Blamed for the death of the High Street, online shopping giants face their own disruption from artificial intelligence (AI) driven retailers, according to a new e-commerce platform scheduled to launch in the UK.
Eligma, whose advisory board boasts senior executives of eBay, Google and Pinterest, is raising £17m in a crowdsale of tokens opening on 17 April. The group is connecting existing e-commerce sites and second-hand marketplaces to become a one-stop shopping account.
Using AI technology, Eligma's search engine algorithm will process millions of data points from thousands of online stores to compare product specifications, prices and alternative goods.
In addition, a blockchain-based system will track purchases, build item profiles and store digital paperwork such as warranties, repair histories and proof of purchase.
Dejan Roljic, Eligma's Slovenia-based founder and CEO, said: "After twenty years, online shopping is still failing its target market: product research is time consuming, multiple registrations for stores are required, fixing prices for second hand listings isn't easy and, looking ahead, payments with cryptocurrencies are generally not possible. Eligma fixes those problems with a single, unified approach.
"We're harnessing AI and blockchain resources to change the way shoppers discover, purchase, track and resell all sorts of items online."
Cutting his teeth on tech startups as a teenager in San Francisco, before heading to China to build businesses in education and manufacturing, Roljic is targeting a June 2019 launch for Eligma in the UK.
He has already secured a major trial of the group's Elipay crypto transaction system in Ljubliana's BTC (Bitcoin) City, the regionally well-known retail and business district, with more than 450 stores and 21 million visitors.
Roljic said: "The test backs up our promise that ELI tokens, issued in our crowdsale, will be truly usable from now, with view to becoming an integral part of Eligma's payment system by the time we are fully launched in the UK."