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Flipkart steps up AIforIndia to enhance user experience, to hire AI experts


Next time you log in on home-grown e-tailer Flipkart site to buy a product you might experience assistance from new technology Artificial Intelligence (AI), in which Flipkart is investing hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Flipkart will invest and acquire to build AI and machine learning (ML) solutions that will manifest in the online retailer enhancing shopper experience, shortening time taken to fulfill deliveries, and address customer complaints,” said co-founder of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal, who is leading the AI project, to TOI.

The company has started recruiting dozens of AI experts, building infrastructure, striking hardware partnerships and working with top educational institutions, including IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), to make its AI push successful, he added. It plans to make AI-related acquisitions in India and in the US.

AI team will be headed by chief data scientist Mayur Datar with Bansal.

According to Bansal, India’s problems are unique and AI will help solve its problems. It will apply AI in a wide range of areas both on the consumer-facing side and on its supply side.

This is not the first time, the e-tailer has been pushing AI into its operation. Over the past couple of years, it has built out solutions and services around AI, Big Data, and machine learning in order to gain insights into consumer shopping habits.

Earlier in 2015, home-grown e-tailer had acquired the F7 Labs in the Silicon Valley to focus on areas such as AI and machine learning.

Amazon posing threat to Flipkart

E-commerce space in the country has been witnessing neck-on-neck fight amongst e-tailers. Every player in the segment is pushing heavily to have an advantage.

Seatle-based Amazon, after its entry in India, has been growing strongly and giving tough time to its rivals. Amazon India has increased its score at a much faster rate than Flipkart, in terms of delivery speed, browsing experience, brand image and other aspects.

The latest rankings underscore the threat that Amazon India poses to Flipkart’s leadership in the Indian e-commerce market.

According to the latest ELI report, Amazon India is growing slightly faster than Flipkart in terms of user experience. The rapid strides that Amazon India has undertaken to improve customer experience have also reflected in the strength of its brand. Flipkart has no option but to go ahead with AI technology to remain at the top.

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