The fashion industry has been a pioneer in adopting artificial intelligence (AI) technology using algorithms to support their recognition engines, design, marketing, and customer care.
This technology has mainly provided the fashion industry with an opportunity to create an engaging and personalized shopping experience. But, what about using bots in product design and sourcing activities?
What is a bot?
A bot — short for robot and also called an internet bot — is a computer program that operates as an agent for a user, or to simulate a human activity. Bots are normally used to automate certain tasks, meaning they can run without specific instructions from humans.
Fashion Bot: The Applications
Bots have been used mostly in retail and shopping cases. Analyzing and comprehending the context of the chat, a chatbot can easily predict a user’s preference and interest. A chatbot will know what style of outfit a user intends to purchase. Depending on his or her preferences, the fashion bot will dig its database to find the right match. The bot greets customers, asks questions, understands their choices, and then offers them a variety of options. Customers can check and select the best outfit that matches their body type and style.
Bots can help in design, sourcing, and supply chain. In some cases, they can provide a significant value to your company.
How do you know if the new design has the brand´s DNA? Is this something a bot can help the designer with? It can be something as simple as dropping the style into the chatbot and waiting for the bot to categorize and allow a style to pass the DNA test!
A bot can also direct a user in what activities in the critical path have been achieved or if any part of the technical specs is missing for samples or production items.
- A chatbot can find suppliers for you. Let your bot go and research the best suppliers to source from based on the style type, lead time, etc. These assistants can be configured through prebuilt instructions to provide appropriate recommendations for purchasing including approved models, preferred vendors & buying channels based on procurement policies and buying channel guidelines.
- Multi-Language support: many of these assistants today can support multiple languages through real-time translation capabilities thus leading to a significant reduction of the language barrier that exists when dealing with suppliers in different regions.
- Chatbots can handle the collaboration process with suppliers. Just set up some rules and suppliers can speak to your chatbot instead of you. In fact, this can actually be a bot-to-bot conversation.
- Bots will handle low value transactions. A user will just ask it to buy something, and it will go off and make it happen. There is no value created by having a human placing purchase orders.
- Bots will handle the paperwork, sending orders, chasing orders, dealing with invoices and payments. All dealt with without human intervention, only exceptions will be allocated to an actual person.
Of course, to have these actions happening after giving your ‘procurement bot’ a task, the outcome would be completely contingent on the information that lies behind the outer shell of the bot, as these bots rely on a technology platform.
As a conclusion, we could say that fashion brands can witness increased not only customer happiness and retention levels, but also user experience during the product development and sourcing activities, therefore leading to financial gains.