In its first venture investment, Forever 21 is backing fashion subscription start-up DailyLook with venture capital fund Upfront. The firms are leading the $8 million investment, which an Upfront partner said benefits both the retailer and the startup, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“DailyLook now has a chance to accelerate its growth, and Forever 21 is a behemoth [that] can help with scaling its supply chain and fulfillment process,” Upfront’s Michael Carney told the L.A. Times. “And for traditional retailers looking to build data-driven relationships with their customers, partnering with proven start-ups who live and breathe this model can clearly help.”
With the deal, Forever 21’s president, Alex Ok, is said to become part of the startup’s board. The L.A. Times said that the retailer “declined to comment on the deal entirely, but confirmed its involvement through a representative.”
Forever 21 recently unveiled visual search for its website and mobile eCommerce platforms moving beyond text-based online search for its customers. The technology, which is powered by artificial intelligence, was developed by Donde Search, the retailer said in an announcement in August.
“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it — using visuals, not words,” Ok said in the announcement. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the eCommerce space in recent years.”
To search for items such as dresses, pants and jeans, customers can use a “Discover Your Style” module on the retailer’s web and mobile sites. The feature was rolled out on the retailer’s iOS app in May and was first available for tops and dresses. During the first month that the app was available, the company reported a 20 percent increase in average purchase value for those two categories, as well as an increase in sales conversions.