Fashion has always been a quick response business and retailers are forever searching for ways to grab eyeballs. Today, there are many emerging talents that are using technology as a tool to transform and disrupt fashion retail with their innovative solutions. The combination of fashion and technology is a powerful tool for the retailers to remain relevant and a step ahead in a highly competitive market.
PoshaQ: Turning fashion products into a great experience
PoshaQ, founded by Yash Saxena and Ruchit Dalwadi, is a B2B computer vision company that is building sales advantage engines which improve product discovery and conversions. The start-up, launched in 2016, is based out of IIM Ahmedabad and was initially started as a recommendation solution that helped retailers increase their sales potential through cross-selling and up-selling of the products. Later on, the company slowly built itself into a cataloguing company that works on to improve product discovery and conversions.
“One of the major challenges that we faced with the recommendation platform was that the quality of the data was not up to the mark, and therefore, the recommendations were not working well,” commented Yash. Realising the importance of quality data for the systems to work, the company focused on image processing and image vision to take data of the image and make catalogue out of it. The company came up with Slate, a sales advantage solution that enhances product discovery on a website, Google search engine and marketplace, therefore increasing the conversion rate.
The solution improves the product search result of the website by automating the product cataloguing using the correct keywords and tags, which enhance the product visibility and discovery. It works on image extraction algorithm which extracts factors like colour, sleeves, neck, etc., from a garment image. Then the AI model is trained to understand these factors, and thereby give better search results on the retailers’ online sales channels and improve the search listing on Google. Hence, when a customer searches for a specific product using keywords on the website, the result return rate is improved, enhancing the site search experience.
Moreover, the customers shopping on the retailer’s website or mobile will be delivered with better search results when they apply a filter, thus making the shopping easier for the customers, and therefore, enhancing the shopping experience. The bootstrapped company has customers like Vero Moda, Only and Myntra to name a few.
Shamshek: ‘Size-no bar’
Samshek, co-founded by Samiksha Bajaj (also the CEO) and Abhishek Bajaj in 2015, is solving the sizing challenge for women with the use of 3D and AI. The bootstrapped company aims to offer personalised clothing through the customisation of size and design to the customers shopping through offline and online platforms of the brand.
The brand has created its own size chart from XS to 9XL which is made by studying the different measurements of the human body to help customers find garments that fit individual body size instead of finding the nearest fit and getting altered. The brand’s offline store also leverages the use of 3D body scanners to allow the customers get their garments custom-fit. For this, the store is installed with a 3D body scanner that extracts 110 measurements of the human body in five seconds with an accuracy of about 99.9 per cent. The customers, when entering the 3D body scanning room, are required to wear a bodysuit and stand in front of the body scanner holding the rails while the machine scans. The scanner uses laser light or a camera to capture the measurements. “The main idea was to create a garment that fits the individual body shape and it will only happen when you are making clothing as per the customer’s size,” mentioned Samiksha.
The customers can also customise their outfits using digital customisation available at the store and on their website that allows them to easily check for different options of sleeves, neck, and colour. A similar service is available for the online customers where they can customise a dress according to their size and style. While shopping for collections on the company’s website, they get an option of customising the dress with their preference of sleeves, neckline, length, colour, etc.
The company currently has a store in Pune, and has presence across its online channels. It has also collaborated with Nykaa Fashion. “So, the first 2 years of the company were completely spent on research and development, and then we understood the exact problem of sizing in women clothing. After this, we launched our website and have expanded through Instagram and social media,” commented Abhishek Bajaj.
CoRover: A versatile AI-based conversational platform
CoRover, based in Bengaluru, founded by Ankush Sabharwal, is a conversational AI platform that assists retailers in improving sales, saving cost, reducing support activities, and improving customer/employee engagement and satisfaction. Through technology, the company wants to help companies enhance their customer care services by giving immediate response to the customers in their convenient communication mode and language.
“We came up as an end-to-end managed chatbot service provider and have our own platform; we create virtual assistants/bots using the platform. It is an artificial intelligence-based product. It is not just the technology that is important, but data which plays a bigger role in having real benefit of AI,” said Ankush.
It is a hybrid chatbot that automates the customer care service by automating the process of answering the questions of the customers, through leveraging of AI, ML and NLP. The solution is integrated into the online sales channel of the retailers, and when a shopper approaches the retailers for customer care services, he/she is directed to these bots instead of the human assistant which then gives answers to customers’ basic queries like order status, etc. In case the query or issue needs any special attention, the chat will be directed to the human representative for further assistance. As the software works on patent pending technology which allows the AI to be trained quickly, it can be easily integrated in 10 minutes and can go live with 90-99 per cent accuracy.
The software supports multiple languages including around over 10 languages in India and over 100 foreign languages. Moreover, the asking and receiving of information can be in any of the modes that a customer prefers, like voice, video or text. The technology can be integrated in WhatsApp, web, mobile app, SMS, e-mail, IVR, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc. CoRover provides internet-less chatbot as well. Conversational AI works without the need of internet, even in remote areas, and with the features of the phone, users can access AI chatbot in any language with texts and voice support.
Hilo Design: Designer-based personalisation service
The company started by siblings Mouna Gummadi and Sahith Gummadi in 2019, offers custom-made clothing both for special occasions and casualwear. Mouna holds a post-graduate degree in interior design, and Sahith has experience of working as a product manager in Paytm.
The company is funded by Vamsi Kotte, Co-founder, Syntizen, and others. The B2C brand gives an option to customise the garment according to the measurements and style of the customer’s choice. The service is an omnichannel model that offers both online and offline services. The idea was to make a designer brand that can be tailor-made by understanding the customer shopping behaviour and through close collaboration with the designers so that the customers do not have to compromise with the style and design by picking up the available options; rather, they can get their style and design made entirely for themselves.
“Our target is that we profile the customers and then the designer will design accordingly with close collaboration with them,” said Sahith. Expanding its capabilities, the company is planning to integrate AI conversational bot into its app that will act as a personal designer and help customers with their shopping decisions like a human does. The customers visiting the profile will be able to type what they are looking for and then the bot will deliver them the options available in the store. In case the customers are not satisfied, they will be directed to the human designers which will then deal with the design creation.
“We want to have an app that would act as a chatbot to help the customers in their shopping decisions. With the help of AR, we want the customers to try garments virtually. This would help the customers understand how the garment looks on them and accordingly they can take a decision for customisation so that the final outfit is made completely as per their preference,” concluded Sahith.