Three Quarters of Fashion Retailers Will Invest in AI Over the Next 24 Months

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Two separate research studies, funded by our friends Apptus and carried out by IMRG and Hive, have found that fashion retailers are planning significant investment in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next two years, as they seek to deliver the ‘real time relevant’ customer experiences that are vital to improving sales performance.

An IMRG Benchmark study found that:

  • 52% will invest in AI for online merchandising in the next 12 month
  • A further 19% plan to follow suit over the following 12 months
  • Less than a third currently have no plans to invest in merchandising AI.

The study carried out by Hive found that, though retailers plan to invest in AI in a number of areas – online merchandising and personalisation are clear priorities.

Asked to identify the areas of their businesses that will benefit the most from automation in the coming 3-5 years, scoring each out of 10, they awarded personalisation a score of 7.9 and online merchandising: 7.8. By contrast customer service scored five out of ten.

Case Study: An Early Adopter

Swedish fashion brand, Stayhard, has already embraced AI, and seen significant return on its investment. Prior to its AI transformation, the brand faced challenges that will be familiar to most online retailers:

  • How to drive sales by delivering an online retail experience that is always relevant, for every customer and every context
  • How to see beyond conversion, to link product exposure strategies directly to core business metrics like revenue
  • How to do all this without eroding profitability by investing heavily in an expanded team.

In response, Stayhard opted for Apptus eSales. Delivering AI-powered eCommerce Optimisation, Apptus eSales draws on behavioral data and machine learning to adapt product exposure across recommendations, search, navigation and more to individual intent in real time. What’s more, it allows product exposure to be guided by business metrics like revenue and profit, not just conversion.


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