September 4, 2012
Just in Time for Christmas eShopping: Walmart claims sales increase since roll-out of its own semantic search engine
D'oh! I never once gave a thought about where the SE technology for eCommerce sites came from. Nor had I ever thought about the possible competititve advances any such technology might give to an eCommerce retailer. That's because I never thought that the walmarts of the eCommerce world might be creating their our SEs in-house. Insert your favorite Homer Simpson quote here.
... Recently I read that Walmart's research and technology lab created and launched Polaris. Polaris is a semantic search engine based on the lab's Social Genome project which identifies entity relationships using public data on the Web, proprietary data, and social media. I have no idea if the Social Genome database establishes taxonomic relationships in hierarchical or cluster or hybrid models one might expect for a "semantic search engine" but Walmart is claiming a 10% to 15% increase in shoppers completing a purchase since Polaris was rolled out.
Sam Walton would be proud. Considering the scope of Walmart's catalog and pricing of items for sale, will searchers of the Company's eCommerce site turn to "best pricing" sites after finding the item they were looking for (and just as importantly related items) by way of Polaris? Is the increased sales stats based on single item purchases, bundled item purchases? Who knows. A purchase is a purchase is a purchase.
For more, see Ryan Kim's Walmart builds its own shopping search engine (Gigaom), John Ribeiro's Walmart rolls out semantic search engine, sees business boost (Computer World) and Jessica Leber's Walmart Dives Into Search Technology (Technology Review). See also Stephen Arnold's think piece on Beyond Search, WalMart Blasts Off with Polaris: Destination Semantic Search.
End note. The published reports indicate that Walmart Lab created Polaris in just 10 months. [JH]
Pet grammatical peeve -- improper use of the apostrophe in the headline. "It's" means "it is"; the possessive form is "its." (Personally, I don't think "doh" has an apostrophe either, but that's a matter of personal preference.)
--- :) Ruth, Joe
Posted by: Ruth Levor | Sep 5, 2012 8:14:58 AM