Interview with Oliver Tan

Oliver Tan
Oliver Tan
CEO & Co-founder

What are retailers doing to reach out to online shoppers who seek and discover information not on retail platforms but social sharing and information sites?

Social media platforms act as one of the most influential sources of inspiration for shoppers. By implementing visual search, online retailers are making sure that their customers can search for products they see on social media. Customers can simply take a screenshot of what they saw on social media or another site and upload it on their favourite retailer site or app. Some retailers are integrating it further and making their social media pages shoppable.

How does AI technology help retailers in equipping themselves with expertise and smart technology to bridge the gap between consumers and brands?

The concept of artificial intelligence has existed since 1956 but it's only in recent years with enhancements in processing power and the exponential increase in data that AI is seeing real world applications. In the retail sector, AI is helping retailers in many ways. With the humongous amount of options that consumers are met with online, AI comes up with intelligent recommendations. Through visual search, AI is enabling retailers to plug the gap that currently exists in product search. It's also helping them understand their customers better by analysing visual trends.

How is ViSenze different from Google Image Search?

There are quite a few differences. First, ViSenze visual search is developed and optimised towards specific business-oriented use (like online conversions) whereas Google image search is a broad image search model. ViSenze visual search is domain-specific and our artificial intelligence models are trained specifically to understand objects and images that retailers and businesses care for. In addition, our use solves problems specific to online retailers.

Do you think it is high time for Indian brands to adopt an open system of doing business?

Indian brands can be just as effective as US brands in engaging target audience through reinforcement of brand values and social awareness. The more socially engaged brands are, the stronger their reach will be.

What percentage of e-commerce will be driven by visual search in the next few years? What further can be done to improve end-user experience through visual search technology?

We're moving towards a future where visual search will replace keyword-based search. Ben Silberman, CEO of Pinterest recently said that "a lot of the future of search is going to be about pictures instead of keywords." We believe the same, and there's an increasing amount of data to suggest that.

A recent PowerReview study of US internet users reported that over 72 per cent of users regularly search for visual content before making purchases. This is a very significant statistic in illuminating the role of visual search and emphasis of visual content in influencing purchase behavior.

So, what next from ViSenze?

ViSenze's mission is to simplify the way people search and discover the visual world. To do this, we will focus on creating breakthrough and innovative solutions that really solve search problems. For retailers and consumers, it means to turn every customer's interest in an item into a real conversion through artificial intelligence. We'll continue our journey towards making the web easy to search and navigate through image recognition and machine learning. We are currently working on products and use cases that help retailers further improve their user experience. (RR)
Published on: 19/07/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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