Former Stitch Fix COO says yes to AI fad

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Former Stitch Fix COO Julie Bornstein is behind a new startup announced earlier this week called The Yes. Launched with former Google tech guru Amit Aggarwal, the women’s fashion site boasts the ambition of no less “a next-generation shopping experience about to redefine the architecture of e-commerce and how people buy ”.

“Past data has indicated that once habits change, they change for good,” Bornstein told PYMNTS. “We are now finding that womenswear shoppers are more comfortable shopping online, and with The Yes and other new apps and services, it’s getting easier and more fun. The tendency to buy online has grown steadily every year since 2000 but we can clearly see the acceleration of this trend. There is also the harsh reality that many physical stores will be closing and reducing the options available, which will also be a more permanent reality that will fuel the growth of e-commerce in fashion. Having said that, I don’t think the stores are going to go away for good, and I sure hope they won’t, shopping is my favorite form of entertainment. However, I think the change of channel will be notable. “

The Yes has already raised $ 30 million before launch. It will put artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) at the forefront. The company says it will use ML to encode fashion items and create a proprietary algorithm to create a unique experience for each user. It claims to create a store for every consumer that automatically tailors the shopping experience with each user’s visit.

The algorithm is built by asking the user simple yes or no questions. It then responds with a personalized welcome feed with recommended brands, themes and trends. The app also offers a “smart search” that filters style and brand preferences. Other key features include a daily updated personal feed of new products, one-click in-app purchase, and automatic size recommendations. At launch, The Yes will offer more than 150 major brands, including Ralph Lauren Collection, Altuzarra, Erdem, Everlane, La Ligne, Rosie Assoulin, STAUD, Balenciaga, Acne Studios, Ganni, Tabitha Simmons, FRAME and Vince. When a brand integrates with the site, its complete catalog is automatically loaded for encoding by the ML algorithm.

Bornstein is keenly aware that the launch comes during uncertain times. Due to the pandemic, the company has postponed the launch earlier this year to better understand the direction of the e-commerce landscape, the needs of brands, and ultimately how consumers will interact with fashion.

“The initial opportunity to create The Yes resulted from the fact that shopping became overwhelming,” she says. “There are so many websites with so many items and it’s up to the buyer to figure out how to find the needle in the haystack. Technology has come a long way and yet e-commerce has remained relatively stagnant over the past 20 years. That’s what The Yes solves – the problem of finding and discovering online fashion shopping. Then this pandemic struck. And the need to shop online has become imperative with the closing of stores. In addition, brands were losing their main distribution channel. While we would never choose to go for it during a pandemic, the consumer and the brand just need to make our app more relevant. “

“With many retailers filing for bankruptcy, canceling orders and closing stores, The Yes is now an indispensable resource for brands and a new way to interact with consumers,” the company said in a statement. “The app allows brands to diversify their distribution channels at a time when physical retail is unable to function and wholesale partners are uncertain. The Yes provides a unique platform that enables existing brand customers to buy and acquire new audiences. Equally important, The Yes makes shopping online easier for consumers as the value of shopping in person, by selecting the right size and finding the right items for you, becomes more difficult to access.

The Yes donates one dollar per download to Good + Foundation during the first month of launch. Good + Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to dismantle multigenerational poverty by ‘linking tangible goods with innovative services for low-income fathers, mothers and caregivers, thus creating an upward trajectory for all people. family “. Good + is partnering with frontline workers across the country to raise donations to families in need.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: 2021 HOLIDAY SHOPPING OUTLOOK

On: It’s almost time for the holiday shopping season, and nearly 90% of American consumers plan to do at least some of their purchases online, up 13% from 2020. The 2021 Holiday Shopping Outlook, PYMNTS surveyed over 3,600 consumers to learn more about what drives online sales this holiday season and the impact of product availability and personalized rewards on merchant preferences.


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