Retail

Alibaba Tests Out ‘FashionAI’ Concept Store

Alibaba

By opening a temporary store with apparel from Guess, Alibaba is testing out its inaugural “FashionAI” concept at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Guess is looking to use the technology in stores, starting with Hong Kong and mainland China, Retail Dive reported.

The concept store works with Alibaba’s Taobao platform and, when customers enter the concept store, they check in with a code from Taobao. Customers can use smart mirrors, which offer product information and a virtual shopping cart. With the latter feature, shoppers don’t have to tote items around the store: Staff members simply deliver them to the fitting room. Within the fitting room, customers can update colors and sizes of their picks through the smart mirrors. For staff, the concept store’s real-time analytics helps them work quicker and track inventory better.

The news comes as H&M is using smart-mirror technology by rolling out a voice-activated mirror in a flagship New York City location. The device offers style recommendations, selfies and a route to eCommerce, Forbes reported. Microsoft, Ombori and Visual Art worked to create the device that “sleeps” until facial detection technology turns it on. The device then asks the person to take a selfie, which appears on the screen in the style of a magazine cover. The user can then download the image by using their smartphone to scan an on-screen QR code. The idea is to use the technology to create a relationship.

“In physical spaces, you have a lot of people, so the focus is on triggering a relationship,” said Ombori Founder and CEO Andreas Hassellöf to Forbes. “The formula is based on creating surprise, satisfaction of experience and then making a conversion. Big screens are a great way for grabbing attention, making them ideal catalysts for a relationship, but it’s far more likely that the personal dialogue will stay connected to personal devices.”

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