How the fashion industry can take advantage of artificial intelligence


“Artificial intelligence (AI) would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that includes everything on the web. It would include exactly what you wanted, and it would give you the right thing. – Larry Page

AI gives us the power to understand exactly what our consumers want, and that power, when properly harnessed, may be the fastest path to success. AI, compared to Elon Musk’s “Demon” and Alan Perlis’ “God”, is ubiquitous today.

It would be hard to name an industry that isn’t increasingly reliant on AI, and fashion retail is no exception.

To understand the impact of AI on fashion retail, let’s first divide the industry into its two main channels: e-commerce and physical stores. While brick-and-mortar stores have a unique set of AI uses, it is e-commerce retailers that are the main worshipers.

The Mind Reader

Today, brands like ZARA and Shein produce trendy clothes within 15 days. The million dollar question (literally) is, how exactly do they predict trends so quickly?

Well, this is where AI comes in. AI makes it easy to immediately recognize the changing trends that help these brands stay on top of their games and deliver instant gratification to their consumers.

Beyond speedy execution, personalization is another factor that consumers look forward to, and that’s where AI-based visual recognition comes in. We all know the product recommendations that come from companies. sites like Amazon.

Today’s online fashion retailers are unanimous in using visual recognition to recommend similar-looking products to their consumers, based on their respective search histories. This makes the shopping experience convenient for shoppers and helps brands see more conversions.

Conversely, visual recognition plays an equally important role on the supply side for retailers. Based on past sales data, this can help identify categories, designs, and colors that are in high demand, as well as those that are not.

This knowledge can be used by purchasing departments to determine the volume of products to stock. Data-driven decisions like these are great tools for tackling overstocking and lead to better inventory turnover.

Power of omniscience …

AI, with its God-like omniscience, has become the ultimate tool in the hands of marketers. In fashion retail, marketers use various avenues such as targeted ads, emails, and app notifications to maximize conversions, and AI is a key ally in the process.

Brands use AI algorithms to identify consumers who are likely to make a purchase in the near future, based on their searches and the number of visits to the site. This data is used to repeatedly target said consumers with product advertisements and recalls resulting in higher conversion levels.

In fact, fashion retailers benefit greatly from AI applications such as social listening, where tools can be used to “listen” to and analyze what consumers are saying about a brand, its competitors or business topics. specific interest on social networks.

Marketers use selected keywords to virtually eavesdrop on social media conversations, and the knowledge they gain is used to improve strategic decisions or target potential consumers.

Better prices, fewer returns

In a very saturated market such as fashion, brands are experimenting with their pricing strategies according to their positions in the market. New brands try to gain market share by offering lower prices, and established brands tend to push their prices up to maximize their margins. AI helps monitor competitor prices using freely available data and accurately determine competitive prices.

Fashion e-commerce sites are also using AI to improve product-by-product size recommendations, by analyzing consumers’ previous purchase data. This has been tremendously effective in addressing the issue of product returns due to sizing issues, which is a major challenge for online retailers.

AI inside the store …

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the most promising AI technologies, expected to overtake in-store shopping experiences over the next decade. Physical stores can not only use AI to leverage inventory management and marketing initiatives, but they can also use AI to deliver exclusive user experiences.

Tommy Hilfiger, for example, made the news in 2015 when they used Samsung VR devices to deliver a front-line track experience to their customers in the retail space.

Alibaba has also played with AI since launching its FashionAI stores, which feature smart mirrors and smart clothing labels. The popularity of intelligent in-store assistants is also growing exponentially, thanks to their scalability in terms of customer support offerings.

Can AI be creative?

The answer is yes, we have great faith in the creative potential of AI! In 2017, the Amazon team in San Francisco used AI to design new clothing products based on existing models. They used AI to analyze stock images for certain products and created duplicates in similar styles, proving that it was possible to use AI to design jobs by feeding relevant data.

But of course, there is still plenty of scope to improve the sophistication of these designs. AI could be called truly creative when it starts to innovate instead of just duplicating – AI haute couture is still a distant dream. For now, the human agents organizing the data to be fed remain the essential bridge between AI and creative innovation.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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