To AI, or to not AI – that is the question that many online retailers are wrestling with, writes Shingo Tsukamoto, president of Makip.
The truth is that most (if not all) retailers these days are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) or automation in many of their back-of-house or customer-facing services.
AI is becoming increasingly prevalent in every aspect of our lives and the fashion market is no exception. In fact, AI in fashion is creating a huge wave, with reports from Statista noting that the market value of AI in fashion is expected to rise from $1.1bn in 2023 to $4.4bn by 2027!
Retailers cannot afford to be an AI laggard. If they do not embrace new technologies then there is a high chance that they will fall behind more technologically savvy competitors.
Using AI to find the right fit:
AI technology is revolutionising the way customers interact with online clothing and allowing them to virtually ‘try on’ clothing items. AI makes online sizing technology more accurate, efficient, and personalised by using machine learning algorithms, computer vision, and data analysis.
The result of using AI enables retailers to provide their customers with a more seamless and convenient online shopping experience.
For the most part, AI is used to make the online shopping experience slicker for the consumer, but it can also be used to create a customer avatar that is matched their unique body size, this then models any items of clothing they are looking to buy, giving them a visual representation of how it would fit their body.
This AI tool is being used by many household names such as Levis and the American clothing company, who are testing AI-generated clothing models to help increase diversity, whilst Nike used AI technology to help produce AI-generated pictures of their new trainers.
Benefits of using AI for online sizing technology:
- Improved customer experience: AI sizing technology can help improve the overall customer experience by providing truly personalised recommendations for sizing. This in turn helps to reduce the frustration and inconvenience of trying on multiple sizes and returning items that don’t fit, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Increased sales: By providing accurate sizing recommendations, AI sizing technology can help reduce the number of returns and exchanges, which can lead to increased sales/profitability, and customer loyalty.
- Reducing returns: Returns and exchanges can be costly for businesses, as they require additional resources for restocking, processing, and shipping. By reducing the number of returns and exchanges, AI sizing technology can help reduce these costs and improve the bottom line for businesses.
- Increases sustainability: By reducing the number of returns and exchanges, AI sizing lET MEtechnology can also help reduce waste and promote sustainability. This is particularly important in the fashion industry, where overproduction and waste are major environmental concerns.
Lack of standardisation across different retailers:
When we talk about AI sizing technology, it is important that people understand how it is measured and determined. AI sizing refers to the process of determining the computational resources required to run an AI model, including the amount of memory, processing power, and storage needed.
This can be a complex and time-consuming process, and different AI frameworks and architectures may have different requirements.
One challenge in standardising AI sizing is that there are many different types of AI models, each with its own unique characteristics and requirements. AI sizing may depend on the specific hardware and software used to run the model.
Different processors, GPUs, and other hardware components may have different performance characteristics, which can impact the computational requirements of an AI model- all of these factors make it challenging to develop a universal approach to standardising AI sizing.
As AI technology advances and evolves, it is important that AI tools become more widespread and accessible to help combat this universal issue.
Is AI the future of online sizing technology?
There is no doubt that AI has started to transform the online shopping experience, and it is expected to play an even more significant role in the future.
Hyper-personalisation is one area where AI is likely to be used more, analysing huge sets of customer data to provide tailored recommendations based on browsing history, purchase history, and even social media activity.
By providing a truly bespoke online shopping experience for consumers, retailers will continue to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction. AI can also help retailers to predict what products customers are likely to be interested in the future and then optimise their inventory accordingly.
The use of AI technology is not without its challenges, such as concerns around data privacy, and removing jobs from fashion models, however, these challenges can be mitigated through the responsible and ethical use of AI.
Ultimately, the use of AI in fashion and ecommerce will enable retailers to provide a more tailored and personalised shopping experience to customers while also increasing efficiency and revenue.
Shingo Tsukamoto, president of Makip