AI lets shoppers find the fashions they want

  • November 22, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Romney Evans, tech entrepreneur who formerly co-founded True Fit, has launched Shoptrue, a fashion marketplace that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help shoppers find the fashion items they want.

Users can discover and purchase styles from thousands of brands in a single destination through a personalised shopping experience.

In this venture, Evans and his team are using their experience, insights and capabilities to help match people to relevant brands and styles. Informed by a data-driven understanding of the relationship between shoppers and what they want to wear, the team has developed capabilities that re-insert the user into the AI curation experience, as opposed to style recommenders that rely solely on a prescriptive algorithmic approach.

Shoptrue is grounded in the belief that AI should complement and enhance every part of the fashion discovery process, but not replace it.

Evans tapped Condé Nast veteran and fashion tech entrepreneur Brandon Holley to serve as chief fashion officer. After a celebrated career in publishing, Holley built Everywear, a software platform dedicated to better style inspiration, which has now been incorporated into Shoptrue.

“I’ve always been obsessed with what people wear and what inspires them to try something new,” said Holley. “We are making it easier for people to find only the things they’re going to love, and then give them the tools to organise and share their style PoV with the world. Anybody’s shop has the potential to set off a chain reaction of fashion inspiration that can surprise and delight you from any direction.”

Evans also tapped John Lashlee, former data scientist for Netflix and LinkedIn, as VP of data science. Together, Holley and Lashlee bring the duality of programmatic, data-driven curation and the authoritative editorial PoV that is core to Shoptrue’s differentiation in the market.

The Shoptrue experience begins with an onboarding quiz to establish baseline preferences and generate a personalised shop with an initial set of curated recommendations culled from over 2000 brands as well as editorial content mapped to the users’ interests.

The platform is constantly learning and improving based on various user interactions, product engagement and purchase behaviour so that, over time, the user’s outcomes and content will feel increasingly individualised.

Shoptrue will soon have the ability to pre-filter size and fit specifications on behalf of shoppers to ensure they only see products that are available in their preferred sizing, eliminating discouraging stock outs.

The site’s one-click, unified checkout across retailers can streamline the ordering process.

By making it easier for people to find only the clothes and shoes they want, Shoptrue provides a more efficient pathway for brands and retailers to acquire new, more qualified customers and supports the growing trend towards more sustainable commerce, yielding fewer returns and more deliberate purchases in a category that currently sees over 70% of returns attributed to poor fit or style.

“We love what wearing the right thing does to us,” said Evans. “The moment of truth in any shopping experience is when you put something on and love the way it looks and the way it makes you feel. People and retailers alike want more of their moments of truth to be positive ones. We listened and we can help. We invite shoppers everywhere to join us on this journey. It will take time, but today begins our rollout of an exciting stream of innovation and distinctive experiences that will make it easy to get only what you love. We aspire to delight shoppers and earn their trust as we improve their shopping experience every month and every quarter through innovation, trial and error, and by listening to their feedback.”

Shoptrue is designed to empower users by inviting them into the discovery process with options to curate and share their own shops or collections, eliminate items they don’t like, and build shops reflective of their style, brands, fit and size.

The site will exit beta early next year. As 97% of Gen Z consumers say they now use social media as their top source of shopping inspiration, this will equip users with the ability to share their curated shops, express their style PoV, and share their expertise publicly or privately and seek out style ideas and product recommendations from stylists, influencers and peers with the option to follow and be followed.

Shoptrue will leverage its understanding of each customer’s preferences and interests to serve up individualised recommendations and deliver paths to finding something they want.

In recent years, the retail industry has seen a generational shift in ecommerce shopping with online apparel and footwear sales expected to reach $800bn by 2024 and over 75% of shoppers post-Covid have tried a new shopping experience. Marketplaces will continue to play a critical role in connecting brands and merchants to consumers and new audiences, generating 67% of online revenue and representing twice as fast growth and three times more profitability than traditional retail.

Consumer trend research indicates that fashion discovery remains highly fragmented and disconnected. Consumers are seeking simplified, personally relevant online shopping experiences to yield more qualified purchases and Shoptrue is trying to provide a singular destination that meets the needs and behaviour of today’s shopper.