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Follow the Leader: Amir Konigsberg, co-founder & CEO at Twiggle

Follow the Leader: Amir Konigsberg, co-founder & CEO at Twiggle Amir Konigsberg leads Twiggle, one of the most exciting startups to emerge from Israel in recent years. With its sights set on taking ecommerce Search and Navigation to the next level, we caught up with Amir to discuss the future of Search and the cultural trends that are shaping Twiggle’s approach.
 
Naspers’ Follow the Leader series profiles entrepreneurs making waves in high growth tech markets around the world.

Q: Search has continued to improve in recent years, yet it’s still frustrating for many consumers. What problems are you trying to solve at Twiggle?
A: At Twiggle we are working to create a digital shopping experience that feels like the very best in-store shopping experience. To do this, we teach computers to better understand people. This is very easy to say and certainly something people want, but technically it is very hard to do.
 
To solve the challenge, we use artificial intelligence. This will fundamentally change how people search, discover and purchase products.
 
Our systems ensure that shoppers find what they’re looking for with much less effort.  We do this by using a suite of technologies and learning systems to make sense of ecommerce data. This data can be used much more flexibly to make the digital customer experience more natural and intuitive.
 
Q: Can you explain how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can really change the world of ecommerce?
A: AI is going to completely transform the traditional shopping experience.
 
Today, it’s not unusual for an online shopper to fine tune a search multiple times to get relevant results. When you search for an “Android smartphone”, for example, it’s likely you will be presented with smartphones, smartwatches, cases and other irrelevant Android devices.
 
AI is being used to teach computers how to understand natural language expressions and the context of a request. In the future, search will closely resemble a virtual personal shopping assistant, which will be a remarkable experience.
 
Q: What changes in search behaviour do you expect we’ll see among consumers in coming years?
A: At Twiggle, we focus on three cultural trends:
 
Search will be a conversation
Consumers will no longer engage in a process of “trial and error” and various contortions of language in an attempt to be understood. They will use voice-based search, and queries will become more complex and less careful.
 
The pressure is going to be on companies to deal with this change in behaviour and accurately understand consumer preferences.

“What is?” will become “How to?”
As consumer confidence in search engines grows, questions like “what is” will become questions like “how to”. Search engines will need to evolve to understand the intent of consumers’ queries and then provide thoughtful responses to questions that do not necessarily have simple, factual answers.
 
Adapting to Mobile
50 percent of all searches are done via mobile. For mobile shopping to be effective, it must be fast and efficient. With smaller screens, there is less room to iterate your search until you find the right result. Mobile shoppers need fewer and more relevant results.
 
Q: How might new innovations like natural language processing, chat bots, and voice-enabled assistants affect ecommerce?
A: Chatbots are the current darlings of ecommerce.
 
However, bots are unable to replace the human interaction that gives ‘bricks and mortar’ shopping its edge. Ask a bot a basic question about store hours and you’ll get a great preset response. But, ask a bot a detailed question about a product, and the result is unlikely to be very helpful. Today’s bots don’t possess any real AI and they are just bandages to hold us over until something better comes along.
 
Q: What is next for AI? Is there a limit to what is possible or have we just begun to scratch the surface?
A: We have only just begun to scratch the surface. It is hard to imagine anything that both has the power to “change everything” and is also accessible to so many.

Read more interviews from our Follow the Leader series:
 

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