Just a few days before raising whopping $1.4 billion funds, Flipkart had soft launched “Project Mira”, an artificial intelligence-focused effort, according to a report by ET. And with this Flipkart can be termed as first India based company to plan and implement a shopping assistant based on artificial intelligence.
The project Mira will help buyer to search as per his requirement, get personalize recommendations same as the shopkeepers do in a traditional brick and mortar shops of any local market. It makes the online shopping experience interactive and live. The project’s beta version was launched in February this year.
A peculiar problem that made Flipkart goes AI way is that when the company looked into customers’ purchased product return data it showed that for or every four products purchased on Flipkart, at least one was being returned, especially in categories like clothing and accessories.
The new AI technology will predict the exact requirement of the user by using various algorithms and virtual assistance to reduce this errors right in the first place before the customer checks out with irrelevant product.
The very first version of Project Mira includes the questionnaire of the related products, shopping tricks, filters, and even the offers and discounts that currently running on the searched product.
Flipkart has been silently running experiments on its app and website to understand customers better.
Ravi Garikipati, head of engineering at Flipkart, believes that the “deeply local Indian data” fed into Project Mira can give the company an edge in the domestic market. Through Project Mira, “we let our customers express themselves naturally (so we can) understand exactly what they are looking for or asking about,” he said. “Flipkart has every reason to expect that AI-led innovation through Project Mira will help us create solid competitive differentiation and cement our market leadership,” said the ET report.
Flipkart is also parterning with several academic institutions like three IITs of Kharagpur, Kanpur and Bombay, Carnegie Mellon University and IIIT-Hyderabad for research on various new technologies. ET reports that IIT-Kharagpur is also working on a chatbot that can answer product queries from Flipkart’s customers.
Project Mira is still in nascent stage, the company however seeing 12% cart additions and 50% of search volume through this.