Talespin is a customer focused solution which helps retail brands increase conversion. The technology stack uses machine learning libraries to classify images and helps answer lots of questions for customers – “What to buy?” , “Is there anything similar to this?” and “Is this available in my size?”.
In this interview, we glance through the insightful takes on the spin with the Co-Founder at TaleSpin, Tapan Dixit.
Q1) How did you hit upon the idea for TaleSpin?
It all started with a visit to a retail store of a top apparel brand. After spending a good 20 minutes in finding what to buy, along with the assistant, I was told that my size was not in stock. Disappointed, I finally completed my purchase at the store of a competing brand. This experience got me thinking about a real problem that existed at such stores- brands spend millions in getting customers to stores but there is no proper hand holding process at the store and the (customer) experience is not consistent. In-store selling has not seen any technological innovation for many years now. This gave birth to the idea.
Q2) What according to you are the pillars on which TaleSpin stands upon?
Technology and understanding customer’s needs. Talespin’s technology stack uses machine learning libraries to classify images and helps answer three core questions for customers – “What to buy?”, “Is there anything similar to this?” and “Is this available in my size?”. This simplifies the product discovery process for customers and improves the overall shopping experience. Tech forms a core part of the customer centricity of the solution.
Q3) How would you describe your first Sale/Client/Customer?
It definitely did not happen in one meeting! In the B2B space the conversion cycle is typically longer and as per my experience, it takes at least 3 meetings for a business to close. In many cases even more. My first sale luckily took only 2 meetings as the client had a similar idea in his mind. The trick is to be patient and anticipate the responses of the person you are dealing with. One must be seen as being open minded and not rigid – that helps move the conversation faster.
Q4) What do you think is important to survive in the Industry?
First, innovation is now a top business imperative. It has always played an important role in the success in any industry. But in recent years, its role has changed in several fundamental ways. If we are talking innovation, we should make it happen – Make it market-driven, Make it financially sound and Make it comprehensive.
Another important factor would be understanding the pulse of the end user. What does the customer need? , what are his pain points and how can we fill this gap. The first one to understand this gap is more likely to survive longest.
Thirdly, good service. We live in an era where everyone is connected to everyone else. Things have gone beyond the word of “mouth” they are the word of “social media” now, hence we cannot take a risk with service. Not able to provide good service is a clear indication that you are taking your customer lightly.
Q5) Would you rather be Respected or Feared?
A person’s leadership style is usually shaped by the kind of leaders he/she has worked with. I have worked with both kinds of people. People who wanted me to fear them and people who I have respected otherwise. I have never let anyone intimidate me that would have prevented me from bringing out my best self.
So, coming back to the question, I would want people to respect me. I would want people to give me feedback, to be truthful and honest to me. Some may believe that soliciting feedback from employees makes them look weak but that’s not the case. I am a firm believer in using feedback as information we can use to improve – whether it’s personal or professional.
Q6) How do you approach a decision where people disagree with you?
Have you seen the movie, 12 angry men? That movie, in my opinion, is the best example to show that how logic, patience, and conviction can work for you, even in the most hostile conditions.
But having said that, it doesn’t mean one should turn a blind eye towards others opinions. In Talespin we have a very open door policy. If you have an idea, share it with us, even if it contradicts with what we think. One never knows what great can come out it.
Q7) What is your Vision for TaleSpin this year?
We want to take the solution to new domains and expand to new geographies this Year. Currently, we are focusing on the Apparel and Footwear sectors and have plans to target the jewelry and beauty & wellness sectors. In terms of geography, we would be looking at the middle-east and US this Year.
Q8) What according to you differentiates TaleSpin from its competitors?
We believe our competitive advantage lies in the fact that brands don’t have to incur huge capital costs for implementing conversational commerce and deep learning in fashion. With our SaaS subscription model and a plug and play ability (of the solution) that seamlessly integrates with their current IT systems, companies can adapt to new technologies faster.
Q9) If you weren’t building your Startup, what else would you be doing?
I would have been biding my time in a corporate job, waiting for the next opportunity to startup! Right from my college days, I had wanted to do something on my own. I had to feel strongly about an idea and when the conviction was finally in place I took the plunge.
Q10) Lately, more and more Professionals are leaving their cushy and well-paid
jobs to follow their passion. What’s your take on this?
I think there are 2-3 factors which are driving this trend. First and foremost the entire ecosystem has evolved and is more supportive of entrepreneurs. It can be attributed to increased media coverage, good success stories and of course accessibility to funds. The other primary factor I believe is the disconnect between the way traditional businesses are being driven and the thought process of millennials. This drives them to look with-in and evaluate their current jobs against their sense of purpose. If there is a mismatch and at the same time they are convinced about an idea – they decide to quit their high paying jobs and pursue the idea to its logical conclusion.