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Search, chatbot services to change e-commerce

SK Planet, the operator of South Korea’s leading online open market, highlighted search, recommendation and chatbot services as the core technologies to foster e-commerce during a seminar on Monday.

During its 5th annual IT conference Tech Planet 2016, the operator of 11 Street, shared its outlook on changes in e-commerce led by advanced IT technology.

Lee Sang-ho, chief technology officer of SK Planet, speaks at Tech Planet 2016 held at the Convention and Exhibition Center, southern Seoul, Monday. (SK Planet)
Lee Sang-ho, chief technology officer of SK Planet, speaks at Tech Planet 2016 held at the Convention and Exhibition Center, southern Seoul, Monday. (SK Planet)

“Technological advancement has changed online and offline shopping experiences for both users and sellers. Many more changes are ahead, especially on the mobile platform, due to the development of artificial intelligence and big data,” said Lee Sang-ho, chief technology officer of SK Planet, at the conference held at COEX, in southern Seoul.

Lee suggested integrated and personalized commerce equipped with efficient search, recommendation and chabot services as the future of e-commerce.

The search service presents shoppers with a list of goods that may match what they are looking to purchase.

“For example, shoppers who wish to purchase bootcut jeans can receive an assembly of all similar types of jeans that the company offers, simply by loading a photo of the style of jeans they have in mind,” Lee explained during the presentation.

SK Planet plans to introduce such “analogous” search service via its 11 Street mobile application between late this month and early November.

The recommendation service provides a data-based personalized shopping experience by suggesting products customers are likely to prefer.

On the sellers’ side, a well-made recommendation service can lead customers to make more purchases.

11 Street saw a 10 percent increase in clicks on goods presented via its recommendation service, and a 6.2 percent rise in purchase conversion rate, SK Planet said, adding that it is putting all efforts into perfecting the recommendation service to transform it into one that has a high matching rate.

Conversational commerce, carried out through a messenger service called chatbot, can make shoppers feel integrated with the sellers, said Lee.

A chatbot that is capable of freely conversing with users before, during and after the shopping experience is expected to change the landscape of shopping.

SK Planet said the chatbot will replace the workforce needed to answer customers‘ questions via messenger services.

As its first step, SK Planet is working on putting together a chatbot service it its after-service stage.

Meanwhile, during the conference, Rong Jin, a vice president of Alibaba Group, spoke about Alibaba’s mega-matching algorithm that has received attention from other e-commerce firms.

The conference’s last keynote speaker Salim Roukos, a chief technology officer of IBM’s T.J Watson research center, talked about the natural language processing ability of IBM’s AI Watson.

This year’s conference was held under the topic, “Commerce Everywhere”, and consisted of three tracks, 21 sessions and 12 exhibition booths. Some 1,100 related officials and starups shared the most up-to-date developments in the IT sector. 

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heraldcorp.com)
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