Who They Are
Anyone who’s ever run a website can relate to the challenge of populating that site with an adequate supply of quality content that will keep an audience coming back and support the business’ revenue goals.
That challenge is especially applicable to businesses such as apparel, home decor, and beauty products, where manufacturers and retailers alike must present an adequate amount of content in ways that will engage those visiting their sites.
For example, an article of clothing may catch a site visitor’s eye, but it’s possible to get them more interested if they can see that clothing with various combinations to find one that appeals to them. The process of building those combinations is quite challenging.
A startup named FindMine is looking to solve the problems in this scenario: the ability to create combinations in a scalable way and, in so doing, improve the “shoppability” of a website to make it more robust — from a customer experience point of view and a business point of view. And to do so in ways that accurately reflect the brand’s value proposition.
FindMine built an artificial intelligence (AI) engine that builds these combinations and presents them to visitors. The company started, in part, because CEO Michelle Bacharach was personally frustrated by the need to create combinations herself for a variety of products. And, through experience as a product manager, she understood the importance of removing friction from the buying process.
“Every company in retail sells one product at a time. Think about how you use stuff: You don’t wear a shirt with no pants and no shoes,” Bacharach says. “In my life as a consumer, I always wondered, why is this so annoyingly hard?”
FindMine launched its product in 2016. The New York-based company, part of the SAP.iO startup accelerator program, has secured venture capital funding of $10 million. FindMine has 30 employees and has built an impressive roster of global brands as customers.
What They Do
The FindMine technology is built to solve the “content bottleneck” that plagues companies across industries but, in particular, certain products that are sold in a retail setting.
Using the example of a skirt, the company’s AI/machine learning engine will determine, based on its understanding of the brand and its vision for consumers, a group of items that pair nicely with that skirt for a site visitor to consider. It might present five different outfits. “We call that inspirational, shoppable content,” Bacharach says.
This “Complete the Look” functionality is used to automatically create landing pages for themes or campaigns, and it can be added to My Account pages or the customer’s shopping cart. It currently works with major e-commerce engines including those from SAP, Oracle, Shopify, Salesforce, Tealium, and several others. The software operates in tandem with any personalization applications or technology that a customer already has in place.
“Every company in retail sells one product at a time. Think about how you use stuff: You don’t wear a shirt with no pants and no shoes. In my life as a consumer, I always wondered, why is this so annoyingly hard?”FindMine CEO Michelle Bacharach
The FindMine technology also supports campaigns in other channels:
- Email: It can guide shoppers on how to use a product in an abandoned cart, post-purchase, win-back, or other types of emails.
- In-store: It helps customers guide themselves through kiosks or displays. Customers can use their phones to snap a photo of a product and see how to complete a look.
- Ads and social campaigns: When a visitor clicks on ad creative, they can be taken to a custom, automated landing page.
Despite the breadth of potential use cases and channels, Bacharach said the typical customer starts with e-commerce today, but the company is actively working to have customers deploy the technology more broadly. “That would be even better for the consumer,” she says. “They would get consistent guidance across any place where they experience the brand.”
There are two core elements to a FindMine deployment: technical, which is ingestion of the product data that the AI engine utilizes to build content; and human, which is handled at onboarding and codifies business rules into the system. A business rule would specify, for example, whether sale-price products can be presented with full-price products, or whether certain partners’ products sshould be promoted or not depending on business relationships.
FindMine says that A/B testing of pages with and without Complete The Look show the technology will increase a brand’s e-commerce revenue by 3% to 7%.
The company also has a benchmarking database with data on more than 150 retailers — and offers to provide access through a request-and-approval process to help companies see how they’re performing relative to peers.
Who They’ve Impacted
FindMine technology is in use among a powerful set of name-brand customers that includes: Adidas, Perry Ellis, BCBG Maxazria, and DXL Big + Tall.
While I wasn’t able to speak with Adidas directly, FindMine has published a case study with the footwear and sports apparel giant, and Bacharach was able to discuss their usage.
Before its use of FindMine, Adidas had merchandisers manually create outfits reflecting the brand’s style point of view. That process took 27 steps and 20 minutes to complete one look, and fewer than 10% of products appeared in outfits a customer might buy. That’s a crystal clear way to express the content creation bottleneck that FindMine aims to solve for customers.
With FindMine’s AI/ML engine, Adidas has achieved a 95% reduction in merchandiser time spent and a 960% increase in the number of items appearing in outfits.
The capacity to pump out content is limited solely by the number of content assets that can be utilized to showcase products.
The Future and Closing Thoughts
FindMine is a solid example of an AI/ML innovator that flies a bit under the radar. You’re not going to hear its name bandied about among billion-dollar valuation startups, or those getting venture capital infusions of $100 million or more.
Instead, this company is applying its core technology to real-world challenges while aiming to make things work better both for its direct customer (in terms of business performance) and the customer’s customer (the consumer who can more easily shop and buy thanks to an enhanced experience).
FindMine has won over some big-name brands in the process, and it’s sharing data and insights selectively to demonstrate its value to prospective customers. I look forward to tracking this company in the future and learning about customers that deploy its technology across channels to unlock its full potential.
More FindMine Insights:
- Video: How Startup FindMine Uses AI to Scale “Shoppable Content” Creation
- How Four Startups from SAP.iO Drive Supply Chain and Retail Innovation
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