In recent years we have seen a whole bunch of visual / style fashion-focused search engines helping people find the right thread to buy online by applying computer vision and other AI techniques to do smart-visual and visual search Help. Which can easily match and surface to specific shapes and styles. Like startup Donde quest, Glitter And Stye.ai to name a few.
Early stage london based Cadera, Which is in the midst of raising a seed round, wants to apply a similar AI visual search approach but for interior decoration. All through the epidemic it is working on a prototype aimed at e-commerce discovery of taste-driven items such as sofas, armchairs and coffee tables.
Founder and CEO Sebastian Spiegler, an early (former) SwiftKey Staff with a PhD in machine learning and natural language processing, TechCrunch went through a demo of the current prototype.
The software provides a multi-step UX, which is the first to identify a person’s decor style preferences – to give them a verdict on a number of room book images staged in various interior decor styles. Meets (via a Tinder-style swipe) left or right).
It then begins to suggest using these taste cues to purchase specific items (such as armchairs, sofas, etc.) that fit the styles they prefer. The user can continue to influence selections by asking them to look for other similar items (‘more like this’), or look for less similar items to broaden the range of items they show – a bit in their search Injecting bit visibility.
The platform also allows users to search by uploading an image – with Cadera then parsing their database on the surface of similar-looking items that are available for sale.
It also has an AR component on its product map – which will eventually allow users to imagine a potential purchase in situ in their home. Voice search will also be resorted to.
“Keyword search is basically broken,” Spiegler argues. “Image you’re renovating or renovating your house and you say I’m looking for something, I’ve seen it somewhere, I only know when I see it, and I really don’t know what I need – So [challenge we’re addressing is this] The whole process of finding out what you want. ”
“The mission is understanding personal priorities. If you don’t know yourself what you’re looking for, we’re basically helping you with visual clues and with pieces of inspiration – which can be content, pictures and then at some point community as well Is – want to know what you are doing. And it helps for the retailer to understand what their customers want. “
“It builds confidence, you’re more sure of your purchase, you’re less likely to return something – which is a big cost to retailers. And, at the same time, you can also buy more because you can more easily Can find things you can buy, ”he says.
Ecommerce has given a big boost to the epidemic that continues online shopping. But the flip side is that bricks and mortar retailers have been hit hard.
The situation can be especially tricky for furniture retailers who can operate showrooms well before COVID-19 – trusting customers to be able to browse the person to drive search and sales Depends – so they are looking for smart devices that can help them to increase and / or convert online sales.
And region-specific visual search engines are likely to see uplift as part of a broader epidemic-driven ecommerce shift.
“I want to start with interior design / home decoration and furniture, the reason being that it is a clearly lined market. In my view, there is no one who has blocked the way to find and find things easily. ” Spiegler tells TechCrunch. “In fashion, there are quite a few companies. And I think we can master furniture and home decor and then move into other areas. But here is the opportunity for me. “
“We can take a lot of ideas from the fashion sector and apply it to furniture,” he says. “I think there is a huge difference – and no one has seen it enough.”
The size of the opportunity that Cadera is targeting is a $ 10BN- $ 20BN market globally, according to Spiegler.
The startup’s initial business model is b2b – the plan is to sell its SaaS to ecommerce retailers to integrate visual search tools directly into their websites.
Spiegler says they are working with a “large” UK-based vintage platform – and aim to launch something in the market with one to two customers within the next six to nine months.
They will also – as the next order of business – introduce apps to integrate a set of their search tools for e-commerce platforms such as WooCommerce, BigCommerce and Shopify. (Larger retailers will get more customization of the platform though.)
On the question of whether Kadera can develop a b2c offer by launching a direct consumer app, Spiegler believes that this is an “ultimate goal”.
“This is the million dollar question – my ultimate goal, my goal is building a consumer app. Creating a central place where all your shopping preferences are stored – a mix of Instagram where you see inspiration and Pinterest, where you can keep what you saw and then get relevant recommendations, ”he says.
“This is basically the idea of a product search engine that we want to build. But what I am showing you, you are taking steps to get there … and we hope that we have a community, where we have a B2D app. But the way I see it is we start through B2B and then change direction at some point and open it by providing a single entry point for the consumer. “
But, for now, the B2B route means that Cadera can meanwhile work closely with retailers – increasing their understanding of the dynamics of the retail market and gaining access to the power of key data, such as Style Look books and item database.
“We have a large inventory data-set / database, a design knowledge base and imagery and style meta information. And on top of that we recommend object detection, object recognition, so for the purpose of personalization, exploration, discovery and suggestion / recommendation, the whole shebang in AI, ” He goes further, which includes various technical components.
“On the other hand we provide an API so that you can integrate usage as well. And if you need we can also provide a responsive UX / UI. “
“Beyond all this, we are creating an interesting data asset where we understand what the user wants – so we have user profiles, and in the future those user profiles may be cross-platform. If you buy something from an e-commerce site or a retailer, you can go to another retailer and we can make relevant recommendations based on things you have purchased elsewhere. “So your complete purchasing history, your style preferences and engagement data will allow you to get the most relevant recommendations.”
Although general tech giant suspects still dominate the general markets for search (Google) and ecommerce (Amazon), Cadera doesn’t have to worry about competition from the largest global platforms – given that they are a niche furniture / home decor Sewing for the niche are not focused on tools.
She also Explains that Amazon is doing very poorly on the recommendations on its own site, despite having a heap of data.
“I’m asking – and I’ve also been asked – so many times why Amazon is doing so poorly in recommendations and search. The right answer is I don’t know! They probably have the best data set … but recommendations are bad. Are, ”he says. “What we are doing here is trying to recreate an entire product. The quest must work… and part of the inspiration, for things that are more opaque, is something important that I am missing with anything I have seen so far. “
And while Facebook acquired a home decor-focused visual search service (called GrokStyle) 2019, Spiegler suggests that it is most likely to integrate its technology (which includes AR for Vision) into its own market – while he is convinced that most retailers want to remain independent of Facebook’s walled garden.
“GrokStyle will become part of the Facebook marketplace, but if you are a retailer, the big question is how much do you want to integrate into Facebook, how much do you want to depend on Facebook? And I think that’s a big question for a lot of retailers. Do you want to depend on Google? Do you want to depend on Amazon? Do you want to depend on Facebook? “He says. “I do not presume. Because you basically want to stay as far away as possible because they are going to eat your lunch. ”