3 Ways Fashion Retailers Can Use AI in 2021

Anna-Louise McDougall
Last Updated:
September 5, 2023
4 min

Through the use of smart logistics, up-to-the-minute forecasting, mobile shopping, and augmented reality, the future of e-commerce is AI, and it’s looking bright.

It’s near impossible to leave one’s head in the sand when it comes to the use of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) when it comes to your online store making bank. Through the use of smart logistics, up-to-the-minute forecasting, mobile shopping, and augmented reality, the future of e-commerce is AI, and it’s looking bright.

Keeping tabs on AI’s emerging trends will offer key insights into where e-commerce is headed. And if the sales are any indication, the future of eCommerce is going up. Miss the moment, and you’ll be left behind.

For eCommerce companies, AI-based solutions can help overcome the challenges that take up time and workforce by automating routine workflows to help sales, marketing, and support teams make more informed decisions.

By 2025, revenue from AI is projected to reach $36.8 billion globally. And by 2030, AI revenue is expected to hit the trillions.

Smart Logistics and Forecasting

Smart logistics enable your brand to exponentially increase the efficiency of your product journey. How? By seamlessly cutting out the middle man.

From smart supply chains to smart warehouses, the beauty of machine learning is its ability to bump your logistics into turbo-mode by using real-time data. As AI stacks your data over time, your ability to forecast demand levels, predict transit times, and avoid shipment delays will be second to none.

And, AI doesn’t clock off at 5. AI enables your algorithms to work as hard, if not harder than you do.

Here’s how your business can benefit from automated systems:

  • Intelligent logistics can use sensors or RFID tags to manage inventory and more accurately forecast demand.
  • Automated invoice filling-in and processing help escape errors and ensure that the right customer will get the ordered item.
  • Robotization within warehouses allows reducing costs of manual operations and offers time-saving ways to manage inventory.
  • Smart warehouses can also allow managers to relocate the human workforce and increase productivity.
  • Data can help businesses plug leaks, and streamline their customer service operations, to keep consumers happy and informed.
  • Geolocation data can make intelligent predictions by understanding customer preferences with regard to prices and delivery timing.
  • Range planning software for your team to visualise, automate and collaborate on your range, in real time (did somebody say Style Arcade?).

Smarter predictions for your supply chain and logistics functions confirm AI is key to the overall shopping experience.

Augmented Reality

Remember Pokemon Go? The worldwide craze was just the beginning of mainstream augmented reality for consumers. According to Vogue Business, realistic clothing AR try-on is set to go mainstream, and soon. No longer just a fancy tool for the big-time players, more businesses are realising that these conversion-happy digital reality methods are worth their weight in the metaverse.

Shopify has reported that interactions with products shown with AR result in a 94% higher conversion rate than products shown without AR. Snapchat, Facebook, and Apple are jumping on the bandwagon with tech upgrades, vastly improved imagery and acquisitions with the intention to sell, sell, sell.

Snapchat’s new AR technology will utilize ‘3D Body Mesh’ for shoppers on Farfetch, for example, to replicate real-life outfits as Snapchatters try on virtual clothes via the camera with the use of voice-enabled controls.

In a nutshell:

1. AR increases user engagement: The longer a customer spends on your website interacting with your features, the more likely they are to buy something.

2. AR increases conversions: AR gives users more information than static 2D images. In addition to offering 3D views, it can show what a product looks like in a user’s space, making it much easier to make a buying decision.

3. AR reduces returns: In situations like lockdown, the more you can bring the in-store experience home, the more likely you are So in addition to selling more, you can expect to hang on to more of that revenue. This is particularly important if you’re used to relying on in-store sales.

Mobile Shopping

By the end of 2021, almost 73% of all eCommerce will become ‘m-commerce' (mobile commerce) and that’s up from 58.9% in 2017.

Sephora is a key example of machine learning prowess and augmented reality features that lead consumers straight to the cart. You can try on different makeup looks, take a picture of an outfit you’re planning to wear to match the shade, check out full face looks, and learn how to do your makeup with virtual tutorials.

The mistake brands should be wary of, is enforcing AR or 3D shopping when it doesn’t feel easier or more seamless for the user. Make sure that your customer feels more confident in their purchase, and you as a brand after their experience. Sephora’s user experience adds value to their customer, the mobile commerce market, and their pocket.

Right now, few retailers currently have the capabilities, time, or tools required to unlock the benefits of the full AI experience. The fallout? Falling behind, for good. To achieve the results that the future of eCommerce promises, retailers must consider the true long-term cost of not investing in artificial intelligence, and the improvements only technological productivity can bring.

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