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  • Writer's pictureLior Weizman

Fashion technology: 7 startups strutting innovation and growth

I originally published this article on The Future Of Commerce.

Fashion technology serves as a catalyst for resilience, efficiency, and competitive advantage in a complex landscape. Like many other industries, the fashion industry faces tremendous economic challenges and technological disruptions in 2024. Shifts towards digitalization, automation, sustainability, and artificial intelligence (AI) are reshaping operations, supply chains, and consumer experiences, as well as consumer behaviors and preferences.

These changes only reinforce the need for tech-driven, enterprise-grade innovation to unlock growth opportunities. At SAP, innovation is a core element of our partner strategy. We recognize that our customers expect to streamline their tech solutions and view SAP as their primary provider. That’s why we invest time and resources in nurturing our partner ecosystem, ensuring it encompasses cutting-edge startups offering industry-specific business applications.

We recently launched a Thought Leadership Report spotlighting 15 of these enterprise-grade startups, all certified SAP partners with ready-to-go solutions tailored for the fashion industry.

Fashion tech that balances profitability with sustainability

Today’s tough economic environment has the world’s global excess inventory levels soaring to a staggering $1.7 trillion — surpassing the entire retail GDP of Latin America! These challenges are compounded by unsustainable warehouse costs, expanded environmental regulations, and shifting consumer preferences towards eco-friendly products.
Queen of Raw allows brands to streamline and repurpose their excess inventory, either for internal use or resale, driving the crucial first step towards cost savings and better efficiency.
Many Queen of Raw customers are seeing how sustainable business practices directly translate to a better, more profitable business. Reselling excess inventory not only frees up warehouse space, but also can yield as much as 15% or more in recovered profits. One of their Fortune 100 enterprise customers saw a three-fold increase in online DTC business conversions by highlighting their sustainability efforts.
“Using readily available resources is good for business and good for the environment. We enable companies to take action on supply chain inefficiencies, transforming waste streams into profitable ventures,” says Stephanie Benedetto, Queen of Raw CEO.

And then we communicate that progress with the support of data and science-based standards, she adds. As a result, customer conversions are boosted and the overall customer and employee experience are improved.

A sustainable supply chain is no longer a choice, but a strategic imperative. Striking this delicate equilibrium not only future-proofs businesses against evolving consumer expectations, but positions them as responsible stewards of both profit and the planet.

Unifying in-store and e-commerce customer experience

In the pursuit of customer experience excellence in retail, a key strategy lies in the seamless convergence of in-store and online interactions.

Olga Kotsur, co-founder and CEO of Mercaux, says retailers quickly realized the need to replicate the online customer experience in store, post-lockdown, from real-time inventory checks and rich product descriptions through to hyper-personalized experiences.

However, a mere 36% of surveyed retail executives have embraced in-store customer experience (CX) solutions, as revealed in Mercaux’s “The Pulse of Retail” report. This presents an untapped opportunity for retailers to gain competitive edge.

Mercaux’s success story of deploying composable digital solutions in a multi-brand enterprise retailer’s stores in just seven weeks illustrates the potential for rapid transformation with fashion technology.

With in-store transactions still producing significant revenue, investing in store transformation is a clear path to better CX and more sales. This trend underscores the necessity for a comprehensive in-store CX strategy, blending store-associated assisted solutions with shopper self-service options to cater to diverse customer needs.

Beyond immediate customer satisfaction, deploying in-store solutions unlocks valuable behavioral and product data. Leveraged strategically, this data informs decisions on merchandising, expansion, marketing, and loyalty programs, contributing to sustained growth in revenues, profitability, and customer retention.

AI-led CX for personalized, human-like interactions

In the hyper-competitive fashion industry, experience-led growth strategies are revolutionizing customer engagement. According to a McKinsey & Co. study, strategies that boost customer satisfaction by at least 20% yield substantial financial benefits.

This trend underscores the shift towards prioritizing customer experience in the fashion domain for differentiation and personalized engagement. AI-powered CX technology solutions like those provided by are becoming indispensable for their ability to deliver hyper-personalized, human-like interactions. uses generative AI to meet the unique demands of the fashion industry. Their technology automates up to 90% of incoming queries, closely replicating human empathy and understanding. This significantly reduces operational costs by up to 60% and increases customer satisfaction and retention.

One of their customers, a globally renowned fashion brand, utilized these capabilities to attract more than 2.4 million new users annually, addressing a broad range of customer needs.

“In today’s digital age, the key differentiator for brands is providing an unparalleled customer experience. Our AI-driven solutions are crafted to meet customer needs in the most natural and empathetic manner, redefining the standard for customer interactions in the fashion industry and beyond,” says Raghu Ravinutala, CEO and co-founder.

This emphasis on AI-enhanced customer experiences marks a pivotal shift in how fashion companies interact with their audience to drive a new era of growth and loyalty.

AI-powered product catalog & search optimization

The fashion industry is currently experiencing a surge in product catalog automation, thanks to AI-powered data enrichment and search capabilities.

A recent study conducted by IHL Group found that retailers using AI see over 2x sales growth and nearly 3x profit growth compared to competitors.

Unstructured product data and descriptions often leads to less-than-helpful search results. However, this can be addressed through automatic product enrichment technology, utilizing AI-powered image and text-recognition systems. This technology identifies precise product details, ensuring that shoppers can easily find what they’re looking for.

“In a world where data is king and every moment is precious, leveraging AI and ML is not just a choice, but a strategic necessity for fashion brands, retailers and marketplaces aiming to stay ahead of the curve,” says Velou CEO Sadee Gamhewa.

The success of those who have embraced these fashion technologies is a testament to their transformative power, he adds.

By crafting product descriptions so that digital platform algorithms comprehend them, AI facilitates accurate categorization and ranking of products. This not only improves the visibility of products, but also optimizes their positioning, contributing to a more effective and efficient sales strategy.

According to a recent study by McKinsey & Co., generative AI and other technologies can automate tasks that currently occupy 60% to 70 % of employees’ time.

This means that e-commerce teams can now extend their focus beyond routine activities and redirect their energy towards decision-making and critical tasks.

Making fashion shopping fun with engaging videos

As e-commerce continues to evolve, video shopping has emerged as a key trend, fundamentally transforming how consumers engage with online shops. Shoppable video clips featuring reviews and tutorials on product-detail-pages move beyond traditional text- and picture-based product showcasing. The result is a story-driven, engaging experience that resonates with consumers in the age of TikTok, Reels, and Shorts.

A 2024 study by Wyzowl highlights the immense potential of video in e-commerce: 44% of respondents – representing the largest segment by far – prefer learning about products through short videos and 82% have been persuaded to purchase a product or service after watching a video.

Sandvine’s 2023 Global Internet Phenomena Report supports this trend, showing that video already comprises 65% of all internet traffic and is rapidly growing.

“The emergence of generative AI is expected to further accelerate the rise of video, making production more accessible and scalable for e-commerce players.” says Bertold Harmath, Co-Founder and CCO of LIVEBUY. “Video is the new love language of the internet. If you want to connect with and sell to modern consumers, there is no way around it,” Harmath says.

Empower in-store fashion retail with AI-based, data-driven decisions

As physical stores become intelligent retail hubs, the integration of AI-enabled computer vision equips brands with the tools to extract genuine insights from foot traffic. This analytical prowess is reshaping retail, allowing brands to fine-tune inventory and customer engagement strategies with precision.

Fashion retailers at the forefront of technology and leveraging computer vision are setting the pace, outstripping competitors. The rich insights produced by this fashion technology empower them to engage and serve their clientele like never before, revolutionizing everything from product selection to the aesthetic and functionality of store layouts.

The future of in-store fashion retail is becoming as responsive and personalized as e-commerce, fortified by analytics that enable proactive trend adoption and experience customization. With this shift, physical retailers can rival online platforms, offering a shopping experience tailored to the heartbeat of consumer trends.

“To stay ahead in today’s competitive fashion landscape, in-store retailers must leverage granular analytics similar to their online counterparts,” says David Owens, CEO of EVERYANGLE.

Vision AI is a game-changer, bridging the gap with actionable customer intelligence that levels the playing field, he adds.


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