Reimagining Retail: How FINDMINE is using AI to enhance customer experience

Akshata Philar
Nov 1, 2019 · 4 min read
Michelle Bacharach, Founder and CEO of FINDMINE

“As a consumer, I was always frustrated that when I’d buy a product, there was always more work for me afterwards. If I bought a skirt, I’d have to figure out how to wear it in an outfit. If I bought a couch I’d have to figure out what rug and throw pillows would look good with it and then buy those things. If I bought a new set of trims for my bathroom I’d have to search for the valves that would fit,” says Michelle Bacharach, founder and CEO of FINDMINE.

She discovered that when it came to recommending products to customers, retailers still relied heavily on manual processes. For instance, while brands know which products might be complementary — which pair of shoes would look great with the bag you’ve just added to your cart and which scarf, jeans or shirt would complete the look — they were just not very good at prompting the customers towards the right purchase. That’s where FINDMINE comes in.

FINDMINE uses AI to help customers “complete the look” and provides retailers an easy, efficient and scalable way of communicating that to customers. “Our engine shows consumers a little recipe for how to use each product they’re buying.” For brands and retailers using FINDMINE, the impact has been incredible. “For our customers the value is threefold. First, we’re helping them gain efficiency in their operations by spending fewer manhours in merchandising. Second, the overall brand experience is augmented for the customer, building loyalty. Third, FINDMINE helps generate revenue, in some cases as much as $60 million for a customer — because we help consumers make the right buying decisions.”

But FINDMINE isn’t just for online retailers, stresses Michelle. “Regardless of where they’re interacting with the brand — e-commerce website, in a store, while talking with a store associate, via an email, in social media or even advertising — what matters is that FINDMINE really allows for an unparalleled customer experience.”

There is also another unintended consequence of helping customers find things they love. “They won’t return purchases as often, saving on packaging, transport and waste. We’re hoping this will help us make retail more sustainable and the planet a little greener.”

It’s evident that Michelle understands the pain points in the user journey, but her journey as a founder was not a straightforward path. “I was a product manager for many years. I also took a brief detour as a professional actress, which was really fun. I gained a ton of comfort with public speaking and rejection, both of which help tremendously as a CEO of a venture-backed startup.”

It was during this inflection in her life, in 2010, that FINDMINE started taking shape. “I was moving from L.A to New York for my MBA and from living in the warm climate of Southern California I had to adjust to a whole new life in the Northeast. Building a new home around me and also shopping for wardrobe essentials for my career in business, I realized that it was far too time consuming to find things that could multi-task and still fit well together; there had to be a better way to shop. Between then and 2016, when the company started in earnest, the idea just never left my head — I knew I had to do something about it — and FINDMINE was born.”

Michelle’s hunch has proven right, finding customers in marquee global brands like Adidas, BCBG, Perry Ellis, Callaway, Reebok, and John Varvatos, and also successfully raising a Series A. “I strongly believe that the reason we are getting great traction is that we’re addressing a real pain point. We are helping remove friction from the shopping and post purchase experience and we remove friction for the people who work for the retailers and brands. We’ve seen a lot of success in a short period of time and have been recognized a leader in retail technology by some of the most respected organizations in the world, like Li & Fung.”

In September, Michelle joined the Fall 2019 Cohort of the SAP.iO Foundry in San Francisco with six other Experience Management startups. During the program, the founders have been immersed in sessions focused on helping startups scale their businesses. “We’ve learned a lot, from pricing to enterprise sales and marketing — which is critical for us. We are selling in to billion-dollar brands and retailers and there is a lot of complexity involved. Our time at the Foundry has helped us understand the landscape and navigate that complexity.” SAP customers can also now find FINDMINE on the SAP AppCenter.

As 2019 wraps up Michelle is focused on the next phase for FINDMINE. “My main vision for the company is to help our customers thrive in an ever more competitive environment. We are also set to expand into other categories and geographically as well. As we grow we also want to invest our time in building important relationships like the one we have with SAP.”

On November 14th SAP.iO San Francisco will host the Experience Management Cohort Demo Day. Sign up for a chance to meet all the incredible founders.