Iconic Vogue magazine editor Diana Vreeland once said, “Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time.” Artificial intelligence (AI) is now one of the tools at the retailer’s disposal to keep pace with those changes.
“It is time to restyle the fashion industry which has been the epitome of styling for years. It is the situation of the pandemic which causes such changes [to be] inevitable,” says Infoholic Research. “The ongoing pandemic (COVID) has forced the fashion industry to vamp up the technologies which can make people safer as well as give [customers] an enriching experience. The fashion Industry is seen as one of the most competitive markets where something which is trending today may find itself in the corner the next day.”
There has been increased demand for AI in the fashion industry, according to Infoholic, partially due to social media and the rise of influencers. These influencers are leading consumers to be specific in their fashion choices. Instead of “I’ll shop for a dress” the action becomes “I want THAT dress.” That has led to the growing need for designers and retailers to personalize shopping experiences, and that’s the sweet spot for AI. Infoholic says the use of AI in the apparel business is expected to grow at a 39.1 percent clip from 2020 to 2026.
Currently AI is being used to increase the productivity of manufacturing, optimizing inventory and identifying new trends. For retailers the concept of taxonomy — naming and classifying items — has been transformed by AI. It can help retailers assign detailed descriptions to products, resulting in more specific product recommendations. It also significantly increases the speed, scale and complexity of items retailers can add to their inventory.
“Companies have popped up or expanded their reach to usher in the technology,” says Vogue Business. “New e-commerce platform Psykhe makes recommendations based on personality traits by identifying both the user and the products; its models can assign products a ‘personality profile,’ informed by traits such as openness or neuroticism, in addition to traditional details, without human input. Resale platform Rebag has developed a universal taxonomy for designer handbags to better appraise products. And Facebook recently unveiled GrokNet, a tool that automatically identifies and describes items in pictures to help people sell items on its marketplace.”
AI also proves useful when a manufacturing company or designer evaluates its general statistics and logistics plans to manage supply and demand.
“Fast fashion retailer H&M uses A.I. to keep popular items well-stocked by analyzing receipts and returns to gauge which stores need what,” says retail analytics provider EDITED. “And Zara’s self-service store checkouts highlight the strong focus on creating a better and smoother shopping experience in-store. Or take Amazon Go, the revolutionary store concept from the tech giants. It is entirely cashier-less, letting customers take what they want from the shelves and walk out with it, scanning their ID and charging their Amazon account as they do.”
Those three examples, the analytics firm says, show how AI “is streamlining processes, ultimately cutting costs, and improving the customer journey.”