Facebook Papers Reveal Progress on AI Shopping Assistant

In May, Facebook debuted Shops, which allows companies to set up digital stores across Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, and also described its goal to develop an AI assistant to recommend products. The assistant would learn about a user’s preferences by analyzing images in his wardrobe and allow him to virtually try on clothing. Based on papers Facebook will present at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition 2020, it appears the company is deep in development of this assistant. Continue reading Facebook Papers Reveal Progress on AI Shopping Assistant

Pandemic Shutdown Leading to Major Shifts in E-Commerce

When the U.S. shut down in March, people went online to shop. Adobe’s Digital Economy Index reported that U.S. e-commerce skyrocketed 49 percent in April, compared to the baseline period in early March. Some e-commerce companies have become stronger during the shutdown. But buying patterns have been volatile, with the latest uptick sparked by government stimulus checks that were sent out April 11. Many experts believe that consumer habits are changing in ways that will continue beyond the threat of the coronavirus. Continue reading Pandemic Shutdown Leading to Major Shifts in E-Commerce

AI-Powered App Enables Improved Virtual Apparel Try-Ons

Researchers from Adobe, the Indian Institute of Technology and Stanford University teamed up to create SieveNet, an AI-powered technology that allows a user to virtually try on clothing. The “image-based virtual try-on” maps the item to the virtual body, retaining its characteristics without creating blurry or bleeding textures. According to banking company Klarna, 29 percent of shoppers want to virtually try on apparel, accessories and cosmetics and 49 percent would like solutions that take their measurements into account. Continue reading AI-Powered App Enables Improved Virtual Apparel Try-Ons

Insiders Say Amazon Close to Launching its Own Sportswear

Amazon is reportedly getting ready to enter the private-label sportswear business, through initial deals with Taiwanese vendors including Makalot Industrial Co. and Eclat Textile Co., say people familiar with the matter. Makalot produces clothing for popular retailers such as The Gap, Kohl’s and Uniqlo, while Eclat makes apparel for Lululemon Athletica, Nike and Under Armour. Insiders suggest that no long-term contracts have been signed yet, since the project is so new and the manufacturers have thus far only produced small amounts as part of a trial.

Continue reading Insiders Say Amazon Close to Launching its Own Sportswear

Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Amazon has acquired 3D body-model startup Body Labs for a reported $50-$70 million, although some sources say the figure could exceed $100 million. New York-based Body Labs specializes in true-to-life 3D models that are ideal for B2B software applications, including the creation of photorealistic avatars for gaming and virtual approaches for consumers to try on clothing. The latter should be of particular interest to e-commerce giant Amazon. The online retailer could use the scanning and modeling tech to help shoppers select fashion purchases ideal for their body types. Continue reading Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Amazon is developing systems based on artificial intelligence algorithms that are aimed at spotting fashion trends and, eventually, shaping them. The effort could boost Amazon’s sales in clothing, perhaps even gaining a dominant position in fashion. The e-commerce giant isn’t alone in making recommendations based on products appearing in social media, and highlighting the resulting trends; Instagram and Pinterest also pinpoint trends and react quickly to them, as does startup subscription service Stitch Fix. Continue reading Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Walmart Pushes into E-Commerce, Now Offers 40M Products

In August, Walmart purchased Jet.com for $3.3 billion in cash and stock, a vote of confidence that the e-commerce startup’s founder/chief executive Marc Lore understood the way that Walmart could successfully compete with Amazon. Lore believes that Walmart should focus on product areas that are newly popular online, including clothing, fresh food and everyday essentials found in the drugstore. Shortly after acquisition, Lore and his management team took over Walmart’s domestic e-commerce operations, including 15,000 employees. Continue reading Walmart Pushes into E-Commerce, Now Offers 40M Products

Google, Levi’s Debut Smart Jacket, Sign of Wearables’ Future

At SXSW in Austin, Google and Levi’s debuted the Commuter, a $350 “smart” jean jacket targeting those who bicycle to work. The Commuter also signals a potential direction for wearables; unlike clunky wristbands and watches, the denim jacket gets its smarts from technology woven into the cloth’s fibers. The joint project enables bicycle commuters to tap or swipe the jacket’s sleeves to make phone calls, get directions and check the time through headphones. The jacket will be available for sale in the fall. Continue reading Google, Levi’s Debut Smart Jacket, Sign of Wearables’ Future

TheTake Looks to Convert Product Recognition to B2B Service

TheTake, a startup that helps viewers purchase the products that they see in movies and television shows, is now turning its image recognition technology into a business-to-business service. The company is selling the service to major studios and entertainment sites so that they can generate extra revenue from identifying marketable products and locations. TheTake built the technology by training an AI to look for matches from the company’s database of more than 10 million products. Continue reading TheTake Looks to Convert Product Recognition to B2B Service

Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

While most consumers may currently think of gaming or video when they hear “augmented reality,” retailers are experimenting with a new batch of AR apps that leverage mixed reality tech. For example, Amazon’s Product Preview lets shoppers visualize different TV sizes and brands in their homes, Lowe’s Vision accepts measurements to map out placement of kitchen appliances, and WayfairView helps consumers place new sofas and cabinets with their existing furniture. Gap plans to launch DressingRoom on Google Play at the end of the month, providing users with the ability to dress virtual mannequins with different clothing options. Continue reading Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

Apparel as Wearables: Fashion Industry Tries On Smart Fabric

Another wearable that is in its infancy is smart fabrics, suggests Digital Trends mobile editor Malarie Gokey, noting that most are currently focused on fitness and sports. During a CES session, Sensoria Inc. co-founder/chief executive Davide Vigano pointed out that one of the draws of smart fabric is “established research on the inaccuracy of wristband devices.” “Also, putting on clothes in the morning is something we all do,” he added. The fashion industry is also beginning to discover smart fabric, making it a rising trend. Continue reading Apparel as Wearables: Fashion Industry Tries On Smart Fabric

Fitness Wearables Evolve from 10,000 Steps to New Features

Fitness wearables have exploded in number over the last two to three years. The industry has seen some consolidation, and predictions just prior to CES 2017 were that wearables were no longer the hot category of yesteryear. A panel on fitness trackers, moderated by KTLA-TV reporter Rich DeMuro (himself the owner of multiple fitness trackers), proved that assessment to be simplistic. Fitness trackers in particular are evolving beyond 10,000 steps into new territory, including the ability to intelligently track your heart rate. Continue reading Fitness Wearables Evolve from 10,000 Steps to New Features

Zappos Holacracy Management Strategy Roils its Employees

When Zappos chief executive Tony Hsieh began to implement a radically different management strategy — Holacracy — he knew it would take some getting used to. The system, which is based on self-management, with the idea that the abolishment of hierarchy will promote collaboration, has proven to be a mixed bag. Although some employees are enthusiastic, most are confused. As of now, says chief operating officer Arun Rajan, 18 percent of the company, which equates to 260 people, has taken the generous buy-out package. Continue reading Zappos Holacracy Management Strategy Roils its Employees

App Offers New Approach to Fashion Discovery and Shopping

As an alternative to scanning barcodes, fashion-focused app Craves lets users take photos of clothing and perform searches of similar fashion items that can then be purchased via the app. Co-founder Scott Cormier was inspired to create the app after watching his wife snap photos of clothing she liked with her smartphone so she could research the items later on Pinterest and Google. Craves also features a social component that allows users to follow friends and influencers, track trending items, and receive sale notifications. Continue reading App Offers New Approach to Fashion Discovery and Shopping

Scent Messaging Tech Allows for Aromas to Be Shared Digitally

An increasing number of startups are looking to integrate scent into the world of digital messaging. Similar to how perfumed stationery would help spark memories, new technologies are bringing scents to books, video, clothing and more. Companies such as Scentee and Vapor Communications are already in the process of releasing products to create scent messaging. David Edwards, one of the three founders of Vapor, describes the goal of the product: “To be able to deliver scent like iPod delivers sound.” Continue reading Scent Messaging Tech Allows for Aromas to Be Shared Digitally

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