What led to the Development of Complete the Look?

Currently, our Visualytics working group is running at full speed. Many ideas for the Visualytics Suite are coming together, both regarding Similarity as well as Complete the Look. Soon we will have the first news. So it’s only natural to take a look back at the origins of our technology. How did Similarity lead to the development of Complete the Look? At that time, only Jess, Björn and Timo were part of our team. What better way to find out than to ask Sebastian Kielmann (founder & CEO)?

Similarity

Sebastian, when did the development of Visualytics begin?

Sebastian vorm Logo

Sebastian Kielmann

Founder and CEO Picalike

The founding of Picalike with similarity search based on image analysis was a few years behind us then. Similarity was successful, the technology was getting better, faster and more precise. Now we wanted to know: What else can you do with this image analysis? After all, similarity analysis can be used in a wide variety of areas. We had already specialized in the area of fashion, because in contrast to the area of technology or cosmetics, everything here revolves particularly around optics – as in our technology! Similarity reads a wide variety of data from the product image, such as color, shape and pattern. Based on product data from a product feed, additional information is loaded.

So we asked ourselves: What do online stores need to offer their customers a better shopping experience? What can we do to take the pressure off them? Make their work easier?

So, in 2014, we started expanding the image similarity engine and at the same time developing Visualytics with Similarity, Complete the Look and the email solution. Complete the Look is our answer to the first question, because with this technology the store can improve the customer’s shopping experience by taking them by the hand and guiding them through their assortment. The store can use CTL to advise which items go together, how to skillfully showcase the desired item with others, stylishly up to date and perfectly coordinated.

How can this technology also make the store's work easier?

By making the mask with which the looks are created as simple and intuitive as possible, so that someone without any prior technical knowledge can put the outfits together. The store is then especially helped when this once-created look is scaled up across the entire assortment. This one created outfit helps the machine learn what in the store’s assortment combines well and might be relevant to their customers. Using the visual search, sold-out products within a Look can be replaced immediately, completely automatically. All items that are similar to a product in the Look are combined into another Look. From one outfit, the Similarity technology immediately creates numerous similar outfits. This saves the company a great deal of time and resources.

CTL hellblaues hemd

Complete the Look

What has been the biggest hurdle so far?

The complexity and the amount of data needed for this correlation matrix were a challenge from the beginning. Only by using dimensionality reduction, but also performance optimizations to the databases, was this challenge overcome so that entire looks can be found and delivered in a matter of milliseconds. Since a product can appear in multiple looks, click and checkout tracking APIs were developed to allow the system to detect top performing looks and play out the looks for a product based on performance.

Of course, it was inevitable that something would go wrong from time to time during development. In the frontend, for example, sliders were configured the wrong way around. From this we learned that we needed a quality check of our data. The Quality Assurance (QA) team was born. After all, not every combination fit the customer, and not every recommendation the system had learned was appropriate. Only with the right algorithms and many trials did everything fit.

Where is Complete the Look currently being used?

At the moment, CTL is implemented on product detail pages as well as for email marketing and on category pages. But it is also used in the call center and as an app on the tablet of modern salespeople. The widget is very customizable and makes the most diverse application areas easily possible. So the bottom line is that CTL can be used anywhere you can make recommendations, whether based on similarity or complementarity.

Thank you, Sebastian, for the short tour back to the origin of picalike and its products! Then we’re really excited to see what new developments are to come. After all, the team is not lacking ideas. We will keep you up to date with our newsletters!

If you want more information about the different applications of Visualytics or Complete the Look or just want to learn more about Picalike, feel free to browse through our blog posts.

But if you want to know exactly how our technology could look like for your use, then sign up for a demo. There you can take a close look at everything with your data.

Hans Guido on working in Germany and Brazil

Almost exactly one year ago, our developer Hans Guido Steffen Costa packed his bags and moved back to Brazil. But luckily we still see him regularly in our videoconferences, because he still works for Picalike – just not from Hamburg! Since we were mainly working remotely anyway at the time due to the pandemic (with the option to go to our office in Betahaus) and switched to agile working, the ground was set for working from another country.

This also led to the idea: shouldn’t we expand our team with colleagues in Brazil? After all, we already had some team members (our CEO, our Project Manager, me from Marketing and of course Hans Guido) who knew the culture and language of this country very well. So it was not only Hans Guido who experienced a big change.

But what are the differences when you work from Brazil? What is different there, different here? It’s time to take a closer look.

Dear Hans Guido, it's been almost a year since you moved back to Brazil and started working for Picalike from your old hometown Belém. A lot has happened in that time! How many developers were you when you flew back?

Yes, that’s right! When we started the Brazil project, we were only 5 developers in the whole company. And now we are already 12! This is a very fast growth, which brings some changes.

Are your tasks still the same?

Hans-Guido Profil

Not quite. We have started new projects and new employees have joined the team. There is more to be organized in order to do justice to all the tasks. The less experienced developers also have to be supervised and coached.

How has your daily life changed due to the time difference?

Not that much, really. I’ve always started to work very early in the morning in Germany, too, and that’s stayed the same here. What’s only really different is that I have little overlap time with the team from Germany – even though I get up very early. After all, we are 4 to 5 hours behind here.

You are our only developer who has worked for us from both countries. What was easier when you were working from here?

When I consider all the advantages of the two worlds, which are so different, I immediately think of the communication method in Germany. It is more direct and efficient. I like that a lot and it made a lot of things easier.

Belem landkarte

What's better when working from Brazil?

So the most important thing: The Internet in Brazil is much faster, even here in Belém. (laughs)

Until recently, all the members of your team were Brazilians, but not all of them live in Belém. So you also work totally remotely among yourselves. Does that allow you to get to know each other privately? Or is everything super anonymous?

No, it’s not anonymous. Whenever we have the opportunity, we also talk about things from everyday life, about life in general. We do our best to get to know each other better. By the way, this doesn’t only refer to the members of my team, but also to the communication with members from the other teams. We also do conversation sessions in English, so that those with less language skills can practice.

Do you miss anything from when you worked here?

I miss Hamburg and the good beers. Also my little home in Norderstedt and the well-defined seasons that don’t exist here in northern Brazil. But I don’t miss the Hamburg sun. (laughs)

That would surprise me too, after all, Belém is located directly on the equator in the rainforest and has an average of 30 degrees Celsius all year round. Sun and heat are definitely not lacking. But if we were to pack you a package, what should we put in it?

Beer from Ayinger, Mettbrot, proper oat milk, Döner, Gyros Pita… And these are only the first things that come to mind. Can I not get a whole suitcase instead of a small package?

Let's see what we can do about that. Many thanks in any case for the insight into your work!

If you’d also like to learn more about our new team members, check out our blog at Inside Picalike!

5 Questions for Otávio

5 Fragen Otavio

Since August 1st Luiz Otávio dos Santos Mascarenhas (what a name! For us simply Otávio) strengthens the developer team. With his enthusiasm and drive he fits perfectly into the Operations team with 2 German and 2 Brazilian colleagues. This team is responsible for making sure that all our products run smoothly. But this is only his first stop, after that he will directly join the other teams! We are very happy to get to know him a little better here and now with our 5 questions, even if there is an ocean between us!

Dear Otavio, tell us a little about yourself! Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

My name is Luiz Otávio dos Santos Mascarenhas and I am 20 years old. I’m Brazilian, born in the state of Rio de Janeiro, more precisely in an inland city called Itaocara. When I was 5 years old we moved to Cabo Frio, where I still live. I like to watch documentaries and series, play guitar and sometimes some games.

Which of your new tasks here at Picalike do you enjoy the most?

Currently, I’m setting up alerts to report bugs and helping with the documentation. Through this, I’m learning a lot about how the codes are structured and how my colleagues work in the company.

If you could take a glimpse at the future, what would you want to see in 6 months?

I hope to be supporting the team in everything and to be already fully adapted to all the details of the job. And I hope that this will help the company to grow and also my own growth.

Cabo Frio Brasilien

Video call… Do you change for it or come-as-you-are? Why?

A little bit of both. I don’t get dressed up to go out chic, but I don’t sit in front of the computer completely sloppy either. I think remote work gives us the incredible opportunity to work from the comfort of our own homes. But that doesn’t mean to me that working from home isn’t something serious. So in short, I work in a way that I could leave the house at any time the way I am.

What would you like to drink with your colleagues after work? And why that particular drink?

After work? Beer. I don’t drink very often. But I can’t deny that we Brazilians have an incredible fondness for beer and for the social power that this drink also exudes. And the togetherness it fosters.

That’s right, I always found that nice in Brazil. To sit in a botequinho with friends at the end of the day, to watch the hustle and bustle on the street and to have a relaxed drink (in my case, however, I prefer a coconut water, wine doesn’t really work in Brazil). Thank you, Otávio, for your answers!

Since Brazilian beer 🍻 is so different from German, you should try one of the most famous ones like Antárctica, Skoll or Brahma! In this store, for example, you can order one.

If you would like to read more about our other team members, check out our blog at Inside Picalike! Click here to go to the blog!

Why email marketing is your shop window

Blog pic store window
 
email shop window
The customer has visited your store. You did everything you could to make her customer journey as pleasant as possible: you have many trendy items in your store. You showed her similar skirts to the one she was looking at on the item detail page. You offered her a matching shirt, summer sandals, sunglasses and beach bag, with the sunglasses and sandals also finding their way into the shopping cart. From the shopping cart, it went swiftly to completion with just a few clicks through a simple payment method and choice of delivery option. You’re happy, she’s happy. This is where the Journey could end with a happy ending, right?

How does the customer become a regular customer?

No! You have mastered the challenge of a successful sale, but now the next challenge begins: How do you turn the customer into a regular customer who comes back to your webshop again and again? Sleeping customers or one-time customers are a common problem for online stores. After all, the customer who just bought the skirt won’t just happen to walk by your store a few days later and see a dress in your store window that she also really likes, as is possible in brick-and-mortar stores. So how can you inspire the customer and invite her to visit your store again?

Now it's the turn of email marketing

This challenge is met by the email solution from Visualytics, which is already in touch with customers as soon as they register. This makes it possible to recommend products that are similar to the purchased item in the order confirmation e-mail. For example, another skirt in a similar color or the same skirt again in blue. In addition to the role of a shop window, good email marketing can also take on the role of an advising salesperson and advise the customer from the very first email: fashionably up-to-date and stylistically confident with fashion or furnishing articles, functional and chic with sports articles, sensible and practical with cross-category sets.
For example, product recommendation emails help increase sales and revenue by targeting items that customers are more likely to buy. It can also draw attention to items that you want to sell, for example, and are similar to the reviewed items. To stay with the store window example: You direct the spotlight on the items that the customer with the skirt may also like!

Where can Visualytics email solution be used?

The uses are as varied as the emails in email marketing. Here are a few examples:

    • Shopping cart abandonment mails
    • Order confirmation mails
    • Shipping confirmation mails
    • Returns confirmation mails
    • Cancellation mails
    • Back in stock mails
    • Reactivation mails
    • Customer loyalty mails (vouchers etc.)
    • Customer appreciation mails
    • Follow-up mails after a certain time interval
    • Newsletters

       

Customers feel recognized and addressed because they receive an offer that is customized to them.

Andere Inspirationsmöglichkeiten Christianes Präsi Hochkant (1)

Is that compliant with the GDPR?

Yes, it is indeed, because the artificial intelligence specialized in image analysis and picks out the images with a degree of similarity, which legally allow a GDPR-compliant recommendation – images that are really similar to the purchased product.

How can I integrate visualytics into the emails?

Just as the widget can be customized to match the look and feel of your store, the product recommendations in your emails can be visually customized to perfectly match your store. After all, you want them to integrate seamlessly into the email. The integration of the widget is uncomplicated and fast (see also our blog post). The handling of the tool is intuitive and uncomplicated, saves your employees a lot of work. And your customers see a larger part of the assortment, which also suits their taste. They always get new inspirations that invite them into your store like a store window. What exactly the mails will look like: There are no limits to your creativity! However, if you would like to have support on where and how you can use the product recommendations, then write to us. We’ll be happy to help you bring your shop window to life!

Sounds exciting? Then sign up for a demo version!

How does Multilingualism work at Picalike?

post inage multilingualism
Maik in front of the logo
For almost a year now, multilingualism has played a significant role at Picalike: a German-speaking team here in Germany, a Portuguese-speaking team in Brazil and, as common ground, the company language in the joint meetings is English. Three languages in one company – how does that work? I asked our project manager Maik Kade, the interface between the teams! Spoiler alert: He has worked in the intercultural field for years, as you can see immediately from his answers!

Dear Maik, you speak German as your native language and both English and Portuguese at a very high level. However, not everyone at Picalike does. Could you explain in more detail how the communication between the development teams works?

Communication currently occurs in three languages: German, English and Portuguese. However, different communication situations must be distinguished here:
  • Company-wide written documentation, for example, of tasks, technical details, problems and the like. In other words, everything that could be read now or in the future by any person and contains work-related information. This is all done in English.
  • Written communication in the chat channel, which in our case is Slack. As long as the course of the communication is only relevant to the people writing to each other, and as long as all the people present in the channel can also use this language at a high skill level (B2 or more), the people involved are allowed to decide on the language used. Otherwise it is English.
  • Meetings and real oral communication proceed in the same way as written chat communication. English is the default, unless everyone present speaks German or Portuguese at a high proficiency level.

What other moments are there when you have to choose a language? And how do you choose?

In addition to the communication examples already mentioned, there are also some special possibilities that I encourage the use of, if the situation allows it.
  • In certain situations (mostly oral communication), it is possible to work purely on the receptive competencies. Linguistically proven and I think easy to understand for every foreign language learner is that the comprehension competence (reading/listening) is always higher orally and in writing than when performant (writing/speaking). Therefore, there are sometimes situations where we allow people to perform in their strongest performing language, if the comprehension skills of the conversation partners are high enough to follow a “native speaker”. This can compensate for deficits in competencies. With the help of an example, it becomes clearer: Person A speaks German very well, understands English well and Portuguese well. Person B speaks Portuguese very well, understands German well and little English. The best possible communication would then be that A speaks German and B Portuguese. And not what is often found in reality: Both speak English with each other, but have enormous communication problems.
Multilingualism Picalike
  • Whenever it is particularly difficult to understand each other or a topic is very sensitive, we have several people in the company who have a high level of proficiency in all three languages and can be asked to act as mediators/translators at any time. I myself am one of them. This helps the team a lot.

Employees are proficient in English at a wide range of levels. How does that work?

In general, communicating with each other in a non-native language is a great challenge, which is too often underestimated, especially in the case of English. After all, everyone speaks English today… right? First of all, this is still a misconception, because especially in many non-European countries English does not automatically play an important role in education, or the quality of education can simply be insufficient. Brazil actually belongs to the latter case and “good” English is more the exception than the rule. And even in Europe, not everyone speaks English equally well. Now, if people speak a language at different levels of competence, then for me there are three stages in the ability to communicate.
  • The difference in language competence is so great that task- and problem-solving-oriented efficient communication is simply not possible.
  • The difference is small, so that tasks/problems can be worked on together. But it is still large enough that the more linguistically competent person can often argue better than the other person due to his/her linguistic competence and therefore has an advantage in asserting him/herself that is not based on expertise.
  • The difference is marginal and cases 1 and 2 do not occur. From now on, only pure personality and expertise count. And we all know that even that is not always easy.
In our company all 3 situations exist and we try to compensate for the competence discrepancies through the possibilities mentioned in the previous question. But it always means that communication takes more time and requires a more sensitive approach than when only situation 3 prevails. Unfortunately, I have to emphasize here again that especially situation 2 regarding global communication in English is far too often underestimated by companies in the world.

Language is also a part of a culture. Do you also notice this in the communication within the company? Does a bit of wit sometimes get lost?

If that means culture/language-specific humor, then that certainly happens sometimes, although everyone in our company really makes an effort to translate such things directly and try to convey the culturally specific nature of a situation, a pun or a joke to the others. I think that’s great, because it at least promotes some of the intercultural competence of our international team.
But it would indeed be bad if this mutual information exchange did not take place. This can very quickly lead to the formation of groups by language and, in the worst case, to the exclusion/discrimination of individuals or cultural groups. I think that every company, that relies on internationally mixed teams, must make sure that there are qualified employees who monitor and train the communication within the company.

What are the benefits for the company of having multilingualism within the team?

From the company’s point of view, the extra effort required for communication monitoring and training, as well as generally longer communication times in some cases, can act as a deterrent. But interculturality can also bring considerable advantages.
  • The first thing that always comes to mind is the concept of synergy. That is, the combination of individuals/teams that provides more than just additive value. This is made possible by people from different cultures working together. Because that always means: different ways of looking at tasks and problems, different working methods and, accordingly, a greater potential for solutions and progress in the company.
  • And then there is also the constant search for suitable specialists or for personnel in general. If I don’t have to limit myself to just one country, then I have more options, or in some cases even any options at all.
  • Last but not least, our employees feel at home in an international company precisely because they have the opportunity to work with people from other cultural backgrounds and also benefit personally from this exchange. This can bond a team and retain employees.

What advice would you give to a company that is in the process of implementing multilingualism?

The first is to deal with the challenges of multilingualism beforehand and also to admit your own lack of expertise and not just think, “It’ll work out, everyone knows English.” Unfortunately, when it comes to language, everyone thinks they have a say pretty quickly, but de facto, trained staff and preparation for the challenge are the keys to success. Second: Realize that multilingual communication with each other means more time and it will certainly reduce team productivity in the beginning before the desired synergies kick in. Thirdly, to be familiar with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in the European area, at least in the field of levels, as well as with the common examinations such as B2 for the professional, C1 etc. The still often used terms “business fluent, fluent, native speaker” are too vague and poorly measurable.
The levels according to the CEFR are that and describe very precisely what someone can do. They apply to all languages spoken in the EU. This helps with applicants and assessing the language compatibility of existing teams. Fourth, help employees develop foreign language skills. There are so many options: Company courses, financial support for language courses, encouraging language exchange (tandem concept) in the company. And there is so much more!

Thank you very much for the elaborate answers!

If you have any further questions for him, don’t hesitate to write to us. Or have a look at our blog – for example under “Inside Picalike“.

Slipover – the racer in the current street style

Trend slipover

The layered look (also called onion look) is always back in trend. What makes this look the eternal comeback trend? For one, it’s perfect for this fickle weather and made for it. Also, layering is cozy and can often be put together with pieces from your own closet. Combined with a new it-piece, it shines in new splendor.

This season, the slipover is our it-piece. Fashion experts from various glossy magazines predicted the trend quite some time ago. Will we really see this trend on the streets and in the socials? Or were the predictions wrong?

©Pialorenaa
sarahwhnr Pullunder Instagram
©sarahwhnr

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the sweater trend with OSA. It took a while, but now it has arrived! This is of course reflected in our data from the online stores. Within the last few days, there were numerous sweaters among the new ins, an overall increase of 28 percent. Here also a small evaluation of the color distribution:

slipover

But how is this street style styled correctly? We will gladly show you how the fashion pros wear the look, which parts they combine with each other and how to wear it sexy or casual. Let us inspire you!

First the most important garment: the slipover!

It is very popular, especially in oversized cut made of soft fabric. In an analysis of the favored colors, black slipovers are way out in front, followed by natural tones.

slipover

The shirt

Under the slipover, a shirt, also in oversize, is styled. Perfect is a white shirt, it makes the contrast to the sweater particularly strong. And should be found in almost every closet. Not in yours? But maybe you have a denim shirt in your closet, a comfortable and stylish alternative.

Slipover shirt

The under

You can do without the pants. However, with our current temperatures in Hamburg (1-13 °C) we recommend leggings or jeans for underneath. It is important that they should be in the background, so as neutral and inconspicuous as possible.

slipover

Another eye catcher

In contrast to the pants, the footwear can be a real eye-catcher. For this purpose, over-the-knee boots are particularly popular and also make it possible to wear the pants-free version of the outfit without freezing.

slipover boots

You have a fashion online store and want to provide such an outfit to your customers? With our Complete-the-Look tool that’s no problem at all.

slipover
slipover
slipover
slipover

Are such trend analyses also exciting for you, or do you also want to give trendy outfit recommendations in your online store that are never sold out? Then don’t hesitate and contact us!

Identify the hot sales days at a glance

Some days are more reduced than others. Some stores reduce more than others. Some prefer to reduce evenly, others have promotion days when they reduce especially much, and then it’s back to business as usual. These are just a few reasons that make observing the sales periods of the various stores so exciting. All the better if you can get so much information easily at a glance.

That’s why we would like to introduce you to our Sales Map!

With the overview of our sales map you can see at first glance through the different color shades in which period much or little was reduced. The heat map highlights the period in which things were particularly hot. But of course this is still very general.

Mit dem Überblick unserer Sales Map erkennst du gleich auf dem ersten Blick durch die verschiedenen Farbnuancen, in welchem Zeitraum viel oder wenig reduziert wurde. Durch die Heatmap wird der Zeitraum hervorgehoben, an dem es besonders heiß herging. Aber das ist natürlich noch sehr allgemein.

Sales Map 1

To break it down in more detail, you just need to tick a box and you will find out more details about the selected period.

Um es genauer aufzuschlüsseln, muss man nur ein Kästchen anklicken, schon erfährt man weitere Details zu dem gewählten Zeitraum.

Sales Map 2

However, since this is not enough for us and we attach great importance to very detailed and accurate information, you can further specify everything with the filters. For example, you can filter by category, competitor, gender, or time period to get a heatmap for exactly this information.

Da uns das aber noch nicht reicht und wir einen großen Wert auf sehr detaillierte und genaue Informationen legen, kann man mit den Filtern alles noch weiter präzisieren. Hier kann man zum Beispiel nach Kategorien, Wettbewerber, Gender oder Zeitraum filtern und somit eine Heatmap für genau diese Angaben erhalten.

Sales Map 3

You can’t get much faster and more detailed information about your competitors’ sales activities. Would you like to have a look at the sales map of your competitors? Then arrange a demo and save yourself a lot of time and effort!

Save valuable time with Shop Intelligence

Shop Intelligence

Whether you’re writing a book or developing a marketing campaign, the most time-consuming part is always the research. Because most of the time, a lot of research has to be done. You need reliable and accurate answers to questions like: What are the others offering? What do we have to compete with? How does the competitor make shopping easier for X customers? What products is he currently pushing? What special promotions are running? Are freebies being distributed? And that’s for every single competitor. You can’t get that much information with just a few clicks. Or maybe you can?

In fact, our Shop Intelligence can answer all these questions. Easily, quickly and accurately. How? Firstly, by analyzing the newsletters of competitors – after all, newsletters are the information carriers of all.

Shop Intelligence

With them, the stores present trends and promotions to their customers, entice them with offers and freebies. And as the name implies: You always find out the latest (news). With Newsletter Intelligence it is possible to look at the collected newsletters of competitors at a glance and get a general insight, browse through the collected newsletters and even look at their frequency.

However, if the flood of newsletters threatens to overwhelm or you want to get a specific information faster, it is possible to get targeted results with filters. For example, you can filter by competitors, time period, specials such as gifts and discounts. Just like with the overview, it is also possible to click directly into the newsletters and get an exact picture.

Shop Intelligence

But our Shop Intelligence can do even more! In the general overview, you can quickly see the various services that are offered to customers. This way, you can quickly see what is really popular and most widely represented – and whether you should perhaps also offer Click & Collect, for example?

Shop Intelligence

But even this information can be scaled down to provide precise answers to individual questions, because under the Shop Details tab, competitors can be viewed individually with a list of the services they offer.

Shop Intelligence

Research doesn’t get much easier and faster than this. Would you also like to quickly research how your competitors are doing? Then why not arrange a demo and save yourself a lot of time and effort!

Get relevant informations fast with Newsletter Intelligence

Newsletter Intelligence

The time between the holidays is known to be used for resting. Not so with us. We are busy developing, optimizing and researching. The result is a number of new features in our OnSight Analytics tool. To present all of them now would go beyond the scope of this article… And what fun would it be to shoot all the powder at once instead of finely portioning it and thus benefiting from it for a longer period of time?

Be curious what we have to report in the near future!

But now to an exciting new feature: the Newsletter Intelligence!

What is the Newsletter Intelligence?

With one glance you can see how many newsletters have been sent. When you mouse-over the points, you will receive several pieces of information, for example: How many newsletters were sent on this day? In addition, you can find out which coupons are offered, which collections and freebies are advertised. Of course, you can also click on the individual newsletters from this date below to take a closer look.

Newsletter Intelligence

Instead of subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters yourself and going through them manually, you can let OnSight analyze tens of newsletters for you and stay up to date with your competitors’ marketing strategies.

Newsletter Intelligence

Are you curious? Then test our demo and see for yourself what is possible!