To catch the latest fashion trends, e-commerce majors are relying on a range of measures, from big data analytics and large editorial teams to artificial intelligence-enabled smart bots.
With fashion as a key division, Myntra, Amazon and Snapdeal are among those to have come up with high-tech solutions to try ensure their inventory of apparel are from the latest ongoing trends. According to a Google report earlier this year, the fashion business in India via e-commerce portals is expected to see annual turnover of $35 billion by 2020.
Myntra, the country’s largest online fashion vertical, has introduced a concept that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics to significantly shorten the fashion production life cycle. Called ‘Artie’, an indigenously developed smart bot (these are web applications that use AI algorithm to have conversations with humans), it gathers consumer insights to create a range of on-trend and fast fashion apparel under the ‘Moda Rapido’ brand.
The AI platform was developed for leveraging technology to develop a better understanding of consumer interest and shorten the fashion life cycles. The smart bot, created by a team of 25 Myntra technologists and fashion experts over eight months, gathers all fashion-related information in real time and uses it as a base to determine trends and forecast demand. The program helps Myntra analyse the trends, styles and designs that work the best. It shares these with manufacturers on its platform to churn out products accordingly.
“In all pre-pilot studies we have conducted, this technology has mirrored what people want in terms of their style in real-time. What Artie does is to allow us to offer trendy apparel, synonymous with the style prevalent on the fashion streets,” said Gautam Kotamraju, senior vice-president for new initiatives at Myntra.
On Monday, Snapdeal unveiled Snaptrends, described as an online future-defining, fashion trend forecasting service for its sellers. This is to help small and medium sized manufacturers and businesses in getting access to fashion intelligence, for making commercially viable apparel.
“Snaptrends (will) support our seller partners by keeping them abreast and updated about the latest fashion trends and styles..in both western and ethnic wear...tailoring their apparel collection to customers’ buying behaviour and patterns will also enable our sellers to grow their businesses,” its spokesperson said.
Though Amazon India does not have a fashion forecasting service, its fashion apparel arm, Amazon Fashion, has an editorial team for assessing upcoming trends.
“Amazon Fashion handles a lot of editorial content on fashion. We do a lot of trend stories and have a big group of editors, graphic designers and photographers working with us. The trends which the team finds out are shared with customers, as well as our manufacturers and major retail brands. This further helps them to design the latest apparel for the next season,” said an Amazon India spokesperson.
Also the company relies a lot on data analytics to figure what their customers are looking for on the portal and trends arising from it. “What a person is searching for online helps us know what current trends are working. There is a full-blown system of data at play that helps us in staying ahead of competition as far as the latest trends are concerned,” added the spokesperson.