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Forever 21 turns to AI visual search

By Retail Technology | Friday August 24 2018

Independent fashion retailer Forever 21 is switching from text-based online search to AI-powered visual search

Forever 21 shoppers will no longer be limited to searching for a new look online by typing fashion terms into a search bar. The visual search and navigation function enables shoppers to search for dresses, trousers, shorts, jeans and tops, and will appear as a stand-alone “Discover Your Style” module on the Forever 21 web and mobile web homepages. 

In addition, Forever 21 will leverage the Donde Search technology for merchandising, recommendations and lifecycle marketing efforts.

“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. “Early data shows that this is one of the most important innovations in the e-commerce space in recent years. We’re excited to partner with Donde Search and look forward to building on our early success to develop the world’s most intuitive omnichannel shopping experience.”

Relevant recommendations

Donde Search’s technology uses a proprietary algorithm that mimics the way shoppers think about products and provides more relevant recommendations and a better overall experience. 

The technology also helps retailers streamline and scale their global merchandising and categorisation efforts by removing local language barriers associated with text-based classifications.

Forever 21 shoppers will now be able to search items by simply clicking icons that represent the features they want in an outfit, ranging from the length and fit of a skirt to the neckline and colour of a shirt. The search feature debuted as “Discover Your Style” in the Forever 21 iOS app on May 18, 2018, and was initially available for the dresses and tops categories. 

In the first month after launching the feature, Forever 21 saw an increase in sales conversions and a 20% increase in average purchase value for the two test categories. 

This initial success led Forever 21 executives to fast-track the large-scale web integration of Donde Search’s technology, which uses AI, computer vision and natural language processing to provide shoppers with more relevant search results, so they can find the exact outfits they’re looking for.


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