Alibaba debuted its FashionAI concept store on July 4 at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in an effort to bring AI experiences to fashion shoppers. The pilot store was open for a limited time only, from July 5 to July 7, and featured Guess apparel on smart racks, smart mirrors and next-generation fitting rooms.
In the concept store, shoppers could use a smart mirror —which displays product information on a nearby screen when shoppers are touching or picking up a garment — to add items to their virtual shopping cart. The system alerts the staff to prepare the selected garments and accessories for shoppers in a fitting room. If shoppers wanted to try an item in a different size or color, they could update their selection on the fitting room’s smart mirror and the staff would bring the new items right away.
All items in the store were supported by RFID, gyro-sensors and Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) chips. This allows the mirror to more accurately capture movement and spot the colors, styles and attributes that are most popular among customers.
The FashionAI initiative taps technologies ranging from machine learning to computer vision in order to adapt to and learn from consumers, designers and fashion aficionados within the e-Commerce giant’s ecosystem. These insights include images of more than 500,000 outfits put together by stylists on Taobao as well as expertise shared by brands. FashionAI is currently being developed by a New Retail-focused research team at Alibaba.
The AI technology is designed to recognize clothing and fashion trends, making it “the equivalent of consumers having their own personal stylists,” said Zhang Zhuoran, VP of Alibaba Group in a statement.
Guess Anticipates Future Plans For FashionAI
Guess plans to introduce the FashionAI technology into its own stores, with mainland China and Hong Kong as first stops, according to José Blanco, CEO of the Greater China market at Guess.
While FashionAI supports the stores, offering mix-and-match clothing and accessory suggestions for customers from the GUESS line, the system’s recommendationcapabilities extend beyond brick-and-mortar. Alibaba plans to release a new “virtual wardrobe” feature on its Mobile Taobao app that would allow shoppers to view clothes they’ve tried on in-store, as well as mix-and-match recommendations across brands — including items from other merchants on Alibaba’s shopping marketplaces, Taobao and Tmall.
Alibaba and Guess have been partners since 2013 when the fashion brand first become available on Tmall. With Guess already seeing major success through this channel — its Tmall site has achieved more than 100% compounded annual revenue growth over the last three years — the retailer sees potential in working with Alibaba to bolster its store success.
In particular, Guess seeks to leverage AI to better inform business decisions, ranging from product selection and inventory management to dressing mannequins for its window displays.