Fashion Tech India: Real-Time AI Data Drives Competitive Retail Advantage

Consumer fashion may be among the most unpredictable markets on the planet, but one startup in India has created an AI-based demand sensing platform that combines the brilliance of data scientists with seasoned industry experts to ferret out trends with uncanny accuracy. The idea is to close the gap between supply and demand.

“We help companies create demand-driven fashion forecasts from consumer data across a holistic value chain,” Ganesh Subramanian, founder and CEO at Stylumia. “Our demand sensing engine collects and analyzes publicly available global data to rank product trends, providing fashion designers, retail buyers, and merchandisers with a much deeper understanding of real-time consumer demand signals.”

More profitable and sustainable business

Forecasting fickle consumer appetites for unseen products has long stymied the most experienced minds in the fashion world. Stylumia can reveal breaking trends, allowing people to make design and merchandising decisions perfectly in synch. This can reduce underbuying and overbuying.

According to Subramanian, the typical Stylumia customer has improved the prediction accuracy of style and color levels by up to 30 percent, and increased sales and revenue between 25 to 50 percent, compared to the performance of products not designed and merchandized using the platform. Customers have also reduced excess inventory and carbon footprint levels by an aggregated average of up to 40 percent.

“When products are selling well, companies have less stock and are able to lower their carbon footprint because they’re using fewer resources, while generating the same amount of revenue,” he said. “Since our founding, we have reduced the number of garments that our customers have produced by over 60 million, while their sales and profits have grown.”

Consumer intelligence research on steroids

From its headquarters in India, to hubs in Australia, the United States, and the UK, Stylumia’s teams work with fashion, sports, and lifestyle brands that represent companies of all sizes worldwide.

Instead of brainstorming solely by intuition, designers and buyers log into their personalized portal to storyboard ideas using Stylumia’s AI-fueled algorithm or their own images for design inspiration. As they select colors, materials, patterns, and other product features, Stylumia instantly surfaces trending demands against the designer’s ideas. They can view similar products, see where selling levels are highest, and save and share their ideas with colleagues.

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SAP.iO: Why 3 is Key to SAP’s Startup Wins

Written by Alexa Gorman SVP, SAP.iO Foundries & Intrapreneurship at SAP

Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the NVT Houseparty with Mark Osborn, Global VP of Business Development and Strategy for SAP Consumer Industries, about how SAP.iO delivers on our 3-fold value proposition.  SAP’s startup driven innovation activities strive to deliver value to SAP customers, benefits to startups and strategic impact for SAP. Our conversation focused on how SAP.iO helps innovators start-up with SAP as we bring together leaders from every region, industry and line of business to transform how businesses run. If you are interested in listening to our discussion, you can watch it here

Since 2017, we’ve helped 300+ startups and ventures accelerate their growth while enabling thousands of SAP customers to access the startup solutions on the SAP Store. At SAP.iO, we work closely with startups and help them extend their networks, integrate their startup solutions, and support their go-to-market efforts with SAP. This allows us to get valuable feedback on our technology and APIs while expanding SAP’s offering to include the latest innovations in the market and building the next generation of partners for SAP. We collaborate with SAP’s customers and connect them with relevant startup innovation that helps to transform their business and extends the value of their investments in SAP solutions.  

Over the past 4 years SAP.iO has become the matchmaker of the enterprise software world. We look into customers pain points and match their needs to the startups that will best support their business transformation. Many SAP customers collaborate with us to select the startups we bring into the SAP ecosystem. One of the ways we excel at matchmaking is evaluating customer and market needs and providing programs specifically focused on addressing those current needs.  

An industry that is going through major transformations, is the consumer products industry, which is an area of focus for us. In our discussion, Mark spoke about the importance and value for customers and SAP of working with consumer industry startups. Not only does the collaboration shape the perception of SAP as an innovator in the industry but also opens new doors and strengthens relationships within our customers. “It has exposed our teams more broadly to cutting-edge innovations that are all complementary to our investments in the core SAP portfolio to take a bigger and better story to our customers about the value we provide.” Mark said.  

As far as latest trends, Mark noted that trends that were transforming the consumer products industry before the pandemic have only been accelerated as a result of it. For example, consumer values are shifting fast, quoting a Nielsen report “consumers are buying the change they are seeing in the world.”  

There are creative people around the world seeing this as an area of untapped opportunity which is leading to the next shift, moving us from the age of resources to the age of ideas. Today, what is most important is the idea that you have, making it ever so imperative that companies attract the right talent to bring these ideas to life. All of this is happening, and we are seeing areas of declining cost, like in sales and marketing where is it considerably cheaper to reach your audience through social media channels. It’s not only cheaper, it can be an almost instant, meaningful connection with the consumer.  

We’ve seen this with global companies, like Unilever, that recently partnered with an SAP.iO startup Scantrust, who developed technology for QR codes that they applied to packaging. Unilever applied codes to soup packets so that the consumer can easily scan the packages and learn more about the source of all ingredients. What that has done is create an additional channel for the company to interact with its consumers that had never existed before. Here they can foster trust, share more content, push marketing offers, and interact through sharing recipes. Read more on Moments of Opportunity Tel Aviv Demo Day  

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How to Genetically Sequence the Life Cycle of a Trend

Hindsight may be 20/20, but with artificial intelligence (AI)-fueled technology you just might be able to see into the future before anyone else. NWO is a U.S.-based startup piloting a predictive trends platform designed to capture the fast-changing voice of the consumer.

“We’re genetically sequencing the life cycle of trends as they’re created and evolving. You can select any topic in the world and immediately have a full report documenting how saturated a trend is in the minds of consumers, globally and by region,” said Sourav Goswami, co-founder of NWO. “It’s like talking to a human expert who can tell you when, where, and why a trend is growing, declining, or about to reach an inflection point with impact on your business.”

Among the recent early signals Goswami held up as proof of NWO’s prescience were reports predicting the resurgence of Bitcoin, the financial impact of locust swarm movements on sugar and cotton futures, and notably, in the fall of 2020, a firestorm of online and offline behaviors around guns and tactical weaponry that constituted an “electoral powder keg” months before an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The startup is working with beta customers in product innovation, marketing, and supply chain management at companies in the U.S. and Europe – and has plans to move into Asia and the Middle East. While initially targeting consumer brands, Goswami said NWO’s offering cuts across any industry, such as logistics and supply chain companies.

Predictive Insights from Unexpected Inflection Points

Operating like a search engine that filters data from keywords, NWO is deceptively simple. However, a proprietary algorithm translates time-shift lagging indicators into predictive insights. The system generates detailed trend reports in about 60 seconds, analyzing patterns from tremendous amounts of social media chatter, news, and search activity, as well as information from various databases, such as patents and filings from the Federal Drug Administration in the U.S. and its European counterpart, along with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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SAP.iO & Publicis Sapient partner to mold the next generation of consumer engagement startups

Early stage strategic incubator, SAP.iO has joined forces with digital business transformation company Publicis Sapient to help shape the upcoming  SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv – startup accelerator program – batch of startups. The program  will focus on advanced marketing and commerce solutions that offer new ways for brands to improve consumer engagement. “For startup companies that develop relevant solutions, this is a unique opportunity to grow and go global ” says Lior Weizmann, who leads SAP.iO Foundry in Israel.

“A significant springboard for startups”

The SAP.iO Foundries are SAP’s global network of equity-free startup accelerators that help promising startups integrate with SAP solutions and accelerate their entry into a curated, inclusive ecosystem whose offerings can be easily accessed and deployed by SAP customers. Current locations of SAP.iO Foundries are in major startup hubs, including Paris, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Munich, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Tokyo and Bangalore.

Publicis Sapient, which is part of the advertising giant Publicis, and an SAP client, will help SAP identify suitable startups from the global landscape to participate in the SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv – a 12 week program focused on elevating the very best startups with the very best solutions to the next level.

“In addition to partner with SAP and Publicis, which is a strategic achievement by itself, the start-ups that will participate the program and the joint solutions developed in it will be introduced by SAP and Publicis to their joint clients, which include some of the largest brands in the world. The initial exposure will be to the major consumer product companies, where we identify a strong need to strengthen the relationship with the end consumers,” Weizmann added.

The program is intended for enterprise software startups after their Seed or A round, that offer one or more of the following solutions: Personalized marketing, product discovery, social engagement, improved segmentation, consumer experience, 1st party consumer insights, new business models for direct-to-consumer marketing, and innovative integration use cases with Emarsys, SAP’s latest acquisition and a leading omnichannel customer engagement platform.

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Blank Canvas: Fashion Forward Featuring EON

From footwear to jeans to high fashion, the industry is making positive environmental changes due to pressure from passionate consumers who are demanding change. With profiles of companies such as Allbirds, Adidas, Levi’s, and Gucci, plus interviews with supermodel Karlie Kloss and CEO Natasha Franck, the show takes an in-depth look at how the fashion business is changing.

Watch here…

Every Return Saved Is a Win for Consumers, Brands, and the Planet

If the CEO of Presize has his way, clothing returns will be a relic of the past, and online retail brands will not sacrifice business for the sake of the environment.

The startup’s cloud-based app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to calculate clothing sizes for individual online shoppers. Much more than welcome relief for anyone who has ever hesitated to buy clothing online because they were uncertain of their size, the tool reduces size-related product returns by 50% on average.

“Sustainability is core to our mission,” said Leon Szeli, co-founder and CEO. “Every product return we save is a win for the consumer, the brand, and the planet. Every item of clothing that consumers scan using our app means fewer returns. This contributes to a lower carbon footprint for the planet, less time wasted for shoppers, and greater cost-savings for retail brands.”

Sustainability Is the Perfect Fit for Online Shopping

Based in Germany, Presize serves well-known clothing apparel brands in that country and throughout Western Europe. Its online sizing tool has provided half a million recommendations to delighted consumers. Instead of second-guessing ambiguous size charts, shoppers simply click on the “find my size” button, answer basic questions that include their height, weight, and gender, upload a video of themselves if they choose, and then the algorithm provides their best size for that product. Behind the scenes, AI-fueled algorithms learn from dynamic data analyses.

“We constantly train the algorithm using data from hundreds of thousands of human shapes and other variables, plus stock-keeping units (SKUs) from clothing manufacturers, and layer that with product return information,” Szeli said. “Once someone saves their size ID, it can be applied to any brand that uses the Presize app, making shopping much easier. Shoppers can even share their size information with family and friends.”

According to Szeli, online retailers that use the Presize app on their website have increased conversion rates, meaning consumer sales, by up to 25%. As with any AI-based tool, user adoption is critical for calculation accuracy. Szeli said that approximately 10% of shoppers use the tool when it is available on a brand’s site.

“A big part of sizing uncertainty is the diversity between brands, Szeli explained. “Every product is different, and we want to help consumers regardless of what brand of clothing they buy.”

Digital Insights for Sustainable Results

Presize is the culmination of Szeli’s two major career passions: conducting research and having a positive impact on the world. As a university student in the U.S. and the UK, he focused on human trust in AI-based technology. However, he quickly realized that he wanted to accomplish much more than producing papers for niche audiences. When he met his co-founders, who were working with computer vision and AI, they embarked on a journey to literally change the world – beginning with online shopping.

“I wanted to do something entrepreneurial that would have a much wider impact and change people’s lives for the better,” Szeli said. “I saw the problem of product returns as a sustainability issue that wasted environmental resources, as well as time and money for businesses and their customers.”

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Video-Powered Virtual Storefronts Fuel Next E-Commerce Boom

According to Gartner researchers, live commerce is one of the hottest digital selling trends as retailers and even business-to-business (B2B) companies engage customers with personalized sales through streaming video.

To be clear, these are not yesterday’s social brand ambassadors. TVPage has pioneered this latest trend, offering an artificial intelligence (AI)-based cloud platform that brings together store associates, approved influencers, and products for the most dynamic online e-commerce machine to date.

“We are at the forefront of social e-commerce, using video to put virtual yet personalized salespeople directly in the online store,” said Allon Caidar, co-founder and CEO at TVPage. “It’s a full-cycle marketing engine for customer engagement and online shopping, turning companies into their own social media destination that pops up as people search for products.”

Bustling Virtual Storefronts

Large retailers and other companies worldwide are using TVPage to replicate the kind of expert selling consumers crave. For example, when a retailer signs up, it gains a virtual storefront for its own sales associates – as well as independent influencers – all of whom serve as social brand ambassadors. Using a mobile app or web browser, these ambassadors keep consumers engaged by uploading videos, photos, and other information about products on the retailer’s website. They use social media to share their content, answer customer questions, and invite interested consumers to special online events.

“Consumers can chat with social brand ambassadors anytime to find out if a product comes in a different color or size,” Caidar said. “Ambassadors might decide to schedule beauty makeovers based on the questions they’ve received or spotlight gaming releases that reflect breaking trends. Customers can purchase products directly from their videos.”

Companies can set and monitor social ambassador metrics from one dashboard, paying their own employees based on individual performance goals. TVPage also helps its customers find and manage independent influencers, including sourcing and paying freelance social ambassadors.

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E-commerce Made Human Through Virtual Shopping and Brand Experience Innovation w/ Natasha Franzen of HERO

Experts predict that retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.13 trillion in 2020 and it is expected that mobile commerce will take a market share of e-commerce of 72.9% by 2021. As we enter the holiday season navigating COVID, retailers face unprecedented opportunities to reimagine brand experiences and bridge the storefront’s physical to digital continuum. While adapting an agile supply chain, increasing conversion rates, reducing wastes, including decreasing returns are front of mind, 1 company is transforming virtual shopping, where the online shopping experience is made human, again.

Meet HERO