Blog: Glamorizing Lifestyle With Haute Coutre Algorithms
“You decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live” Gianni Versace, fashion designer and founder of Versace. Fashion styling is about expressing one’s personality and is as personal and inspirational as one’s food preferences. However, “what to buy” and “what to wear today?” continue to be two difficult questions for women and men.
The world of fashion is abundant with choices and it does get overwhelming for a shopper to dig deeper, discover and make a decision. Personal styling has been the purview of fashion stylists, bloggers, influencers and leading fashion editorials such as Vogue. Personal styling was exclusive to the customers of luxury fashion retailers and celebrities who could afford personal stylists. And human limitations to make sense of changing customer preferences, fashion trends, the ability to best leverage the long tail of product catalog and offer a relevant styling service remained a challenge to scale and mass personalize the experience to an increasingly fashion-forward and style conscious world.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have started to disrupt every industry and are perfectly set to re-imagine and transform retail and fashion. In retail AI has been applied to building consumption patterns and customer insights, recommending products to online shoppers and running personalized marketing campaigns. Today the maturity of AI technology allows it to understand fashion, styling and its nuances. What was not possible earlier, now AI makes it possible to mass personalize fashion styling and consumer experience with the power of data and algorithms.
Deep learning algorithms and computer vision can identify visually similar products. But identifying fashion and style nuances, building an outfit and personalizing styling to each person is a highly complex and sophisticated work that can be done today. Styling for a customer has to consider 100+ factors such as personality type, color harmony, season, occasion, fit, cut, pattern, price, body type, product affinity and brand affinity.
Designing and building an AI powered personal styling solution requires four key capabilities (1) the Data models to capture and process relevant customer, product and fashion data within and outside the enterprise (2) the Algorithm layer to compute models, crunch millions of data points and thousands of patterns to produce the outcome, (3) the Presentation layer to vet and consume the outcome and (4) the Optimization layer to continuously improve the solution and customer experience via active supervised and self learning.
AI allows a wide scope of application in fashion beyond personal styling to inspire, engage and convert shoppers. These use cases include building curated outfits for various occasions and styles, discover visually similar products, complete the look with shopper’s current wardrobe, re-imagine visual merchandising online and in store with mood-boards and smart mirrors, transform site and mobile app merchandising with relevant journeys and curated products, recommend right fit size to each customer, predict fashion trends and best sellers and improve product design.
“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world” (Marilyn Monroe). AI for fashion delivers many business benefits such as (1) speed and scale of rich customer experience (2) growth in conversion rate, basket size and sales (3) reduced return rate and cost of returns (4) improved demand forecasting and inventory turnover (5) enable product innovation (6) drive brand loyalty from new and current customers (7) support sustainable product development practices and (8) enriched enterprise master data.
Fashion is both science and art. It is a lifestyle experience that inspires the loyalty of your customers to drive business growth. Personalizing customer experience has been an elusive focus of fashion retail for long. Data and algorithms are not going to kill creativity and sense of fashion. They will serve to empower the business to do more, better, faster and deliver compelling inspiration and personalized experiences to customers. Re-imagination of fashion helps showcase a brand’s personality and build customer relationship.
An automated and intelligent business is the way to unleash the abundance potential of digital technology and unlock exponential business value. Personalized fashion styling and experience resonate acutely with shoppers looking for lifestyle inspiration and develop confidence in their individual self. Quoting Kate Spade, luxury fashion designer, “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends”. When you are shopping for a cheerful yellow top wouldn’t you love someone telling you how well it matches with a preferred floral skirt and blue suede slingback shoe and a lip shade that fits the style?.