Zoho Sets Its Sights on Conversational AI and the Future of Commerce

Zoho is intent on creating a one-stop shop for all business technology applications. The company’s impressive portfolio got a little bigger last week with the release of Commerce Plus, a fully integrated e-commerce platform. The first out-of-the box vertical solution built on top of the Zoho One platform, Commerce Plus is a customizable online store optimized for content management and dynamic personalization.

Zoho also announced the release of MarketingHub, an all-in-one marketing automation suite, as well as a business process workflow system, Orchestly. These applications, including CRM and self-service customer care, all tie into backend data using automated analytics and intelligence via the company’s AI brand, Zia.

Also at last week’s Zoholics 2019 event, the company announced plans to move its headquarters to a 100,000 square foot campus on recently purchased 375-acre plot of land in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1997, Zoho has more than 7,000 employees worldwide across 12 offices spanning five continents, with a user base of 45 million users in more than 180 countries.

Zoho has been rolling out Zia’s Conversational AI features as an intelligent assistant for both customer interactions and sales support. This includes the ability for Zoho customers to build and deploy their own chatbots across a suite of available products including CRM, Notebook and SalesIQ, with additional packages on the way.

“Zobots” for Conversational Self-Service
These do-it-yourself “Zobots” are configured in the Zia Skills Console. This console provides a sort of “NLU-as-a-Service” assortment of developer tools to understand intents, makes inputs actionable, and execute fulfillments. The chatbot platform is a conversational front-end to encourage self-service interactions (“what can I do here”) as well as enable more personalized questions (including checking account balance, what’s in my cart, status of order, etc.).

In a session at Zoholics ’19, the company demo’d a chatbot to help users understand how to build systems by declaring data types and including parameters to offer up multi-turn conversations. While it was impressive to see such a low barrier for any Zoho customer to build and deploy chatbots, there remained a substantial amount of programming (at least for beginners) as well as improvements needed in semantic understanding and multi-channel support.

Still, given the company’s dedication and track record with a comprehensive technology suite, it shouldn’t be too long before Zoho integrates via APIs to enable what’s next for intelligent assistants and Conversational Commerce.

Categories: Conversational Intelligence, Intelligent Assistants, Articles, Mobile + Location