognition, and the abilities of open-source seem more and more limited. So wouldn’t you be tired of continuing to compete with every other e-commerce company that is trying to do the same thing with the same keyword-hampered technology? Why wouldn’t you want to stand out from the pack?
Where Lucene/Solr falls short, EasyAsk excels.
Companies like IBM, Magento, NetSuite, Infor and more have partnered with EasyAsk for a reason. The powerful Natural Language search-box and easy-to-use merchandising tools allow you to perform tasks a keyword-based software (Lucene/Solr) can’t even dream of. The intuitive site-search, dynamic navigation, and merchandising software utilizes Natural Language to increase conversion rates. It understands the intent of the search and delivers faster, more accurate results than keyword or navigation-driven softwares. The limitations you find with Lucene/Solr are simply not found with EasyAsk.
From understanding numeric units, to intelligent term relaxation, to merchandising capabilities like: Cross-Sell/Up-Sell promotions, EasyAsk has proven to bring something to the table that Lucene and Solr just can’t touch. Not to mention with EasyAsk you’re a step ahead of the game.
Take a quick look around and see which direction the technological world is headed. IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, Nuance’s Dragon-Go, Panasonic’s Smart-TVs, and many more have all made the jump to a Natural Language Processing engine. It’s just a smarter way to connect with your customers.
And EasyAsk has been a leader in Natural Language for over a decade.
For example, on an EasyAsk-powered site, you can use your iPhone 4S or Android to verbally search for products on their mobile-sites. And thanks to the natural language engine that powers EasyAsk, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for. Go to Lands’ End’s site on your phone, type-in or speak a product you’d like to see and a price constraint (i.e. Black Sleeveless Dresses for under $100) and see for yourself how powerful EasyAsk is. You’re not going to find that functionality with an open-source, keyword-based software.
Also the EasyAsk Commerce Studio puts the power back in the hands of the merchandiser. Want to add a new brand for your site, or cross-sell a couple of items? No problem, it literally takes a minute. To see what I’m talking about click here.
Look, if you want to keep trying to reinvent the wheel, go right ahead. But if you’re tired of sputtering in a Model-T and you’d rather upgrade to a search that’s better, the wave of the future, comes with merchandising capabilities that Lucene/Solr just can’t match, come take a look at EasyAsk, the Search That Means Business.
The Integration of EasyAsk Search and Merchandising with Magento Allows Customers of Any Size to Take Advantage of the Conversion Power of Natural Language
BURLINGTON, MA and LOS ANGELES, CA—November 1, 2011 – EasyAsk, the industry leading provider of natural language e-commerce search and merchandising solutions, today announced a partnership with Magento, the fastest growing e-commerce platform in the world, to integrate EasyAsk’s best-in-class natural language eCommerce search, navigation and merchandising platform with Magento, bringing the solution to Magento merchants around the globe. The integrated solution makes it faster and easier for Magento Enterprise and Community customers to power their sites with EasyAsk’s enterprise-class natural language search and merchandising to increase conversion rates, deliver the best shopping experience and grow their e-commerce revenue.
“Converting visitors into buyers is a significant priority to our customers regardless of size or sector,” said Phil Robinson, Vice President of Business Development at Magento. “The EasyAsk search and merchandising solution uses natural language technology to provide an enterprise-class solution that is affordable and easy to use by any size customer. Now, any of our merchants can take advantage of EasyAsk to increase their conversion rates and grow their eCommerce revenue.”
The EasyAsk eCommerce search and merchandising software – available on-premise or as a service (SaaS) – is a comprehensive, full-featured solution that uses natural language technology to offer superior capabilities, including:
EasyAsk eCommerce Edition has helped customers achieve industry-leading conversion rates that dramatically increase their e-commerce revenues.
The EasyAsk Magento Extension integrates EasyAsk search, navigation and merchandising with the Magento eCommerce platform for fast, easy implementation and delivers a seamless customer experience for site visitors. The Extension and the easy to use EasyAsk tools allow customers to implement EasyAsk natural language search and merchandising in days versus the weeks or months required by other third party search platforms, for faster return on investment.
“We are pleased to partner with Magento to create an innovative eCommerce solution that combines to deliver the best customer conversion rates in the industry,” said Craig Bassin, CEO of EasyAsk. “Blending EasyAsk’s natural language technology with the state of the art eCommerce functionality of Magento allows customers of any size to offer a superior shopping experience that will fuel their eCommerce growth. We are truly delivering the benefits promised by IBM/Watson to all of our EasyAsk eCommerce customers and doing it today.”
IJHANA, a leading e-commerce consulting firm and Magento partner implemented the combined Magento and EasyAsk solution for a large tool retailer with a catalog of over 5,000 items. “The e-commerce catalog was characterized by complex descriptions and terminology requiring a search product that intuitively knew what the visitor was looking for,” said Kevin Calloway, Managing Partner, IJHANA. “The EasyAsk natural language solution was easy to implement and dramatically expanded the search and navigation capabilities, helping the site convert customers faster.”
Magento (https://www.magentocommerce.com/) is a feature-rich, open-source, enterprise-class eCommerce solution that offers merchants a high degree of flexibility and control over the user experience, catalog, content, and functionality of their online store. In August 2011, Magento was acquired by eBay Inc., and is now part of the X.commerce division (www.x.com). Launched in 2007, the Magento platform now serves tens of thousands of merchants worldwide, and is supported by a global community of solution partners and third-party developers. Magento Go is a hosted, software-as-a-service solution that provides small and growing merchants with the ecommerce tools they need to succeed online. Based in Los Angeles, Magento, Inc. is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial organization dedicated to the mission of enabling the eCommerce ecosystem. www.magentocommerce.com
EasyAsk is radically changing the speed and ease of how people find information through the company’s ground-breaking natural language search software. EasyAsk software products go far beyond traditional search, allowing users to simply ask questions in plain English and receive highly tuned results on demand. The EasyAsk eCommerce Edition uses this unique technology to deliver an industry leading website search, navigation and merchandising solutions that boosts online revenue through increased conversion rates, better customer experience and agile merchandising. EasyAsk Business Edition revolutionizes enterprise decision-making, moving beyond traditional business intelligence solutions with easy, low-cost deployment and a unique natural language interface that extends access to information anywhere in the organization.
Based in Burlington, Massachusetts, EasyAsk has long been a leader in natural language information analysis and delivery software. Customers such as Coldwater Creek, Lands End, Lillian Vernon, Aramark, TruValue, Siemens, Hartford Hospital, Ceridian, JoAnn Fabrics and Harbor Freight Tools rely on the EasyAsk software products to run their business and e-commerce operations daily. For more information, please visit EasyAsk.
Endeca goes to Oracle. Now that is big news. I’ve read nine articles analyzing the acquisition and they all paint the same picture: good news for Oracle’s BI solutions; an enhanced Oracle BI architecture with Endeca’s ability to integrate unstructured data; new functionality for Oracle BI in analyzing data from Hadoop.
The consensus is clear: the Endeca acquisition was driven by the need for Oracle to expand its BI solutions and have more offerings to sell to existing Oracle customers.
But does anyone remember when Endeca was an e-commerce search company? What about that segment of their customer base? What should Endeca e-commerce customers expect?
The acquisition news is fresh, so there is little solid information beyond a few comments expecting an integration of Endeca’s search and merchandizing with Oracle’s ATG platform. Does this imply that ATG will become the primary, or even only e-commerce platform which Endeca supports? Where does this leave customers using Endeca with other e-commerce platforms (WebSphere, Magento, others)? With all the focus on the BI aspect of this announcement, I’m not sure anyone knows the answer. . . yet!
What I can tell you is this – Endeca e-commerce customers should not be surprised if they’re treated as second-class citizens. A recent study by Computer Economics found that “42% of Oracle (ORCL) customers are dissatisfied with the quality of Oracle’s support while 58% are dissatisfied with the cost of the support.” And that was for traditional Oracle customers! What about Endeca customers coming into the fold? What about Endeca SaaS customers? Who knows?
What I can tell you for certain is that EasyAsk believes in customer satisfaction. Or as Ford Motors used to say it is ‘JOB 1’. Since we spun EasyAsk from Progress Software back in ’09, we’ve made sure our ALL our customers know how important they are to us and how committed we are to making them successful.
Providing the very best search and merchandizing technology is what EasyAsk is all about. We can deploy in a fraction of the time it takes for a traditional Endeca site and typically ¼ the costs.
Our natural language based search provides dramatically better results, while our merchandizing tools are so intuitive and easy to use you can return control of your e-commerce merchandizing to the experts – your merchandizers.
This is why NetSuite, Magento and Infor were excited to partner with EasyAsk. We provide IBM Watson-like natural language functionality that is intuitive and optimized for customers and end users. With EasyAsk powering you search, when a visitor searches for a product they get the right result the first time, every time.
Congratulations to Endeca on their sale to Oracle. I’m sure they knocked it out of the park. Congratulations to Endeca’s investors and to their employees.
For Endeca’s e-commerce customers however, this might be a different story. If you are looking for best of breed search technology, remember that EasyAsk is here for you too.
Thanks for listening,