Lets shop with robots


digital marketing

As a marketing industry person you’d expect me to be a bit resilient to hard-sell and advertising, for I am not easily duped. This is mostly true apart from a recent occurrence which took place on the blue social media platform with the white ‘f’.

A box popped up (as it does) asking me if I was a man or woman and then what sort of clothes I liked. Within a minute or so, I was comfortably typing in my weight and waist size (information I wouldn’t even readily share with my wife.)

In no time at all, this phone-friendly web appy thing had built up a valuable profile of me for a personal shopping service, giving me an algorithmic catalogue of casual ‘garms’ matching my eye colour, and a fine selection of formal suits for the upcoming wedding , all selected from stores I like and in my price range. And, as if by magic, Alexander appeared - a real human person fashion guru, Hackney based, who was on hand to personally curate my new look.

Critically, when asked for email or CC details, I usually bail out…but this time it seemed to ‘know’ my scepticism, and it didn’t pester me, instead storing my details on cookies so I could return later and put my details in once I actually wanted to buy something.

What I am describing is Thread.com, an online retail service that combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) marketing bots with real fashion stylists to create a new kind of micro-personal shopping.

There’s a great article about AI marketing here. Generically the term relates to the AI we already know like ‘people who bought this also like this’, or those spooky adverts for the exact same washing machines you were looking at yesterday advertised in today’s Guardian. The advancement and pace of this technology is pretty intense but also exciting.

If it can attract a cynic like me, it must be pretty good.