- Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo launched a chatbot to help people with personalized fashion advice. Uniqlo IQ, the company's machine learning-powered "digital concierge" shares customized style recommendations from the retailer's collection for shoppers in Japan, according to VentureBeat.
- Uniqlo IQ is built into the retailer's core smartphone app. It shows products by occasion, personal preferences and daily horoscopes, while also helping digital window shoppers complete a purchase by providing directions to the nearest Uniqlo store with desired products in stock. Previously, Uniqlo tested a similar chatbot feature in Facebook Messenger.
- In addition to Uniqlo IQ, customers in Japan can now access the digital clothing curator via Google Assistant. Uniqlo says the voice app marks the first time that a brand has worked closely with Google to create a brand-specific chatbot.
Uniqlo is among the fashion brands that are exploring chat technology powered by artificial intelligence that's supposed to get smarter the more people interact with mobile apps and voice platforms. Mode.ai, an AI bot for "conversational shopping," in March started a Facebook Messenger chatbot that uses computer vision to identify clothing items from top brands like Levi's, Louis Vuitton and Ann Taylor, then shows customers where to buy them online. Fashion retailer Asos last year introduced a visual search tool to help customers shop with smartphones, per Refinery29.
As Uniqlo demonstrates, chatbots are being used in various ways for fashion marketing. Footwear brand Cole Haan in the past year integrated Facebook Messenger notifications into a strategy to curtail online shopping cart abandonment, according to researcher Gartner L2. Online or mobile shoppers are automatically opted in to receive updates when they add a product to their carts on Cole Haan's site. If they abandon the cart, they'll receive a reminder through both email and Messenger.
Fashion designers also are using AI in various ways to improve their recommendations. Eison Triple Thread, a startup that makes tailored men's clothing, this week debuted an app that picks clothing from its collection based on a mobile user's listening habits on Spotify. The menswear company's app retrieves the music history data of people who log into Spotify and then pairs styles with music genres and favorite artists.