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Shopping for clothes online can easily turn into a downward spiral of frustration. “Buying engine” TheFind has unveiled its new iPad app that seeks to turn e-commerce into pleasant shopping experience.
TheFind was founded in 2005 back in the early days of e-commerce. It applies machine learning and semantic search to shopping, crawling the web, and collecting information on over 500 million products from 500,000 stores. Shoppers enter search terms and filters, and the system will find what you’re looking for and provide product comparisons. Sources like Amazon and Google feature content based on advertising, while e-commerce sites like Fab, Polyvore, Wanelo, and Zazzle rely on social activity to make recommendations. TheFind’s goal is to help shoppers find exactly what they are looking for, along with relevant discounts.
TheFind gets 18 million unique visitors a month. Director of corporate communications Usher Lieberman said in an interview with VentureBeat that 30 percent of TheFind’s traffic is now mobile, and its iPad traffic has grown by more than 250 percent in the last year. He said that the iPad will become the device that people use to shop but there are no apps yet that make the most of this opportunity.
“An app like this will be destructive in e-commerce,” Lieberman said. “Tablet shopping has exploded, but shopping in the browser just isn’t going to cut it. Our app can fundamentally provide a better experience by cutting across all stores with personalized search, making check out eas, and storing your information. We want this iPad app to become the de-facto starting point for shopping and, ultimately, a daily habit.”
EMarketer found that global e-commerce sales topped $1 trillion in 2012, and the numbers are continuing to rise. Mobile commerce is an important part of this trend. Gartner predicted that by 2015 more tablets will be sold than PCs, and Bank of America forecasted that American and European shoppers will spend $67.1 billion on smartphone and tablet purchases in 2015. Despite this momentum, a few key obstacles hold back mobile commerce. Many retailers do not offer sites optimized for tablets, and some find it annoying.
TheFind put a lot of focus into a creating a user-friendly, secure, and seamless checkout process within the app to create an overall experience that encourages browsers to buy. Behind the scenes, natural language processing technology helps to identify and cluster products so you only receive relevant results. By combining metadata about each product with your own preferences and social graph, TheFind could ultimately show you things you want, without even knowing you wanted them.
TheFind is based in Mountain View, Calif. and has raised a total of $26 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, and Cambrian Ventures.