TECHNOLOGY

Forever 21 gets more personal with launch of AI visual search

BY Marianne Wilson

Forever 21 has taken its online search capabilities to a more customized — and intuitive — level. And the early results are encouraging.

The fast-fashion powerhouse is moving beyond text-based online search to offer shoppers AI-powered visual search and navigation. With the new tool, developed by Donde Search, Forever 21 shoppers are no longer limited to searching for a new look online by typing fashion terms into a search bar. Instead, they can search items by simply clicking icons that represent the features they want in an outfit, ranging from the length of a skirt to the neckline of a shirt.

“Visual search technology bridges the gap between the convenience of online shopping and the rich discovery experience of traditional retail by enabling our customers to search for clothing in the same way they think about it — using visuals, not words,” said Alex Ok, president of Forever 21.

The search feature debuted as “Discover Your Style” in the Forever 21 iOS app in May, and was initially available only for the dresses and tops categories. In the first month after the launch, the retailer saw an increase in sales conversions and a 20% increase in average purchase value for the two test categories.

The initial success led Forever 21 executives to fast-track the large-scale web integration of Donde Search’s technology. It uses AI, computer vision and natural language processing to provide to provide intuitive online search capability based on products’ visual features rather than keywords.

The visual search and navigation function will appear as a stand-alone “Discover Your Style” module on the Forever 21 Web and mobile Web homepages. In addition, the retailer will leverage the technology for merchandising, recommendations and lifecycle marketing efforts.

“Integrating Donde into our mobile app and web environments has been seamless and efficient,” Ok said. “Fundamentally changing how our customers search for products and interact with our brand is no small task, but our partnership with Donde has been everything we could have hoped for as we build out our visual search capabilities.”

Founded in 2014, Donde Search launched its software-as-a-service platform for retailers in January 2018.

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