As a retail or ecommerce professional, you're probably reading a lot of news about artificial intelligence (AI). It's clear to those in the retail industry that they will be on the cutting edge of adoption of AI to improve everything from merchandising, to marketing and customer service.
So how are AI and bots going to change the worlds of fashion and beauty? A lot of it comes down to bringing more personalized shopping experiences. AI is built on processors with enough intelligence to mimic what we thought was only possible in sci-fi books and movies.
Now a bot can predict exactly what a customer wants and needs while helping match supply to demand. Here's a look at early adopters in AI-based retail technology.
Amazon's Big Push to Fashion Retail
Through the popularity of virtual assistants, AI has already helped home shopping evolve dramatically in the last year. Thanks to Alexa, Amazon is positioned to take things further with their upcoming Echo Look.
The Echo Look gives Alexa the ability to "see" what you look like to make recommendations for better fit and popular fashions. Amazon is calling this feature a "Style Check" and leverages machine learning to help shopper find clothing faster using your body dimensions and machine learning. The more a user engages with the Echo Look, the smarter it becomes, creating a score enabling it to find (and recommend) the clothing styles you want.
Using AI to power a virtual stylist like the Echo Look could certainly be perceived as a threat, but it opens new opportunities to a world of entrepreneurial designers and emerging brands who would not otherwise be found on the racks of major department stores or at the top of major search engine results pages.
Other Virtual Stylist Applications
Amazon is not alone in using AI to help shoppers find the latest designs. One such entrant is an app called GOFIND which uses a unique "snap and shop" method. It allows you to use your phone's camera to upload an image of clothing you see on a friend, in a magazine or in a store, then finds it (or something similar) through online fashion retailers.
GOFIND is going to help online retail stores immensely because the app scans thousands of stores to help guide customers to the right item. TheTake uses a similar concept with the emphasis placed on a massive database of fashions featured in film and television.
AI Technology in the Beauty Industry
An early entrant in bringing AI to beauty shopping is L'Oreal. Not long ago, they partnered with Modiface to launch a virtual makeup tester app using advanced augmented reality.
Not long after the L'Oreal release, beauty product giant Sephora worked with Modiface to create a virtual beauty app. Recently, they've expanded this relationship with a virtual artist tool that uses an image of your own face to see which shade makeup looks best on you.
Will Customers Embrace AI?
AI won't completely replace human interaction and thinking in fashion and beauty shopping but it's already complementing and enhancing once manual, subjective or error-prine human functions. It's been helping stores personalize customer relationships through targeted marketing communication for years. Future data processing capacity will enable brands to store and visualize an infinite array of subtle engagements to greatly assist merchandise planning and allocation, reducing markdowns and improving profitability.
Onestop Internet is an end-to-end ecommerce solutions provider, combining a full-service performance marketing agency with the creative resources to help you curate and augment the retail technology your brand needs with technology, creative, photo and video studio, contact center and fulfillment. Contact us to discuss how we can help you.