Between inventory challenges and a new focus on e-commerce, brands are tasked with promoting their current merchandise in a compelling way — often without access to relevant imagery or the capacity to create new visual content. A new e-commerce solution, Stylitics, aims to help brands convert their existing product assets into exciting new content, to help showcase styles online.
“With all this attention online, merchants are scrambling to figure out what images they have to show for new products and collections,” said Rohan Deuskar, founder and CEO of Stylitics. “If retailers had catalogs or model shoots completed before the pandemic, they are using what they can to showcase products that may or may not be in stock.”
Brand content is playing a bigger role now, as more shoppers are increasingly turning to online channels to buy, due to convenience and safety precautions. They still want to experience the product in a digital setting, and the stakes are high. Since consumers can’t try on or feel an item in-store, there is an increased likelihood of returns — or a lack of conversion — if merchants can’t accurately represent their merchandise.
One way that this can be achieved is through high-resolution, interactive imagery. Another is through personalized recommendations. Stylitics combines both of these approaches, taking existing brand photography and combining items into suggested outfits that can be highlighted on the product page.
A combination of human insight and AI technology is used to assemble these merchandise bundles, to showcase wearability and encourage additional purchases. Factors considered by the technology include location, weather, season and the current inventory of the retailer. The platform also rotates recommendations to promote underperforming SKUs, to assist the many companies that have struggled with maintaining their usual inventory levels.
“Product photography is the core of selling online, but it is very limited,” said Deuskar. “That is why features such as star ratings have become standard on most e-comm pages. More frequently, you see product recommendations, what other customers bought and outfitting/merchandise bundles. These bundles aid in product discovery and help tell a story to further appeal to customer needs while reducing the path to purchase.”
Traditionally, brands and retailers use lookbooks to show their products in use and paired with other items. However, these images can be expensive to produce and typically require a model, a set and a crew, which may not be possible due to current restrictions. By using existing imagery, companies can save money and generate new content on a regular basis, tied to product trends and customer preferences.
One important component of the traditional format is the human element. When products are displayed on a model, consumers can see the fit more clearly and translate that image to their own lifestyle. A stock product image can feel flat by comparison. But by triggering personalized outfit suggestions, brands can help consumers engage more with a product.
Stylitics has also launched a new “Send the Look” feature, which lets employees create and share lookbooks tailored to an individual shopper. Past purchases, style and feedback are all used to inspire outfit suggestions, re-creating the experience of being assisted by a personal shopper in-store. The company’s current clients include Puma, Revolve and Bloomingdale’s.