Finnish startup Klevu takes in-store e-commerce search to a new level

We hear a lot about how ecommerce companies leverage data. While Indian ecommerce companies use Big Data and features like missed calls to tap actionable data, natural language search has been so far under-utilised by ecommerce ventures.


Over the past couple of years, ecommerce companies have been stressing personalization in areas such as search and experience, but not many of them have been investing in or focusing on personalization of in-house store search.

According to a study conducted by Finnish startup Klevu, close to 15% of web shops have never even considered looking into their ecommerce search engines, usually relying completely on Google powered search results. That is not a catastrophe but does leave quite a bit of room for improvement.

The result of inaccurate or too broad a search result leads to a whopping 42% rate of online-cart abandonment, which translates to lost customers and in turn lost revenue.

With Klevu, search in online shopping becomes a true discovery tool for consumers and sales conversion tool for merchants. It understands the natural language of shoppers, learns from the search trends and optimizes results automatically. Klevu claims it can guarantee a plug-n-play search-to-sales experience, proven conversion and increased retention.

Klevu’s three core founders – Nilay Oza, Jyrki Kontio and Niraj Aswani – come from complementary skills and backgrounds, including computational linguistics, computer science and software business.

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Before co-founding Klevu, Nilay served as a Senior Research Scientist at VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland, while Jyrk was professor at Aalto University and had a stint with Nokia for more than 15 years. Niraj is a serial entrepreneur who earlier co-founded Square Analytics.

Integration models for search

“The majority of online stores have only exact keyword matching search capability. It is very limited in terms of showing relevant search results, and does not enable syncing, marketing and advertising activities with actual searched terms and the rich insights that can be deduced from them. It results in dissatisfaction in discovery and lower conversion rates from money spent on the store, marketing and advertising,” says Nilay.

Klevu brings a unique business value proposition to online merchants by empowering search boxes with smart search technology and rich insights into searched terms. The enrichment takes place in the cloud, from the existing feeds provided by merchants’ platforms. Integrating Klevu is very simple – any store on any platform (including custom built) can integrate Klevu with its self-service plug-in.

Klevu has a fully automated plugin for Magento stores. The company claims to record upto 60% of all checkouts coming from the search box when empowered by its search technology.

The year-old startup claims it has empowered more than a thousand online stores by its search in multiple segments. “The SME shops use Klevu’s smart self-learning version, whereas large retailers go for natural language search technology,” adds Nilay.

Competitive advantage and pricing

Klevu’s key competitive advantage is in self-learning behavior and ability to understand the natural language of shoppers. The latter also is backed by Klevu’s domain knowledge and capabilities in natural language processing.

In India, the company competes with Unbxd which offers web and search analytics for ecommerce companies. Klevu’s pricing starts from 9$/month to 99$/month for the self-learning variant. Its natural language search variant starts at 399$/month.

Website: Klevu

About the author

Starting his career as a crime reporter with 'The Indian Express', Jai Vardhan is a storyteller, erstwhile entrepreneur and a habitual prankster. He is inclined towards entrepreneurship, philosophy and startups, not necessarily in that order. He likes connecting the dots, breaking news, nose and beliefs - ‘To wake up in life one must fall asleep’.

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