Tuesday, 2 June 2020

YNAP launches AI research project with Italian university

Yoox Net-A-Porter has announced the launch of a new program to boost the development of artificial intelligence-based technologies designed to transform the e-tail experience. That will include features such as visual search and virtual try-on.

One clear change between the fashion retail sector post-pandemic and the period before the coronavirus is that it’s going to go digital at a much faster rate than before, and new technology will be key to this. 

Physical retailers (like Ted Baker this week) are declaring that they’ll be “digital-first” in the future and those that are already digital-first are becoming even more tech-focused. Recently we heard about Asos upping its investment in virtual try-on tech and now YNAP is taking an even deeper dive.

It’s teaming up with academics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia to explore the “potential of technology in support of humanity in an innovative way”.

As mentioned, the initial research will focus on visual search and virtual fitting tech and the company's input will be particularly useful as the project will use the large amounts of data that it has built up over the past two decades, including tens of millions of images.

And the scope of the joint ‘lab’ will widen as the three-year partnership progresses, although we don't know exactly what else it will cover just yet.

The e-tailer said it wants to create “cutting-edge technological solutions” and it recognizes the importance of artificial intelligence to fashion retail, as well as in-depth data analysis that can help to personalize the online shopping experience.

YNAP’s Yoox has already incorporated advanced technology into the user experience with a virtual styling tool available on its app. And last year it added a new feature to the Yoox Mirror. Shoppers can now develop a customizable avatar and use it to see how certain items will look before they commit to a purchase.

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