Conversational interfaces are still a thing, despite what some pundits say. The global market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research — a compounded annual growth rate of 24.3 percent. And in a recent Oracle survey involving European chief marketing officers, chief strategy officers, senior marketers, and senior sales executives, 80 percent said they already used chatbots or planned to use them by 2020.
Zoovu’s aiming to lead the pack in the ecommerce domain. The New York startup offers a platform that helps brands build, host, and deploy digital assistants that integrate seamlessly with existing websites, and which collect and expose handy sales and usage metrics. Building on impressive early growth — its current customers include Amazon, Canon, Sonos, Microsoft, Wilson, and over 150 other “premium brands” and Fortune 100 companies across categories like consumer electronics, health care, and banking — Zoovu today announced that it has secured $14 million in series B financing led by Berlin-based Target Global and existing investor Beringea, bringing its total venture capital raised to $25 million.
CEO Rob Mullen said the cash infusion will fuel further growth and expansion into Asia-Pacific markets, as well as boosting investments in AI and behavioral analytics. He also said that Target Global’s Rytis Vitkauskas will join the company’s board of directors as part of the round.
“Brands are quickly realizing that the typical customer persona is vastly different now than it was even just a few years ago, and they’re being forced to adapt to a unique generation of consumers by adopting new technologies and engagement strategies,” Mullen said. “Zoovu is dedicated to alleviating these challenges by providing advanced behavioral data, which customers can take advantage of to differentiate themselves, allowing brands to deliver a more personalized and engaging customer experience.”
Zoovu’s software-as-a-service suite enables its clients to design mobile, web, voice, and kiosk experiences informed by machine learning. That includes chatbots, of course, but also interactive product selectors, survey flows, carousels, and calculators. They’re embeddable and dynamic — Zoovu’s behavioral and product analytics algorithms learn customers’ preferences through interaction patterns and adapt the point-of-sale experience in turn. And they’re highly effective — the company claims that one customer, Monoprice, says it saw a 25 percent boost in conversion rate with customers who used Zoovu versus those who didn’t.
“The digital world has enabled businesses to deliver products and services at a scale that provides unparalleled choice to consumers,” said Eyal Malinger, investment director at Beringea. “However, many consumers are left struggling to know how to navigate the choices in front of them. This symptom is known as ‘choice paralysis’, which leads to poor brand experience, poor conversion rates, high returns, and loss of consumer trust. Zoovu’s digital assistants — driven by artificial intelligence — guide customers through the decision-making process as if they were having an insightful conversation with a member of staff.”
Zoovu says its platform currently serves over 60 million consumers a year in over 80 countries and 40 languages.