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Deft is building e-commerce search to help you find the right product quickly

Looking for the perfect product online can often be a time-consuming and frustrating experience. That’s where Deft comes in. This e-commerce search startup is on a mission to help you find the right product quickly and effortlessly. By utilizing multimodal search techniques and its own parsing technology, Deft eliminates the need for users to describe items in words and provides more accurate and relevant search results. Whether you’re searching for furniture, home decor, or other categories, Deft aims to make your online shopping experience seamless and efficient. With its innovative search function and plans for future expansion, Deft is revolutionizing the way we search for products online.

Deft is building e-commerce search to help you find the right product quickly

This image is property of techcrunch.com.

Overview

In today’s fast-paced world, finding the right product online can often be a time-consuming and frustrating task. With so many options available and search algorithms that prioritize advertising dollars over relevancy, it’s no wonder that many users end up with subpar results. That’s where Deft comes in. Deft is an e-commerce search startup that is revolutionizing the search experience by providing users with a quick and effective way to find the perfect product. Through their innovative multimodal search function and focus on building a comprehensive knowledge graph, Deft aims to solve the problem of finding the right item without spending hours searching.

Background on Deft

Founding of Deft

Deft was founded in 2019 by Alex Gunnarson and Zach Hudson. The idea for the startup came to Gunnarson after he struggled to find a specific type of couch online, despite trying different search parameters and descriptions. Frustrated by the lack of relevant results, Gunnarson decided to create a solution himself. Teaming up with Hudson, the duo set out to build an e-commerce search engine that would provide users with more accurate and tailored search results.

The Problem Deft is Solving

The main problem that Deft is solving is the difficulty users face in finding the right product online. Traditional search engines often prioritize advertising revenue, pushing the most relevant listings down and making it harder for users to find what they’re looking for. Additionally, AI-generated content has added another layer of complexity to the search experience, requiring users to separate fact from fiction. Deft aims to mitigate these challenges by providing users with a search engine that focuses on the most relevant and accurate listings, backed by a comprehensive knowledge graph.

Description of the Search Experience

Deft’s search experience is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Users can simply visit the Deft website and enter their search query, such as “wooden lamps with three legs under $400.” Alternatively, they can upload an image and modify their search by specifying additional parameters, such as “lamps under $400 that look like this.” The search experience also allows users to paste an image directly into the search bar, making it even more convenient to find the right product. Deft’s search algorithm takes into account not only listing descriptions but also materials, reviews, photos, and more, ensuring that users are presented with the most relevant and accurate results.

Use of Image Search

One of the unique features of Deft’s search experience is its emphasis on image search. Users can upload an image of a product they like and find similar items based on visual characteristics. This feature is particularly useful for users who have a specific visual style in mind but struggle to find the right words to describe it. Deft is currently working on highlighting the image search feature to ensure that users are aware of its capabilities.

Additional Search Considerations

In addition to the core search experience, Deft takes into account various other factors to provide users with a comprehensive and tailored search experience. For example, when users search for a “pet-friendly” couch, Deft considers factors such as stain and scratch-resistant materials to return the most suitable results. By going beyond traditional search parameters, Deft aims to help users find products that align with their specific needs and preferences.

Deft is building e-commerce search to help you find the right product quickly

This image is property of techcrunch.com.

Expansion Plans

Current Focus on Furniture and Home Decor

While Deft initially focused on furniture and home decor search, the startup has plans to expand to different categories in the future. By starting with a specific niche, Deft has been able to build a strong foundation and develop expertise in delivering relevant search results for these products.

Scraping Tech and Search Results

To provide users with comprehensive search results, Deft has developed its own scraping technology. This technology allows Deft to collect and aggregate product information from various sources, including popular retailers like Target and Pottery Barn. This ensures that users have access to a wide range of products and options when using Deft’s search engine.

Exclusion of Amazon Listings

While Deft includes results from various retailers, one notable exclusion is Amazon. According to Deft, there are a lot of “junk” listings on Amazon, and cleaning up the data to provide accurate results would require significant effort. However, the startup is open to exploring the inclusion of Amazon listings in the future.

Challenges with Traditional Search Engines

Deft recognizes the challenges posed by traditional search engines like Google and Amazon. These platforms often prioritize advertising revenue over relevancy, leading to a less-than-ideal search experience for users. By focusing on providing accurate and tailored search results, Deft aims to differentiate itself and offer a superior alternative to traditional search engines.

Funding and User Metrics

Seed Round Funding

Deft has successfully raised $1.8 million in a seed round of funding. The funding was led by investors such as Hustle Fund, Frontier VC, Vitalize, Long Ecommerce Ventures, 43 Ventures, and angel investors. This investment demonstrates the confidence that investors have in Deft’s vision and potential.

Projected Monthly Active Users

By the end of this year, Deft aims to reach 50,000 monthly active users. While the exact search volume is not revealed, the startup is already seeing “tens of thousands” of searches every week. The fact that users who return to Deft for a second time conduct more searches than their first visit indicates a positive user experience and engagement.

Comparison of Conversion Rates

Deft boasts a conversion rate that is five times higher than the standard e-commerce rate, which is typically around 2-3%. This high conversion rate is a testament to the effectiveness of Deft’s search engine and the quality of the search results it delivers. By providing users with relevant and accurate product recommendations, Deft increases the likelihood of users making a purchase.

Revenue Generation through Commissions and Subscriptions

Deft’s revenue model centers around affiliate commissions and subscriptions. While the startup currently relies on affiliate commissions to generate revenue, it aims to shift its primary revenue driver to subscriptions. Deft is currently testing two paid tiers: a $10 per month plan that offers better search customization, allowing users to filter out certain brands, and a $20 per month plan that includes a personal shopping service. The personal shopping service continues to look for suitable products on behalf of the user, even after they stop searching manually.

Deft is building e-commerce search to help you find the right product quickly

This image is property of techcrunch.com.

Upcoming Features

Browser Extension Release

Deft has plans to release a browser extension that will further enhance the search experience. The browser extension will enable users to search for products directly from their browser, making it even more convenient and seamless to find the right items. The release of the browser extension is expected to take place by the end of this year or early next year.

Future Release of Search APIs

In the next three years, Deft aims to develop and release search APIs that can be used by other e-commerce sites. This expansion into providing search capabilities to external platforms opens up new avenues for growth and collaboration for Deft. By leveraging its expertise and technology, Deft can become a leading provider of e-commerce search solutions.

Challenges and Competition

Competition from Amazon and Google

As an e-commerce search startup, Deft faces significant competition from industry giants like Amazon and Google. Both companies have their own search solutions and are constantly improving and expanding their capabilities. However, Deft believes it can differentiate itself by focusing on providing relevant and accurate search results, which is often not the case with traditional search engines that prioritize advertising revenue.

Competition from Objective and Other Startups

Deft is not the only startup in the e-commerce search space. Objective, a Matrix Partners-backed startup, is another player building an API platform for multimodal search. This competition fuels innovation and pushes Deft to continually improve its search engine, ensuring that it remains competitive in the market.

Advantages of Deft

Despite the competition, Deft has several advantages that set it apart. One of its key strengths is its knowledge graph for products. Building a robust e-commerce search engine is a complex task, but Deft has invested in developing a comprehensive knowledge graph combined with AI search capabilities. This results in a high-quality user experience and accurate search results. Additionally, Deft has received praise from investors for its early product iterations and continuous improvement.

Importance of Knowledge Graph for Products

Deft’s knowledge graph for products plays a crucial role in delivering accurate and tailored search results. The knowledge graph allows Deft to understand the relationships and attributes of various products, enabling it to provide relevant recommendations based on user queries. This focus on building a robust knowledge graph sets Deft apart from competitors and contributes to its superior search experience.

User Experience and Value Proposition

Deft’s focus on user experience is a significant factor in its success. By prioritizing accuracy, relevance, and convenience, Deft provides users with a search experience that surpasses traditional search engines. The ability to find products quickly and easily saves users time and frustration. Additionally, Deft’s value proposition lies in its ability to deliver high-quality search results, ensuring users find products that meet their specific needs and preferences.

Importance of Go-to-Market Strategy and Fundraising

While Deft has a strong product and technology, its success also depends on its go-to-market strategy and fundraising efforts. Building a search startup is challenging, requiring significant investment in logistics infrastructure, supply chain, and marketing. Deft must articulate a compelling value proposition to users and retailers to encourage adoption and secure partnerships or customers. Effective fundraising is crucial to support the company’s growth and development.

The Role of Retailers in Deft’s Success

Deft’s success also depends on its relationship with retailers. By involving retailers as partners or customers of their search product, Deft can enhance its offering and ensure a comprehensive product catalog. The inclusion of retailers allows Deft to tap into existing logistics infrastructure and supply chains, further strengthening its position in the e-commerce search market.

Deft is building e-commerce search to help you find the right product quickly

This image is property of techcrunch.com.

Conclusion

Deft is revolutionizing the e-commerce search experience by providing users with a quick, accurate, and user-friendly way to find the right product. Through their innovative multimodal search function, emphasis on image search, and comprehensive knowledge graph, Deft is solving the problem of subpar search results and helping users save time and frustration. With their expansion plans, upcoming features, and focus on user experience, Deft is well-positioned to become a leading player in the e-commerce search space. As Deft continues to grow and refine its search engine, users can expect even better search results and a superior shopping experience.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2023/11/03/deft-is-building-e-commerce-search-to-help-you-find-the-right-product-quickly/