We may not even realize it, but artificial intelligence is becoming an elemental part of our everyday lives. AI technology is no longer a prerogative of healthcare and computer science: it is now being used in a wide range of fields, including transportation, education, telecommunications, and even the fashion industry. But how can AI be applied to solve questions related to things like style, creativity and trends? Can a robot have a good fashion sense? Wide Eyes Technologies, a startup based in Barcelona has the answer, and they are proving that AI is in fact the number one solution for fashion companies to increase sales and improve customer experience.
What AI Technology Can Do for Your Look…
Remember when you were flicking through a magazine and came across a photo of Beyoncé looking flawless in knee-high boots, a white jacket and a zebra-print dress? You spent hours searching for a similar, affordable version of that particular look, in online stores as well as your favorite local fashion boutique, and yet, you ended up going home empty handed. If only there was a way to describe and find exactly what you wanted…
Like you may have guessed, the solution involves artificial intelligence. Wide Eyes Technologies has developed cutting-edge software that uses image recognition to find items similar to what you’re looking for in a store’s database. Not only that, it can also recommend items to go with the ones you’ve chosen and complete your look. Say, if you spot a pair of sandals on Pinterest that you really like, but you have no idea what clothes you could wear them with, then you can just ask a shop assistant to scan them, search for a similar pair and look for matching products to create a complete look. When you enter the fitting rooms, the results of the search will be there waiting for you. And of course, the search is done in real-time, based on the stock of that specific shop in that specific time.
… and What It Can Do for Your Business
The technology can be applied to any device or channel: Wide Eyes Technologies partners can choose whether they offer it as a service in their online store, their app or even in the fitting rooms of a physical store. All the customer has to do is take an image –from the web, a magazine or snapped on the street – and the accurate and sensitive technology will find matches based on the picture. It’s like having a robot with a keen sense of fashion and a superhuman knowledge of retailers’ databases for a personal shopper.
It’s not difficult to see how this makes things easier for both the fashion brand and the costumer. If less time is wasted on searching, it’s much more likely that the customer will actually go through with the purchase – and their experience will be much more positive. This translates to an increase in sales and happier costumers who don’t have to dedicate as much of their time to shopping.
A Barcelona Startup at the Leading Edge
The company brought to life in 2012 by founders Luis Manent, Rodolfo Guichón, Miguel Pousa and Long Long Yu has a solid client base to vouch for the effectiveness of its technology.
“Our first product was launched in 2013, and we are currently the leaders in the market, working with the biggest names of the fashion industry around the world, in Canada, the US and Europe. We have around 25 clients in 50 countries, including retailers, fashion brands, luxury brands, and e-commerce businesses,” says Diana Apakidze, VP Global, Director of Business Development at Wide Eyes Technologies.
Image recognition is at the core of Wide Eyes Technologies, however, it’s not the only way that you can initiate searches.
“Since November last year, we’ve been developing the technology for chatbots, and we have one customer from the UK who is trying it out right now: it has been working perfectly so far. What we are able to do is translation from text to image, in real time, fully automatized. To give a simple example, if you type in ‘I need a red dress’, you will get results immediately,” explains Diana.
As for their plans for the future: “We are working on some cool products in the world of video-shopping. And, of course, our main goal is expansion. We would like to let as many brands know about our technology as possible. Based on our two years of experience working with customers, we can already see how it changes both sales and customer engagement. The only problem is that many brands don’t know just yet that this kind of technology exists,” Diana says.
When asked about the investment scene in Barcelona, Diana points out a difference between Barcelona and other markets that are perhaps more trusting of AI technologies.
“Many investors here don’t recognize the value that lies in artificial intelligence. They are used to simpler technologies, like B2C apps that bring immediate profit, and the complexity of AI confuses them. In the United States, for example, companies like ours are getting huge investments, even if their technology is not as good as ours, because investors see the value of AI. We need to increase awareness, and Barcelona is already working on creating a more innovative ecosystem. We hope that in a couple of years there will be a better understanding of what we do here in Barcelona,” Diana concludes.
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