Are you AI ready?


I know Artificial Intelligence sounds scary, but truth be told as fashion business owners we just can’t afford to avoid the topic. 

AI was again brought to my attention at the latest WGSN Futures Summit here in Sydney earlier this month. Lorna Hall, WGSN Head of Insight was presenting on the global retail trends for 2018 and couldn’t have been more sure that AI will have the biggest impact on retail since online shopping. And it is set to be more than just a trend, rather a new way of life. 


So that brings me to the question, are you AI ready? I know you probably feel like you are going to have to operate that business of your’s as if it were series 2 of Westworld. However let me assure you we have a bit of time up our sleeves and in the immediate future we can focus on shifting our mind-sets to ensure we remain relevant outside the AI sphere.

If you haven't already, you might like to implement some of the following strategies to stay ahead of the game in preparation for the AI revolution.

  1. Create genuine customer experience spaces - environments that evoke something more than just being sold to, spaces that speak to other aspects of your customers life. The Stylerunner pop-up store in Sydney was a great example of offering more than just athleisure products for sale. You could pick up the latest Nike trainers served with a side of advice on nutrition and a green smoothie to go.
  2. Always better together - look for like-minded brand friends that are open to collaborating and build those strong strategic partnerships. Brand friends should offer a different product or service to you, whilst complementing or adding value to your customers way of life. Take FP Escapes by Free People, retreats curated by Free People, collaborating with experts from the health and wellness space. Keep an eye out for fashion and lifestyle focused brands that have already introduced AI into their businesses, these are valuable brand friends to have in the future.
  3. Personalised service - forget the algorithms for now, start small - maybe send an instant message to your top-tier customers with recommendations based on prior purchases. Use that data from your e-commerce site to curate personalised email newsletters and send them out to individuals on your mailing list. 

If you have already started exploring how AI could be effective in areas of your business, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.