Tech giant IBM is working on a technology, referred to as ‘Smart Mirror’, through which it plans to tie up with offline retailers. The company will launch the technology in fashion retail Vero Moda’s stores and is in talks with other retailers as well.
Smart Mirror is expected to enhance customers’ offline shopping experience through interactive fitting rooms which will connect retailers and customers digitally. The mirror will assist customers in understanding what product features are suiting them and can recommend changes. “The plan is to convert more footfalls into actual sales at these stores,” said Kamal Singhani, managing partner, Global Business Services, IBM India and South Asia.
The company is also integrating artificial intelligence into its supply chain to improve efficiency. “We are building fashion taxonomy by analysing current fashion trends from multiple sources (catalogs, articles, blogs, images, social media) and predict future fashion trends. It currently categorizes colours, print and style,” Singhani said. “The technology will bridge the gap between the customer and merchandiser, which will help in improvising the inventory for the retailer.”
According to the company’s estimate, 50-60% of designs sell well while rest are marked down. Hence, with the sales data, the company looks to analyse why a particular product did not sell well and guide the designers.
Offline retailers face increasing competition from new-age rivals like Amazon and the Walmart-owned Flipkart. This has been the primary reason that offline retailers have been investing in their technology capabilities. ET recently reported that Future Group has hired senior talent from online-first firms. The company is looking to build credit platform, last-mile delivery capabilities, and a rural distribution model, and is also developing its AI capabilities.
According to Forrester’s Online Retail forecast, India’s ecommerce sales are expected to grow 29% annually over the next five years.