Mohamed Elmasry – Sep 17, 2017
Tactful.ai is the first virtual shopping assistant SaaS platform in the market. Tactful.ai was founded in 2016 by a team of veteran technology entrepreneurs, all gathered to take the experience of online shopping to a whole different level. Would like to know the full story? Then please continue reading!
Back in early 2015, I made a decision to move to the UK starting a new chapter in my life. I landed in the UK during the early summertime, managed to find a decent job and a little house close to the office, even before I arrive in the country, thanks to the power of the internet and the era of the connected world. It was a nice and smooth move, my new employer Arm Ltd was very supportive and provided an unprecedented relocation help, it couldn’t be any better, thanks, Arm!
Quickly after I settled, I realized how expensive the life in the UK is, a soaring energy bill is just one item on a long list of stuff need to be paid every month. As the short British summer came to an end, the cost of energy started to be a real pain as we had to use the heating system day and night and turn the lights on early due to the shorter periods of daylight. Being a technologist for more than a decade and a half, I figured out a solution “we need to get some smart-home gadgets that are designed to help saving energy!” and this was the start!
I spent hours and hours on the internet trying to find and compare different smart-home gadgets, I had a tight budget and had to be very careful about my choices as there was no room for misjudgments. It didn’t take long before I realized how difficult it is to decide the right product to buy based on a complex set of requirements, especially when the product itself has a set of complex value propositions and features that I have to match back to my needs. I discussed this observation with some friends, previous and current colleagues and many recognized the problem even for less complex purchasing needs.
To me this seemed as a problem deserves a solution and I started digging more into it, it may turn out a good business idea, why not? I gathered with a couple of my old colleagues and discussed the concept, we decided to build an online and smart marketplace that helps customers to do their shopping differently:
- Before: customer uses search bars, filters, and comparison tools to narrow down choices, then read through each product description and reviews to match with needs.
- After: customer can have a dialog with the marketplace, asks questions, receives answers and insights that guide the customer through the purchasing decisions.
We wanted to offer the experience of talking to a skillful sales agent mixed with the wealth of knowledge and contents available online so a user gets the best of both worlds.
The First Cut
On part-time basis and in less than 6 months we managed to get a decent online marketplace up and running. The system required bits of sophisticated natural language processing, machine learning, and deep learning engines. In terms of overall user experience, we decided to take a more practical design approach. We designed a series of MVPs (minimum viable product) and rolled out for testing with actual customers on our online marketplace. Every MVP was testing either a new experience, improved features or learning something new about customers’ behaviors.
With a limited online advertising budget we were able to sustain a sufficient traffic to our website, and every couple of hours we had a brand new customer that we can expose to what we have built and see how they will react. We were able to run hundreds of tests, and in less than two months we learned much that could take us ages to figure out by extensive research or users interviews prior to development.
As we managed to learn the user experience we need to build, we also realized a much bigger mission to do, “a delightful online purchasing experience for everyday customer by applying intuitive and conversational AI-based techniques“. In order to deliver this to “every online customer”, we ought to empower online merchants to provide this experience to their own customers. The whole online marketplace and subsequent experiments took around 9 months to conclude before we decided to make a pivot.
Three months later we are launching Tactful.ai, our offering to online merchants of any size. Tactful.ai a virtual sales agent specially designed for businesses sell their products or services online. Tactful.ai is powered by advanced Artificial Intelligence technology that is smart, self-learning, scalable and reliable. It’s the same technology we built and tested using the online marketplace we launched earlier, now it can be seamlessly integrated with any other webstore.
Tactful.ai is a SaaS platform that is built to connect with established eCommerce technologies and platforms including WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento among others. Using Tactful.ai an e-commerce business can immediately start providing their clients unprecedented shopping experience, improve conversions and reduce operational expenses with no development experience required. Our ultimate goal is to empower online merchants to unleash their businesses’ potential and unlock new opportunities by applying Tactful.ai to their sales and customer support channels.
Whether you run a local restaurant or a shop in the neighborhood, an established online store that serves several thousands of monthly customers, or a global large scale business, at Tactful.ai we got a solution that fits your need. Would like to know more? Please fill this form to arrange for a demo!