Complex Made Simple

Entrepreneurs ‘don’t have to take risks, but manage them’

Changing technology has driven a shift in consumers from being passive to empowered, resulting in the priorities and preferences of customers becoming more experience-centric.

The result? Luxury brands around the world are working on knowing their customers better and enhancing their experiences in a bid to cement a lasting relationship.

One company that’s aiding this movement is London-based startup Riviter.

Riviter is helping retailers and brands to build relationships with their customers by interacting with them effectively through an intelligent use of visual search.

“We started by powering visual search for retailers in everything from personalization to precision marketing”, explains Riviter’s founder and CEO, Andi Hadisutjipto.

“But we saw that there was always a bigger barrier to address first. Retailers and brands needed to know their consumers better. It isn’t just about knowing what people are looking for, but rather why it appeals to them.

“Since pictures have the power to reveal the emotion and person behind the search in a way words and clicks can’t, we now use our technology to generate insights from images, so brands and retailers could make informed decisions from the very beginning,” adds Hadisutjipto.

Riviter provides visual social listening to the world’s biggest consumer brands. It trains a computer to automatically detect and identify objects in images and attribute them to specific products, trends, and people.

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Why ‘experience’ is important

Given the fact that the personal luxury goods market has enjoyed eight to ten percent annual growth over the past decade, it is imperative for brands to rethink the ways they are building the consumer experience. But startups are particularly concerned about turning a bad experience into a good one.

“With powerful artificial intelligence (AI) like ours, there’s a lot of excitement, but not a lot of discernment to weed out false promises,” Hadisutjipto says. “Thus, many of our potential customers have already had a bad experience with someone else. Our job is to help transform that bad experience into a fantastic one where the customer always knows exactly what they’re getting. The challenge is that we’re holding ourselves to a standard meant for a much bigger company, but since what we do now sets the stage for the companies that come after us, it’s a standard we can’t ignore.”

Earlier, on May 6 and 7, Riviter took part in a Global Start-up Bootcamp in Abu Dhabi, a precursor to arab luxury world, the conference on the business of luxury in the Middle East, that was held in Dubai on May 7 and 8. This event was sponsored by TAG Heuer and Chalhoub Group and saw professionals from the world of luxury, retail, arts and branding, converge to discuss the future of luxury. As part of the Bootcamp, Riviter presented its company before 600-plus professionals.

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‘Customer’ – ultimate king

The ultimate goal of Riviter is to make its end-customer happy and feel empowered.

“After a decade of working in a big corporation, I always wished I could see the direct impact on a customer. And in a startup, you get to see that every day. As a founder, there’s no greater experience than watching a customer getting a promotion, because they demonstrated business impact using something you built,” says Hadisutjipto.

And the change in technology is also impacting customers’ overall experiences.

“Today, so much of consumer insight is still done in analog ways: the traditional version of what we do is when market researchers visit consumers in their homes. Now, with digital means, consumers share their lives without ever having to open their doors, and we facilitate that communication with brands. This enables brands and consumers to have a closer relationship than ever before, at a much larger scale.”

 Read: How do successful startups deal with pressure?

Minimizing risk

Contrary to the common notion that entrepreneurs need to take risk, Hadisutjipto is a firm believer of managing risk.

“If you really believe in your idea and the value it creates, then it’s your duty to put your solution in as many hands as possible. A common misconception is that to be an entrepreneur, you have to love risk. On the contrary, I think good founders always manage risk by conducting experiments at each stage and letting the results of those experiments point to each next step,” Hadisutjipto says.

“We used this test-and-see approach from the beginning, and it’s made the whole experience much less intimidating and led us in directions based on evidence rather than our own limited perspectives.”

“I am where I am because people chose not only to believe in my ideas and strategies, but also in me,” Hadisutjipto concludes.