Software which makes perfect recommendations to fashion consumers has been the holy grail of online fashion stores for years, but while recommendation engines have improved, this is largely based on the likes and dislikes of peers with similar purchase patterns. A new start up claims its solution offers much better accuracy, promising a new way for fashion brands to get in front of the eyeballs of Japanese consumers.
Colourful Board, a tech start up, has launched a new app which it claims can learn a user’s fashion style and offer styling tips and suggestions, all the while promoting fashion brands. The app is called Sensy (sensy.jp) and features a database of fashion merchandise from some 1,600 brands, both Japanese and international.
The app simply asks users to Like or Dislike a selection of items it displays and then the built-in artificial intelligence will start to learn your fashion preferences, similar to what Goodreads does for books and Metacritic for films. The more items you preference, the greater the chance of accurate readings of your own style. Users can also select the personal styles of well-known models and stylists taken from magazine features.
Colourful Board says it has developed the AI function in collaboration with Keio and Chiba University professors and has already applied for a patent in the US. The company calls the AI, Sense Link. While there are many services that try to match your buying preferences to new offerings, such as Amazon’s which matches your purchases with other customers and then offers their other purchases and product views to you, Sensy focuses solely on your choices from its database of items. These items have been tagged into styles, and the AI then offers users other items with the same tag.
Needless to say but you can quickly click through to purchase any of the products featured on the site. One interesting fillip is the use of some overseas brands not yet sold in Japan – thus offering an opportunity for smaller brands to promote themselves to a Japanese audience without any local representation.
Sensy has collected a number of well-known stylists and fashion models to promote the brand such as the chief editor of Loaded, Daisuke Udagawa. Participating brands and retailers so far include Iena, Edifice, Lowry’s Farm, Niko and…, Aquagirl, Nano Universe, Rosebud, and dFashion, NTT Docomo’s mobile fashion store.
The potential for marketing brands and stores, particularly new items and collections, is clearly significant. Unlike fashion coordination apps like Wear, which rely on the social element of fashion, Sensy offers a fun tool which, in order to use it properly, will require users to view and consider a wide range of fashion items. If the app can build a large user base, the data collected by Colourful Board will become a treasure trove for marketers, allowing for highly targeted marketing to a very granular database.
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