As an online store, it is extremely important that product recommendations and on-site product discovery works well. Customers come searching for a particular product and might not find it. Usually, ecommerce stores have the stock of similar products and can actually close a sale if all the options are presented well. While struggling with product discovery, the online stores are losing out on valuable leads.
Unbxd, founded by Pavan Sondur in 2011 helps to solve this problem by providing ecommerce players with their SmartEngage Platform.
The Unbxd SmartEngage platform is an on-site product discovery tool that helps connect customers to the right products. Various products of the platform include Relevant & personalised site-search, dynamic navigation with the ability to create merchandising rules using a web dashboard. With this platform, ecommerce managers can easily create merchandising rules to promote certain products and brands in search and navigation results. They can also decide the placement of products in the search and navigation results. Finally, the Insights & Reporting product offers a comprehensive view of key data like top searches, top selling products, conversion funnel per query and much more.
As the CEO, Pavan Sondur defines the road map for all technology and innovation at Unbxd. Prior to Unbxd, Pavan was a part of early team at Gluster, a US based startup, that built GlusterFS. GlusterFS turned to a highly successful open source scalable file system which was later acquired by RedHat Corporation.
Prashant Kumar, CTO & Co-founder heads all Technology and Engineering activities at Unbxd. He’s previously worked at Huawei and Tavant Technologies. He brings with him a deep understanding of the technology and SaaS domain and is responsible for the intelligence behind the Unbxd SmartEngage platform.
The team is part of Target Accelerator’s first batch in India. We get in touch with Pavan to understand more about Unbxd, its challenges along the way and future road map. Read on!
Tell us the story behind the startup – what prompted you to create Unbxd?
When we started working on Unbxd, the ecommerce industry was growing rapidly in India. However, we saw that not a lot of companies were focusing on the experience they provide to online shoppers. Search & navigation was a difficult problem to solve for ecommerce companies. That’s how we started working on Unbxd ecommerce search to help ecommerce companies provide relevant and personalised search for each of their users. Our other products like navigation, merchandising and insights were a natural progression from there.
Closing 2 Investment rounds so far, tell us how the progress has been in terms of customers and where do customers find most value in your product?
The progress has been extremely promising. We’ve gotten some medium and large ecommerce companies on board like Caratlane, Zansaar, Trendin, Redmart etc. We’re also currently integrating Unbxd with about 5 more Indian ecommerce companies and they’ll be live very soon.
Like I mentioned, providing relevant search and navigation is a difficult problem to solve.
Our value lies in the fact that our search is contextually aware i.e. understands the context of an ecommerce query and we deliver the most relevant results to search queries.
The next level is that our search is personalised per user. Therefore, every user sees relevant search results that are personalised just for him/her – in terms of the brands, categories or the price range he/she prefers. The bottomline is – Our Search & Navigation can help ecommerce companies increase conversions and improve the overall shopping experience.
Based on your funding experience, what would suggestions would you like to give entrepreneurs who raised Seed, but are struggling at Series A?
To get Series A funding, startups need to focus on getting serious customer validation and have certain levels of revenue pouring in. Apart from just potential, it is essential for a startup to prove that the company is on the right track by having a detailed roadmap, a few large clients and the capability of bringing in sufficient revenues.
How are the plans of being a global company shaping up?
We’re well on track to being a global product company. In the coming months, a large part of our sales and marketing efforts will be focused on the APAC and US market. We plan on attending and sponsoring key events in these markets and plan to approach medium and large ecommerce companies and get them on board.
We will also open an office and begin operations in the US in the next few months so we can adequately focus on such a large market.
Tell us the scaling challenges you’ve encountered in Unbxd’s journey?
We’ve always been focused on building a scalable business.
Earlier in our journey, we faced challenges in our integration process as it wasn’t completely self-serve. However, over time we’ve spent time making the product a lot easier to integrate such that the integration can be easily managed by the client with little or no inputs from us.
This is a constant effort from our side – We want to provide clients with every possible resource to help them get started with minimal effort from their side.
What is the future roadmap for Unbxd?
There are some exciting things we’re working on right now. The first is the beta launch of our new product – product recommendations! We already have a few early adopters trying this out and we plan to open it to even more beta users in March. This product will allow any ecommerce company to start offering personalised product recommendation widgets quickly and easily. This will include widgets like ‘Recommended for you’, ‘Similar Products’, ‘People who bought this also bought’ and more.
We’re also working on releasing a new version of merchandising dashboard. Apart from being gorgeously designed, this will be amazingly intuitive and will allow ecommerce merchandisers to control their merchandising efforts without any developer intervention.
Who would be your competitors in the Indian & Global scene and what would be your plans to stay ahead?
We have some competitors in the international market including Google Commerce Search, Endeca and Baynote. However, there are certain large companies that build their own search and personalisation systems. This is also a form of competition for us and we need to show such companies the advantages of using a targeted and tested system like Unbxd.