New Cognistx App Will Change the Way You Shop

Sections: Gadgets / Other, Lifestyle


Modern day high-tech marketing is fraught with inaccurate recommendations and suggestions for items already purchased. It also has a reputation for giving consumers the impression that their privacy is being violated by bots that monitor their web browsing habits. Cognistx is a soon-to-be-released app that promises to change that.

Modern Day ECommerce Marketing

One of 2015’s retail trends is the increased usage of state-of-the-art technology in marketing. Contemporary digital marketers are always looking for a better mousetrap when it comes to catching people in the lower end of the sales funnel.

Wanting to present their advertising copy directly in front of consumers who are ready to buy, they send consumers product recommendation emails or run online ad campaigns with graphic banners designed specifically for their alleged interests.

However, it’s often the case that customers don’t find these recommendations helpful or just ignore them altogether.

Amazon’s recommendations have been panned by countless consumers. The company’s recommendation algorithm is so off that a question about its bad recommendations earned a spot on Quora.

Beyond that, people often feel violated when companies advertise to them based on their online and/or offline activities. Consumers may view such ads as invasions of privacy and a little too all-knowing. In one classic case, Target found out that a teenage girl was pregnant before her father even knew.

The Future is Soon

An upcoming app, Cognistx, promises to put an end to these problems in high-tech marketing. In other words, it’s going to do what other marketing algorithms have failed to do thus far. It’s going to recommend on-sale items to you that you’ll actually find worthwhile, without causing you to look over your shoulder.

Here’s how it works. You download the app with an explicit level of permission that it will monitor certain behaviors. You’ll receive notifications based on those behaviors.

For example, if you’ve recently subscribed to Cigar Aficionado, then you can expect the app to share with you information about classy cigars that are on sale.

The app focuses on the tiniest of micro-niches: yourself. It captures and remembers what you do, and determines your shopping habits accordingly. It provides recommendations based on those habits.

People who are concerned about the so-called “creepiness factor” of the app monitoring their activities can express disinterest in certain types of promotional recommendations. They won’t have to worry about behaviors related to those recommendations being monitored any more.

The Focus is on You

One of the founders of Cognistx is Eric Nyberg, a professor in the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He helped develop IBM’s Watson™, the intelligent application that ultimately beat humans at Jeopardy!

Nyberg says that his insights into language processing and data management are key components in the app.

The co-founder of the company, Sanjay Chopra, says that the focus of Cognistx is on the consumer and not on marketing teams.

“Ideally we are going to get away from a world where a marketing team decides on offers for large segments of the customer demographics, and instead looks at ways of actually coming up with very personalized offers,” he says. “These offers really depend on who you are, and even what you’ve been doing in the last day or 15 minutes.”

Jeffrey Battin, the president of the company, says there are values in the “smart” surveys conducted on a mobile device in a retail environment.

“Wouldn’t it be great to understand and have immediate context as to every single user’s sentiment and be able to measure that to the store level, to the manager level, to the customer level?” he asks. “We have a customer that is extremely valuable, and, if we’re seeing scores drop off, we can be attentive to their needs. At the same time, if customers are scoring high, why not take that opportunity and instantly offer them an incentive to share the good news with their friends?”

Cognistx hopes to go live by the fall of 2015.

Image via Cognistx Website

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