What Does Alibaba’s FashionAI Mean for Modern Retail?

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Highlights from Today’s Story:

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  • China’s Single’s Day was celebrated this past Saturday, November 11th. It turned out to be the biggest day in online shopping all year.
  • The event yielded more than 25 billion dollars in spending, which is more than quadruple what Americans spent during Black Friday last year.
  • During Single’s Day, Alibaba experimented with an AI-powered project designed for offline shoppers called FasionAI.
  • FashionAI provides a recognizable interface for customers to use while they try on clothes. The basic screen interface leverages machine-learning to make clothing and accessory suggestions to customers based on the items that they are already trying on.
    • Here’s where things get impressive and a bit creepy at the same time — there’s no camera being used. Instead, FashionAI uses information embedded in each item’s tag to make recommendations.
  • With FashionAI, customers can try on clothes and receive fashion tips and suggestions. They then can make choices on-screen. If a user is inclined to try something different, or take a look at additional items, a store attendant can be called with a single push of a button.
  • What makes this so powerful and seamless is the fact that deep learning allows the AI to make connections in real-time by accessing mass quantities of data to make ‘smart’ decisions.
  • The ultimate goal is for the AI to eventually get better at determining what you’re going to look at, what you’re going to compare it with, what you’ll want to purchase alongside it, and which items you’ll actually end up buying.
  • This technology allows for a customizable experience that was not previously attainable. While human employees of retail stores can not possibly be expected to remember the personal shopping preferences of each individual customer, AI can.
  • It’s possible that Alibaba’s FashionAI may have been nothing more than an experiment at this point.
  • By placing screens inside of changing booths, Alibaba integrated its already successful shopping system into the real-world. This type of strategic implementation of technology is imperative for brick and mortar retail shops looking to remain relevant as more consumers shift to online shopping.

How do you feel about integrating AI experiences into shopping at brick and mortar retail shops? Would it make you more likely to shop in stores instead of online?

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