According to research conducted by MIT Technology Review, more than 80 percent of managers believe that artificial intelligence can facilitate company growth. On one hand, it reduces human mistakes which are integral to the business process, whereas on the other, creates an opportunity for companies to recognize, and redirect their product towards their customer-needs. Thousands of companies have integrated AI into their business process, and it is slowly becoming a trend in the fashion industry. Specifically, 75 percent of fashion brands and companies are now planning to cooperate with tech start-ups in order to integrate and make the best possible use of artificial intelligence.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the three main tools that comprise artificial intelligence. These are used both by large, multinational corporations, as well as small fashion brands and are mainly focused on increasing the number of clients and increasing sales.
One of the biggest issues that online stores have attempted to fix was the hardships that customers faced when looking for a particular piece of clothing. More often than not, customers would waste a considerable amount of time and energy to find a specific item. This was further complicated by the fact that online stores usually did not offer an online shopping assistant where a helpful piece of advice would direct the customer towards a ‘green, polka-dot coat with ruffling on its shoulders’. Filters don’t always help- customers can scale the number of offers they see, but finding the precise item remains difficult. Research conducted by Shopify confirms that 80% of customers leaves the website because they failed to understand the way it worked. In order to help potential customers, large retailers, among which is Assos, have introduced photo-searching tools which work based on computerized algorithms. In the online app, customers are able to upload pictures of items they’d be interested in and within seconds, the app matches the picture with the stock.
Another side of introducing Artificial Intelligence is connected to improving and developing lasting relationships with clients. Microsoft has recently estimated that by 2020 50% of inquires will be processed with the help of AI-bots. This not only means that by using AI, companies will reduce the number of people responding to routine questions and will be available 24/7. The larger picture presents an array of opportunities, including search history analysis and based on that, tailoring marketing content to individual users.
The first fashion retailer to introduce such advanced technologies to their Facebook profile was American Eagle. Firstly, customers were invited to a mini-game where they could choose between two different styles. Once they responded, the engine analyzed their fashion tastes and based on that, offered specific items in stock. Moreover, in similar fashion to Assos, American Eagle too introduced a photo-based search system, which allowed customers to search for clothing based on fashion inspirations found elsewhere. Finally, in the buildup to the holiday season, American Eagle’s engines would offer customers to take a quiz which helped them choose gifts for their loved ones. Within a few weeks, the bots had resolved over a million queries, effectively attracting twice as many clients than followers on all their social media profiles combined.
The main objective that online stores have is to keep their customers indulged and artificial intelligence allows them to do just that. For example, Cosabella, an Italian lingerie brand, has recently introduced a system developed by Sentient. The AI engine developed by Sentient analyzes in real-time customer behavior and based on their activity changes the basic structure of the website, including font sizes and colors, which encourages customers to purchase more products. Their analysis found that when the ‘buy now’ button was colored in pink; customers were 34.9 percent likelier to proceed with the purchase. Sentient also measured which pop-up messages worked more effectively. Surprisingly, the most appreciated messages did not involve information about discounts and free delivery, but the fact that Cosabella was founded in 1983 and remains a family business.
Cosabella was not the first and definitely not the last company to introduce AI technology. Back in 2016, the American brand FlyPolar integrated Ascend solutions into their online stores. The technology changed four features of their website: the color and size of buttons, font styles, product placement and details about delivery, size the company itself. In result, after three weeks of testing, the online traffic and number of transactions grew by 16 percent and 13 percent respectively.
This article was written for FashionUnited by Sarafan Technology Inc. Sarafan Technology is a Marketing Tech company based in the USA and Europe. The company is a developer of interactive Advertising solutions for publishers. All the solutions are based on Artificial Intelligence technology Sarafan.AI that identifies objects in photos and videos published in media websites and searches for identical or similar items in online stores.
Photo: Sarafan team