Net-A-Porter to use AI and robots to suggest items to fit customer plans

(Author : Sandra Halliday )
Net-A-Porter is set to launch artificial intelligence/robotic tech designed to select clothing for customers based on any future plans they might have, such as going on holiday, attending a party or wedding, or starting a new job.

It has invested over £400 million in tech and personalisation with a selection robot that can pick out the most suitable items for planned activities. That could mean the items being chosen because they fit the customer’s tastes and activities as well as specifically suiting the location and the type of trip. And the AI will also be able to make selections based on past activity, putting together look selections by viewing other items the customer has chosen.

The luxury e-tailer’s chief information officer Alex Alexander said that personalisation is key in fashion and luxury as it helps serve the customer better more than in any other industry. The company plans to use its AI tech to help customers search through different products and when the shopper’s questions become more detailed and specific to them, it will suggest switching to a human personal shopper. Even if the customer does switch, the chatbot will remain available to it for extra support if needed.

A raft of research studies have shown that customers are more likely to buy from retailers and e-tailers that recognise them by name and know the kind of products they like. This is even more noted in the demanding luxury sector. And while the human personal shopper is a key way that luxury e-stores are helping to drive sales among high net worth customers, until now, the gap between unaided browsing and that personal shopper has been huge.

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